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Old 13-02-2009, 21:39   #1
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Snorkeling Gear

Hi folks,

Does anyone have recommendations for specific snorkel brands? I am looking for a submersible, but some reviews online suggest false advertising. (says submersible, but isn't)

I found this one on amazon that seems decent, but I really have no idea.... I've never purchased a snorkel before, and am not looking for top of the line, but something serviceable.
Amazon.com: U.S. Divers Sideview Silicone Mask and Total Dry Submersible Snorkel Combo Set: Sports & Outdoors

thanks for any insight!
Sarah
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Old 14-02-2009, 02:27   #2
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I don't go for the baubly bit on the end. A snorkel thats a normal tube is the go and should cost about $5 .... but of course the marketing mobs have got into it and decided we need to pay more so they have over-engineered the tube!
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Old 14-02-2009, 03:50   #3
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I don't go for the baubly bit on the end. A snorkel thats a normal tube is the go and should cost about $5 .... but of course the marketing mobs have got into it and decided we need to pay more so they have over-engineered the tube!
Mark - why not? Just curious... why do you think it is over engineering? I thought the point was to stop water from entering the snorkel when you go under, that should be a good thing, right?

Also, do you have a favorite brand or a recommendation on who to stay away from?

Thanks!
Sarah
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Old 14-02-2009, 04:02   #4
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Sarah,
If I may join this discussion. I am an experienced free diver (snorkel and face mask) I have been as deep as 125 feet. The idea is not to keep water out of the snorkel; it is to keep water out of your lungs! When you surface you always start by forceably exhaling. This clears all of the water out of the snorkel. You don't need any thing restricting the clearing of that water. You will want to exhale strongly when you surface! You do want some way to pinch your nose to equalize your ears as you go deep.
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Old 14-02-2009, 04:03   #5
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Sarah,
there is not any particular manufacturer to stay away from. You want a silicone snorkel. A purge valve in the mouthpiece makes clearing the snorkel easy. Most of the top thingies don't work that well, cost you more money. You will get water in the snorkel no matter what the design. Just learn how to clear it....it's not hard in the least.

sample Snorkel-Mart | Snorkel Gear | Snorkeling Equipment | Snorkeling Combos |
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Old 14-02-2009, 04:37   #6
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[quote=Cowboy Sailer;254697]Sarah,
The idea is not to keep water out of the snorkel; it is to keep water out of your lungs! quote]

Ha! Yes, of course. I suppose as a novice snorkeler I read it: snorkel water free : lungs water free. Thanks for the advice!
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Old 14-02-2009, 04:41   #7
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Sarah,
there is not any particular manufacturer to stay away from. You want a silicone snorkel. A purge valve in the mouthpiece makes clearing the snorkel easy. Most of the top thingies don't work that well, cost you more money. You will get water in the snorkel no matter what the design. Just learn how to clear it....it's not hard in the least.

sample Snorkel-Mart | Snorkel Gear | Snorkeling Equipment | Snorkeling Combos |

Thank you for the advice! This gives me a better idea about what to look for.... and what not to waste my "cruising chips" on.

Sarah
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Old 14-02-2009, 05:26   #8
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Some good equipment advice at Freediving Gear:
Equipment Chapter from Freedive by Terry Maas and David Sipperly
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Old 14-02-2009, 22:24   #9
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Second everything said here. Get a plain, straight tube snorkel. Never heard of a fancy "dry" snorkel that really worked and all of them increase the difficulty of breathing.

One thing on masks, do NOT get a clear silicone mask. The sales guys at the shops try to sell these because they "let more light in". You don't want light inside the mask, it makes glare in the inside of the glass and makes it harder to see. Get a black mask. The only place I ever recommend a clear mask is in cave or wreck diving where a clear mask skirt will let you more easily see your dive partner's light from behind and there is no ambient light to cause glare.
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Old 16-02-2009, 09:22   #10
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+1 on a simple snorkel. Not so +1 on the mask skirt issue. IMHO, it's one of those Ford vs. Chevy things - y'know, it's not a matter of life or death, it's more important than that. Most clear skirts cloud up over time due to use. In all of my diving with a clear (sic) skirt, it's never bothered me. But if a black frame and skirt makes your day, go for it. What does matter is the seal.

