Underwater Hockey Gear for New Players

I thought I would take a moment to address equipment for new players.  I don’t profess to be an expert on underwater hockey gear (yo-yos yes, zombies yes, UWH gear no), but I have had the opportunity to waste a lot of money on gear, and you can profit from my mistakes.

The below are my personal favorites, links for buying and commentary (whether you want it or not).

I have no financial disclosures to make from the following recommendations, but kickbacks are always welcome.

Here are the basic pieces of equipment you need:

Mask
Snorkel
Snorkel mouth guard
Snorkel keeper
Fins
Fin tender
Glove
Stick
Water Polo cap (ear protection)
Swimsuit

Mask – A low volume-wide field of view mask with two lenses is best, and no, swimming goggles won’t workScreen Shot 2013-11-23 at 9.56.44 PM. First they are illegal in tournament play and second you will get inner ear squeeze if you use them (been there done that – no fun).  No single lens masks are allowed either (think Lloyd Bridges in Sea Hunt).Screen Shot 2013-11-23 at 6.51.16 PMThey say they are not safe, but I am not sure if this means medical trauma or just fashion sense. Either way, go with a two-lens mask, you may not play any better, but you will look cool.Screen Shot 2013-11-23 at 6.55.51 PM

 

 

My favorite is the Aqualung SpheraScreen Shot 2013-11-23 at 7.00.28 PM it has low volume and a great field of vision. I sometimes wear mine to bed at night and definitely if I am out late partying. One word of caution, do not throw it in your gear bag loose, the lens comes out easily and the skirt sometimes gets misshapen and leaks.  No problems if you store it in a rigid container. You can order the Sphera here http://www.canamuwhgear.com/Aqualung-Sphera-Mask-p/mask-sphera.htm

Snorkel – The first thing newbies say is “I’ll play better without a snorkel” (I said the same thing when I was young and naive too)  and no you won’t (unless God has equipped you with a blow hole in the back of your skull.Screen Shot 2013-11-23 at 10.17.10 PM They look kind of gross so I had mine surgically removed years ago, now I wish I hadn’t). UWH is a fast moving game and you will lose sight of the puck every time you lift your head to breath. You need a pliable snorkel (no hard plastic) without gewgaws such as splash guards and purge valves, but you got to love those old ping pong ball in a cage splash guards from the 60s.Screen Shot 2013-11-23 at 10.27.14 PM  Front mount snorkels don’t work well either (except for the Strike).  The first time you curl the snorkel twists out of your mouth.Screen Shot 2013-11-23 at 10.36.35 PM

Stick with something simple and basic . My favorite is the kinky snorkel as it has a built in snorkel keeper. Screen Shot 2013-11-23 at 10.41.27 PM  It is extremely easy to take on and off your mask.  Plus, I love to say “I play with a kinky snorkel”. You can buy a kinky snorkel here.

http://true-blue.com.au/product_info.php?cPath=31&products_id=83

Snorkel mouth guard – Completely not needed until a puck hits you in the mouth and causes $10000 worth of dental damage. Screen Shot 2013-11-24 at 2.55.43 PM Most dentists with holes in their appointment books recommend not using a mouth guard, even though it is required for tournament play.Screen Shot 2013-11-24 at 2.48.52 PM

I attach mine to the snorkel with plastic zip ties.  You can buy one here:

http://www.canamuwhgear.com/External-Mouth-Guard-p/smg-mg.htm

Snorkel keeper: The little rubber thing that looks like an 8, but is frequently taken from your gear bag by evil swimming gnomes.Screen Shot 2013-11-24 at 2.52.51 PM If you can find one, it is used to attach the snorkel to the mask, or you can say screw it and get a kinky snorkel (see above – swimming gnomes hate me).  You can buy them here:

http://www.canamuwhgear.com/CanAm-Snorkel-Keeper-p/smg-keeper.htm

Fins – Yes, size does matter! Fins need to be big enough to give you speed, but not so long and inflexible that you can’t curl easily. If you start with ones that have a large blade you may end up with leg cramps. You also need ones with a foot pocket not the adjustable strap on back. My favorite for starting out is Mares Avanti HP fins

Screen Shot 2013-11-24 at 4.23.25 PM

 


and after you have played for a while the Mares Quattro Power fins.

