How can a swim mask help in open water?

The unpredictable nature of open-water swimming is undoubtedly a thrill, but it can also be a challenge. We speak to Aquasphere about the innovative technology in its new swim mask, the DEFY.Ultra

Aquasphere Defy Ultra swim mask

Open-water swimming can be challenging for triathletes, particularly on race day when crowding can add to the confusion and poor vision, potentially causing panic.

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Choppy waters can affect sighting and navigation skills, while visibility can be reduced by murky waters or glare from the sun.

That’s why open-water swimmers need to remain calm, particularly in unpredictable conditions, and it takes strength and resilience to overcome such physical and mental obstacles.

“It’s about defying the elements,” says triathlon and swim brand Aquasphere, “and daring to beat the current, the cold, the light conditions… it’s about defying your own personal challenges and having the right equipment to help you achieve this.”

Defy convention

Aquasphere Defy Ultra swim mask
Credit: Charly Chapelet

This year, Aquasphere is celebrating 25 years in the triathlon and swim industry.

During its quarter of a century in designing swimming equipment the brand has learned a few things about what open-water swimmers need to succeed in any aquatic environment – from pool to sea, rivers and lakes.

Inspired by its experience in designing masks for scuba divers, Aquasphere initially launched into the open-water swimming market with its Seal swim mask.

This innovative piece of kit featured the first curved lens with no visibility distortion.

In 2023, the brand continues its drive for innovation with the launch of the DEFY.Ultra swim mask.

“We wanted to produce a ground-breaking innovation,” says Ocean Fric, Global Category Director SSP at Aquasphere, “a product to defy the open waters and the limits of technology. We wanted to provide swimmers with the best possible field of vision, which is essential to spot buoys, landmarks, currents, boats, wildlife etc, while also ensuring a maximum amount of comfort and hydrodynamics.”

New technology

Designed specifically to enhance the performance of open-water swimmers, the DEFY.Ultra is the first completely frameless swim mask, and it features some exciting technological developments.

DuoCurve is a revolutionary combination of spherical and cylindrical curved lenses, which act to enhance panoramic vision and provide distortion-free clarity.

Combined with a unique process whereby cool silicone is injected directly onto the lens, this results in an ultra-light, frameless construction, while the spherical and cylindrical combination in the single lens offers an unrivalled field and clarity of vision – essential for the open-water swimmer.

The hydrodynamic shape of the mask has been designed to aid both speed and performance.

“Our brand design principles are deeply linked to our core values,” says Ocean Fric. “Our mantra is to be limitless, so we approach design with no limitation of creativity. The result was a product that has since been awarded the prestigious RedDot Design Award.”

Other performance-enhancing features of the DEFY.Ultra are:

  • Ultra-thin, super soft silicone for ultimate fit and comfort.
  • Ergonomic nose piece to reduce drag.
  • An integrated rotating buckle for a quick and efficient fine-tuned fit.

The DEFY.Ultra also offers a choice of three lens options. These include: yellow titanium mirrored for greatest light protection and enhanced contrast; indigo titanium mirrored for glare reduction, ideal for those early morning swims; and smoke to protect against bright light, while maintaining natural colour saturation.

Be limitless

Aquasphere Defy Ultra swim mask
Credit: Charly Chapelet

True to its mantra and in recognition of what it takes to be an open-water swimmer and face unpredictable conditions, Aquasphere says that it forges its own path with technology so that swimmers can conquer their own challenges.

“The mantra of ‘be limitless’ impacts everything we do,” said Jessica Fitzsimon, Vice President Global Marketing Brands & Categories.

“We push the boundaries to redefine the swim eyewear category once again with the DEFY.Ultra. This technologically advanced swim mask leads with never-before-seen design features created to elevate sports performance and inspire the free spirit of swimmers worldwide.”

Find out more about Aquasphere’s new DEFY.Ultra swim mask by heading to the Aquasphere website. The DEFY.Ultra can be bought in the UK from Ocean Leisure, The Endurance Store, ProSwimwear and Wiggle.

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Top image credit: Javi Echevarria