Last summer, as I tormented myself by not being at the Vertical Blue Freediving comp, yet watching it on my computer, I noticed some of the divers wearing eye-catching cool neck weights.
Channeling frustration into acquisition, I set about trying to find one.
The only clue as to the manufacturer was a little triangle symbol, so I did the obvious; a google search on ‘neck weight with triangle symbol’… A month or so later, I had one in hand and prepared to check it out in open water.
The Status Quo
I’ve always made my neck weights. I trundle down to a bicycle store and hit them up for discarded inner tubes. Then I get some lead shot, plastic side release buckles, etc…
These work out pretty well. They are cheap, and reasonably hydrodynamic, and I can tune them precisely.
They also have some drawbacks.
Eventually, the straps holding the buckles rot, and there are wear points where the tubes are cinched down. Sometimes these last give way, and lead shots start trickling out mid-dive. The buckles require a pinch to release, but they definitely don’t qualify as ‘quick’.
It was late in the season, so I ordered the heaviest and longest-weight, intending to use it with my thicker winter suit. I requested white for safety/visibility in our sometimes dark Northern Michigan waters.
I ended up using it with much thinner suits than I’d planned, yet it was so comfortable I had to check to make sure it was there. This model was a bit long with these suits, yet it did not clunk into my chin during a duck dive nor restrict head movement.
The Alchemy weights are made from lead covered with thick, flexible silicone. They have a minimal hydrodynamic profile and are easily shaped for a perfect fit. The curved cross-section fits nicely against the neck, and the silicone seems to help the weight not slip against the neoprene.
They’re easily the least fiddly and most comfortable neck weights I’ve used. And unquestionably the coolest looking.
Alchemy neck weights are an excellent example of the practical genius that characterizes many innovations in Free Diving. The design is simple to the point of elegance – solving nearly all the problems with other freediving neck weights.
Starting at 83 EUR and going up to €108 EUR plus shipping, they are a bit pricey. However, the design is so simple and the materials so durable that they’re unlikely ever to need replacing.
Features and Specs
Alchemy neck weights are available in white or black, three different lengths (40,45 or 50cm), and nine weights from .93 kg to 1.55 kg.
- Easily adjustable on the fly and holds its form
- Extremely durable
- Easily removed in an emergency (no clips or buckles)
- The white model is highly visible in dark waters
- Available Lengths: 40, 45, and 50 cm
- Available Buoyancy: 3 types per length
- Negative Buoyancy: From 0.93kg to 1.55kg
- Colors: Black / White
- Material: Silicone Encapsulated Lead
- Silicone Tensile Strength: 10 N/mm2
- Silicone Density: 1.12 g/cm3
- Alchemy Freediving Neck Weight – €83 – €108 EUR / $88 – $114 USD / £74 – £96 GBP