There is nothing more annoying than a mask that doesn't seal well. Three things play a role here and two you're kinda stuck with. The easy one first: if you have a moustache, you've got a problem because the skirt will never really seal well. You can trim a little of the top of the moustache, you can try putting KY or silicon jelly on it (NEVER use Vaseline or other petroleum jellies!!! It'll rot the skirt!!!), you can shave it off, or get good at clearing your mask in the water. I'm good with mask clearing but the slow leaks can still be a pain (some days the mask seals well, some days it doesn't). The other two factors: 1) face and skull shape - we're all different; some masks are better with wide faces, some aren't, etc. and, 2) some of us have more wrinkles than others and they're in different places; water can wick in along some wrinkles.

The best test for a mask is to stick it on your face, inhale through your nose, and see how well the mask stays on without the strap. A really good seal will be pretty obvious, as will a really bad seal. Some masks, unfortunately, won't really show their true behavior until you're in the water. So it goes.

(Added hint: believe it or not, a loose mask strap generally seals better than yanking the thing so tight your brain tries to pop out of your ears. Make sure the strap runs across the "knot" at the back of your head and not down at the top of you neck. Again, the fit and seal will be better.)

There are, of course, all manner of mask gimmicks. You can get filters that supposedly shift color balance towards the red, for example. A simple mask with two lenses will do it for most folks. Oh, yeah, and you can either buy stick-on lenses (for reading gauges) or have lenses made for some (but not all) frames. I have a bi-focal lens set which works nicely for my eyes. YMMV, of course.

One final bit of advice - don't buy a mask, snorkel, fin set, even if Jacques (or Phillipe) Cousteau personally autographed the box. Take the time to get gear that fits you properly. It's the difference between "WOW!!! Snorkelling is sooooo cool" and "Gasp! Sputter! Dis sux!!!".

Added nose squeezing: Hoo boy... clearing (or popping) your ears. For some people, all that's needed is to swallow and things are fine. For some people, it's a major undertaking. I'm lucky in that a simple swallow gets it done for me. A couple of tips here: first, clear early and often. Second, ear squeeze can happen in as little as 5-6 feet down (easy swimming pool depth). Clearing soon and often is important because once the bits and pieces in your head that are saying "free me up!!" become harder to clear the longer you wait.

NEVER, EVER wear ear plugs! Once again, NEVER, EVER wear ear plugs! If you're worried about infections, there are a number of OTC products to disinfect your ears after snorkelling or diving. Plugs will not help here and it's too easy for them to pop into the ear canal and possibly rupture an ear drum. And that you really don't want to know about. I rescued a diver who popped an ear drum (poor clearing brought on by terrible depth control, if you want to know) and it wasn't pretty.
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Old 16-02-2009, 09:42   #11
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Plain tube, puff the water out when you suface you'll sound just like Flipper!
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Old 16-02-2009, 09:46   #12
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[/ROFL]!!!! So true!
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Old 16-02-2009, 12:00   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RBEmerson View Post
+1 on a simple snorkel. Not so +1 on the mask skirt issue. IMHO, it's one of those Ford vs. Chevy things - y'know, it's not a matter of life or death, it's more important than that.
Definitely not life and death, just a matter of personal preference. Just in my experience shallow snorkeling (20' or less) in tropical water with a bright, tropical sun I would get a lot of glare on the mask when looking under coral heads and dark ledges to spot whatever critter was lurking there. So takes a pretty specific set of circumstances where the clear skirt is really annoying to me but then I do a lot of that kind of thing when in the tropics. So since it was so easy to buy one in black it was worthwhile to go with it. Plus I see no advantage to the clear skirt so why do it? If you can tell me what advantage I missed I am all ears since I have 2-3 old masks with clear skirts collecting dust.
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Old 16-02-2009, 16:50   #14
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Um, that was a lame attempt at humor by hyperbole, saying the choice of clear vs black frames and skirts isn't a matter of life or death, but more important than that!

Um, er, yeah... if it has to be explained, it ain't that funny.
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Old 16-02-2009, 18:17   #15
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Sarah,
If I may join this discussion. I am an experienced free diver (snorkel and face mask) I have been as deep as 125 feet. The idea is not to keep water out of the snorkel; it is to keep water out of your lungs! When you surface you always start by forceably exhaling. This clears all of the water out of the snorkel. You don't need any thing restricting the clearing of that water. You will want to exhale strongly when you surface! You do want some way to pinch your nose to equalize your ears as you go deep.
I used to free dive for years, and I agree with you. Btw, if you turn your head to the side to much or upside down, the water will come in these tubes anyway. Just get a straight tube and learn out to use it...it's easy.
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