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Old 04-23-2018, 01:31 PM   #1
florfreediver
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Towing a Freediver - Techniques?

Just finished a visit to the Exumas in the Bahamas.

Decent fish were pretty scarce, so I convinced reluctant Skipper to tow me behind the Panga which we use as the yacht tender.

The Skipper has been very reluctant with this technique in the past as he has visions of one of his crew being chomped by a inquisitive Bull or Tiger. This would ruin his day, so to speak.
However swimming the reef and/or relying on the depth sounder was not bringing results this trip, so Skipper gave in to my nagging and allowed me to be towed..

I have previously been towed many times in the far distant past when operating out of Bimini. I consider it is an efficient method of covering a lot of ground when seeking out Hogs, Muttons and Grouper.

However age is catching up with me and being pulled by the arms is no longer tolerable. Looking for an alternative to having my arms stretched beyond their natural limit.

I have a vague memory of once clamping an egg shaped marker buoy (tied to end of towing line) between my thighs and letting my legs/torso take some of the strain, with one hand holding onto a knot at the appropriate point in the tow line and the other free hand being used to signal the Skipper for a required change in direction.
Anyone ever tried this?
Anyone have any other methods? ie besides pure hand hold.

Thanks,
Mike.
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Old 04-23-2018, 02:33 PM   #2
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Re: Towing a Freediver - Techniques?

A wakeboard rope with a triangle shaped bridle is pretty easy to use. You can put the bar that you'd hold in the crook of your arm or under your armpit to relieve some strain on your hands. Although I've always found if the driver is going fast enough to make it uncomfortable to hold on then my mask and snorkel start to feel like they're going to come off as well, if they slow down a bit it's a lot more comfortable. There are also various dive wings designed specifically for this purpose although I don't know how much strain they'd take off your hands.
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Old 04-23-2018, 02:42 PM   #3
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Re: Towing a Freediver - Techniques?

My two son-in-laws bought one each, they are both on my boat. Used just to locate good areas.

https://www.subwing.com/

They aren't cheep..I was in the process of making a couple with a honeycomb core wrapped in fiberglass, when I got an E Mail notification that they were half price on Black Friday. I told the two son-in-laws about it and they ( un-be-knowns to each other) both ordered one!
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Old 04-23-2018, 03:08 PM   #4
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Re: Towing a Freediver - Techniques?

There should be very little strain or discomfort during the towing operation. You simply need to position yourself immediately aft of the console
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Old 04-23-2018, 05:46 PM   #5
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Re: Towing a Freediver - Techniques?

HurricaneBK:
Thanks, I have tried the triangle bridle but as you mentioned it is still a strain on the arms

Seatux,
Thanks. I actually used to sell a maneauverable tow board at Florida Freedivers and used one on several occasions. It gave me the ability to dive down to over 40ft, whilst being towed, but still needed two arms holding on continuously, especially to control a drop.
That sub-wing you suggested seems a lot more sophisticated and interesting but I assume will not cut down the drag on the arms.

jfjf,
Hey Jim.
Not sure what to say to you :>)
I am surprised you did not suggest using water ski's with a glass bottomed bucket strapped between them.

Forget to mention in my first post The ability of having one arm free, to carry a sling or pole spear, (besides pointing direction to travel to skipper) is another factor.
Once you see something you can then have first dibs at it before the lazy sods on the boat can jump in.

Be safe out there.

Mike.
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Old 04-23-2018, 05:52 PM   #6
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Re: Towing a Freediver - Techniques?

It's easy enough to make a wing w/ plywood. It's cheap and effective. Used them all the time lobstering in the Keys. Round off the edges and attach ski rope....good to go. I clipped off my gun to my side so I could hold on w/ both hands.
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Old 04-23-2018, 06:11 PM   #7
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Re: Towing a Freediver - Techniques?

