Even on the calmest days, when you’re out abalone diving in the Pacific Ocean, your float tube is your little island of refuge. Here are my suggestions for the the best float tube that will hold your gear and give you a place to rest when you get tired.
Once you are fully suited up with all of your equipment you’ll need an abalone iron to pry your prey from the rocks. But even before you start popping abs off of rocks, you should check to make sure it is at least 7 inches long. Anything less needs to stay in the ocean.
Your body becomes quite buoyant in salt water after you’ve suited up in 7 millimeters of neoprene from head to toe. Free divers use weight belts to dive deep without having to fight too hard.
Once you’ve got all your abalone diving gear you’re going to need a place to put it. I store my gear in a mesh diving bag and use the same bag when I head to the coast.
Fins give you the power to swim around in the Pacific Ocean when you’re on the hunt for abalone. You’ll have a tough time fighting against the waves and current without a good set of fins.
Snorkels allow you to keep your head under water and focus on the hunt while allowing you to breathe clean air.
If you take your eye off of an abalone in the Pacific Ocean you’re going to lose it. The ocean is constantly pushing you around, and when you come out of the water for a full breath and try to head back down you are almost always in a different spot.
If you’re hunting for abalone in the Pacific Ocean you’ll need a crystal clear mask to spot your prey in the often murky waters.
Your dive mask is the window to the amazing sights under the water. On a clear day, the colors and wildlife in the waters of Northern California rival Hawaii. The fish aren’t as colorful, but the sea anemones, urchins and landscape are. Nothing beats cruising through the water and spotting a fellow hunter like a seal on the prowl.
Booties keep your feet warm and protected while abalone diving. Every piece of gear is important when you’re in the ocean, but a good pair of shoes might be the most critical piece of neoprene on your body.
Most abalone divers hike into their dive spots, so having sturdy, reliable foot protection isn’t something you can skimp on. When you hop into the ocean the terrain is especially dangerous, with sharp shells and rocks looking to gouge and injure you at every turn.
Gloves are an essential part of abalone diving. They need to keep your hands warm enough to move, they need to protect your hands from all the sharp and dangerous things in the ocean and they need to allow enough freedom of movement to pry abalone from the rocks and collect them.
There are varying opinions and preferences when it comes to the thickness of neoprene for abalone diving. Most wetsuits are 7 millimeters thick for getting into the Pacific Ocean in Northern California. But when it comes to gloves, most people are willing to sacrifice a little thickness for better dexterity.
If your wetsuit doesn’t have a hood built in then you’re going to need something thick and warm if you want to go abalone diving. The general consensus is that you’ll want 7 millimeters of neoprene protecting your head when you’re swimming in the cold Pacific waters of Northern California.
Your face will take the brunt of the shock from the cold when you first dive in because it should be the only piece of skin on your body that is exposed to the elements. Your mask will cover your eyes, but everything else will be feeling frozen pretty quickly. Some people get an ice-cream headache when they first get in the water.