The Gear - Personal EquipmentTo play Underwater Football you need the following equipment:
FinsThere are two basic types of fins: Open-heeled and Closed-heeled (or full-foot).
SnorkelYour snorkel should be simple and have a soft mouthpiece. A simple J-tube snorkel should be enough to get you started, and it will make you a better player and snorkeller.
Avoid a rigid mouthpiece an accidental kick (or catching the ball with your face) could mean a trip to the dentist. A flexible mouthpiece will act a lot like a mouth guard that you would use in a contact sport like Football (American/Canadian), Rugby, or Hockey. You may also be able to find some specialised snorkels that have a proper mouth guard built in.
Does my snorkel have a tube with a big enough diameter? The rule of thumb for this is "your thumb should be able to fit in the end of the snorkel". If it does not, then it is too small and you'll get too much resistance when you try to breathe through it. You can do it, but why try to breath through a straw when there is something better out there.
Again, skip the gadgets. You do not need a purge valve in the snorkel, nor do you need anything on the end of it to keep water out. The purge valve will probably mean that you have a rigid mouthpiece, which is a bad thing. Anything on the end of the snorkel to keep it dry will just add resistance to your breathing. Get used to the fact that you are going to get water in your snorkel (whether you have a dry, super-dry, ultra-dry, hyper-dry, or super-colossal-dry snorkel). Again, a simple J-tube snorkel should be enough to get you started. It will make you a better player and snorkeller.
SwimsuitYour swimsuit should be of sturdy construction and fit comfortably. Some people also prefer to wear two at a time as this offers them a little more modesty. There are some different considerations for men and women.
MenBrief style swimsuits (generally spandex) tends to offer less resistance in the water than the trunks style of suit. However, many men do not have the body shape that suits this kind of swim suit and they may not feel comfortable wearing them swimming.
The trunks style of swimsuits tends to have a little more drag than the brief style, but it is somewhat more modest than the brief style.
WomenMost women choose to wear a one piece sports swimsuit (racer-back or cross-back). A two piece (or bikini style) swimsuit is not recommended. Underwater Football is a contact sport, and they offer the potential that one or more pieces will be dislodged or lost.
The Gear - Everything ElseThe remaining gear that you need is:
The BallThe ball we use to play with was constructed out of a pneumatic ball about 8 inches (20 cm) in diameter. Generally a hand ball or a child-sized basketball will do. The pebbling on the ball needs to be sanded off so that it will fly straight in the water.
To make the ball sink, it is emptied of air and filled with a liquid that will make it heavier than water. We have had some success with VERY salty water; however, we have had the most success with corn syrup. The preferred method is to fill it using a large volume syringe with a ball filling needle attached to the end of it. The procedure is as follows:
Obtaining the syringe is left as an exercise to the reader. This is where it pays off to have a good relationship with your doctor or veterinarian.
Survey Marking TapeSurvey marking tape is used to identify the players. A length of it is tied around the wrists and ankles to identify to which team a player belongs. It is cheap and can be obtained in large quantities and several different colours. Each team can be identified with different colours of tape, or one team may choose to wear no tape at all.
A Deep PoolGenerally the deep end of a community or public swimming pool will be sufficient to play. The ideal pool is 10 metres by 15 metres, and 4 metres deep. The short side is normally used as the goal line.
You will need to mark the goal area on the side of the pool. If you have been playing in the pool for a long time, you might be able to convince the maintenance staff to mark the pool sides in a permanent way (e.g., with stripe of paint or by replacing some of the tiles with the accent colour). If not, you will have to improvise. There may even be "natural" marks on the edge of the pool you can use to define the goal area.
You should also consider liability insurance. Who's are you playing under? Your pool's? Your school's? Your club's? Your dive store's? Your own? None? Most public pools will not let you play without having some sort of insurance. Even if they do, you should probably consider getting some insurance.
Diving RingInvariably, the pool that you use will have a bottom that slopes slightly towards the drains. To keep the ball from rolling away from the centre of the playing area during the face-off, you will need to place it on a diving ring (or a similar device).
A diving ring is a doughnut shaped object, normally made of plastic. It needs to be big enough to securely hold the ball in place until the game starts. Most public pools will have several. You should also be able to get them at any pool supply store or big-box retailer.