Test report: Oceanic Pioneer mask

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Oceanic Pioneer mask

Oceanic Pioneer

Since my very first Tusa mask, which I bought in 2001, finally became too old and leaky to use six or seven years later, I have had real trouble trying to find a new mask that I could say felt comfortable and didn’t fill with water every few seconds.

From low profile to monster big eye masks nothing seemed to match the performance of my old Tusa. I tried Oceanic Shadow, Cressi and even spent the most money I ever spent on a mask purchasing an Atomic Aquatic but still no joy.

That is until now!! My new super cool looking and very comfortable Oceanic Pioneer is the dogs dangly bits.

After reading an article about it in Diver magazine and seeing the pictures of it I thought I would have one last shot at finding the right mask for me.

I bought it online for £50 from the UK as I live and work in Egypt so had no idea what it felt like on the face, how heavy it was or how it felt in general.

After a wait of a few weeks until Jeanette, my wife, came out to Egypt I finally got my hands on the mask.

Oceanic Pioneer mask

Oceanic Pioneer and case

The mask comes in a plastic case that has quite a different look to the normal cases you see, it is molded to the shape of the mask and looks more like a prop from the movie “The Fly”

Disappointingly the flimsy catch which should keep the case closed broke off after the first opening.

The mask itself is in no way flimsy, it feels solid, strong, and like it should last for years.
I only ever use toothpaste to remove the film, which causes the mask to fog up, from the lenses of any new mask after witnessing a work colleague (who shall remain nameless) using a cigarette lighter to burn off the film for a guest at the dive center I was working at. What my colleague didn’t realise was the mask was actually only for swimming and so made of plastic, which the flame had no trouble burning a hole through. This turned out to an expensive act of kindness as my colleague had to hand over 40 euro for a new mask. Toothpaste has never let me down, plus you have a nice minty fresh smell on your dive rather than melted plastic.

So, how would it perform in the water? The test run was at the Islands dive site here where I live in Dahab, and it didn’t let me down. On a dive of 67 minutes I didn’t have to clear the mask once. It felt comfortable, had great all round vision and with the easy adjustable strap system it was easy to make it a perfect fit.

The ultra clear tempered glass lenses are held in place on the outside by aluminum frames with four rivets going through each one giving the mask a real solid retro look.

Oceanic Pioneer mask

Oceanic Pioneer

I have the titanium colour but it also comes in blue, red or yellow and there is also a limited edition Pioneer with silver frames which does look quite cool but apparently starts to discolour with rust after a short time. The frames on the Pioneer I have are coated to prevent this fault.

This is a very different looking mask but with it’s ultra soft silicon skirt and solid metal frames it is both robust and for me the most comfortable mask I have owned for a very long time.

Thanks very much to Clive Hanna for this entertaining report.

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published on May 10, 2011 by jdo
tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , category: equipment

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