How have you been enjoying the summer so far?
One of my favorite simple pleasures from this time of year is seasonal berries (particularly strawberries and raspberries!) There are some fruits where the true fullness and vibrancy of their flavors can only be experienced locally. A berry that’s been shipped long-distance never tastes the way it should, I find. That means it’s only a few weeks of the whole year where I can eat them fresh! Fleeting, for sure, but that’s also what makes fresh berries so special!
For a variety of reasons, I’m keeping my traveling (as well as my fruit) local this summer. Hopefully, I can fit in some shallow freediving practice. Though the opportunities may be fleeting, they will likewise be all the more treasured. I may not live near an ocean, but I am surrounded by lakes!
In any case, I’ve kept my excitement up by reading about the latest trends in freediving gear and apparel. Browsing forums and comment sections, I realized that casual snorkelers and SCUBA divers are often confused about freediving designs that have seeped into the broader market.
This confusion is especially the case for masks, which manufacturers near-universally advertise as “low-volume” these days.
Perhaps you’ve found yourself what this actually means or why it’s relevant?
The feature articles for this month cover two major dive mask trends that have their origin in the world of freediving and spearfishing: The low-volume mask and (relatedly) the frameless mask. If you’re at all confused by these terms or are wondering whether these masks are a good choice for you, my articles will help you set the record straight!
Perhaps I will inspire you to try a new mask you hadn’t considered before!
Enjoy the tides!
They aren’t just for freedivers and spearfishers!
In the old days of SCUBA, when most divers were frogmen, SCUBA equipment looked very different than it does today. The dive mask has traditionally been a piece of the gear that brings to mind a modern VR headset. Solid, large viewing windows, a bit like a fishbowl strapped to your face.
While more traditional dive masks are still in production (they do have their merits), a different trend has rapidly overtaken the market in recent years: the low-volume mask. This term is hard to avoid at dive shops these days and frequently touted as a selling point. Yet many SCUBA divers find themselves confused by the term.
Exactly what is a low-volume dive mask? And more importantly, are they popular for a good reason?
The frameless mask features a glass faceplate that is molded directly into the mask’s skirt (the soft silicone that seals the mask on your face). So what’s the big deal? Why is this design so popular?
Dry snorkels seem to be popular among novice and veteran adventurers alike! But what’s the difference between a wet vs. dry snorkel? What exactly makes a dry snorkel “dry”?
There are few things more frustrating for a diver or snorkeler. There you are trying to appreciate the jaw-dropping underwater vistas around you when you feel a light trickle over the sensitive skin just below your bottom eyelid… So annoying! How can you stop this unpleasantness once and for all?
Sadly, no dive mask can be guaranteed 100% leak-proof, but they can be pretty darn close! With some troubleshooting, you too can enjoy (relatively) leak-free underwater adventures!
Cool stuff I’ve been reading…
…and watching! A bit of science and bit of art!
Cephalopod Week – Check out these beautiful and elusive species from Okinawa, Japan!
Fathers and Fishing – How modern sport fishing threatens a timeless tradition.
Short Documentary – Did you know gray wolves enjoy seafood too? Land and sea are connected
Ocean Photography – How freediving took this photographer on a healing journey.
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