The gear that you choose in freediving directly impacts your performance. If you have a high volume mask or a wetsuit that doesn’t fit properly, it could potentially reduce your breath hold times or the depth that you’re able to reach. Choosing a Freediving Mask be sure it is one piece of equipment that is very important is a low volume freediving mask.
Erin’s favorite freediving mask is the Aqualung Aqua Sphere. It is extremely low volume, which is the number one feature that you want to look for in a freediving mask.
The reason that a low volume mask is so important is because when you’re freediving, you need to equalize your mask because the air inside the mask is compressing. The way that you equalize your mask is by blowing the air out of your nose. When you scuba dive, this is not a big deal because you have access to the air in the tank. During freediving, you have to take air out of your one air space, your lungs. So, if the air is in your mask, you can’t use that air to metabolize, run your muscles and essentially fuel your dive. Instead, it will be sitting in your mask where your body cannot access and utilize it. If you have a low volume mask, it allows the most amount of air possible in your lungs and also allows more air for equalization and will ultimately allow you to reach deeper depths.
So, low volume is the number one feature you’re looking for in a freediving mask. The second would be plastic lens, like on the Aqua Sphere Sphera model. Plastic does have its drawbacks like scratching easily and they can also pop out of the mask easily, but the major advantage of plastic is that it will compress some.
Imagine you are going down to depth and you can’t quite get enough air to blow into your mask to equalize it, the plastic lens will flex inward so that it doesn’t hurt your face and cause a ‘mask squeeze’. Even though the Aqua Sphere is about 75 ml of air volume, it will go lower than that if need be.
Lastly, another feature of a freediving mask that you need to think about is the skirt color. If you have a black skirt on your mask, it allows you to focus on what you are looking at. A clear skirt on your mask allows light to shine through and create a reflection on the inside of your lens.
When you purchase a mask for freediving, leave the silicone strap on the mask instead of swapping it for a neoprene mask like many often do. The reason you want to leave the silicone strap on is because with freediving you often use a hood on your wetsuit. A neoprene strap next to a neoprene hood will slide very easily. When you are kicking down to depth fairly rapidly, the neoprene strap can slide off and take your mask right with it. There is also an advantage of using the silicone strap with the snorkel, which you can watch in the mask and snorkel set up video.
So, Erin’s favorite is the Aqualung Aqua Lung Sphera but there are many others that are good as well like the Micra and the Omer. The main objective is to find a comfortable mask that fits your face and that is low volume so you can get the most out of your freediving experience.