Ever since I had the opportunity to review Fourth Element’s OceanPositive Surface Suit and RF1 Freediving Wetsuit, I fell in love with the company’s environmentally-conscious mindset and variety of sustainable products.
I believe that freedivers, whose second home is the ocean, should try to be as low-impact on the environment as possible and support eco-friendly companies.
So I was super thrilled to review the Aquanaut, Fourth Element’s low-volume diving mask, from a freediving perspective!
The Aquanaut freediving mask arrived in completely plastic-free packaging! I already started going crazy over the case, which is a zero-plastic, low-volume shell that protects the front of the Aquanaut with a soft, compressible back for the straps. It’s small touches like this case, which I had never really thought about as a contribution to plastic waste, that make me appreciate the forethought that goes into Fourth Element gear production.
The Aquanaut itself has a very attractive design, but the real appeal is in the details. With closer inspection, you can definitely feel the high-quality materials, such as the silicone skirt’s softness, sturdy flexibility, and how the frame is sealed together. Even the press-to-release adjustment buckle is made of superior materials that feel strong in your hands, and the placement of the buckle directly on the skirt gives you a more flexible fit (and makes the Aquanaut easier to store, too!). The second internal skirt of the mask is just a little bit longer than on other masks I’ve tried, which seems like it will ensure a better seal against leakage.
The Aquanaut comes in three combinations: black skirt/frame with Clarity lenses, white skirt/teal and white frame with Clarity lenses, and black skirt/frame with Contrast lenses. While I prefer the Clarity lenses (pure-clear lenses) for teaching freediving since I require eye contact with my students, the Contrast lenses are an interesting option as well for recreational freedivers, scuba divers, and snorkelers. Contrast lenses are designed to filter out UV light and some of the mid-range wavelengths of light in the visible spectrum, which makes them ideal for greener, more temperate waters and freshwater. With Contrast lenses, the images you see have increased contrast, allowing you to see a more detailed image underwater.
Since many people have low-profile noses in Taiwan, where I currently live, it’s difficult for them to find masks that allow them to equalize their nose effectively due to nose pocket design. I gave the Aquanaut to multiple students and instructors on my little island of Xiao Liuqiu to try, and all of them remarked that it was easy to equalize, especially with the extra soft nose pocket. This, and the fact that the Aquanaut has a very universal fit, is really important to me as I sometimes switch masks with my students if they are having issues with their own masks.
I really appreciate the wide field of vision as it makes watching students and the underwater environment easier. I found the sturdy fit of the mask and its seal to be absolutely fabulous – even when the skirt’s edge got caught on the inner lining of my hood, the slightly longer second internal skirt ensured there was no leakage, which meant less fiddling around with my mask at the surface and underwater. The Aquanaut’s strap was easy to adjust, even with gloves on, and I had no problem with fogging after just one spit-and-rub session before entering the water. Overall, I found it to be a great mask for teaching, and masks can really make or break a teaching session for freediving instructors!
The Aquanaut’s high-quality components, wide field of vision, and ultra-comfortable fit offset its higher price tag and make it a dependable mask that will last you a long time, thereby reducing the amount of waste you would create by buying multiple masks that scratch or break easily.
- Universal fit
- Wide field of vision
- Tempered glass lens
- Soft silicone skirt
- Easily interchangeable molded silicone mask strap
- (can be changed to the Fourth Element recyclable mask strap)
- Low-volume protective mask case included
- Black mask / Clarity lens
- White mask / Clarity lens
- Black mask / Contrast lens
$104 USD / €77.95 EUR / £64.95 GBP
The Fourth Element Aquanaut Mask is a low-profile mask with a wide field of view and a new silicone skirt that has been designed to fit almost any face shape. Great for both Scuba and Apnea, the low internal volume reduces the effect of mask squeeze at depth.