The End (of sunburn) – my total UV block solution!

I am the man who hides behind a mask

(from the Sun)!

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2019 kayakfari cape romano sea kayak camp sandbar goodland face burned

The nose is the most prominent feature of any face, esp mine.
It’s always prone to sunburn!

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The South Florida sun can be brutal and relentless! Even in winter, it’s like regular summer up north. During the hot 6 – 8 months of the year we get roasted day in, day out! For years I’ve been using various sunscreens / sunblock with varying levels of success. I found I need to re-apply hourly and I really don’t like the mess that tends to stick to hands an anything I put up to my eye, like a camera.

Fabric face protectors, buffs, face savers or neck gaiters work pretty good but also have their limits. For one breathing is more difficult. Also they tend to really fog up sunglasses. I also found that because they get stretched across the nose, the UV protection is reduced and my nose would still be red after just a few hours.

Of course I combine this with a wide brimmed hat, sometimes even a giant Mexican Sombrero and that does help. Still I needed a more low profile and compact solution for when working out in my surfski!

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Like many paddlers I have several fabric face protectors. They work OK, except that sometimes they hinder breathing and the exhalations tend to fog up sunglasses. Also my nose would still turn red! 😦

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Flex Maslan kayak sun face protector kayakfari fantom mask everglades shade sunburn breathe skull florida hot paddle

In search of better nose coverage, at first I considered the simple Groucho Marx nose protector.

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Enter the “Fantom” face mask! It is an actual mask that attaches to the ears and / or sunglasses frames. It is a total sun block and works on the same principle as the Groucho Marx nose protector! 😉

It is made from a form stitched fabric with a thin foam liner on the inside. It’s made to offer wind and thermal protection in high altitude and cold climates, but it works just as well to insulate from the UV and the tropical heat. I rinse after each use and have found it to remain clean and scent-free. Because the nostrils are open, breathing is easy and the mouth opens just enough to be able to drink or spit out with it on. It’s also possible to (* cough, cough *) smoke with it on if one is so inclined. Eating is more difficult except in the case of say an energy bar.

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Flex Maslan kayak sun face protector kayakfari fantom mask everglades shade sunburn breathe skull florida hot paddle

Then the solution came to me in the form of the Fantom mask.
Since my nostrils have unhindered clear access to fresh air I breathe much easier and stay cooler!

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Note:

I am in no way affiliated and have no commercial interest in the company other than that the product works well for me (other than the fading)!

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Flex Maslan kayak sun face protector kayakfari fantom mask everglades shade sunburn breathe skull florida hot paddle

The Fantom is literally a “face mask” and is made of stitched fabric and some kind of thin foam lining on the inside. Looks to be decently made in the USA although the color quickly faded!

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The kayaker awoke before dawn, he put his spray skirt on.

He took a face from the ancient gallery.

And he paddled on down the shore.

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Flex Maslan kayak sun face protector kayakfari fantom mask everglades shade sunburn breathe skull florida hot paddle

I took a face from the ancient gallery! 😉
The inside lining is a porous foam like material which does not stick to skin and feels like it’s not there.

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Mask of Agamemnon Flex Maslan kayak sun face protector kayakfari fantom mask everglades shade sunburn breathe skull florida hot paddle

Reminds me somewhat of the Mask of Agamemnon!

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Flex Maslan kayak sun face protector kayakfari fantom mask everglades shade sunburn breathe skull florida hot paddle

I have now crossed over to the Fantom side. Excellent, excellent!!
Chickees and Keys in Florida Bay – Kayaking, Camping and Nice Dreams!

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He popped into a bay where the dolphins lived, and…then he

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Flex Maslan kayak sun face protector kayakfari fantom mask everglades shade sunburn breathe skull florida hot paddle

In the outback I like to combine the mask with a regular fabric protector for complete neck, head and face coverage.

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Flex Maslan kayak sun face protector kayakfari fantom mask everglades shade sunburn breathe skull florida hot paddle

A great benefit is the ability to drink without taking anything off! 😮
Let’s take a Ranger-led Pour of the Everglades!

