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Are expensive masks worth the extra money?

Discussion in 'Fins, Masks and Snorkels' started by mbelvadi, Dec 28, 2018.

  1. Dsix36

    Dsix36 Solo Diver

    simple answer is NO FRICKIN WAY
    scrane and Bob DBF like this.
  2. Sam Miller III

    Sam Miller III Scuba Legend Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: CALIFORNIA: Where recreational diving began!
    @Scuba Lawyer

    "The late Ron Merker of Aquatic Center fame used to make and sell yellow braided mask lanyards with a clip on the end. He said to me one day back in the 70's, "Mark, clip one of these to your mask and put it around your neck and you will never lose a mask again...." He was right. Been using a mask lanyard ever since and have never lost one even in rough surf entries. My 2psi. M "

    Time to once again correct history ..

    The mask Lanyard came in to the diving world by a serendipitous route

    I was diving/spearfishing one early summer morning with a friend at Scotsman's cove which is rather large cove and with minimum protection from the southern summer swells emitting from the south in Baja

    Surf had increased in size - I busted through the surf with out difficulty - my diving buddy lost his Swimaster mask which also contained glasses

    At that point in time it was decided that some thing needed to be produced to protect the mask from being lost.

    Several months later I was at a trade show with my wife and discovered a company called Berkeley who produced yellow Polypropylene line in 1/8 diameter. I obtained sample of the line and began experimenting how to produce a mask lanyard. I settled on large ball bearing fishing snap swivels which were secured by 1/4 electrical "stak ons"

    I made several lanyards - tested them and was ready to sell commercially. I was associated with Voit/Swimaster at that time so I arranged a meeting with their marketing - signed all the non disclosure document and demonstrated the Mask Lanyard- They were impressed and nodded approval of such a great simple solution to mask loss

    I took it as a Go !

    I purchased a case of snap swivels and a big box of stak ons and 30, 000 yes 30, 000 feet of 1/8 yellow poly propylene line and set up a cottage production line in my garage and began producing mask lanyards

    Then I got a letter -- explaining why Voit Swimaster was only interested in selling masks not inrtested in a lanyard that would save a mask from loss...Even today sounds reasonable.

    So I began making lanyards for the local market - my friends and students @ $1.00 per and the local dive shops at 60 cents per lanyard

    I still had 1000s of feet of Polypropylene and box of Stak ons which I sold much the inventory to Joe Lamonmica aka JBL who was producing equipment to for Voit/Swimaster in his Orange, California facility

    I continued producing and selling the lanyards on a limited bases until an attorney suggested that I could possibly be creating legal recourse if the lanyard was contributory to a fatality-- ie a diver becomes hung up on a strand of kelp and hangs them selves -- so I ceased production

    Ron and Omar continued producing lanyards but using 1/4 line and no snap swivels...

    After all these many dives and many years - I was unaware you used an AC lanyard and I must assume you were unaware of the yellow lanyard I was using.

    And that is The way it wuzz in the dazzz of our dives... So many and so many years ago

    Sam Miller, 111
    Compressor likes this.
  3. Scuba Lawyer

    Scuba Lawyer Barracuda

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Laguna Beach, California
    Sam, I have learned something new about you! I never thought Ron originated the idea, it was just the first place I ever saw mask lanyards. Mark

    @Sam Miller III. Now that I think about it I do remember you wearing a yellow mask lanyard during our dives back in the 70's in Baja, Jade Cove and on the wreck of the Valient in Catalina. It stood out from your bright red Kettenhoffen wetsuit! I had met Ron a few years before you and I started diving together. I should have put 2+2 together. :)

    Your OLD gray-haired dive buddy - Mark
  4. Aqua-Andy

    Aqua-Andy Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Southern NH.
    Posts like this always make me chuckle. Have you tried inexpensive masks for an extended period of time? I have been using a knockoff of your beloved Scubapro mask (Scubamax MK153) for over 12 years now with no issues. It is almost identical to the Scubapro, I would not be surprised if it came out of the same mold. When purchasing a big name brand you are also paying for magazine ads, manufacturers reps, and many other expenses of a large company. The two masks I mention most likely cost within pennies of each to manufacture.
  5. BurhanMuntasser

    BurhanMuntasser Dive Charter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Nomad
    We use less expensive masks in our training program in addition to my experience with other divers around who buy budget equipment and there is a pattern that supports my statement. We have to replace the masks in our training fleet every 2 - 3 years because they don't hold up as well as the better masks. Some of these masks fall apart within the first month of using them usually at the mask strap buckle.

    The Scubapro mask I use is made in Italy btw.
  6. While few would advocate 'wasting $' on just a fancy brand name, sometimes there really are extra features the fancy brand name has that the cheaper discount brands don't, for example, Atomic Aquatics sells the Atomic Aquatics Frameless 2 Mask and the extra soft silicone seal on this unit really impresses those who've I loaned mine out to for a test dive, it's an example of an extra feature the 'cheapie' units don't offer.
    BurhanMuntasser and Scuba Lawyer like this.
  7. Dave616

    Dave616 Barracuda

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: West Michigan
    Not necessarily...
    Top 3 most expensive I've owned:
    Atomic Sub-Frame ($120)
    Atomic Frameless ($140)
    Hollis M1($110)

    All three of those were great masks but all leaked on me just enough to make it annoying.

    On recommendation from Mako (Spearguns), I tried their Minimus Free Dive Mask. At $38, this mask fits me better than any mask I've tried to date. I plan to buy a couple extras just to have in the locker.

    I have no problem using a $38 mask compared to a $110+ mask.
  8. Andre_N

    Andre_N Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Seattle
    TUSA Freedom HD costs $80 and it is probably one the best masks in the market, if not the best in terms of quality and features.
    scrane likes this.
  9. Mr. Sunday

    Mr. Sunday Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Seattle-WA-USA
    I recently did a couple of liveaboards and brought an Atomic Venom Frameless ($170) and a Pro-Mate Swift Frameless ($30) as a backup. I found that I much preferred the cheaper mask and the Atomic was put to backup duty. I'll stick with my cheap one.
    Andre_N likes this.
  10. chillyinCanada

    chillyinCanada Solo Diver Staff Member

    I've purchased a few masks over the past 25 years but have only consistently dove two of them. The first is a Sherwood still in service but mask skirt is yellowish and frame is pink so . . .ya, doesn't see the ocean much anymore. The second mask has a blue frame, it's not a Sherwood per se, but is a Genesis nonetheless. $45 at time of purchase, if I recall correctly. In any event, my point is that treated correctly, a less expensive mask can last a good long while too. I keep my masks in mask container and don't unnecessarily tug at the strap or play with the fit setting, as learning divers would be doing.

    I have to admit the Mako Minimus is appealing but I recently picked up an Akona Caicos for a song at a silent auction. No idea of its quality or even if it's going to fit me properly. It looks very similar to my other two so I'm hopeful as the skirt on my blue mask is starting to darken too. Tip, don't store your black lycra socks in the mask case when traveling. Doh!
    Dave616 likes this.

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