The summer had been busier than I would have liked this year and I honestly hadn't had as many opportunities to post much less given much thought to writing a new SpearView, but after having time to really reconsider, I realized that I had actually had multiple opportunities to try out new equipment this year (not all of it successfully). Further to that point, when I took the PFI Freediver course back in March I had decided to invest in a new mask and ended up deciding on the Omer Zero Cubed freediving mask. In trying on and discussing options at the dive shop, the guys at Austin's had made it pretty clear that the mask had not been a good fit for many of their customers. But after trying the mask on, I thought (or hoped) that I was one of those fortunate few.
I did love the design of the mask that gave it an incredible field of view while also giving it less than 100cm3 of internal volume. The fact is that this is one very good looking mask. All this made it a very tempting option and in the end, I decided it was the one for me (not necessarily in agreement with everyone I spoke to). In addition to the design and features, dollar for dollar this mask is a great buy for a specialty mask like this.
At first, in the pool during the PFI course while perrforming static apnea exercises, I thought that my decision had been a sound one as the mask was comfortable and sealed well during my personal best static breathhold. However, once we moved on to the open pool exercises that required my snorkel, I discovered the guys back at the dive shop had been right about one very uncomfortable feature (although no one could pinpoint the cause at that time). This mask doesn't have the traditional brow bridge of other style masks, but the bridge that it does have seems to dig into my brow once I inserted the snorkel into my mouth.
From my limited experimentation due to all the activity in the class, it appeared to me that inserting the snorkel into my mouth caused a changed in position of the mask on my face that made the bridge rise and start to dig into my brow. At first it was only a minor inconvenience, but after a short while and multiple attempts to reposition the mask as well as tightening and loosening of the strap, it became a huge discomfort. So much so that I ultimately ended up switching back to my original Mares Star mask for the remainder of the course.
I'm not willing to say that this issue makes this a bad mask but it definitely indicates to me that everyone needs to remember that it might not be enough to simply try on the mask at the dive shop and check for a seal. In this case when I did that, for all intents I should have ended up being happy with my original decision. Unfortunately for me that wasn't the case.
I honestly believe that ultra low volume masks are especially hard to get a proper fit because there is so much less room for adjustment due to the low volume feature itself. So while I'm not willing to ding this mask because it didn't fit me (even though I have yet to meet someone that it does fit), I am willing to say that if you're ever looking at a low (or ultra low) volume mask, make absolutely sure that you make every attempt to make your trial as close to real world as possible (no matter how cool the mask is :) because the dive shop just isn't the same as diving with the mask and your other gear.