On an after work freedive spearfish session off La Jolla, CA Monday (what better way to shake off a case of the Mondays?) I was having some issues with seepage at the bottom of my mask. Shaving is really low on the priorities list these days so I figured on using some Vaseline to get a good seal against mi mustachio (beard doesn’t interfere). That did not work so well so today I went in search of a few tips and found this good guide to ensuring a good mechanical fit to face. Reposted for your consumption with the hopes it may help someone (and maybe good karma from the ‘dive mask vacuum seal gods’ for myself). Let’s hope for being able to adjust the mask and not need a new one to accommodate the face fur.
This little after work excursion yielded a couple surfperch in the bag, eyes-on a 4 foot moray eel, some lobster hanging upside down under a ledge, variety of bass, and a bunch of other schooling bait fish. I have a GoPro mount on one of my masks but did not bring it for this short trip. Home by 8pm… sushi dinner. (sorry, no pics since I hovered over the cutting board eating like a bear…old sushi post here if you must see 🙂 )
If you want to give it a shot sometime without buying your own gear try La Jolla Water Sports for some gear rental.
If you do want to purchase gear help me out by using this link and others in text above. Cheers! ~B
By John Brumm Posted January 17, 2013
A leaky mask has got to be the most annoying thing a diver has to deal with when trying to enjoy a dive (with a fogged-up mask coming in a close second). So any extra effort you can invest in the dive store fitting a new mask to your face is definitely time well spent.
However, the standard dry-fit procedure of centering the mask on your face, making sure all skirt edges are in contact with your skin, then inhaling gently —without the strap attached — to see whether you can get an airtight seal, won’t necessarily guarantee that you’re going to have a leak-proof dive. While some lucky divers are able to put their masks on and hit the water and never touch their mask for the entire dive, for most of us, getting our mask fully sealed takes a little finesse. We’ve got some tips to avoid those annoying leaks:
• After giant-striding into the water and popping to the surface, take a moment to remove your mask, give your head a good double-dunking, and hand-squeegee your hair back and away from your face. Then, position the mask on your face before stretching the strap over your head. If you’re wearing a hood, you can forgo the hair step as long as no renegade strands are sticking out. But run a finger around the edge of the hood opening to make sure the mask skirt is against your skin and not overlapping the neoprene.
• Double-check to make sure the mask is properly centered on your face. If it’s not, you probably will break the seal once you start diving. Also, double-check the position of the strap on the back of your head. If it it’s too high, it tends to lift the bottom of the skirt; if too low, it affects the top of the skirt. If it’s too tight, it can distort the shape of the skirt — that can break the seal too.
• Just before descending, push the mask lens inward, forcing some air out and creating a good air pressure seal. Now you’re ready for your descent. Once under water, if the seal is sound, water pressure should take over and you should be good to go. At some point, you’ll probably want to nose-blow a little air back in to avoid getting mask squeeze as you go deeper.
By following these steps, hopefully you’ll be able to pull off a dive without having to contend with water constantly seeping — or gushing — into the mask. If not, you might want to consider investing in a purge mask.
Ready to buy a new mask? Read our Best New Masks and Snorkels Gear Guide.
Think you know everything there is to know about masks, fins and snorkels? Read here for some surprising FAQs.