Do not buy ABC diving equipment sets!!! This is already the first principle that you should really remember – be the offered set of mask, snorkel and fins priced even more tempting.
On the one hand, such sets of mask, snorkel and fins usually consist of storekeepers or cheap products and on the other hand just a matching diving mask and well-fitting fins with solid propulsion for divers are particularly important.
After all, who likes to have water in their diving mask, aching feet or cramps during their dive in calves or thighs? This may ruin your entire dive or even put you at risk in the event of a cramp.
If you stop diving, you can easily sell high-quality products again (for example on the blackboard in the dive shop or on eBay).
The key point of a diving mask – in contrast to swimming goggles – is the nose gutter. Say the nose is so included in the diving mask.
Important is that during the dive no water runs into the nose, we can perform a pressure equalization in the mask (otherwise it could lead to a Barotrauma / pressure injury of the eyes) and thus one can blow out possibly penetrating water again from the mask.
In general, one distinguishes between two types of diving masks. Masks with a continuous glass (inlet masks) and diving masks with two individual glasses (double glass masks).
With the latter, it is also possible for eyeglass wearers to provide the diving mask with optical lenses – in the meantime, there are even optical stickers that can be stuck in the lenses.
Far from the optical glasses, choosing which type is right for you is ultimately a matter of taste.
Glass masks generally have the larger field of view, which is not always ideal, as it is easier to be blinded by the sun.
In contrast, double-glass masks usually have a smaller internal volume and are therefore very easy to “blow out”.
The key to choosing the right diving mask is the fit, as human head shapes and nose lengths are sometimes significantly different and are not compatible with any diving mask.
In order to find the right diving mask for you, you should make sure that the mask edge is made of high-quality silicone and not another cheap plastic and has a double sealing edge.
Only high-quality silicone nestles optimally to the individual face shape, is skin-friendly (no allergic reactions) and also UV resistant.
THE “SUCK-TEST” BEFORE PURCHASING THE DIVE MASK
However, it is also crucial for diving masks with a mask edge made of silicone that you perform a “suction test” before purchasing your mask – this works as follows:
Press the mask on your face without putting on the mask band.
By inhaling deeply through the nose, suck the mask tightly against your face and release it.
Fits the diving mask, then it should now adhere to your face for 2 to 3 seconds, without you have to hold on to it.
If this test works on the selected mask, it is tight and a candidate for your mask purchase.
My personal opinion on the right diving mask
Like many ambitious divers, I now prefer double-glass masks with particularly low internal volumes. Therefore, I even dive with a diving mask that was originally developed for the apnea diving.
For me, the key advantage of such masks in addition to the low internal volume, especially in the restricted field of view, because it is so much easier to focus on individual points in the reef and tracking small creatures easier.
In addition, as an underwater photographer I am particularly dependent on the fact that I cannot be blinded by the sun while looking through the viewfinder.
The snorkel is often treated by experienced divers as “step motherly”, with most divers you do not even see it.
In any case, you will need to purchase a snorkel as part of your ABC diving equipment, as it is part of a diver’s complete diving equipment and you will need to complete some exercises with it.
What a diver needs a snorkel for?
Even though the snorkel is rarely used for diving, there are some good reasons to have one, depending on the situation.
Basically, this is always the case for dives where the water surface is quite rough – lots of wind and high waves. But even with “offshore” dives at very remote dive sites where you may have to wait longer at the surface for a boat to pick up the one.
Even if it should not happen – but it is always possible to finish a dive with very little residual air in the bottle. Should the surface be “properly discharged”, the snorkel will prevent unnecessary water ingestion.
The only important thing when buying a snorkel is that it complies with the general standards. So he may under no circumstances be longer than 35 centimeters (for children 30cm), otherwise it may come to the pendulum breathing (inhale again the exhaled CO2) or to a negative pressure in the lungs.
Otherwise there are snorkels in all colors and variations. Particularly popular are snorkels with an exhaust valve. These are very easy to “blow out” but are also quite unstable in the lower part, so that the diver dangles the mouthpiece in front of the nose.
Do I have to wear the snorkel on the mask band?
