In the following days we will discuss some of the essential parts that are needed if you decide to pick up spearfishing. We will cover the mask, fins, snorkel, wetsuit, buoy, dive knife, fish keep/catch bag and of course the speargun.
Today we’ll start with part I: The mask.
How do you find the perfect mask? Here are a few guidelines that can help you decide.
Clear silicone mask or black silicone mask? Black silicone is usually ideal, but clear masks also have certain specific pros and cons. Clear silicone has a tendency to cast images or reflections on the inside of the lens causing distractions or even loss of clarity to viewing, however, some people prefer clear silicone claiming a less “claustrophobic” feeling. So this choice is kinda up to you personally, whichever you prefer.
Side windows and colored lenses. Side-windows will increase the air volume of a mask.This will restrict them from being used for deeper diving, but it can be beneficial to increase peripheral vision or should at least enable you to see movements from the sides. Nose purges often leak defeating the purpose of the purge but they can be beneficial if a diver has facial hair or other specific needs. Proper fit will eliminate the need for a purge. Mirrored lenses will darken the lens and make seeing into caves more difficult and darken already poor visibility conditions but they can aid in “hiding” the diver's eyes which can help fish remain calm or even attract them to the reflection. Color tinted lenses that are tinted too much will distort your vision, change the color of familiar objects and can even create nausea in some people but they can also increase depth perception, clarity and light intake. A mild color tint is recommended
Volume: The air volume of a mask is important for freediving but not as important for scuba diving. Therefore using a generic “scuba mask” for freediving is not a good idea but using a low-volume “freediving mask” for scuba is fine. A low volume mask is an equation of the distance from your face to the glass x the height and width of the mask. As a freediver descends, water pressure creates an effect that pushes the mask against the divers face where a diver must “equalize” the pressure within the mask or risk causing damage to the diver's eyes and/or sinuses. To equalize the pressure within the mask a diver needs to exhale from the nose and into the mask. A low volume mask requires less air that a freediver must “waste” into the mask. Clearing the pressure in the mask is considered a waste because the diver's lungs cannot utilize the air/oxygen within the mask, therefore, the more wasted air, the less time a diver can stay underwater.
Visibility: The visibility of a mask can vary greatly for each person and each mask. Visibility is simply defined as how much a person can see while the mask in on. When fitting a mask, pay close attention to how far your eyes are from the glass. The distance from your eyes as well as the height and width of the glass will determine visibility.
An example of a good spearfishing mask is the Mares - Black Silicone Dual and Tana Mask and Snorkel Set
If you have any further questions about choosing a mask please contact us.