HOW TO CHOOSE A MASK
Ideally it would be great if you were able to tryout a mask which you fancy however this isn’t always an option so here are some tips.
If you wearing a beard, your estimated chance of finding a mask that would fit would be around the 20% mark and it would most likely be, a small mask designed for Spearfishing or Freediving. For those of you who won’t part with the beard or moustache, food grade silicone grease smeared on your face in the areas where the water is penetrating should do the trick. In the past, Vaseline was commonly used however it contains petroleum which has the potential to deteriorate a mask. Stubble tends to break the seal easier so shave before and if you have a moustache, shave off a little hair just below your nostril. Your chances of it sealing will be greater.
Spearfisherman, freedivers and snorkelers spend more time on the surface. Masks with dark skirts work best for this type of diving. Besides glare on the lens caused from sunlight entering though the clear skirt mask, sunlight is able to enter through the side of the eyes causing the pupils to contract which doesn’t help in low light situations. Scuba divers spend more time below than on the surface so masks with clear skirts shouldn’t be a problem.
- Step one. Ensure that your hair does not get caught between your face and the mask whilst conducting this test. This will compromise the seal.
- Without the use of the mask strap, place the mask on your face and move it around a little to allow the mask skirt to adapt to your face.
- Suck in some air through your nostrils to create a vacuum within the mask. Hold the vacuum for as long as you can without taking in any more air than you have already.
- If you are having difficulty keeping the mask on, remove it and try again a few times. If you are unsuccessful, this does not mean that the mask is of an inferior quality, more likely not suitable for your facial structure so try another until you get one which holds.
- Some masks nose pieces are set higher and it could be painful if you’ve selected one which isn’t compatible. Ensure that there is sufficient clearance under your nostrils and that you are able to hold your nose to equalize your eardrums.
- To test for clearance at the bridge of your nose and forehead, suck as much air out of the mask as you can through your nostrils. Pushing the frame of the mask against you face using your hands would probably case unrealistic pressures however it would be good to see what your tolerances are.
- If it is all clear, there is 90% chance that you have found a compatible mask.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF A WELL DESIGNED FRAMELESS MASK
- By eliminating the plastic mask frame and co-moulding the lens with the skirt, the lens is drawn closer to the eyes which helps increase the diver’s field of vision.
- The internal volume of the mask is reduced. This benefits free divers as the amount of lung air required to equalize the mask at depths is reduced.
- Frameless masks are generally lighter in weight and more streamline.
- The mask strap fastens to skirt and not a frame. No more frame squeeze.
- No more fine particle building up between the lens retainer and frame which can compromise the integrity of the seal.