Your diving mask is one of the most important pieces of equipment in your diving kit. But what kind of mask should you choose?
This article was originally published here.
Choosing your mask: Snorkeling VS Scuba Diving VS Spearfishing
1. WHAT MASK FOR WHAT TYPE OF DIVING
CHOOSING A SNORKELING MASK
If you’re planning on snorkeling (i.e. with diving fins, diving mask and snorkeling tube), choose a diving mask with a large field of vision, so you can enjoy your underwater experience to the max!
CHOOSING A SPEARFISHING/FREEDIVING MASK
For spearfishing or freediving, opt for a smaller mask to reduce the risk of ‘mask squeeze’.
CHOOSING A SCUBA MASK
Finally, for scuba diving, we’d recommend choosing a single-window or two-window mask that doesn’t cover the nose to facilitate decompression at the end of the dive.
CHOOSING A SNORKELING MASK
Are you a fan of snorkeling? Specially designed by Subea for underwater swimming, the Easybreath mask is ideal for snorkeling excursions thanks to its innovative shape, which allows divers to breathe through both the mouth and the nose. What’s more, the Easybreath mask’s large single-window lens guarantees great visibility as well as being fog-resistant, so you can enjoy all the stunning views snorkeling has to offer. Attention: the Easybreath mask is designed for snorkeling and surface swimming. Not appropriate for underwater use.
The Easybreath’s mask impressive field of vision allows you to clearly see underwater from surface level, while allowing divers the ability to switch easily between nasal and mouth breathing thanks to its leak-proof breathing tube. Simple and easy to use, the Easybreath mask is ideal for children aged 10 and upward, as well as beginner snorkelers and swimmers lacking in confidence. It’s also a good choice for those who have difficulty breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth.
CHOOSING A FREEDIVING MASK
Looking for a mask designed for freediving or spearfishing? Several types of specialist masks can be found on the market. These are usually characterised by their smaller size in order to minimize potential air loss, as well as the risk of facial barotrauma (‘mask squeeze’). Most spearfishing masks and freediving masks are two-window models, and are usually smaller in size to reduce the likelihood of air escaping during the descent. Some spearfishing masks cover almost the entire eye area, allowing the diver to get as close as possible to easily startled marine life. As a result, most spearfishing masks are either dark in colour or ‘camouflage’ to blend in with underwater surroundings.
CHOOSING A SCUBA MASK
Scuba masks are designed for an optimal fit around the nose area, allowing divers to perform the Valsava maneuver with relative ease while guaranteeing excellent underwater visibility.
Here are some other factors to take into consideration when choosing your scuba mask:
- a single-fibre vs. mixed-material skirt (mixed-material skirts tend to be more flexible/supple)
- coloured vs. transparent skirt material (a clear skirt is helpful if you tend to suffer from underwater ‘tunnel vision’)
- single vs. double lens: single lenses offer more uniform visibility, while double lenses offer the possibility of adding corrective lenses, making them ideal for people with vision problems. (NB: the style and dimensions of your mask’s lenses can have a significant impact on your field of vision.)
- a brightly coloured mask vs. an all-black mask
- a mask with or without an inbuilt plastic frame: without, the lens is joined directly to the skirt for a lighter, more resistant mask
- a fabric strap (ideal for long hair) vs. a silicone strap (ideal for swimming caps/shorter hair)
SELECTING THE RIGHT DIVING MASK
Underwater, it’s impossible for the human eye to see clearly. Your diving mask acts as a barrier between your eyes and the surrounding water, filling the space with air to allow for optimal visibility.
Your mask should be watertight in order to minimise excess water trickling inside, as this is likely to affect visibility.
For 100% underwater visibility, it’s essential to properly maintain your mask. Lack of proper care could lead to your mask fogging up, reducing your ability to see clearly through the lens.
Too small and your mask will be uncomfortable to wear. Too big, and water is almost certain to leak inside the mask. This makes selecting the right size mask an important step when choosing your diving equipment
3. DIVING MASKS: CHOOSING THE CORRECT SIZE
When buying your first diving mask, we’d recommend trying on several models in-store. This will allow you to test out the various sizes of our Easybreath snorkeling masks. So, how will you know when you’ve found the right diving mask for you? Easy: when the mask is on your face, you shouldn’t be able to feel any space between your jaw and the mask’s silicone skirt. The mask should feel comfortable, but not too tight.
When selecting a traditional diving mask, this simple test will help you ensure you’ve got the right fit:
1. Place the mask on your face (without fastening the strap)
2. Breathe in through your nose. The mask should remain attached to your face.
3. Hold your breath for a few seconds. If the mask doesn’t slip or move, it’s the correct size.
Finally, fasten the mask’s strap. Adjust gently, without pulling or applying too much pressure, until the air begins to leave the mask.
Almost done! All you need to do now is choose the model that you find most comfortable, while still offering high-level visibility underwater.