Quote:
Originally Posted by florfreediver View Post
HurricaneBK:
Thanks, I have tried the triangle bridle but as you mentioned it is still a strain on the arms

Seatux,
Thanks. I actually used to sell a maneauverable tow board at Florida Freedivers and used one on several occasions. It gave me the ability to dive down to over 40ft, whilst being towed, but still needed two arms holding on continuously, especially to control a drop.
That sub-wing you suggested seems a lot more sophisticated and interesting but I assume will not cut down the drag on the arms.

jfjf,
Hey Jim.
Not sure what to say to you :>)
I am surprised you did not suggest using water ski's with a glass bottomed bucket strapped between them.

Forget to mention in my first post The ability of having one arm free, to carry a sling or pole spear, (besides pointing direction to travel to skipper) is another factor.
Once you see something you can then have first dibs at it before the lazy sods on the boat can jump in.

Be safe out there.

Mike.
Ok Mike, you stay right behind the console (and drive) and tow somebody else..
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Old 04-23-2018, 06:14 PM   #8
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Re: Towing a Freediver - Techniques?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
It's easy enough to make a wing w/ plywood. .
Yea, been there done that...compared to the new technology that old shit is just that...old shit!

florfreediver;

Forget holding on with one arm, forget carrying a gun or pole spear...you are just surveying! When you find something good you drop off or come to the surface yelling..the boat circles around and they toss you a gun.
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Old 04-23-2018, 06:36 PM   #9
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Re: Towing a Freediver - Techniques?

may be less speed ???
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Old 04-23-2018, 07:08 PM   #10
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Re: Towing a Freediver - Techniques?

Speed Kills
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Old 04-23-2018, 07:21 PM   #11
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Re: Towing a Freediver - Techniques?

[..the boat circles around and they toss you a gun.[/quote]

The Buddies I often dive with will say "hold on Mike, I will bring your pole spear with me when I jump in...

The same thing I would do to them if they were being towed and I am lazing on the deck.

Talk about competitive!

Thanks Seatux.
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Old 04-23-2018, 07:34 PM   #12
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Re: Towing a Freediver - Techniques?

Just remembered. It gets worse than what I mentioned.

Recently I was being towed and spotted a nice 4-5lb lobster taking an early morning stroll. As I was using both hands to being towed I did not want to try wrestling the thing with just my hands.

I shout that I have seen a huge lobster and need my sling!

In jumps the Skipper with only his sling and takes the honors

My thoughts were criminal.

Mike.
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Old 04-28-2018, 01:23 PM   #13
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Re: Towing a Freediver - Techniques?

Possibly a saddle like they use on a PPV?We use a ski rope with a foam handle and tow SLOW.Im 57 with a wrecked back,knees and a rotator cuff acting up so Im in no hurry.Actually I guess I have never been in a hurry even when I was younger.
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Old 04-28-2018, 02:48 PM   #14
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Re: Towing a Freediver - Techniques?

As I mentioned before, I just clipped my speargun off to my weight belt, with coiled cord, which leaves my two hands free. We always used smaller boats. It's damned sure easier when towing to the keys. It also makes it easier to signal the driver when towing. The towee can signal via adding/loosening drag on the boat. See something? Drag/tug/let go...driver knows somethings up, looks back, circles.
Getting dragged too fast? Whistle at driver and use hand signals to indicated wanted speed. Us troglodytes seemed to figure this out with success.
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Old 04-29-2018, 11:27 AM   #15
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Re: Towing a Freediver - Techniques?

Thanks for the various suggestions.

However will continue with my quest to find a one handed tow technique.
I believe the "saddle: analogy will be the way.

I will try one of my RA floats tied on and held between my thighs.
Together with a handle or knot in the tow rope, strategically 2-3ft ahead of the RA float, may prove the answer. Or not.

Hopefully I get a chance in too distant future to try it out and report back.

Marcus, how the hell do you whistle whilst being towed, especially with a snorkel in mouth

Regards,
Mike.
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