Screen Shot 2013-11-24 at 4.22.26 PM

http://www.canamuwhgear.com/Mares-HP-Fins-p/fin-mareshp.htm

Fin keeper – Ok I didn’t know what a fin keeper was for the first few months that I played, and I spent an inordinate amount of time chasing down free floating fins. (Lucky’s Rule: A fin will come off only during a critical moment in play). Screen Shot 2013-11-24 at 3.03.52 PMWorth the small investment, and if you wear them on your ankles between games at a tournament you will look like a cool veteran of the sport. You can buy them here:

http://www.canamuwhgear.com/HD-Fin-Keeper-p/fin-hdxlarge.htm

Glove – A good glove will protect your hand, allow quick movements underwater and will stroke and console you if you screw up a play. Yes, you can make your own (I tried, it looked like something that came out of a B-horror film from the 5o’s and it eventually crawled off into the woods to die or feed on runaway children). Now, I buy mine. Screen Shot 2013-11-24 at 2.59.53 PM I love the Solvenian Euro gloves.  I wear them on both hands not only when I play UWH, but for formal dining as well.  You can buy them here.

http://www.bentfishusa.com/gloves/

http://true-blue.com.au/product_info.php?cPath=22&products_id=90

Stick – Finding a good stick is like finding a good spouse.  You got to date a few losers to find the right one (at least that’s what all my former girlfriends told me as they were getting married).Screen Shot 2013-11-24 at 3.09.19 PM For newbies, I think you could use a small tree branch and it would be just as useful as a high-end stick. My suggestion is to borrow teammates sticks and see what ones feel the best before you buy.  I play with an ambidextrous stick (because I wear two gloves and you just can’t discount the coolness factor of that). So my recommendation isn’t pertinent in this case (at this point you may be saying to yourself none of my recommendations are pertinent).  Some say the stick picks you. (In this case you will need to go to Ollivanders stick shop) Otherwise here are some excellent companies that sell sticks.

http://www.canamuwhgear.com/category-s/1836.htm

http://www.bentfishusa.com/sticks/

http://true-blue.com.au/index.php?cPath=21

 

Ear Protection – Again, required for tournament play, and no, it’s not your external ear we are worried about it’s your eardrum.  Catch an accidental kick of a fin to your ear and it will rupture your eardrum. So two choices: water polo capScreen Shot 2013-11-24 at 3.20.24 PM or wrestling headgearScreen Shot 2013-11-24 at 3.21.33 PM. I have worn both while complaining to city commissioners and I have found you are much more likely to be arrested wearing the wrestling headgear, so I play with a water polo cap. You will need two colors white and blue. You can order them here.

http://www.canamuwhgear.com/category-s/1821.htm

http://www.kiefer.com/kiefer-mesh-water-polo-cap-products-127.php?page_id=267&gclid=COrOn_aq_roCFWUV7AodT2YAwg

 

Swim Suit – I am sure in the history of UWH there has been a game played without suits so don’t bother correcting me when I say you need a suit to play UWH.  You can play in just about anything but swim racing suits are the best. If you can’t stomach the thought of wearing a Speedo, then wear surf shorts or whatever your modesty index allows. Screen Shot 2013-11-24 at 3.31.40 PMRemember though, the bigger and bulkier the suit the more drag it will have and the slower you will move through the water.

http://www.swimoutlet.com/Mens_Swim_Briefs_s/201.htm

Hope this helps and see you underwater.
Doc Lucky

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About doclucky

Doc Lucky Meisenheimer is a dermatologic surgeon, chief of the dermatology division at Orlando Regional Medical Center, and author of multiple scientific and general publications. His science fiction novel, "The Immune", won the 2012 International Book Awards for Science Fiction. His first non-fiction book, Lucky's Collectors Guide to 20th Century Yo-Yos, is in the Smithsonian Institution collection. He currently holds the Guinness World Record for the largest yo-yo collection. An avid swimmer, he is a former Masters world record holder and national champion. A member of the Screen Actors Guild, he wrote and directed National Lampoon's RoboDoc Dissected: The Making of RoboDoc.
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One Response to Underwater Hockey Gear for New Players

  1. Bojackthehorseman says:

    Forget swim trunks. When I first played I got a speedo. At first I was nervous. But then it became real comfortable and easy to move in the water.

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