St. Albans Underwater Hockey Team
Each player ends up favouring different bits of kit but if you\'re just starting out in the sport and you want to know what bits and pieces to look out for and why here\'s the low down on our club players choice of kit.
When selecting a fin for octopush ensure it is a full foot fin, has no sharp edges and that it fits well. Bare in mind you can wear lyrca or neoprene socks to prevent chaffing and secure a better fit. Also many players choose to wear fin retainers to secure the fin to prevent them becoming dislodged in a game scenario. Listed here are some recommended fins:
Cressi Sub Ala\'s
Despite the fact they ceased production years ago they are club favourites throughout the country. Nimble and reliable they seem to last forever. There are rumours they are produced in one off batches every few years, but I don\'t know if this is true - if so keep your eyes peeled for this medium sized single mould fin.
Mares Plana Avanti Quattro Powers
These are the big daddy of the fins and the choice of most competitive octopush players. They took the sport by storm before Mares bizarre decision to stop production - what is it with fin manufacturers?!? Enormous power and speed though less manoeverable than the Ala\'s. For some the blades are too big and place too much strain on the ankle\'s and lower legs. Not so good for small people. The only way to source these fins currently is to trawl far flung dive shops around the world for unsold stock.
NEWS FLASH: NOW BACK IN PRODUCTION! Retailing at £55
Mares Plana Avanti Tre & HP The smaller fins from the Mares Plana range. The Tre blades are slightly larger than the HP\'s and are popular with smaller players and those that can\'t get their hands on the Quattro\'s
Mares Plana Avanti Tre & HP
The smaller fins from the Mares Plana range. The Tre blades are slightly larger than the HP\'s and are popular with smaller players and those that can\'t get their hands on the Quattro\'s
A new breed of fins purpose made for underwater hockey in small numbers. Hence the price is steep and they feel very different to the fins above. Carbon blades have a lot moe flex and make for nimble movments. Opinion is split and they are either love or hate items. They are practically custom made so there are many options on various features.
Another low volume manufacturer making underwater rugby and underwater hockey specific fins as well as freediving and spearfishing kit. High quality products, again not cheap and come in a wide range of models and options.
For pics see the link on the links page.
For octopush you need a low profile mask with a wide field of view. Masks come in a variety of shapes but people\'s face\'s come in even more shapes and sizes. Try before you buy is the golden tip and get one that fits the face and produces a good water tight seal. Make sure your hair and hat are not caught under the mask.
Technisub Falco (also called the Aqualung Falco)
Very low profile and the incredible field of view with no distortion due to flat side windows. A great mask if a little fragile and prone to breaking.
Technisub Sphera (also called the Aqualung Sphera)
Very similar to the Falco above but the mask is even more low profile which it achieves by having single curved lenses each side of the mask. Whereas the Falco has flat lenses on the front and sides the Sphera\'s lenses curve around to the side of the mask. The major downside of this is it can give some players blurred vision, headaches and sickness all caused by the distortion of the lense. Having said that some people swear by them. One to try before you buy!
Scubapro Futura 1
An old skool mask built to take punishment! Where the Technisub masks break from bumps and knocks this mask will still be going strong. Despite the sturdy frame the visibility is impressive and it still maintains a very low profile.
Snorkels really boil down to personal preference and often players purchase unbranded snorkels. The features to look for are a wide bore, drain valve and no sharp edges. Ideally get a snorkel with a silicone valve housing or one piece mouth section. Many snorkels have solid plastic sections into which a valve sits. The problem with this is if you get a kick or puck in the mouth the energy will transfer through the snorkel straight onto your teeth. Silicone ones will absorb and disperese the energy. If you buy a snorkel with a splash guard on top cut it off and through it away ... they\'re for people who splash about in the med once a year for a couple of days ... not for sportsmen! It\'s common for snorkels to be cut down to short lengths to avoid drag and tangles in the water. Many snorkels are over £20 in dive shops, yet you can get perfectly adequate snorkels for £2-5!!
Scubapro Twin Valve Shotgun 2
A popular model with two valves reduce inhalation of water and the flat profile.
Good wide bore and two drain valves for those that struggle with water in the mouth. The downside is the silicone mouth piece is fixed to a solid plastic valve housing which could damage your teeth in an impact.
My favourite snorkel. Once it\'s cut down the entire snorkel is robust, flexible and the mouth section is very safe for the teeth as the mouth/valve housing section is entirely silicone.
They\'re boring but you\'ll need them. They stop your fins coming off when the going gets tough. Get the right size for your hoof and read some of my other more interesting bits of the guide!
Mandatory in competitive play and bloody sensible in training too. Stops your teeth becoming consumables. Sold at the boashop in white or black. Using a stanley knife cut away the protective bas to fit over your choosen snorkel.
Traditionally, players made their own wooden bats customised to their own playing styles. Now bats can be purchased and gaining in huge popularity are \'plastic/rubber\' bats. Left handers are still restricted in choice somewhat.
A traditional wooden bat and a modern plastic moulded bat.
A traditional wooden bat and a modern plastic moulded bat.
The market has now exploded with more sticks ... check the link page for retailers and a plethora of models!!
These have also been traditionally a DIY item with no glove made alike. Each player typically customised gloves to their own design. Some looking very professional, others looking like and accident between a gardening glove and a pile of duct tape. I personally like making my own gloves - for my choosen method please look at my DIY guide to glove making. Most gloves are covered with either latex, silicone or polyurethane.
Underwater hockey players use water polo hats. You need a white one and either a blue or black one. Normally clubs buy them in sets so you should be able to purchase an unused number from their stock. All hats have plastic ear protectors which are vital to prevent damage to both the inner and outer ear.
Normal tight fitting swimsuits apply. Teams will normally have designated colours or styles. Don't wear boardshorts!! You'll look as silly as a surfer in Speedo's!! Plus they drag and get caught on masks and snorkels.
Not practical ...
Socks Neoprene or lycra socks stop or reduce sore feet as fins can cause some people blisters and they can also improve the fit of a fin on the foot.
Neoprene or lycra socks stop or reduce sore feet as fins can cause some people blisters and they can also improve the fit of a fin on the foot.