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Paid a visit to his kayak dealer, and then he

He paddled on down the mangrove tunnel, and

And he came out to a clearing … and he looked outside.

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Flex Maslan kayak sun face protector kayakfari fantom mask everglades shade sunburn breathe skull florida hot paddle

No more red nose!! I have no more use for chemical sunscreens either!

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In actual sport use I find that I forget that it’s even on after a few minutes. I’ve worn it wet or dry and it doesn’t make much difference. It does not stick to my face and feels neutral / cool in the middle of the day. Depending on the weather, I like to combine it with one or two regular fabric face protectors for complete UV head and neck coverage. Paired with a long sleeve UV shirt, paddling gloves and quick dry nylon pants (when needed) I now have full body UV coverage!! 🙂

Of course other people do notice and it matches well with the look of my GREY GHOST surfski (Stellar SES)!

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Flex Maslan kayak sun face protector kayakfari fantom mask everglades shade sunburn breathe skull florida hot paddle

This particular style matches well with my surfski, the Grey Ghost! 🙂

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Father Sun, yes human? I want to protect myself from you

Mother Ocean … I want to … roam you!

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Flex Maslan kayak sun face protector kayakfari fantom mask everglades shade sunburn breathe skull florida hot paddle

Just offshore in Dania Beach.

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I have no more use for chemical sunscreens!! 🙂

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Flex Maslan kayak sun face protector kayakfari fantom mask everglades shade sunburn breathe skull florida hot paddle

Watching two ships leaving port .. “RGB” is a Kirton K1 trainer kayak which weighs only about 25 lbs!

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Flex Maslan kayak sun face protector kayakfari fantom mask everglades shade sunburn breathe skull florida hot paddle

I’m not saying that I joined the dark side, but sometimes I like to wear my sunglasses at night!
This was the original color before it faded.

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Flex Maslan kayak sun face protector kayakfari fantom mask everglades shade sunburn breathe skull florida hot paddle

In more social contexts the mask is a lot of fun and it’s interesting how people respond to it .. 😮

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I’ve been using this mask two or three times a week, pretty much every time I paddle now. I do rinse it in fresh water after each use and let it drip dry. It’s holding up well, except for the color. As you can see above it has faded to a muted pale green, different from the nice dark blue color it started out as. This actually started happening within the first two months. It still works just as well providing total sunblock, but the looks aren’t quite the same anymore. Unfortunately though, the company does not stand behind it’s product!

So on the one hand this shows just how strong the UV index can be in South Florida, and on the other the irony of the product fading while doing it’s job!  I am thinking of maybe penciling it in with a magic marker, idk .. 😉

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The mask pairs well with a large Sombrero too, but note how it has faded to a muted green now.
A kayaker’s tribute to the humble and versatile Sombrero!

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Summary:

Pros

Durable material and stitching

Comfortable to wear

Easy to breathe through

Blocks 100% – works!

Cons

Printed design faded quickly in under two months

No guarantee

Company does not support the product – no response!

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flex maslan kayakfari photographer kayak everglades paddle adventure fisheye Florida Bay ten thousand camp

Photographer on the loose in the Everglades at Shark Valley!
Kayakfari ART Photography.

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Lyrics adapted from “The End” by The Doors, Elektra Records 1967.

Fair Use – Parody/humor.

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! BLESS – Feel Irie

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© 2019 Flex Maslan / kayakfari.com / awakenthegrass.com . All original photographs, artworks and music in this portfolio are copyrighted and owned by the artist, Flex Maslan, unless otherwise noted. Any reproduction, modification, publication, transmission, transfer, or exploitation of any of the content, for personal or commercial use, whether in whole or in part, without written permission from the artist is strictly prohibited.

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I hereby disclaim any sponsorship, endorsement, nor association with any product or service described herein. The photographs, depictions, products, and ideas presented on this site are for informational purposes only. Your results may vary, and I do not imply nor guarantee the effectiveness, suitability, design or operation to adhere to any standard. I assume no legal responsibility for the implementation of anything herein presented! Use any and all information at your own risk! By using any and all information from this website, you accept the final liability for any use or possible associated misuse!

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With that said..
Blessings friends!

🙂