View Full Version : Newbie with floaty feet..

08-23-2007, 00:11
Hi everyone, I'm new here and have a question. Does anyone else have a problem with their feet flying up in the water? This is when I'm wearing the neoprene booties and fins, wetsuit and full gear. Normally it's not a problem and I can push my feet down, so I'm wondering if it's the booties or fins being so buoyant, or should I let some air out of my BC? I am totally new at this, trying to get my OW certification, and any help will be much appreciated! :smiley5:

TAH 73
08-23-2007, 07:59
If you have the ability try pushing the tank a little lower on the tank straps, this will sit the bottom of the tank lower and make you less "head heavy" and should allow you get more balanced.
If that does not work, they do make ankle weights that would resolve your issue with floaty feet as well.

WV Diver
08-23-2007, 08:16
00The booties and the fins could both be a little buoyant. Typically hard soled booties are less likely to have positive buoyancy issues. You can purchase your fins either of the positive or negative buoyancy variety depending on your needs.

You should speak with your instructor about this issue or if there is a Divers Direct or similar store close by someone there can help you. Actually just give Joe or Larry a call and they can tell you which set up will be more negatively bouyant.

Otherwise, ankle wieghts come in one and two pound varieties normally. I would advise that, this is a last resort for a new diver. Wait until you have 20 or 30 dives to get comfortable before you go to ankle weights if you can. They can make you uncomfortable if you have to make long surface swims or work against currents getting back to the boat. Most folks can get along fine without the ankle weights, unless they are diving dry, with the proper equipment. I would try to get the correct bootie and fin configuration for you before I would suggest just grabbing ankle wreights.

Good luck.

08-23-2007, 09:50
Something else to consider, is the bouyency coming from your feet or your 'lower area'. I ask cause someone I know was having 'floaty feet' and we stored 4lbs in the back pocket of her BCD and suddenly her feet quit floating.

You might be blaming your legs for what your butt is doing :)

ScubaToys Larry
08-23-2007, 09:53
And you might just be experiencing "newbie clutziness". I see that a lot... it might just take you a while to get used to the whole weightless positioning thing. I would not freak yet and start buying ankle weights or different fins or boots. Most new divers swim around with their feet too low - so if you can stay horizontal in the water - you are doing better than many!

So hang in there, keep working on it, and I bet it will correct itself in time.

08-23-2007, 11:30
Thank you all for your help, I really appreciate it. I will make some adjustments and keep working on it.

My instructor was not much help at all. She informed me that I was just "too weak" to put my feet down. That made me feel really great, let me tell you.. I mean, I don't exercise as much as I should, I am a small person and all, but I'm not a total weakling either!

Well, thanks to all of you and I'll let you know how it goes next time around.

08-23-2007, 11:39
Unless she was jesting that is a sign of a bad instructor to criticize their students. I think students tend to be in the head down position when they are underweighted and have to constantly kick to stay down but it sounds like your feet float when you are not moving them? My fins float but i have never noticed an excesive lifting feeling from them. You should try and do a hover and have an experienced buddy, dm, or that unhelpful instructor look at you to try and diagnose the problem.

08-23-2007, 11:59
Try crossing your feet as you descend. If that doesn't work, you might want to try ankle weights. Not everyone is a big fan of them, but I needed them on my cert dives a few months ago.

fire diver
08-23-2007, 12:25
A couple thoughts here. If the problem is the neoprene on your legs and feet, then you will have the "floaty" problem in the last 10 or so feet from the surface. If you are bad here, but fine at depth, then this is the culprit. If you have problems at depth too, then it is one of 3 things.

You need to adjust your trim weight "back" a little.

You need to arch your back. Many new divers simply have bad form. "Arch" your back like you are sitting up very straight in a chair. You may see a huge improvement right there. This is why new divers start out leaning or yawing when they dive, but after a year of diving have great trim. They just got used to how they need to hold their body.

Or lastly, your attitude in the water is different from how it feels to you. Many people feel "head down" when they are really perfectly trimmed.

You will most likely need help from an observer to tell if you are trimmed correctly or not.

One final note on finning. Keep you legs bent at the knees and use a modified flutter kick. If you ever follow behind a group of students you'll see why (or more likey you won't see much of anything from all the silt being kicked up)


08-23-2007, 16:51
Ok, I'll keep these things in mind, thanks everyone!

08-23-2007, 17:21
Don't be afraid to experiment either. I'm still working on the experiments and in fact did some more last night.

I've not been diving a wetsuit for at least 2 years now and just tried out my old 7mm. First dive I had feet that sunk, second was floaty, and the third was trimmed.

Here's my sequence of events. First dive was just a normal config I thought would work, 8 lbs of lead on a belt with my BP/W. No other weight. Second dive I move the tank position, didn't do what I wanted as I wanted, so the third dive I discovered I only need 4 lbs of lead with my BP/W and that got me where I wanted to be.

Now I know where to attach the straps to the tank, know that I need 4 lbs of lead with my BP/W with only the plate, and that's with a 7mm Akona wetsuit with hood and gloves, boots too and jet fins. Each step was documented with my thoughts.

I tested the last one with an empty (500 psi) tank because trim will change slightly as you empty a tank and I also wanted to know if 4 lbs of lead would keep me neutral at that point. My notes say I think I can remove 2 more lbs of lead diving that configuration and I'll test it next time out. I order a mold from ST's so I can cast a couple 2 lb lead bricks.

So, it's a time process where you hone it.

For the drysuit the process was the same, I dive a Viking Extreme with 8 lbs of lead on a belt, just the BP/W and no weight plates. That 8 lbs is fine with my heaviest under garment I'll wear which is for 36 degree waters. I am a bit heavy in the Summer.

My tanks are Steel HP 120's and HP100's. The drysuit also includes a can light for weighting so it's about 2 lbs more weight.

