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What is your favorite mask?

Discussion in 'Snorkeling & Freediving' started by engblom, Jul 25, 2018.

  1. engblom

    engblom Registered

    I have no problem achieving 10-15m with any mask. I am more interested in seeing if it would add any extra time to explore the sea floor at those depths.
  2. drbill

    drbill The Lorax for the Kelp Forest Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Santa Catalina Island, CA
    Everyone's face is different so the mask that I prefer (the original Cressi Big Eyes) may not work for you.

    As an underwater videographer, I prefer a low volume mask (although not as critical since my current housings have LCD screens).
  3. Carlos Danger

    Carlos Danger ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    Like a lot of these types of things, mask choices are obviously going to be pretty subjective. Anyway; somehow I seem to end up with a few new examples every year; probably in the hopes of finding greener pastures. However, in the case of "traditional style" masks used for scuba, to date I have yet to find anything better than the Atomic Aquatics VENOM Frameless.

    Pros: Quality, fit (dry and comfortable); with a very clear wide field-of-view, low internal volume, easy to clear, and durable.

    Cons: Expensive.​

    Note: As mentioned in the review article, there is some confusion regarding the naming convention as it may relate to other Atomic mask products. This is not the Venom Mask and not the Frameless mask; it is the “Venom Frameless Mask.”. So, for anyone interested in this product; you need to be very specific, and also make sure you validate the product you receive is actually the one you wanted.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2018
  4. Snoweman

    Snoweman Contributor

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Atlanta, GA
    SeaDive EagleEye HD. I've had two of them. If it fogs, I add a little sea water to the mask and swish it around the glass while diving. It doesn't fog much, but sometimes I just don't get the antifog right.
    Beachlife likes this.
  5. AdivingBel

    AdivingBel Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Missouri
    I like my Cressi Focus. They've been around a long time, inexpensive, and relatively inexpensive negative diopter corrective lenses available in half diopter increments. Best value I have found for a simple prescription mask.
  6. Mr. Sunday

    Mr. Sunday Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Seattle-WA-USA
    Looks great albeit expensive. I like the shape & may have to try one.
  7. Sam Miller III

    Sam Miller III Scuba Legend Scuba Legend

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



    A rather old article from my dedicated column "The way it was" from the now defunct national magazine Discover Diving about making a dive mask in the genesis of diving, now about 70 years ago. It has been published several times on this board but do to its historical nature warants reposting and request for favorite mask I am reposting -- It was and is my all time favorite mask

    'The Mask,

    One of the great pioneer divers of all times was the late Charlie Sturgil. "The Old Walrus," as he was affectionately known, started his diving career in 1929 in the frigid waters off Northern California where he hunted for abalone by a method he described as "feeling for abalone." He would dive on a reef, feel until he found an abalone and pry it off, without the use of mask, fins, snorkel or thermal protection.

    Charlie began diving with a mask using a Japanese mask in the late 1930s which was loaned to him by his good friend Bill O'Conner. A few years later after the end of WW 11, Charlie, a master tool and die maker and an inventor of sorts, developed the necessary tooling to produce masks on a semi-custom basis for himself and a few close friends. I consider myself very fortunate to have been included in the latter category.

    In early years during the genesis of recreational diving the masks were either too large, too small, too stiff or after a few dives, would rapidly deteriorate into a gummy, sticky mess. This did not make for comfortable diving! After using a number of the masks of that era,the Japanese imports, and the American made Sea Net, I decided it was time to contact Charlie to ask him if he could make one of his custom masks for me.

    After checking my meager finances, found I could possibly afford one of Charlie's masks, so I gave him a call. "Sure, Sammy, I'd be happy to make a mask for you, come on over", Charlie replied to my request. Within moments I was off to the temple of Southern California diving, Charlie Sturgil's garage.

    I was met by this jovial hunk of a man with his infectious, ever-present smile. "Hey ya, Sammy" was always his cordial greeting. Alter a few moments of catching up on the diving scene it, was time to get to work. "Sammy, I'm now making two masks; the original for $6.00 and a new oval model for $8.00", Charlie explained. After considerable soul searching and penny counting, I opted for what I felt I could afford, the original round mask for $6.00.

    Now, Charlie's garage was something to behold. It appeared to be in total disarray, and the best way to describe it would be the day after a big sale in a bargain basement. Diving equipment in various stages of repairs, pieces of metal, lengths of stainless rods scattered about... Omnipresent was the huge metal turret lathe and miscellaneous metal working machines. But to Charlie, it was his arena, it was where he excelled in turning these seemingly scrap pieces of metal into custom spear points, spear shafts, yes, even masks.

    Charlie knew the location, size, shape and type of everything in his garage. His storage system was logical and certainly workable, but it still defies the imagination how he managed to find anything, let alone make anything, but he did.
    Charlie went to work with the speed and skill of a emergency room surgeon. He immediately uncovered a length of 5 inch O.D. soft rubber World War 11, surplus firehose, from which he cut a 4 inch piece. He placed the piece of rubber hose in the wooden mold and proceeded to his trusty bench grinder where he slowly cut a 1/8 inch wide, 3/32 deep groove all around the edge for the glass. This was followed by the rough contouring for the forehead, cheeks, and upper lip. He then went to his metal rack and withdrew a piece of 3/4 x 16 inch 22 gauge stainless steel, which he placed in his specially constructed mold and carefully, yet skillfully, forced the stainless steel around the mold forming it into a familiar round mask shape. His next step was to form the band evenly and smoothly around the mold creating the lip for the compression hand with light rapid laps of a hammer. Using silver solder, the welding process of the era, he soldered the tabs for the strap and the compression screw tabs to complete the band. A piece of pre-cut 1/3 inch glass, the same kind used for window glass, was taken from the shelf and fit into the groove; the compression band placed around the mask and the compression screw tightened.

