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Divers & Snorkelers

"The breadth of view is simply amazing. It is now my mask of choice. Hands down."

-- BobAtELNK

Read his full independent review, with his photos, at Scuba Diving magazine's web forum.

BobAtELNK's comparison of his regular Tusa (Tabata-USA) Rx mask and his new HydroOptix 4.5DD mark.

"The first buddy hated his Double-Dome mask because it looked different and vowed to return it without trying it. Then he used it for one dive. Now both buddies love their HO masks and won't go back to flat masks.
Read their full story, in their own words."

Kevin VanHooK, Recreational Diver, Los Angeles, CA
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"Susan and I LOVE the masks. Perfect visibility, no eye strain or fatigue. Suddenly we're snorkeling in high definition!

Thrilled and grateful,"

Matthew Gurewitsch, snorkeler, author and cultural commentator for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, and Smithsonian Magazine -- Matthew's website on the Pundicity Network.

"Just want to congratulate you on a wonderful product and one of the greatest idea for the diving industry. I used my new HydroOptix MEGA Mask today while diving in Anacapa off Ventura County.. your mask was the center of comments and conversations. Of the entire boat, 30 divers, I already know there is more than a third who want to order one for them selves. Your mask was a huge success and I let many divers try it and all loved it. The MEGA mask is definitely a winner and will sweep through the diving community like wild fire."

Tony Shih, Walnut, CA

"My wife Haewon is on the left, wearing her MEGA 4.5DD. She spotted the shark circling in from behind. But her sister Haekyong, wearing a flat mask, freaked a little when Mr. Big showed up out of nowhere, right in front of me. Now both Haekyong and her husband wear HydroOptix masks and are ready for anything."

Keith Gill, Scuba Instructor, Contact Lens Diver, Humble, TX (other feedback)
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"I have been diving with my mask for 3 years and absolutely love it! I cannot go back to a "regular" mask now. Diving with this mask is like looking at the stars in a planetarium when before you were looking at them through a small telescope!

As a volunteer naturalist aboard a dive boat, it is really important for me to see all that is going on around me underwater and this mask really delivers!

The word is really getting out among divers about this mask.  Last year I was on a boat with Jack's Diving Locker in Kona and not only was one of the DMs wearing the mask, but three of us on the boat as well.  Thanks again for such a wonderful product!

I would like to buy a new case for my HydroOptix mask. Unfortunately a fellow diver put her tank down on top of it! The case did its job of protecting my mask (mask did not have a scratch!) but the case is history."

George C. Hanks Jr. JD, Houston, TX
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"First off, I think your mask is brilliant. I don't need contacts every day because vision is almost 20/20 even in my forties. I get quite a few strange looks in Surrey England with my mask. I try to explain I need to wear contacts with this mask and they don't seem to understand the principals behind it. Some of the worst are people who have been diving for years and think its all hype. However I say try it yourself and they normally agree it is better even without contacts. I am off to Malta in a few weeks and the Mega is going with me. No doubt I will have the usual questions to which I will just give them your web address and read it themselves. Thanks for an amazing product. Happy Diving."

Jim Graham, Contact Lens Diver, Surrey, England

"I recently dove Fort Lauderdale, Grand Cayman, Aruba, Play Del Carmen and Cozumel. I can say that I do not think I could go back to my flat mask. The unobstructed views are fantastic... It is a hassle wearing contacts, but not an inordinately challenging one. The gain far exceeds the hassle of carrying an extra set of contacts just for diving. My hat is off to everyone at HydroOptix for providing such a unique upgrade to our scuba avocation. Keep up the good work!"

Bill Edgin, Contact Lens Diver, Chantilly, VA
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"I think the underwater view through the HydroOptix mask is truly incredible. For the first time, I saw the underwater world as it is. I took the leap of faith and learned to wear contacts in order to use the mask, and the effort ultimately paid off. It is impossible to fully appreciate its optics without actually putting on contacts and making a dive. I absolutely love my new HydroOptix mask and will not hesitate to recommend it wholeheartedly to my fellow divers."

