I'm asking for some input. I just connected some ideas relating to the archaic use of belts:
Indian guy climbing tall coconut tree with ankles bound, crawling like an 'inchworm' up the tree. (30 sec. video) [When in Malaysia, I tried climbing a coconut palm but failed, I hadn't known this trick.]
Chinese girl swimming dolphin-style with ankles bound so as to allow 'dolphin tail' undulations.
[River dolphins in Yangtze river, dugongs as visual model for early human swimmers?]
Wrist bracelets/necklaces/vests/skirts with shells, beads, holed coins as visible wealth and counters (primitive abacus/calendar such as a thread bracelet with 28 beads to represent lunar month).
Diving belt: kelp/vine/water lily stem or folded cloth sarong (linen/silk/palm fiber/pounded tree bark (tapa cloth of Hawaii/Samoa); wrapped (rappel?) / lashed (leash?) around belly/shoulders/calves (depending on function)
-notched & clipped mongongo or salt-crusted mangrove leaves for hut shingles (origin of salt trade, barter gift exchange between women who constructed their own dome huts)
-net (or skin) bag/basket clipped/strung to belt to hold foods/shells or as woven or inflated floating basket
-used around calves as coconut palm climbing strap (cloth tube sarong not knotted, depends on fiber friction)
-used around ankles as dolphin tail for more efficient long-term swimming (not short dives)
-used as baby backpack (I saw an Indonesian woman swaddle her infant in a square cloth, piggy-back style, then easily switch to nursing postion, far more simply practical than today's baby backpacks)
-used to hold short sharp (bamboo) stick spear/prybar and flint/razorclam blade, hand-axe holder/handle/hook while swimming/climbing/walking to keep hands and legs free for movements.
-AmerIndians used wampum belts of shells on strings: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wampum
for quipu, tokens and memory devices, highly valued. Other materials used porcupine quills. pounded goldleaf etc.
-possibly after deep dive descent (while negatively buoyant) a (woven short sarong/skirt) could open parachute-like between ascending strokes to slow descent and then close during each arm/leg stroke phase to allow faster ascent. (from DeeperBlue.com message: This is how a dive works: Because of the air in our lungs, we are buoyant on the surface and remain so until about fifteen metres. The weight that a constant-weight diver wears around the neck helps him or her overcome the resistance at this depth. (Campbell wears about four pounds.) Between fifteen and thirty metres, most people are neutrally buoyant, and after thirty metres they are negatively buoyant, which means they sink. "Deeper than thirty metres, nobody swims," Marco Nones, a dive instructor in Sharm al-Sheikh, told me. "Fall down, fall down. Every diver slips." At the bottom of a deep dive, a diver is very heavy, because the lungs are so radically contracted. To return to neutral buoyancy, he must labor against this. Sometimes, on no-fins dives, he actually sinks while gliding between strokes and has to work to recover lost ground.
When ascending at depth, one can't just propel up, one must brake downwards gravity effect, to stop sliding back down. This is like climbing a coconut palm tree without a foot strap, one tends to slip downwards after each step up, unlike climbing a ladder where you ratchet upwards each step and can't sink down (more like wearing long fins or monofin). One must brake the fall between strokes while allowing the glide up.
Any momentary rest, one must slow the descent by parachuting like a jellyfish*, or by becoming more horizontal. Probably spiral climbing is more efficient, like a tight corkscrew, each hand stroke vertically pulled down and pushed down but finished with horizontal outward flick to brake a second, then pulling hands inwards (and downwards slightly) and then forwards smoothly along body to far front and flick out hands again to brake before doing another stroke.