Certain scuba manufacturers have a much deserved reputation for producing high quality 'soft goods'. (The diving trade refer to masks, fins and snorkels as 'soft goods'.)
Therefore we weren't surprised that there was a fair amount of head turning on the TUSA stand at DEMA.2017 as the trade checked out a new mask.
What did surprise us was that it looks as though the Japanese have thrown down the gauntlet and challenged the USA and Atomic Aquatic by debuting the top-of-the-line Paragon mask.
This two lens mask has a reinforced 'tri-mix' frame. Apparently the silicone, stainless steel and polyurethane combination has been designed to absorb impact shocks.
This is the first time TUSA has produced a mask with a metal frame
I am not sure if having a mask that absorbs impact shocks is a "real diving problem" - it seems a bit of a gimmick. I do acknowledge that active regular players of 'Octopush' or underwater hockey might want to road test this mask, because getting kicked in the face a number of times during a game is not much fun. (It does build your confidence with mask clearing pretty quickly though). And yes we have all been kicked in the face at least a couple of times whilst diving. But as a diver you quickly learn how close - or not - you can get to the diver in front of you.
TUSA has reviewed how to make their mask fit a variety of face shapes and focused on the mask strap attachment. The simple strap connector is no more. TUSA has designed a 'five-angle Buckle Adjust System'. This advanced buckle also seems a tad gimmicky but this is a top drawer mask. Every component of the diving mask has been reviewed.
When donning your mask push your thumb on the inside of the buckle and it will move outwards so that it lies flat and parallel with the faceplate. TUSA states that this allows the buckle to sit along the skirt to provide a better fit for a variety of face shapes. The buckle also has the capability to be rotated either 90° up or down, again to provide a better fit.
An exciting development
What is of more interest is the investment that TUSA has put into their new 'AR / UV420' lenses. These are not mirrored lenses, but clear lenses that have a special coating on the surface that reflects light and provides UV protection.
Will this be the world's most expensive dive mask?
This is an expensive process. This investment in these specialist lenses mean that the TUSA Paragon is probably going to be the world's most expensive scuba diving mask.
UV light not only comes from sunny skies, it can also come from reflected light (off the surface of the water) and cloudy skies. The UV420 technology blocks all UV wavelengths thus providing better protection for our eyes.
Divers that need corrective lenses have also been considered. It was good to be told that that UV lenses that provide minus corrections will also be available. The result? The Paragon will be the first top-of-the-range mask that comes with off-the-shelf corrective UV-420 coated lenses.
A new skirt
TUSA has designed a new skirt for the Paragon after receiving requests from advanced divers that they found the Freedom skirt too soft on occasions. (Tech dives want a stiffer skirt because of depths they dive to). The Paragon therefore has a more rigid skirt with varying thicknesses of the silicone in specific areas. TUSA state "research has shown that a thinner silicone beneath the nose results in a more ergonomically and high-performance fit for areas of the face where many divers may experience leaks or a less than ideal fit."
- Available in five colours: Black (BKA), Flash Yellow (FYA), Fishtail Blue (FBA), Metallic Dark Red (MDRA), White (WA)
- Reinforced Tri-Mix frame
- New Buckle Adjust System
- State of the art AR/UV420 Lens