    At last, the mask was assembled. My own custom Sturgil mask! Charlie proceeded to take some cursory measurements of my then youthful face, and returned to the grinding wheel, skillfully grinding a little here, a little there, another trial fit, a little more grinding. Finally, a perfect fit. A final hand finish with fine sandpaper, attaching of the strap, cut from a truck inner tube, and I was the proud possessor of a real genuine Charlie Sturgil Original Style Diving Mask.

    This occurred many years ago when diving as well as life was much simpler, a time when pride in workmanship and ownership were at a premium. Charlie made almost 40 of these one of a kind custom dive masks, however only three are known to have survived the rigors of our disposable society, mine, Alex Pierce's of Toronto, Canada and Charlie's widow's Laura's mask which now on loan and rests in a Southern California museum. And indeed they are museum pieces... the three remaining masks are all 70 or more years old and represent an era which was experienced by only a precious few which will never be experienced again upon this earth.

    Charlie has reverend position in the fraternity of diving pioneers; he won the world's second Spearfishing contest in 1950 with a pole spear of his own design , was a LA County Underwater Instructor and serendipity developed much of the spearfishing and SCUBA equipment which has become mainstream in todays diving.

    I will never forget Charlie, nor will anyone who ever knew him.... nor will there ever be another mask like a Sturgil Mask.
    Dr Samuel Miller,111
    (Copyright Dr. Samuel Miller,111 & Dr. Samuel Miller,IV and Lee/CCnews/TPR; may not be used with out permission of author and Lee/CCnews)

    post script;

    Charlie passed on November 15 1984, 29 years ago- long before many of you were born or were engaged in this noble activity. His devoted wife Laura passed on a few years ago at the age of 90. If Charlie knew you and liked you he always addressed you in the familiar; Ie Sammy, Bobbie, Jimmie,--Those he didn't have great admiration or didn't know well it was formal Sam, Bob or Jim.

    A little about Charlie Sturgil...
    Charlie along with team mates the late Bud Abernathy and Freddie Kittles of the SoCal Skin Divers team won the 1951 International Spearfishing meet. Bud and Freddie used a Sturgil modified Champion Arbalete spear guns with Sturgil points. Charlie used his trusty legendary pole spear. Charlie Sturgil was the only person in the history of spearfishing competition to win an international meet with a pole spear.

    The Fathomiers spearfishing club has been presenting the "Charlie Sturgil Pole Spear Spearfishing meet" for about 35 years...It came full circle when Charlie's grand daughter, Laura Lee Gonta won the meet several years ago using one of grandfather Charlie's legendary pole spears.

    Charlie passed on almost 35 years ago on November 15 1984, long before many of you were born or were engaged in this noble activity. His devoted wife Laura passed on a few years ago at the age of 90. If Charlie knew you and liked you he always addressed you in the familar; Ie Sammy, Bobbie, Jimmie,--Those he didn't have great admiration or didn't know well it was formal Sam, Bob or Jim. I was refreed to as Sammy

    The name Sturgil and Charlie's reputation is alive and well with the establishment of Sturgil Underwater products located in the south bay area and still manufacturing the no nonsense very functionable and extremely rugged equipment that Charlie was known for over 50 years

    His daughter Laura Lee was married to Billy Meistral, one of the twin brothers who founded "Dive n Surf" and the very successful "Body glove." Billy also passed on several years ago. Brother Bobbie passed away about 5 years ago
    So now you know...

    I still have my "Custom Sturgil Mask" tucked away in a 50 Caliber US Ammo box, along with my home made snorkel constructed from a WW11 gas mask hose and a short piece of plastic aquarium tubing.

    In the genesis of recreational diving we improvised, invented or if an item costs over a dollar we made one in our garage workshop

    A story of my first custom dive mask--A Sturgil --- many years ago when life was simpler- and divers were few in

    Sam Miller, 111

  8. KeithG

    KeithG Guest

    Generic Sherwood Genesis plain Jane mask. Had it almost 30 years and it still fits my melon.

    It is all about fit, ignore the marketing BS.
    IncreaseMyT likes this.
  9. IncreaseMyT

    IncreaseMyT Banned

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Naples, FL
    For me it doesn’t matter they are all good as long as they fit that’s the one you should get. Some have double skirts, some glass over the bridge of nose, some not. I personally like glass over the bridge of the nose and I like glass on the outside. If it seals and doesn’t leak I can’t tell the difference.

    Key parts to size correctly are the outer edges of eye sockets, on the upper lip and forehead
  10. Jayfarmlaw

    Jayfarmlaw Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Tuttle, Ok
    This one. It never fails, someone always says they had the same mask....in 1974... but 99% of the masks out there don't fit me and leak like the titanic. This one is almost perfect. Low volume...not so much! Good luck! Jay

    Aqua Lung Wraparound Mask, Black
    Beachlife likes this.

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