Kuan-Loong Yong, Contact Lens Diver, Singapore
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"My HydroOptix mask arrived a few weeks ago in the mail and I had the opportunity to use it for the first time while on my diving vacation in the Florida Keys. The mask is everything it was advertised to be. A truly big improvement over my collection of standard dive masks.

I wore the required corrective contact lenses to see clearly through the mask while underwater and found that this requirement to be a minimal inconvenience. What was surprising is that I found that I did not really need to wear the corrective lens attachment when returning to the boat. My vision was somewhat blurred but sufficient to climb onto the boat and return to my seat where I then put on my corrective glasses.

While diving on a couple of wrecks, my dive buddy kept loosing track of me even when I was right beside her because the field-of-view on her mask was so restricted. Several times I had to swim after her as she swam off searching for me. The mask really facilitated knowing where my buddy was at all times and greatly increased my enjoyment of penetrating the wreck because of the stunning field-of-view on the Hydrooptix mask.

A truly great mask."

Michael Fulcher, B.A.Sc., P.Eng. D.F.E.I., Contact Lens Diver, Ontario, Canada
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"Several weeks ago I purchased one of your masks. I took it to a local pool for a test drive the day it arrived. I could see the grout on the far side of the 50 yard pool clearly! A few weeks later my wife and I visited some friends. We were in their pool and I tried another test. With no mask or glasses, I could not read a large wall-mounted thermometer. I could not see the thermometer floating in the pool 15 feet away. With a flat mask, I could see the pool thermometer. But the numbers were just a smear. With your mask, I could clearly read both Farenheit on the left and Celcius on the right. I could also read the pool temp!

Just yesterday my wife and I visited the Florida Aquarium and dove in the shark tank. I had no trouble seeing the sharks or the other fish. I could see from the corner of my eyes better than the others with me. Great mask!

All I know is that was a 200lb Goliath Grouper - a small one. By the way, as I was looking at the pics again, I noticed that at extreme angles you cannot see into my wife's mask. All you can see is a reflection of her nose pocket. And, of course, if you can't see in she can't see out. If you look into my mask at extreme angles, you can see inside my mask. You don't see reflections. Sarah admitted that there were times she didn't even see the photographer. I did.

Thank you for making such a great product."

Eric Van Zytveld, Recreational Diver, Bradenton, FL
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"My husband bought a mask last Spring (He's the one in the shark tank). He loved it and raved about it to anyone who would listen. Finally in October he got me to try it in a friend's pool. Even though my prescription is not as strong as his, I could still see great. A few weeks later we went to the local YMCA and snorkeled a few laps. After half a dozen laps in my flat mask, we switched, and I tried his mask.

I could see so well! I could see others in the pool without having to turn my head. The lane markers in the pool were clear and in focus. I was reluctant to give his mask back. I swam ONE length of the pool with my mask. I told Eric, 'I hate my mask!' He ordered a mask for me that week.

We just got back from a trip to the Keys. It was great to see clearly without worrying about my contacts. I loved being able to reach for Eric's hand and know it was exactly where I saw it. This mask is everything you advertise it is!

Thank you."

Sarah Van Zytveld, Recreational Diver, Bradenton, FL
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"I am writing this email to tell you that I used the mask on my dive-trip in Fernando de Noronha, and IT IS AMAZING!! The MEGA 4.5 DD mask gave me excellent vision, I am very very happy with it."

Eduardo Bertran, Contact Lens Diver, Buenos Aires, Argentina
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"I've been a happy HydroOptix owner since the first generation MEGA 4.5 masks. The first time I did a giant stride with one on, I thought my mask had come off. The way the water opened up, as opposed to the tunnel vision I was used to, was like the sudden sense of openness when you jump out of a plane. Once I realized my face wasn't wet, It was WOW! So THIS is what it really looks like.

