Previously known as Tribord, Decathlon‘s brand for underwater sports and activities was rebranded into SUBEA which means “SUBaquatic Experiences are Amazing!” in 2017. It continuously provide inexpensive yet good quality gear for underwater activities such as SCUBA, spearfishing, freediving and snorkeling.
Recently, they have competitively stepped up in the game of underwater activity and adventure brands with their 2019 release. Enticed, I got myself these and here’s an honest review of their low-volume mask, long fins, neoprene diving socks and gloves.
Low Volume Mask
|Decathlon’s low volume mask|
Masks let us see the beauty of the underwater world. With that, divers consider these factors that would give them the best diving experience like the field of view, ease of equalization, volume, skirts and straps. Considering these, I am giving this low volume mask by Decathlon a four star.
The mask has lens that is a tempered glass with its strap that can be easily adjusted. I can clearly and widely see things underwater in all directions with no obstruction from and by the mask as the lens is also near my eyes. It gets a little foggy in the beginning but baby shampoo helped a lot in keeping it from fogging for quite some time. However, once it gets fogged, it just keeps on fogging so I had to apply some shampoo again. Skirts are stiff, thick and tight preventing the leaking inside the mask. Instance of saltwater leak was very rare during my dive. It only happened because my hair keeps on going to my face every time I ascend to the surface and remove the mask. Lastly, equalization might get a little hard as its material is not as soft as any other masks I’ve held (i.e. Decathlon’s very own silicon mask which I previously used as well). I had to push all the way up to the nostril area just so I could cover it to equalize. I don’t have a pointy nose maybe that’s why it was hard for me. Every dive, I would try to equalize so I would know in what way could I do it easily.
Overall, Decathlon’s low volume mask is pretty decent for free diving enthusiasts and hobbyists. What’s good about it is that, it is sold almost half the price of any other low volume masks.
SUBEA Freediving Flexible Snorkel
I recently shifted to SUBEA Freediving Snorkel and I must say I made a good decision. This freediving snorkel is made of good flexible material; thus, diving with currents isn’t much of a problem. I also love that this is longer than the one that I was previously using. Before, it was a bit problematic for me since the water keeps on going into the tube since it is short and a little stiff. With that, I had to hold the tube so the other end stays upright at the surface to prevent the water from coming in.
Ease of use and comfort is guaranteed on the new one that I’m using. It has a mask clip that keeps the snorkel in place and the tube’s material per se provides a better grip. Hence, I did not have to hold it in place and to keep it upright. I didn’t have to worry about it slipping off, too. The tube’s diameter is also wide enabling a good ventilation when at the surface. Lastly, the mouth piece is made of silicone providing my mouth comfort.
Traveling with it is also easy as it is made of lightweight and flexible material. I can fold it without worrying about deformation as it is flexible. It is more than reasonably priced compared to any snorkels in the market with almost the same quality plus Decathlon guarantees a two-year warranty for this!
The SUBEA Long Fins
Freediving long fins are more than just this thing that beautifully and gracefully sways and follows every diver’s stride. They are basically made as it is – long and broad for more water to be displaced; thus, allows you to go deeper and efficient in the waters.
I actually started freediving with SUBEA’s short fins. I was able to descend few meters and it was quite fulfilling for a beginner. Then, I felt extra the moment I tried the long ones – getting deeper with less finning effort, looking more graceful and appreciating the underwater life even more.
The news about the latest release of the brand which introduced me to freediving got me like going back to where I started. So in no time, I got myself the SUBEA long fins that was just recently out in the Philippine market.
Generally, it is competitively priced compared to other polymer plastic fins in the market. It’s a good choice for beginners as it is relatively cheap and durable; bump it here and there, it’s still good and will work perfectly.
|Tried my SUBEA long fins at Planet Dive Resort’s House reef|
The pair of fins doesn’t come with a mesh or fin bag upon purchase. Finding a bag, though, for it won’t be that hard due to its length (the blades’ front is 60 cm long and its rear, 76 cm). The fins are made of polymer plastic which is known to be prone to being bent, losing its stiffness and shape overtime. It might not have any stiffness option but it’s good in medium. Ease or difficulty of propulsion then is dependent on the muscular strength of the diver. To be honest, it’s pretty heavy as it weighs more or less 2 kilograms. Since my legs are thin, I had to consume much energy in propelling when in the waters. When my lower torso and extremities got accustomed to it, I find it efficient as it easily got me propelling on my descent in few powerful strides. I just had to get rid of the weights as I could hardly keep myself at the surface since it’s heavy. I find myself more efficient underwater than at the surface with these blades. The blades’ design, on the other hand, is not interchangeable. Currently, there is only one color available in Decathlon stores.
The fins’ tendons are thick and long but does not extend up to the ends of the blades as it may greatly compromise the stiffness. They are about 2 cm on the sides of the foot pocket railing at the sides of the blades neatly down to a centimeter on its end. It is just enough to support its blades’ medium stiffness.
The foot pockets
The foot pockets are closed-heel. It is wide and its front is rounded. This might be a disadvantage to divers with thin foot but a pair of good neoprene socks may be of great help as it may give a good and comfortable grip. I got the fins in size 40-42 and I got more or less an inch allowance but the 2 mm SUBEA neoprene socks worked. It is not detachable from the blades; hence, it is more advisable to buy the fins from the physical store to get a perfect fit on one’s feet. Material is thick but pretty soft. It might snug but won’t result to cramps nor blisters. Its soft material gives ease of slipping the foot into it.
The SUBEA Neoprene Diving Socks
I got the neoprene socks for a lot of reasons. First, I got it for my feet to get a comfortable snug in the foot pockets. As aforementioned, my SUBEA long fins’ foot pockets are a little loose for me and the socks did that job. I got a pair with the most perfect size for me. It might only be 2 mm but it gave the grip in the loose pockets with its ink at the sole. It is tight fitting but not restricting. I also bought it to protect my feet. Spots where I usually dive have rocky shores, broken shells, glasses and other things around. Might have stepped on one but at least my sole didn’t have a direct contact with it; thus, safe from being cut. Lastly, it kept my feet warm at least all throughout my dive. Take note that thickness must be dependent on the temperature of the water and the foot pockets, of course.
The SUBEA Neoprene Gloves
SUBEA’s 2 mm neoprene gloves has sizes and these are also relative with the finger design. Material is pretty flexible and this gave my hands a perfect fit. Insulation and efficiency are guaranteed. I could still use my hands for some fine movements and even operating my underwater camera, too.
The gloves served me two things. First, it kept my hands warm. If there’s a body part that gets cold first whether I’m in or out of the waters, it’s my hands then the whole body would follow. I usually stay in the waters for an hour or two when doing fun dives and these gloves were enough to keep my hands from being cold and wrinkly. Second, it protected my hands from being cut and scratched. I could also shoo the floating stingers out of my way. It did save me big time from being cut and scratched by barnacles and hard plastic as well that I pick up when I do clean ups.
SUBEA Product Test by Decathlon Philippines
Good news! Decathlon Philippines actually lets you try these products before making a decision of buying it. When I say test, you can actually take it out from the store for free for a few days and return it after using it. Click here to read on how can it be done.
How about you, have you ever tried these products too? What are your thoughts?
Watch my dive in full SUBEA freediving gear!