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I can’t tell you how many spearfishing masks I’ve gone through. It’s one of the key pieces of gear you need, apart from a good set of fins that is. But it’s also one of the most difficult pieces of dive gear to get ” right.”
Perhaps I’m just fussy, or a little like Goldilocks. But I’d rather throw out a leaky mask than deal with mine constantly filling up with water, or pressing in on my head and giving me migraines.
But finding the right mask seems almost an impossible task. There are so many different brands to choose from, if you’re new to the sport or don’t know what to expect, it can be a little overwhelming.
I’ve been spearfishing for over 30 years, and today I want to share my advice to help you find the perfect spearfishing mask. It’s not rocket science, but a little help goes a long way, and I wish I had someone telling me these points before I blew hundreds of dollars on the wrong gear.
Three spearfishing mask recommendations
Omer’s Alien Spearfishing Mask
For anyone into diving, you’ll have heard of Omer, one of the premier brands in this industry. It’s been crafted with one specific goal in mind, that is, deep-water diving, and it’s an awesome mask. You will need to try it on though as the low-volume style can be tricky to find a good fit, and I find the soft black silicone skirt makes a perfect seal. It’s aerodynamic, and a great mask to use when spearfishing.
- Blackmoon 3D Camo frame
- Low internal volume
- Mask skirt has milled surface thast prevents refraction of sunlight
Cressi’s Nano Spearfishing Mask
The streamlined outer dimensions of this spearfishing mask reduce drag through the water, and it’s extremely low volume making clearing and equalization easy. The silicone skirt is thin and soft, along with stiffening ribs at key intervals to keep the seal leak-free. It’s a premium mask which is reflected in the price, but I found it very comfortable to wear while giving you a rather large field of vision.
- Cressi 2 window free diving mask
- Designed for advanced free-diving and spear-fishing
- Completely flexible, virtually indestructible buckle system
- Helps divers cut-through-the-water and aid-movements in small spaces
- Internal volume is Minimal, doesn't require intentional equalizing
Mares Viper Spearfishing Mask
Built specifically for freediving, this setup looks more like a pair of goggles than a traditional snorkeling mask to me. The frame is ergonomically designed and encased in the silicone of the mask, which also fights against condensation. The best part though is the lenses. They’re so close to your eyes the internal volume is very low but you still get a nice field of view.
Here’s how to find the perfect spearfishing mask.
Ensure the spearfishing mask fits perfectly
Trying a mask on is the best way to ensure the seal fits perfectly, as you press the spearfishing mask to your face and breathe in through your nose. It should “suction” on, and stay in place.
Once you’ve done this, try moving your face around and change your expression, and don’t forget to see if the setup works with the snorkel in your mouth.
On one of my old setups, the snorkel pushed up upper lip up and was constantly sending water into my mask through the broken seal. After my third dive, I donated that mask to a friend, I just wished I tested it properly before wasting almost $100 on it.
The seal should be made of black silicone, you want to choose the dark one instead of the clear skirts because these let light in (through the sides) and can be a distraction because you’ve now got shadows and movement all across your field of vision.
Check the strap, and ensure there are fittings allowing you to adjust the tension quickly and easily. It’s worth paying a few dollars more to find one that’s comfortable to use and sits well on your face.
Finally, make sure that nothing solid on the mask presses against your face. One of the biggest problems with a spearfishing mask’s fit is when the bridge of your nose presses against the frame of the mask. In the store, you may think to just ignore it, but once you start diving, and you add hours of wear along with the pressure changes it’s going to be too uncomfortable to bear.
Pick a spearfishing mask with two lenses
You want the lenses to be as close to your eyes as possible, because it increases your field of vision, and reduces the amount of air trapped within the mask.
Those big whole-face masks look good on the surface, but they’re difficult to equalize with and start to get unnecessarily heavy when you’re diving down, again and again chasing those fish. Oh and definitely steer clear of anything designed for scuba. In my experience, this typically means the mask is far too big, which just increases your drag and will make every dive harder.
Don’t get anything too fancy
Trust me I’ve tried them and they don’t work. Ultra-low profile masks sound good on paper, but they are really difficult to find a good fit with your face. I compromised on this once thinking it’ll be okay, but it really wasn’t. No one enjoys a dive when you’re constantly bailing water from your mask.
The other thing to steer clear of is the reflective lenses you see everywhere. The claim being that without seeing your eyes the fish will let you get closer, which could very well be true, but there’s a tint in all of these glasses (making things appear darker). In everything but the best visibility, I don’t want anything compromising my ability to see my target, which is exactly what these lenses do.
Oh and for the love of god don’t get a full-face mask. They’re useless for spearfishing.
Prepare your new spearfishing mask for use
When a spearfishing mask gets made, a thin film of silicone will accumulate on the lenses of the mask. To get it ready for the masks first use, you’ve got to remove this residue (known as “pre-treating” or “prepping” the mask) before you use it.
The simplest way is to use toothpaste, the common white one you find everywhere. Do not do this if you’ve got plastic lenses in your mask, as the abrasive in toothpaste will scratch it up. You do not usually need to prepare a plastic lenses spearfishing mask for use.
Otherwise, take a good squeeze about the size of your thumb, and rub it into both sides of your glass lenses. Rinse it off with water, then dry the lenses and repeat the process. You’ll need to do this 5 to 7 times to complete the process.
Online you may also find people using a cigarette lighter to burn off this residue coating. It’ll work, but you also run the risk that you ruin your brand new mask in the process, as there are too many other things that can go wrong. It’s far safer to spend 10 minutes using the toothpaste method.
My final piece of advice for buying a spearfishing mask is to always remember the fit. Forget what people say about the gun, or how many spear’s recommend it. If the mask doesn’t fit well on your face, it’s not worth buying. That’s the most important thing.