It's not just the better peripheral vision, it's that everything is BRIGHTER and clearer. I find myself seeing things that no-one else does, because I can see the movement to the sides (which is how I found the spotted moray I'm lighting for my dive buddy in the attached picture). It makes an even bigger difference in (usual for San Diego) bad vis, where the extra light coming in helps a lot in distinguishing movement in the murk. Other divers who don't have HydroOptix masks have a hard time judging distance :-).

Customer service has been exceptional, with immediate replacement of masks when there were the original teething problems.

The supposed disadvantages really don't matter, and have very simple Work arounds:

Using contacts: I'm already a contact lens wearer, so I just use a different prescription with the Mega mask. No big deal.

Vision on the surface: You really can see enough to get to and from the shore/boat without any help. The only time I need the monocle is for line-ups. I never needed to use the clip-on. The surface interval kit works fine, and the "Buddy Holly" look is actually quite funny. If you don't like it, -4.5 diopter glasses are readily available cheaply.

Volume: I don't think I'd use the mask for free-diving, but the volume actually seems to make clearing EASIER, because the skirt isn't crushing my sinuses. The nose pockets are easily accessible, even with 5mm gloves, and the purge valves work very well.

Fogging: Using the Sea Gold and putting one drop on your finger, rubbing it in, and letting it dry, and then rinsing before each dive, works PERFECTLY. Once I started following this procedure, I have had no fogging. That's more than I could ever say for my Technisub masks.

So, I'm an ecstatic customer, and I thank you from the bottom of the ocean for such a great product, and awesome customer service!."

Tom Byrnes, Recreational Diver, Contact Lens Diver, San Marcos, CA
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"I just wanted to share with you that I am extremely happy with my new mask. I was very skeptical and have hesitated in ordering one for some time now. My vision is -3.5 / -3.25 plus a healthy astigmatism in my left eye. I arrived home from work yesterday to find your mask on my porch, still skeptical and dying to try it out, I hit my pool despite the pouring rain. I took my prescription mask with me as well, and spent some time switching back and forth while breathing off of my pony tank. The results speak for themselves! I could see much better with the HydroOptix mask than my custom prescription mask. I originally purchased the HydroOptix as a backup for my prescription mask. I am now considering purchasing another HydroOptix for backup, and relegating my prescription mask to third place! I am headed off to Chuuk (Truk) Lagoon in a couple of weeks, and will be happily looking at the wrecks through your mask.

Thank you for this clear underwater vision."

Luke Chatting, Camarillo, CA

Cocos Island, April 2006:
"The mask worked amazingly well. It was worth all the trouble of getting the contact lenses and glasses. I dove with my regular flat mask on two dives (out of 18 total on the trip) and the difference was stark. It's almost like you don't have a mask on at all with the MEGA 4.5. I'll be using it from now on, and thanks for all your help. Much appreciated."

Eight months later:
"I (still) love your mask and I will definitely never use another. The distortion of flat masks has made them all but unusable to me. I used a flat mask on a night dive in Fiji (because I'd taken my contacts out for the day) and it messed me up so bad that underwater I was bumping into things and completely disoriented.

Many people think it's either hysterical or extreme that I've gone to the lengths that I have to use the mask. which to me seems totally negligible in light of the benefits. But you can be sure I straighten out all the skeptics -- I'm an evangelist and I thank you for making my diving experiences so much better."

Michael Feld, Contact Lens Diver, New York, NY
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New Providence
gray reef shark

Hawaii and the Kona/Kohala 2009:
"I am glad to report that I did use the mask (along with the recommended contacts) on my recent trip to Hawaii and the Kona/Kohala coast and I am sold. The view is amazing and now I can finally clearly see my gauges/computer, camera controls or distant objects from any point in the mask's window. My wife is a new diver and she is still sorting out buoyancy etc. and I continually lost view of her when using masks with flat lenses. I found myself doing barrel rolls and 360's just to find her at times... now a simple twist of the head is all I need to find her. The increase in situational awareness is very relaxing and reassuring to me."

