The ScubaPro scout mask

The joys of a good mask: ScubaPro Scout

The ScubaPro scout mask
The ScubaPro scout mask

When I started diving with Tony, I was wearing a mask that looked like this:

This is the definition of a high volume mask
This is the definition of a high volume mask

It was not pretty, particularly when I needed to clear it. That took several minutes and several breaths. In this picture, it also seems to be misted up, but that’s probably a salivary issue more than anything else.

I didn’t know that there was anything different or better out there, but Tony did. He patiently had me dive with each mask in his large collection, and when I’d found one that fitted, he presented me with it as a Christmas present. The mask that fitted was the ScubaPro Scout, pictured above. I’m onto my second one (the first one lasted about two years and 200-odd dives) and when I get my hair in order and hoodie out of the way, I don’t even have to think about my mask during the dive. When I do have to clear it, it’s a cinch – the mask holds so little water that it takes but a second.

This isn’t so much a paean of praise to the Scout mask in particular – it’s for narrow faces, and won’t suit everyone. What I would like to say is what a big difference a well-fitting mask makes to your diving. As Tony points out here, don’t buy a mask based on its colour – seriously – this is not important. The key thing is the fit, and this can be determined by the test you probably did just before the first time you ever stuck your face underwater on your Open Water course. Hold the mask to your face, breathe in, and let go of the mask. It should stay on your face while you inhale.

Other factors to make sure the mask fits well include positioning the strap on your head so it’s more or less in a straight line above your ears. If it’s too high, you’ll get a sore nose as it’s pulled up by the mask, and if it’s too low the mask may fall off and will definitely leak.

Don’t rush into a mask purchase. Try and test a few (ask friends or your instructor) before you settle on one you like. It’ll make a world of difference to your comfort levels underwater.

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Lapsed mathematician, creator of order, formulator of hypotheses. Lover of the ocean, being outdoors, the bush, reading, photography, travelling (especially in Africa) and road trips.

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