If you are active in other forms of underwater sport such as free diving or scuba you may already have some of the equipment that you will need. Be aware that some types of gear such as masks and fins might not be suitable please check with your host club before playing to ensure that your equipment is up to standard. Most clubs will have some equipment available for people to use if they just want to have a go but once you get serious about it you will need to buy your own. There are some links to Underwater hockey equipment suppliers at the bottom of the blog.
The face mask is a very important part of your equipment and we suggest that you don’t buy one online but rather go to a reputable dive shop and try them out in the shop. Make sure that you get a mask with separate lenses such as the one in the picture as single-lens masks are not allowed in hockey for safety reasons. Also, make sure that your lenses are made from tempered glass and that it seals properly on your face. Try to get the mask with the lowest volume that you can and make sure that it has a robust strap and buckles and that they aren’t likely to stick out and hook on anything.
When it comes to snorkels less is more, the less air you rebreathe every time the better you will perform. Big fancy purge valves are not usually used in hockey as they will slow you down and most experienced players will cut their snorkel down to the shortest practical length that can get away with. We don’t recommend that you shorten your snorkel until you have been playing for a while. In Underwater hockey, it is compulsory to wear a mouthguard on your snorkel or to protect your teeth with a gum guard.
Mouthguards are compulsory in Underwater Hockey
Caps are also compulsory and they need to have adequate ear protection to protect your eardrums from hydraulic shock in the event that you bump your ear against a body underwater. In a competition, one team will wear a light coloured cap while the other will wear a dark cap to help identify the players underwater. caps are usually purchased in pairs and can be bought from a reputable online underwater hockey store.
As with the snorkel when it comes to togs less is more. Often beginners start out with baggy board shorts but they soon realise how much it slows them down and they switch to something more streamlined. Just remember to rinse them out every time you use them as the chlorine in pool water will destroy them in no time.
There are many types of fins available and elite players often spend outrageous sums of money on fins, at the same time there are really cheap fins available that will be absolutely hopeless for hockey. We recommend that you start off with a good quality fin that is reasonably priced such as these high-performance Najade fins available from Encounter freediving.
Using really strong fins will put some serious strain on your legs and we don’t recommend buying high-level competition fins until you have been playing for a while.
Using a glove while playing hockey is essential as you are likely to have your knuckles come into contact with the puck. You are also likely to scrape your knuckles on the bottom of the pool while playing. Although it was common practice for everyone to make their own gloves up until recently there are now plenty of gloves available online. The only rule about gloves that you need to be aware of is that they may not be the same colour as your stick and that’s why there are so many unusually coloured gloves available.
Sticks were also usually homemade but recent changes to the rules allowing the use of plastics resulted in an explosion of high quality manufactured sticks. these are available online at Underwater Hockey stores. Most clubs will have some sticks for beginners to use and we suggest that you use these for a while until you have decided what type of stick will suit you best.
Sticks are sold in pairs and in a game, one team will have black sticks and the other white to help identify the players. Left-handed players will need to purchase left-handed sticks.
We recommend that you also have some ear drops in your kit bag to help dry your ears after the game. If you become as addicted to hockey as some of us, your ears will be constantly underwater and the last thing you need is an ear-ache to sideline you.
The right gear will help you enjoy the game.
We recommend that you check out these suppliers of underwater hockey gear.