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180 degree Full Face Snorkeling Masks?

Discussion in 'Snorkeling / Freediving' started by gohan32, Jul 12, 2018.

  1. gohan32

    gohan32 Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: South Waverly, PA
    I have been very frustrated trying to find a mask that fits my kids properly.

    In my first Google search I found some neat looking snorkel masks, but then I saw a few results deeper there was an article that sounds rather doom and gloom, but with no solid evidence to back it.
    Increasingly popular full-face snorkel masks raise safety concerns

    If it is not going to harm them, my kids would just friggin' love the following Amazon link I show for example: http://a.co/g4Sqzv9

    What do you all know about this type of full face mask for snorkeling?
  2. Blasto

    Blasto Solo Diver

    Other than the ease of use - countered by some added risk - there is no long-term benefit over a low-volume mask and a good snorkel. Yes, this is scuba board, where snorkels are looked down upon, but one can be good for what it is.

    A normal mask gives better visibility than these, as it restricts light bleed from the sides, and the visor is made out of glass, not plastic. So 180-degree view is a gimmick. For the same reason, divers prefer black masks over transparent ones. But it does take some time to learn to use a separate snorkel. People aren't drowning left and right in these chinese contraptions, so I suppose they're okay.

    OTOH, learning proper equipment (glass low-volume, freediving snorkel) opens a lot more doors - you can just do more with it. Children learn quick and keep the skills, so going with a full snorkel setup may be worthwhile. It's certainly not an advanced skillset to learn.

    P.S. I dive in a full-face and it's great. These are a very different item, though. It definitely helps to learn the basics before using them, too.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
  3. kelemvor

    kelemvor Big Fleshy Monster ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Largo, FL USA
    There does seem to be a handful of folks that are dead set against them. The author of that article you cited in particular. However, they are wildly popular and as Blasto mentioned, there aren't tons of injuries above what you'd get with regular snorkeling as far as anyone knows. Many snorkel operations (I have no idea if it's "most" or not) have these things on hand for customer use. I've suspected ever since I first saw that article that the author has ulterior motives in writing it.

    Personally, I wouldn't hesitate to use them or let my kids use them.. if they didn't already have scuba gear including old school masks and snorkels.

    You do lose the ability to "dive down" more than a few feet with the full face snorkel masks. This is because none that I have seen provide a method for you to pinch your nose in order to equalize. I doubt it would be a problem diving down to say 8'.. I do that all the time in my pool when swimming with no mask/snorkel at all and I don't clear. I wouldn't go much further, though.
  4. David Wilson

    David Wilson Loggerhead Turtle

    The Tribord Easybreath was I believe the first new-generation full-face snorkelling mask of its kind and my understanding is that extensive research and experimentation went into its development and ultimate marketing. This Q & A from their decathlon.com website sums up the company's advice about the mask's safe use:

    Why can't you dive deep with the Easybreath mask?
    The volume of air contained in the Easybreath is much greater than that contained in a traditional mask; from 1 m deep, the pressure of the mask on the face becomes very uncomfortable. When you free dive, you need to equalize the pressure afterwards. However, with the Easybreath this is not possible because you cannot get at your nose.
    45 - Diving - Easybreath snorkelling mask OG

    Which seems to concur with what kelemvor has found out through trialling it or a similar product. And the Easybreath mask's own manufacturer's recommendation is a usage depth no greater than 3 feet. My own take on this mask as a lifelong snorkeller is that the older-generation snorkel masks were frequently condemned by people who neither used them nor understood the limitations the more responsible manufacturers set on their use in the water. And whenever people wearing such a snorkel mask had an accident with it, the usual reason turned out to be that the user didn't follow the manufacturer's instructions, diving instead too deeply below the surface of the water, unable to equalise. A mask with an integrated snorkel is a great aid to a surface snorkeller who just wants to lie prone on the water and observe what is happening underneath but tends to experience a gag reflex when compelled to use a snorkel mouthpiece. Every new piece of equipment should be accompanied by a list of restrictions as well as benefits for everybody's health, safety and security. That's done with medication, so why not with equipment too whose misuse can lead to injury or even death?
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2018
  5. scrane

    scrane Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Boise, ID.
    I think you'd be better off with a standard mask/snorkel and let your kids learn a skill that will last a lifetime.
  6. PalauDiver

    PalauDiver Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Miami, Florida, United States
    I definitely agree... Let the kids learn the skills of clearing a snorkel and mask and equalizing while they are young. They when they are old and bitter they can look down those full face mask users too :wink:

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