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First post. Need advice. Be as honest and open as possible.
I'm looking to buy my first mask, fins and snorkel. I live in the Maldives (yes, diving here is incredible), and only a few brands are available. Mares, Oceanic, Beuchat, SeaScub, Scuba Pro and a couple of others. I'm confused between the first three to be honest.
Ideally I would want all 3 equipment from one brand and then build on that. But from research and reading posts it turns out that people recommend Mares fins and Oceanic masks and snorkels from the two. I don't know what to do!
- I want a mask that has a wide field of vision, good for warm water ocean diving, comfy straps that don't dig into your temples and fit comfortable on your face. (I've only seen Mares X-Vision Med so far, but Ocean Pioneer looks sexy!)
- Fins I want full footed. I'm not ready to make an investment into boots right now. Ideal fins would have good, big channels down the front and sides. (Mares Avanti TRE or Superchannel? Or Oceanic Legends?)
- Snorkel should be basic of course. Twistable and whatnot with a purge valve. Best quality but decent price.
So, what do you say? All three from one brand or mix and match? Help me out! Mares all the way?!
whatever works for you is my best answer. i.e. if the mask you want is one brand but the fins you want are a differnt brand then just get them, it really does not matter unless you are concerned with fashion uniformity.
With a mask you can spend a little or alot, the most important thing is the fit, make sue you get one that fits properly then look for different types and see which field of vision you prefer i.e. some have quite closed in frames that are easy to clear of water but offer less peripheral vision as others. My mask cost about 50 bucks about 5 years ago, has been artound the world and done considerable diving and still looks fine, if it broke I would buy the same again but I do not even know what brand it is.
The difference with full foot fins v booties comes down to different things, a main consideration is temperature - booties keep your feet warm but can not be worn in full foot fins. You can actually get quite a bit of difference in the amount of force you put in to a kick and the amount of proulsion you get from it from brand to brand so I would recommend you search fins on scubaboard and look at the different recommendations and the reasons the are based on.
with a snorkel I like the ones with a rubber section in the middle to make them flexible, again no reason to spend a bomb just get something that is functional and robust.
In summary there is no advantage in having uniformity in brands accross your kit, I don't think that any 2 pieces of my equipment are made by the same manufacturer, just get what fits, what you like and what is going to do the job you want it to do
I'll just comment on the fins. I have a pair of the Mares Superchannel Fullfoot fins and love them. I usually take them on all my dive trips unless I'm going to Bonaire for shore diving. They are an excellent fin at a more than reasonable price.
OK, I'll comment on the snorkel. I'd buy the cheapest one I could find that works OK. Once you start scuba diving, you'll likely not even use it anymore.
Fit is the first and primary consideration when choosing a mask and a pair of fins, not the brand or model, particularly if it's first-time gear. In the case of fins, foot pockets are three-dimensional, so there's no guarantee that a pocket that fits the wearer's foot length-wise will also match their foot dimensions in terms of width and arch height. Ideally, fins should be tried on for size before purchase. As for full-foot fins, I use them, with boots, when snorkelling in the cold waters of the North Sea, because they're comfortable and do what is necessary when it comes to power, maneouvrability and endurance. It's simplistic to say that open-heel fins are the only option in colder climes. To accommodate socks or boots with full-foot fins, buy a pair that is one or two sizes larger than a pair sized to be worn barefoot. All you have to do is put on socks or boots first before trying fins on top for size. This is what we Europeans did in the 1960s when full-foot fins were considered superior to open-heel fins, and the strategy still works.
If you want them to match, most manufactures make their products in the same basic colors. My hubby has Blue gear, and I have yellow. Why yellow? Well, the only mask (of about 30) that fit me was only available in blue or yellow, and he already fell in love with the blue fins. It helps to know who's stuff is who's.
You will be much happier if you go with what fits and is comfortable, than what it looks like, or the brand name.
If I dove every day for the rest of my life, I'd die a happy fish.