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!
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! 🙂