Between the dive shop that certified my friends and I (Gold Coast Scuba - HIGHLY recommended!) and Divers Direct in Fort Lauderdale, I gained a ton of information about various gear specs and features. The mask/fin/snorkel combination is undoubtedly useful to any diver (or snorkeler!) and became my priority purchase. With guidance from many divers/shops and online research, I decided to purchase the following gear:
- ScubaMax Aria mask
- ScubaMax Semi-Dry snorkel
- Mares SuperChannel full-foot fins (+) EVO 1.5mm thickness socks
Overall, the gear was affordable and appeared to fit my needs. Next step was to put it to the test in the water! This Labor Day, I was blessed to join a good friend of mine on his family's boat in a scuba adventure. My dive buddies/partner in crime/future roommate (Suzie) also joined, with this being her first dive after getting certified with me in June. The three of us discovered mutual awesomeness and waterlust at a recent Kickball Mid-Season Party (yes, I am on a kickball league and it certainly does include elementary school style fun). We determined it was necessary to plan a dive together, and waited no longer than a week to do so. The boat's captain (my friend's father) is a retired Dive Master and scuba instructor, so having his guidance on this trip was invaluable. As a new diver, I find all tips and information to be vital. Scuba diving is certainly a technical adventure sport, and I am thoroughly enjoying the learning process.
We took the boat out to Barracuda Reef off the coast of Dania Beach with the following goals in mind:
- Find a lobster
- Catch it
- Eat it
- And... Test out our new gear!
- ScubaMax Aria mask: I had to clear it a few times due to water accumulating at the bottom of the mask, but overall it did not fog and allowed for decent field of view. After speaking with more experienced divers, it's possible I made two errors with my mask on this trip. 1) I did not have the top strap over the crown of my head (noticeable as the straps kept hitting into my ears). 2) I was wearing sunscreen. This being said, I will be trying the mask again in my next scuba trip. I actually have a relatively narrow face, and perhaps may benefit from a different mask overall. We shall see after my next dive!
- ScubaMax Semi-Dry snorkel: No complaints here! Easy to purge the water out, and not too much splashed in!
- Mares SuperChannel full-foot fins (+) EVO 1.5mm thickness socks: Honestly, this felt incredible compared to previous rental equipment. I never felt the booties fit me well, so wearing adjustable (open-foot) fins did not seem like a good fit for me. Instead, I went with the full-foot fins (+) sock. Unfortunately, the EVO socks were slipping down on my right foot and I had to adjust them twice during the dive (I also have narrow feet, ugh). The fins overall allowed for a decent push through the water, and I was able to use a variety of finning techniques (link). The best techniques were certainly flutter (no surprise) and modified flutter, with a frog kick seeming quite inefficient.
- Open foot: adjustable straps in the back, require use of booties (scuba shoes)
- Full foot: non-adjustable straps (slip in), use with bare feet or socks for protection/warmth
SCUBA DIVING (MAGAZINE SITE)
LEISURE PRO: DIVER EMPORIUM
I hope you had the day off on this Labor Day, or at least had a fulfilling weekend! Until next time, fellow waterlust adventurers.