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! 🙂

Goals set, Goals met (NYE-post)

December 31st, 2018.

No better day to look back and contemplate a year of freediving.

In October 2017 I started on a journey to learn freediving and took you by the hand as much as possible. It hasn’t all been smooth sailing, mainly because equalization of the middle ear didn’t come naturally for me. I had to grab every possible opportunity to learn about it and practice quite a bit. You can read about the whole process on this blog and hopefully it will help or has helped some of you out there.

When I first tried for my level 1 freediving certification I couldn’t equalize upside down at all. So I failed miserably. The bottom of the Dive4Life dive tower seemed very far away, reaching it so unattainable. However… in the back of my mind two primary goals formed: getting my level 1 certification one way or the other, and touching the bottom of the 20 meters deep pool in Germany.

After quite a bit of practice in between, in March of this year I went back to Dive4Life to do the re-examination for my SSI level 1 freediver certification. Luck was not on my side. I was having a proper nose cold that, together with the pressure to finally meet the requirements, had taken away all relaxation I so sorely needed. But all’s well that ends well. And so it did. Goal number one reached!

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to kill two birds with one stone. I’d have to return one day to truly conquer the pool by reaching the bottom.

In the meanwhile I have written about my summer practice in the Vinkeveense Plassen (one and two) and reaching new PB’s, but in my last post I left the readers at a Paris overlay ahead of a holiday in Spain, ending with a post scriptum hint that my luggage (full of freediving gear) did arrive at Malaga airport. Behold below the result of two good days of diving with my girlfriend’s brother who knew to find all nooks and crannies (watch in HD):

You can see the visibility was great and most beauty is to be found in shadowy places 🙂

I was really looking out for some encounters with octopuses. Which are a lot harder to spot than you might think. Especially if you don’t have that spear-fisherman’s eye… Unfortunately I got an ear infection soon after above images were shot and had to stop diving for a couple of days 😦 That was a huuuuge bummer.

The last couple of days I was able to enter the water again and I still kept on the lookout for octopuses. Sadly without having my camera with me, it was only on the last day of the holiday I had an encounter, but a long one that lasted maybe fifteen minutes. A small octopus in shallow water, constantly changing his colours, moving and settling, squirting ink when I came too close for his liking. What fascinating creatures.

After this holiday, going into autumn, regular diving had quickly stagnated. The outdoor waters of the Netherlands were still okay for a while, but the weather out of the water became too harsh to truly keep enjoying dives outside. Hoisting oneself in and out the wetsuit on the water’s edge became too cold a undertaking to keep it an enjoyable experience.

So what better to do than go back to Dive4Life and finally touch summit (read: bottom) there? Exactly: nothing… So when I was invited to come with some buddies I met at the Vinkeveense Plassen last summer, I took a day off work on the 7th of December and joined them for a day of diving in the pool in Siegburg, Germany.

What can I say… both goals were reached this year that day 🙂 I filmed it all (except for the shot of me freefalling) so best to join me in this predominantly POV-video and see for yourself:

And… you might ask, what about new goals? Any new years resolutions? Well… Next year I plan to get comfortable between 25-30 meters and possibly get my level 2 certification. I’ll keep you guys posted and I’ll keep the video’s coming. Oh yeah, and also, as a last but not least: I’m planning a couple of gear reviews for you guys!

Till next year! Best wishes, keep diving and keep safe!