Over the winter, most of us aren’t able to dive locally…myself included. During this long cold spell I find myself looking at equipment I would like to grab and use when it finally warms up. One of the items that I have been eying like a kid eyes a pan of fresh baked cookies, is theGuardian Full Face Mask by Ocean Technology Systems. Luckily, I have the ability here to pull one off of the shelf and take a close look before I plop down my hard earned money. If you’re like most divers who are unable to look at stuff at your local dive shop and order online, you usually only have a few pictures and a description from the website with which to make your buying decision. So with that in mind, I’ll be a nice guy and bring you along as I unbox this awesome piece of equipment.
The box containing the mask looks like it was illustrated by an artist, which I find pretty cool and perhaps had the fleeting thought of framing a panel of it…most likely I won’t but I must say it does look pretty cool. Taking my trusty pocket knife I cut the 2 strips of packing tape and swing the top of the box open. I was greeted with a well packed box containing a manual, warranty card, and a graphic quick start guide. Under that was a well made black bag with a rubberized logo affixed to the front. Opening the bag I was greeted with a well packed mask and second stage regulator. In the front pocket was a wrench for installing the communications and making other adjustments to the mask. On the inside of the bag there is another pocket that contains a DVD on the functions and operation of the mask along with extra equalizing block parts to make adjustments to the system.
At this point I was like a kid on Christmas morning and ripped into the mask and regulator, it took me a few seconds to remove the bubble wrap protecting the unit(my hat goes off the the guys and gals at OTS for their creative use of packing tape here) and truly showing off how well made and robust the mask and regulator assembly truly are. I attached the regulator to the mask and was pleased to hear an audible click, this is a feature I like…it tells me that the regulator is firmly attached to the mask.
I placed the mask on my face and snugged up the five point harness and was happy to find that the unit is comfortable and seals rather well…even with my short winter beard. In addition the field of view is simply amazing, I was able to see the others in the room laughing at me while I marveled at this piece of dive engineering. Once I curbed my excitement it was time to see exactly how the mask equalized and make adjustments to the nose blocks. A little thing about me is I have a big head and face, with that in mind I was slightly concerned about being able to use and equalize the Guardian full face mask. Well, I found that my concerns were woefully misplaced. A quick switch out and adjustment of the equalizing blocks put me in business and ready to dive this thing. Sadly, that would have to wait until at least I can get some pool time.
Needless to say that after taking a close look at the OTS Guardian full face mask and the quality of the design and construction, the credit card left the wallet and I can now call this bad boy mine. In conclusion, if you’ve ever thought about diving a full face mask take a close look at the Guardian!