A Word on Masks.
There you are, a newly fledged PADI Open Water Diver, and you start looking at all the wonderful stuff you can now buy to go with that shiny new C-card. So what is and is not worth buying? The first thing I would consider are masks. There is nothing more frustrating than having a mask that leaks and there is nothing more repellent than a mask full of mould that with fraying straps and raggedy seals.
Comfort and Fit!
As I said in the article about wetsuits, the most important thing about any equipment is a good fit. Your mask has to be comfortable as you are going to have this thing on your face for at least an hour. Masks come in all sorts of shapes and sizes so the first thing to do is find masks that are the right width for your face. This may even mean trying on masks for children if you have a particularly narrow face.
Then you need to do the fit test. Without using the strap, put the mask against you face and sniff! You should find that the mask sticks to your face like a demented limpet and holds itself in place. Guys with beards may find this will not happen. Unfortunately air can get back into the mask via your 6 o’clock shadow!
Where is the rub?
Now that you have seen that the mask fits, just push it against you face a little more firmly and see if there are any parts of the mask that feels uncomfortable. Remember, water pressure can make the mask fit tighter. I find that certain makes have a hard plastic frame that pushes against the bridge of my nose. After wearing one of these masks for a day I actually had a bruise where the mask had been pressing on my face. On another occasion, one guest had the firm imprint of a screw head at the end of her nose. This was where the drain valve of her mask was making contact!
Little Black Number!
Next is the style of mask. There are so many options out there, but you are ideally looking for a low volume mask. That is a mask that does not have too much air space on the inside. These are generally easier to clear. If you need corrective lenses, you will need to look for a twin lensed mask like the Technisub LOOK. You can buy the corrective lenses for this mask and have the dive shop fit them for you.
After all this you can now go about selecting the colour so that it synchronises with your beach wear! As most wetsuits are black, I decided that this would be my colour of choice, but I am an old traditionalist. One thing about skirts….. the one on the mask! If you are a keen photographer, a black silicone material is better as this reduces glare inside the mask and makes it easier to see the screen of your camera.
So there you have it, fit and comfort, no funny screws and a dark skirt. What could be clearer?