HOW TO HELP YOUR JUNIOR DIVER FIND THE PERFECT MASKApril 27, 2022
A dive mask can make or break an excellent dive. This window to the underwater world is an essential piece of dive equipment, and divers of all ages and levels must have one that fits properly. As a diver, you may often feel overwhelmed by the number of mask choices when visiting your local dive center, where masks of every color fill the wall display. Even though your mask choices may seem endless, mask selection for junior divers can be relatively limited. Some dive equipment manufacturers make products specifically for children, but many do not.
But do not fret, we have some great tips and tricks to help you find the perfect mask for your junior-sized dive buddy. If you are flexible and somewhat creative, you are sure to find a mask that fits just right.
Tips to Find the Perfect Mask for Your Junior Diver
1.Ensure the volume matches the face.
Most people think that making sure the mask’s frame is the correct size is the most important feature when choosing a child’s mask. However, that is not always the case. Even when selecting a mask frame that is nice and small, if the internal volume is too large, the child will have a hard time equalizing and clearing the mask. Therefore, it is important to match the mask’s volume with the child’s size.
2. Choose a mask made with soft silicone.
In addition to having a mask that is easy to clear and equalize, it is important to fit your child with a comfortable mask that seals well to their face. Choosing a mask with a high-quality soft silicone skirt makes all the difference.
Supple silicone will create a better seal than lower quality, stiffer silicone masks. A good seal will ensure your child enjoys every dive without water leaking into their mask.
3. Perform the "suction test".
Before even wearing a mask in the water, have your junior diver come with you to your local dive center and perform the "suction test" with several different masks. It is the best way to find a mask that creates a proper seal against your face.
To perform the suction test:
- Have your child place the mask against their face without putting the mask strap over their head.
- Instruct them to gently suck in (or inhale) through their nose and then hold their breath.
- If the mask remains suctioned onto their face for more than a couple of seconds, it has a good seal and should be a good fit.
4. Look for easy-to-use mask buckles.
An important feature of your child’s dive mask is that it is easy to use. Make sure the mask strap buckles are easy to adjust, so your junior diver can change the mask fit quickly and with confidence.
5. Always choose a tempered glass lens.
As parents of young divers, you know that safety is always of the utmost concern. Choosing a mask made with tempered glass lenses offers the highest level of mask safety.
Tempered glass is scratch-resistant, extremely clear, and holds up to increasing pressure while diving. If the mask lens were to break, the glass would crumble into tiny fragments like a car’s windshield instead of large chunks.
6. Choose a fun color!
Having a mask for your child that includes the above features and functions is important, but you also want a mask that your child will want to wear.
Picking a fun, bright color they like, such as pink, blue, or green, will help them take pride in their dive equipment and increase their desire to take good care of it.
7. When all else fails, try a small adult mask.
If you cannot find a high-quality child mask in your area, a small adult mask may do the trick. Many dive equipment manufacturers now make ultra-small framed and low-volume masks.
These types of masks are particularly popular for freediving and may work well for your junior diver. The small frame is often small enough to fit the child’s face, and the low volume makes mask equalization and clearing a breeze.
Although a mask is a small piece of dive gear, it is essential to the enjoyment of every underwater adventure. A fogging or leaking mask that slips off your child’s face will make diving unenjoyable and stressful.
To help ensure your favorite junior diver has the best underwater experience possible, follow our top tips and have a chat with your local SSI Training Center staff. They will be more than happy to help.