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Whether you want to play around in the water or dive amidst coral reefs, your mask will increase your ability to see better in the water. There are numerous options to consider, to increase your enjoyment of the sport based on your needs and ability.
Purge Valves allow you to get rid of, or purge, water that leaks into and accumulates in your mask
The valves are generally located in the bottom of the mask's nose pocket
It works by gently exhaling to clear the mask of water
Purge valves will help you keep your mask cleaner
This option allows venting any water that leaks in so it's also a good choice if you have trouble getting a tight seal
All masks have nose pockets to enable you to pinch your nostrils before diving and prepare your ears by equalizing the pressure
Divers prefer to be able to do this with one hand but some models may require a two-handed method
Field of vision
Nearly all masks provide a good field of view
Some options are available that offer benefits, albeit at the expense of other factors
Give you a much better horizontal field out of the water but this is partially offset underneath the surface by water's refractive effect
Side windows also add volume to the maks
Many divers find it difficult to focus through these windows
The mask color also plays a role in your decision
A clear or light-colored mask allows more light in and gives you more peripheral vision
If you're new to diving, a light color helps reduce anxiety and overcome any feelings of claustrophobia
Lighter color masks though may discolor, become cloudy or yellow
Black works best if you want to take underwater pictures, because it reduces light and blocks out side movements
Improvements have minimized fumbling with straps and buckles, especially underwater
Generally, buckles that pivot at the mask frame make it easier to place your strap
Straps with 2 parallel straps at the back of your head increase comfort over single straps
Your strap adjustment also may be easier if you select one with numbers marked on the strap. This allows you to easily remember your preferred setting so you can quickly readjust the strap after someone else has used your mask.
This is absolutely the most essential element in selecting a mask. A watertight and comfortable fit is a must. First, refer to manufacturer's specifications on mask size and match the specs to your face size. Once you get your masks, try these tests:
Dry fit test
With your regulator in your mouth, look up while putting the mask on, but without securing the strap
The mask should touch all parts of your face evenly, especially your temples and the smile lines between your nose and corners of your mouth
Now do the same thing while trying to inhale gently. You'll notice how tightly it seals.
Put your gloves on and the regulator in your mouth and pinch your nostrils
Check to make sure you can reach around the second stage and reach your nostrils