"I, of course, had to endure the naysayers on the boat who could not understand why I was degrading my surface vision with contacts to wear the mask underwater and then to wear yet another set of surface interval glasses to see while topside; but the reality was it just didn't matter... the improvement is so drastic. Using the mask has also increased the quality of my UW photos dramatically because now I can actually dare to make a setting change to suit a certain shot and set it back confidently because I can actually read the control's value and see the image on the LCD. And I can now find those tiny critters without help... I got my first photos of tiny worms and well camouflaged frogfish this trip.

Thank you for a fine product... it has changed diving for me."

William Golley, Contact Lens Diver, Prince George, Canada

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"I’m pleased to report the -4.5 MEGA Mask performed admirably during my recent trip to Kauai’. Thank you for getting it to me so quickly. The construction of the mask is first rate and the look is very high tech.  I have enclosed a picture wearing the mask (big smile). Since I am nearsighted -4.0, my underwater vision was extraordinary with the MEGA and considerably better and brighter when compared with the TUSA mask on back-to-back dives. This is a breakthrough product. Even after 700 dives, I’m giddy about going diving again with this mask.

I will continue to get the word out on your fine product through demonstrations of the mask during my travels, at dive clubs, dive companies and with authors of dive publications."

Eric Rokicki, Advanced Diver, Millersville, MD
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Photo Copyright 2003
Eric Rokicki

"Wearing the HydroOpix mask I felt like Superman underwater. Not because I have X-ray vision, but because I can see normally while everyone else is so impaired. I have much better situational awareness than anyone else on the dive and feel this advantage is only enhanced during night diving."

Mathew Marvin, PADI Advanced Open Water Diver (20/20 contact lens diver)
Huntsville, AR
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From: Graham Gibson, La Jolla, California, October 2003
I just wanted to follow up with you about the mask. To recap, we did 2 beach dives on Saturday and a boat trip on Sunday with 3 dives. I was prepared to use my old mask for the exercises, but our first dive was just to get comfortable in the ocean, so I figured I could use the Mega mask. It was great to have the added peripheral vision on the dives. La Jolla shores had about 10-15 ft. visibility at best, and having the wider view makes it much less claustrophobic! I ended up liking the mask so much that I used it in my certification exercises on the following dives.

I was worried about the nose bridge bothering me, but I found that I didn't even think about it. As long as the mask is equalized, I don't have a problem -- something that I tended to just do automatically after a few dives. The larger volume of the mask did make it harder to clear after removing it, but it's just something I'll have to be aware of. The mask also leaked a bit and fogged up at first, but it got much better on successive dives -- probably due to a tendency of mine to breathe out of my nose too much.

People on the boat were very interested in the mask -- maybe you'll have some new customers! The view underwater is just amazing compared to a regular mask. I bet more experienced divers will notice the difference even more. It is a bit expensive, but I think the mask enhances the entire experience enough to make it a better investment than other high-end scuba equipment.

I'm looking forward to my future dives, and to using the mask even more. Good luck to you and HydroOptix -- you truly have a quality product here! Thanks again!"

18 months later (February 2005)...
I recently went went on a trip to Hawaii, where I had some time to use my Mega mask snorkeling and diving for nine straight days.  I had a great time and was again very glad to have such a fantastic mask.

Thanks again for a quality product!"

-Graham Gibson
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"We had a really wonderful time in Cancun and I am now a certified scuba diver. We didn't see any sharks, but we did see a really big eagle ray with about a six foot wing span. Also several lobsters and one that was really big, plus the usual parrot, trigger, angel, trumpet fish as well as lots of small brightly colored ones. Not that I have done much other than snorkel, but I will never go back to a flat mask again. Your mask is definitely the way to go. The view is like not having a mask on at all!"

Glen Gould, Contact Lens Snorkeler / Diver, San Jose, CA
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