Best freediving masks inner volume test

Over a couple of years of freediving I collected some dive masks. During my recent holiday on the island of Zakynthos, Greece, I decided to put them to the test in an inner volume shoot-out.

I tested the Mares Viper mask, the Mares X-Free mask, the legendary Aqualung Micromask and the Picasso Atomic mask. These masks are great dive masks and are ideal for freediving and spearfishing.

All the masks fit me reasonably well, but the Mares X-Free is my favourite for comfort and grip for equalization. The X-Free is however also the mask that squeezes the most when depth diving and seems to require a much more proper mask equalization between 10-15 meters than the other masks.

For the actual test and results, without further ado, below the video:

I hope you liked it and it was of help! If you have any questions: please hit me up through the contact form or on Youtube!

Unboxing the Picasso Master Carbon fins

Recently I ordered some new gear as a gift to myself for/if reaching the next freediving level. The package contained the Picasso Master Carbon fins, the Picasso Shadow wetsuit (5mm Yamamoto neoprene), the Picasso Atomic mask and some fin binders from the Portugese brand.

I ordered the package from a Portugese spearfishing shop with close ties to Picasso. The delivery was fast and without problems. Continue reading below the video for a bit more on the gear.

I apologize for the soft sound, but here is the embedded video to watch the unboxing and get a first impression of the contents:

The fins turn out to be the biggest difference in my freediving arsenal. Switching from plastics to carbon is quite a noticeable improvement to my movement through the water. The foot pockets are made of real rubber, which feels great and subtle on the feet. I now (in summer) even tend to use them mostly without socks and fin holders.

I’m a size 45EU sneaker wearer (more reliably around 11UK) and went for the size 44/46 foot pockets. They fit comfortably and are easy to get on, especially without socks.

Engaging in some abrupt movements I feel they could fit a bit more secure, but I don’t know if a size smaller would still fit me comfortably and it would probably rule out the use of socks – which is nice to have as an option in spring and autumn. Anyhow: the insecurity with abrupt moves might be fixable with the use of fin holders.

The wetsuit fits like a glove (I contacted both the shop and Picasso to get a sense of what would be the right size for me). The Yamamoto neoprene really sticks to my skin like glue. I pull it from the outside, the skin moves with. It’s kind of strange, I definitely haven’t felt this kind of stickiness with other neoprenes I used.

I haven’t felt cold once while wearing it, and the Vinkeveense Plassen (my local training spot) has a below thermocline water temperature of 9 degrees Celsius (48 degrees Fahrenheit), even in summer. So the seals are proper. But I did make two holes at both sides of the hood to prevent hood squeeze (some older Picasso models had an inbuilt prevention: different material around the ears). This adjustment doesn’t noticeably impact insulation.

The mask: I’m not sure about it yet. It fits and doesn’t leak, but the grip on the nose for equalization seems a bit less easy than with the Mares X-Free or Aqualung Micro Mask. What I did notice is its ability to bend, also when diving! When you descent and don’t bother to equalize the mask, it will at a certain point bend around your face a bit. This gives you a clear sign you need to (and are actually a bit late to) equalize your mask.

It seems a mask with a lot of potential and a very low internal volume, but comfort and habituation are hard to step away from when it comes to freedive and spearfishing masks. I will have to test it out more, and I promise to do a review of multiple masks in the future.

If you have any questions about pricing, sizing or whatever else: don’t be shy and contact me! 🙂

Review of the Apneaman Apneautic Freediving Buoy

A while ago I did a review video on the Apneaman Freediving Buoy (Apneautic).

Below I have embedded the video for you to watch, but there is one subject in particular I still wanted to discuss here, since I did not discuss it in depth in the video: the rope. I will keep it short though, and let the video speak for itself.

There are different opinions on what properties the ideal freediving rope should have. Basically there are a couple of main separating criteria: (1) does it float or not; (2) is it 10mm or 12mm thick; and (3) does it stretch a little or the least amount possible.

(1) Whether the line floats or not mostly influences the handling after the dive. I think it is mainly a personal preference whether you find it more convenient to knot it back up and/or put it back into the buoy when it sinks down or comes to the surface after you have pulled up the bottom weight.

(2) The thickness of the line is also a matter of personal preference. I like the rope a bit thicker. It just feels nicer in the hand when grabbing it. That said: I’m a pretty big fellow.

(3) The elasticity (or possible percentage of elongation) of the rope is especially a factor in deep dives. Simply put: if the line is 100 meters long and has a possible 4% elongation that is a possible 4 meters extra you might unintentionally get. Of course the negative influence of this on your dive is very much dependant on the sort of bottom weight or anchoring you use and whether you have or have not taken this factor in consideration. Ideally, though, you have the least amount of elongation possible.