Diving often and playing with where the weight is, and how much you carry is needed to figure it out. I found in a tradition BC I needed 16 lbs of lead and none of it could be in the integrated pockets, it had to be in the trim pockets and on the top of the tank for me to balance out. So you will see even the BC type makes a difference.

What were we talking about again?

fire diver
08-23-2007, 17:44
Ok, are you using "plutonium" lead? I can't get my 7mm BARE to stay down (by it's self) without like 16 pounds of lead. Hood, gloves, and boots bring it up to about 18-19 pounds needed at the surface.

I know the plate is 5, which makes you a grand total of 9 pounds of weight. If you have a full tank (AL80), you'll be -14. Has your suit lost some of it's thinkness over the years?

08-23-2007, 20:03
Nope, I've got less than a couple dozen dives on it I suspect, I've been strictly drysuit for the last 2 years.

I use a steel tank, that subtracts about 6 lbs right there. So, 9+6 is 15 lbs and thus you see why divers like steel tanks. Less lead to carry.

I never have needed a lot of weight, without a wetsuit on I'm negative unless I hold a FULL breath of air. With a 3mm on I'm neutral. So I'm not that bad. I am 6' 185 lbs right now, and sadly not all of that is muscle. There's a fair amount of good living on me.:smiley36:

You'd be surprised at how many divers think I don't have enough lead on when I dive. Especially with a drysuit.

08-23-2007, 21:14
so at 6'3"... I have a whooole lot more 'good living' on me...
I fear the amount of weight I'll need with more than a shorty on :)

08-23-2007, 22:34
Embrace the fear, become one with it.

08-23-2007, 22:37
Well, I think with adding even the smallest wet suit I'm going to be readjusting my whole outlook on weights :)

08-24-2007, 11:27
My instructor was not much help at all. She informed me that I was just "too weak" to put my feet down. That made me feel really great, let me tell you.. I mean, I don't exercise as much as I should, I am a small person and all, but I'm not a total weakling either!

:smiley21: A bit presumptuous on her part, not to mention dismissive of the problem.

As Larry said, it *could* just be beginners diving follies, or it *could* be something else.

Maybe do look at moving your tank a bit (after OW... until then, you will probably to dive by "their" rules) or else have someone watch your horizontal position in the water. It certainly could just be something as simple as how you are holding yourself in the water.

See, I had the opposite problem, where my feet were severely dragging. I moved my tank up, so the valve was around the back of my head, and the problem has gotten better. So if you perhaps can move your tank down a smidgen, you may get the results you're looking for.

Diving is definitely one of those fussy sports, where you can fuss with you gear to no end.

08-24-2007, 11:43
Wow, this is a lot of good information.. stuff I should have gotten in my class, where I was actually paying people to teach me. Well, thanks alot folks, I'll put the info to good use!

08-24-2007, 12:08
There's a lot that people should get out of a class, but I suspect in the end the goal for a class about diving OW is to get you in the water and be safe. The refinements such as trim and buoyancy tend to wait for AOW or better to be taught.

While I understand the rational which is to not overload a diver, I think it also does them a disservice to not teach it. It is not commonly taught either. It should be IMO.

So, I wouldn't slam whoever taught you based on the omission. Now if they did teach it I'd rank them pretty highly because it's not commonly taught.

fire diver
08-24-2007, 12:16
Wow, this is a lot of good information.. stuff I should have gotten in my class, where I was actually paying people to teach me. Well, thanks alot folks, I'll put the info to good use!

Don't about it too much. There are probably only a small handful of really good instructors. Most just teach you how to not kill yourself and that's it. The adive we give comes from years of diving, having these same problems ourselves, and talking with older divers who also had these problems. The absolute best thing you can do to become a great diver, fast, is to find a great diver to be your mentor. Go dive with them as much as you can. Most are eager to help out new divers. They will give you tips and tricks that would take years to figure out / perfect on your own.


08-24-2007, 22:27
I'm new too. When I was in Cozumel (3 mm shorty and booties) I noticed that my feet were floating up and bending my knees almost at a 90 degree angle. The rest of my body seemed to stay horizontal but if I just let myself relax my knees would bend right up. I wasn't fully aware of how much this was happening until I saw all the photos our DM took afterward.

Is this an instance of needing weights in my trim pockets or needing ankle weights? I keep my tank as low as possible to avoid hitting my head on the first stage.

08-24-2007, 22:42
Nope, your perfect as is. Now learn the frog kick and you'll reduce your air consumption even more.

If your knees bend and you don't want it to happen then you can stop it by using muscles.

08-24-2007, 23:06
Nope, your perfect as is. Now learn the frog kick and you'll reduce your air consumption even more.

If your knees bend and you don't want it to happen then you can stop it by using muscles.

I'm working on the frog kick, I like it.

If I think about it, my knees don't bend because as you said I'm just using muscle to keep them down, but when I was just relaxing during the drift diving knees just immediately bent.

08-25-2007, 01:15
:anim_rolleyes: When it happened to me my knees were not bending, I was flat on my back staring up at the sky. It was quite pretty, but not very conducive to diving.. probably a newbie issue in my case, and a need for some adjustments that people have suggested in this thread.

08-25-2007, 19:15
To be honest, in a wetsuit I WISH my feet would float upwards, it sure would make my leg muscles happy because in a 7mm wetsuit I have to really work to keep them there. The neoprene wants to keep them flat.

In a drysuit I add a bit of air to the feet and there they go exactly where I want them. I find a drysuit to be more comfortable diving, but 90% of my diving has been in them. I gave up wetsuits within a couple months of getting certified and have been dry ever since.

But locally I'm playing around and a wetsuit is easier to just play around in without getting heatstroke in the high temps we've had lately.