No, that is not necessary and is also quite annoying during the actual dive! Since you as a diver rarely use the snorkel in your dives, I would recommend a solid, one-piece snorkel or a foldable snorkel.
The foldable snorkel can easily be stowed in a bag of your buoyancy jacket during the dive, and you can attach a solid snorkel to your lower leg with two rubber bands, for example.
There are two types of diving fins – the full-fins (closed foot) and the fins (open foot).
Which type of diving fins is right for you is primarily in which areas and waters you will often dive.
The Full Foot Fin
Most full-foot fins provide better power transmission, as the foot sits very firmly in the foot part and therefore a direct power transfer from your foot to the water to be displaced is possible.
The disadvantage is that this type of fins lacks a little flexibility in terms of application.
Since the diver sits with his foot directly in the foot part of the fin, there is consequently no isolation against the water temperature. In addition, you are as long as you do not have the fins (thus on the way to the water) your feet are unprotected – speak you are barefoot on the way.
This can be mitigated by the use of neoprene socks, these insulate and protect your feet on the way to the water or under water, for example, in case of accidental contact with the reef.
The fins with open foot part and heel strap are simply pushed over the “neoprene booties” and fixed with the heel strap.
The disadvantage here, however, is the significantly poorer power transmission between the foot and fin, as it is dampened by the thick neoprene of the “dinghies” and by possibly leeway between shoe and fin.
It is positive, however, that your foot is well insulated and protected by the neoprene shoe even without fins and you can easily reach any dive site via a reef or a rocky path.
What should you look for in the fin blade?
In addition to the type of connection between the foot and fin, the fin blade also plays a crucial role in propulsion under water.
Meanwhile, there are several systems of fin blades manufacturer of diving equipment and each of them should of course be the absolute best.
After several years of diving experience, some 1,000 dives and tests of fins of different manufacturers, I can say that there have been no real new developments in the field of diving fins for ages, which represents a real improvement.
On the contrary, some inventions of the manufacturers were even rather counterproductive and made the fins qualitatively worse or the material more susceptible.
Therefore, you should opt for a solid fin blade without “bells and whistles”. If you are fitter and more often in the water it may be a little harder – that gives more drive and control.
From my point of view, the propulsion, ie the power transmission to the water, the crucial element of a good fin. Especially with dives in the open sea with occurring current, there is nothing more important.
Therefore, I would prefer in any case always a Vollfussflosse a fins fin and that you should do as a diving beginner also, if you want to dive more in the open sea than in cold lakes.
In the long run you will most likely buy both types of fins and then select them according to the area of use.
However, if you often plan to dive in local waters, the fins are certainly the better choice, as they are simply more flexible with “dive boats”.
CAUTION AT SPLITFINS!
Even though I do not make friends with it, as splittfins are recommended by many divers and diving shops, but I would urge you to buy split-fins.
Splittfins are characterized by their striking two-part fin blade, which should ensure that the diver feels less water resistance during the fin stroke.
Therefore, the fin beat with split fins is generally easier and thus also prevents cramps in calves or thighs.
So far so good. However, it is often forgotten that the fin also has significantly less propulsion due to less noticeable water resistance, which is actually the main reason for wearing a fin during dives.
So what sounds technically brilliant at first glance is actually a big disadvantage at second glance.
In fact, it is even the case that split fins at a certain cadence produce little or no propulsion at all, as they form a vortex through their shape that absorbs the force of the fin beat.
Therefore, Spittfins are not really a good choice. As a diver, you should already bring a degree of physical fitness, so you do not get a spasm on every occasion and should that not be a bit of training is certainly the better choice, than the purchase of a pair of split fins.
My personal opinion of the right diving fin
Whether it is now a finned fin or a full-footed fin, you have to individually decide on the dive sites where you want to dive. Everything about selection beyond that you should keep as simple as possible.
I dive with the MARES Quadro Power (full-foot fin) and the MARES Avanti Quadro (fins fin) two very simple fins types without “bells and whistles”, which already exists in almost unchanged form for decades and I am very satisfied.
I hope this information will help you choose the right ABC diving equipment.
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