How to Pick The Best Freediving Mask
There are more freediving masks hitting the market now than ever before. So how to do you choose the best one? Easy! Get the coolest looking one from www.freedivingdiscountwharehouse.com and you're good to go right? Not so fast. Here's how to pick among the best freediving masks in 4 easy steps
Make sure it fits!
Select for volume or visibility
How good do you want/need to look?
Don't forget to clean it! (some don't need it)
Divers Jen Brant and Magali Cote, photo courtesy of @misssnorris on instagram
Step one: If the mask don't fit . . . .
Go to your nearest (or best) freediving gear shop and try on any and all masks you are considering to help narrow down the possibilities. Remember many masks come in different color styles so don't judge the mask look during the fitting process. If the mask doesn't fit your face, move on till you find ones that do. If you find several, great! Now you have options. Don't have a freediving or spearfishing shop nearby? Try a scuba store that carries freediving gear. Our freediving shop lives inside of Kona Honu Divers scuba store.
The Proper Way to fit a freediving mask
1. Tilt your head back
2. Place the mask on your face with the strap removed or off to the side
3. Have a partner walk around your face to look for air gaps between the skirt and your face
4. If there are gaps without pushing down on the mask move on till you find one without gaps
5. Try the mask in the water to ensure proper fit
Notice the gaps between the mask skirt and the divers face?
Step two: Volume or Visibility
Decide what's more important to you because you will have to make compromises. If you find several masks that fit you can now narrow down the style by what most suits your needs
If you're diving for depth prioritize a lower volume mask. Lower volume means less air used to equalize the mask. The benefit is you get to keep more of that precious air in your lungs
Lowest Volume Freediving Masks: from lowest to highest
If you're spearfishing in shallow water or just doing some fun reef diving your priority may be on seeing more. In that case go for a mask that has larger lenses.
Best visibility in freediving Masks
Cressi F1 (single pane)
XS Scuba Merge 3 (single pane)
Wear glasses? Vision Correction Options:
The best visibility freediving mask is . . .
The Fluyd Apnea 100 is similar to the Aqualung Sphera which is very popular among freedivers. It has a lens that is angled up to help the diver see up without having to lift your head allowing you to keep in a streamlined position. It also has the benefit of plastic lenses. This means a sharper image than glass due to its superior physical properties. Also, the curvature in the lenses allows the viewer to see to the sides giving you an almost 160 degree view for increased peripheral vision. The downside is since the lenses are curved the view is distorted. Not good for spearfishing. Also the plastic lenses can scratch fairly easily so it must be handled with care. Critically, this mask is good to go right out of the box. No scrubbing necessary.
Step 3: Style
Ok now that we have narrowed down the boring stuff we can get to the important part. How dorky/sexy do you look wearing the mask? This is by far the most important factor when fitting a mask ;-) Do you want to say "Im Batman" in a low gravely voice while wearing your mask? Xs Scuba Apnos or Mares Viper are your best bet. Do you want to stand out? Go for the Salvimar Noa in Blue/White. This is what the mirror is for so use it! Don't be afraid to strike a pose or throw out a Blue steel look while you contemplate your choice. Remember many masks come in a variety of different colors so don't worry too much about color until you've narrowed down your choices by fit.
Some masks have a single sense design. This means they will show your face better for photo shoots (see the top middle one below). Go for lighter colored skirts to improve the visibility of your eyes for the photographer
Step 4: Purchase and clean
The most important part of the process is buying the mask from a local retailer not an online store. It's important to support your local retailer so that you have a place to try on gear before you purchase. Many local retailers will offer more than just a mask fitting. At Kona Freedivers we offer to help you fit but if you're not sure about the fit you can try before you buy. This is to ensure you're happy with the mask before you make the commitment to purchase. We also scrub the mask for you so you don't have to! If your local freediving center doesn't scrub the mask for you please don't forget this step! It's necessary to remove the film that comes from the factory. This film makes it impossible to defog the mask so it's a very necessary step (unless your mask has plastic lenses like the apnea 100).