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Snorkels are to skin diving as scubas are to scuba diving.
To be able to swim with fins for long distances, while keeping the head looking
down, and not having to turn and breathe makes all the difference in the world.
Some of the things to look for when purchasing a snorkel
Make sure the bore of the snorkel is the right size. If your middle
finger fits snugly in the top of the snorkel it is correct. A snorkel
bore that is too small will not allow enough air to flow through and will
make breathing hard. One that is too large will be difficult to clear water
Some snorkels have a flexible section near the mouthpiece. The section is
corrugated so if it is bent it will not close. The reason for the flex is
to allow the snorkel to hang straight when not in use. In that way it does
not interfere with the scuba regulator. Be sure the interior of the corrugated
section is smooth. The corrugations should not continue on the inside because
water will trickle down the grooves and into the diver's mouth
The snorkel may have a purge valve. This is usually a one-way flap at the
bottom. Its purpose is to let the water fall through this valve when the
diver surfaces. The water in the snorkel will fall to the level of the ocean's
surface. The remainder of the water should be blown out by the diver forcefully
exhaling. Some will go out the top and some will go out the purge valve.
Unfortunately, purge valves will leak if they get the slightest sand under
them. If a leak occurs the diver has to bend the purge valve flap back and
rinse all the sand from the area. Purge valves add a minor amount to the
price of the snorkel.
Check to see how the snorkel is removed from the mask. Some snorkel keepers
are in the shape of a figure eight. Sliding them up and down a dry snorkel
is difficult. For those, most divers simply leave the snorkel attached to
the mask. However, if you have purchased a mask box for storing the mask,
it will be impossible to close it with the snorkel attached. Try to purchase
a snorkel with an easy mechanism for removing it from the strap of the mask.
The mouthpiece should be comfortable in the mouth. After all, you may be
biting on this for several hours at a time. As gross as it may seem, stick
the thing in your mouth prior to the purchase. The dive shop should have
an antiseptic spray, or at least a sink with soap and water, to sanitize
Silicone is the way to go. Forget the black rubber varieties. They rot from
oil and the sun. They hide contamination. However, see the comments below
about the minor problems with silicone.
- You do not need any device to keep the water from entering the snorkel
when going under water. Learn to blow the water from the snorkel as experienced
divers do. It will save you money and increase your air flow.
Some snorkels have mouthpieces that are a permanent part of it. Once you
bite through the teeth grips the snorkel is rendered useless, or at best,
annoying: Try to purchase a snorkel that has a removeable mouthpiece. In
that way, if the mouthpiece is destroyed a new one can be purchased at Deep-Six
for only a few dollars.
The mouthpiece is cannot be removed
A replaceable mouthpiece - best
Snorkels are traditionally worn on the left side of the
diver's mask. That tradition began because the scuba regulator comes over
the right shoulder and both would conflict with the snorkel if it were on
the same side.
The snorkel should be attached to the outside of the
mask strap rather than putting it under it. Masks may leak if the snorkel
is between the strap and the head, if a keeper is not use the snorkel may
be lost without warning, and it becomes uncomfortable after a period of time
to have it pressed against the head.
Proper breathing is important for pleasurable skin-diving.
The breaths should be longer and deeper (not faster) than usual. It is important
to blow as much air out of the lungs as is comfortable. Short breaths would
simply fill the snorkel with waste air that would be inhaled when breathing
in. A real shallow breath would not bring in any fresh air and the diver would
suffer from oxygen starvation. Long, slow breaths are the key to enjoyable skin
dives. The exhale should be fast followed by a deep inhale. Then hold your breath
for a short time. That will help to maintain buoyancy.
Lastly, there are two methods of getting water out of
a non-purge valve snorkel. One is to surface and blow as hard as possible
through the mouth. This burst of air should eliminate most, if not all, the
water from the snorkel. Be careful on the inhale. Start slowly just in case
there is still a little water remaining. If so, there will be a sprinkling
of water drops into the mouth. A quick inhale could cause choking. If there
is water in the snorkel, breathe in slowly until the lungs have sufficient
air to blow out hard again.
The second method has to be done in water where
the diver can rise to the surface in a vertical position. On the way up, the
head is tilted back so the diver is looking directly at the surface. As the
surface is neared, air is gently blown into the snorkel continuously. As soon
as the surface is reached, the head is brought to the position where the diver
is looking toward the bottom. The snorkel should be completely empty. The effort
is so slight compared to the forceful exhalation technique, skin diving can
be done for hours without chest discomfort.
- Anti-splash guard at the top (no water in your mouth from waves or spray)
- Very flexible base (corrugated) with a smooth interior
- Very comfortable mouthpiece
- Mouthpiece is replaceable
- Large, flexible, 4-hole purge valve
- Water well in bottom to contain residual water
- Very quick on and off snorkel keeper
- Very easy clearing
- Many colors available
- This is our largest seller
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