Thursday, September 22, 2005

The new mask

Recently I changed masks. The mask that I had was getting really old and the silicon had started to discolor from being in pool chlorine too long. Buying a new mask is one of the parts of buying new equipment I do not enjoy. Normally, I get excited about a new piece of equipment and usually cannot wait to try it out.

Masks and buying masks have been challenging. It would seem that I have a face that is not a standard shape. As many people know who have purchased masks at their local diving store (LDS), there is a fairly standard way of fitting masks for seal and comfort. I will not go into the various methods here, except to say that the stores do as much as possible under the circumstances to find well fitting masks for divers.

Fundamentally, I think that there must be better way to find well fitting masks. Perhaps the manufactures can try wider skirts around the outside of the mask. Perhaps the answer lays in the design of the masks. Perhaps manufacturers should rethink how masks are designed and sold.

For example, some clothing manufacturers have started experimenting with taking full body scans of people and then custom manufacturing garments based on the specific body of the client. Would it be complete over-kill if we could come up with something similar for making masks?

Alternatively, how about if the manufacturers came up with standard sizing templates that could be fitted to one’s face that will indicate which mask would be a better fit?

Having a comfortable, well fitting mask makes a huge difference to one’s dive. There are few things that annoy me as much as a leaking mask.

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