Choosing the best spearfishing mask not easy because a diving mask is not just a diving mask.
There are different kinds of masks that are suited for different purposes. Diving masks for scuba diving are often less suitable for spearfishing.
The best spearfishing mask
When you need to buy a mask for underwater hunting, there are a number of factors you need to pay attention to.
Do not buy your mask in a dive shop!
A mask purchased in a dive shop is most likely not suitable for spearfishing without tanks. These are most important factors you need to keep an eye on while looking for a diving mask for spearfishing:
- Low internal volume.
- Flexible material.
- Good fit.
- Clear plastic glass.
- Avoid a clear “skirt” at the sides of the mask.
- Good field of vision.
- Avoid a mask that distorts your vision.
Low internal volume spearfishing mask
During freediving and underwater hunting, the mask is one of those airspaces that need to be pressure equalized. Pressure equalizing requires air. Since you don’t have unlimited amounts of air as a freediver/spearfisher, you will want a mask with the smallest possible air volume.
Can you avoid an airspace altogether?
Another option for getting this airspace even smaller—in fact, to make it disappear altogether —is to use fluid googles.
Most masks designed for scuba diving/bottle diving will typically have a very large internal volume. Avoid this!
It is uncomfortable getting your mask “smashed against your face.” Therefore, you should buy a mask in a flexible material so that it is energy absorbing under during the pressure changes that take place on a deep dive.
Some masks are so flexible and soft that they practically collapse on the face of the freediver in deep water. This saves you from using a lot of air to equalize them.
A possible drawback to flexible masks
Certain flexible masks—such as, Sommap Flow—tend to distort your vision quite a bit, making it quite unsuitable for spearfishing.
Good fit is important when choosing a spearfishing mask
This is not a very fancy feature, but it’s important!
Most of the time, your mask doesn’t have to do anything but be a window to the underwater world and be comfortable to wear.
All faces are different, and some people have particularly large faces, narrow faces, large noses, protruding foreheads, or something else that makes them not fit into the average facial profile.
How do I find a mask that fits me?
Try on some different masks, so you find one that fits you.
- Borrow your buddy’s mask.
- Borrow your fellow club member’s mask.
- Go down to the dive shop and try on one after the other.
The most important thing is for the mask to be comfortable and fit snugly.
Choose a spear mask with clear glass
Unless you are diving in the Red Sea or somewhere similar where you can see many feet ahead, it is important for you to have good visibility through your mask. Therefore, make sure you get a mask with clear glass.
Additionally, it is good for your buddy to be able to see your eyes clearly when you dive together.
Avoid a clear skirt at the sides of your diving mask
This is not the most important point. BUT as a spearfisher, you spend quite a bit of time at the surface, and you will often be out hunting in sunshine.
If you have a mask with a clear skirt at the sides, the rays of the sun will penetrate the skirt, hit the inside of the glass of your mask, and be reflected back into your eyes.
Within a short period of time, your eyes will be very irritated, which could ruin your experience in a worst case scenario.
A little reminder!
By the way, always remember to have the skirt inside the hood and strands of hair outside the skirt. This will make it more comfortable to wear the mask and also prevent water from coming into it.
Good field of vision
Although spearfishers are generally better at getting their bearings than scuba divers, the field of vision on the mask you select is still essential.
How to determine the field of vision for your mask
The field of vision in determined this way:
- Stretch your arms out straight in front of you.
- Slowly spread your arms out, each to their side.
- When you can no longer see your arms at the side, you have the field of vision of the mask.
By using the above method, you will be able to quickly compare whether a mask has a wide or narrow field of vision and select the one that suits you best.
The Aqualung “Sphera” mask or Aqua Sphere (which it is also called), has been the preferred choice of many freedivers I know.
But other (inexpensive) low-volume masks, such as Cressi Super Ochio, are popular as well.
Avoid a mask that distorts
If you need one mask—and want to be able to use it for freediving and underwater photography also — then select a mask that distorts your vision as little as possible.
All diving masks magnify a little under water. As a spearfisher, you soon learn to compensate for that, but it is important that the glass is not curved, as on the Aqualung Sphera diving mask.
If you need to use your mask for spearfisher or underwater photography (and you only want to purchase one diving mask), then I the Aqualung Micromask is a good choice.