About your Snorkel
A snorkel will be your most important piece of gear along with your mask. It is an amazing tool that allows you the privilege of keeping your face below the water surface while viewing the beautiful underwater world. Your snorkel should grant the ability to breathe easy while swimming or snorkeling or even taking a break at the water surface. A snorkel is a very personal item, considering you will be putting it in your mouth. Snorkels have many different features to consider. We’ll help explain these features to best guide you on your way for choosing one for yourself. The most important thing to know is that your snorkel allows you to view the underwater world without having to lift your face out of the water to breathe. Things can move fast underwater so you don’t want to miss a moment of it.
What’s the difference between an open top, semi-dry top, or dry top?
A dry top snorkel often has a dome built around the top of the snorkel. The domed area houses a floating valve and this is how it works; when water makes contact with the top of the snorkel it activates the floating valve, closing it off to seal out any potential of water entering the snorkel tube. This feature works well when encountered with splashing, rough water or even when diving below the surface. After the water subsides from around the top of the snorkel, you may resume normal easy breathing without the need for clearing unwanted water from your snorkel. Remember, this does not allow you to breath underwater.
The semi-dry top is also known as a splash guard by some manufacturers. The function of a semi-dry top is to help prevent water from entering your snorkel through the top opening of your snorkel. This may be achieved with specially designed vents and covers that angle or direct the water away from entering through the snorkel opening. This style snorkel top will not keep water from getting into the snorkel when fully submerged. So, it must be cleared of water by firmly exhaling.
The “classic”, the “J-style”, the “traditional”, are all names this style snorkel is known by. This snorkel top is typically found on basic tube style snorkels. These are usually entry level snorkels and often used as a backup snorkel. It is essentially a tube with a mouthpiece attached to one end. This open top style snorkel is usually found on snorkels that don’t offer a purge valve, making them the most difficult to keep water out. These snorkels may also be the most challenging to clear water from once the water has entered.
Types of Snorkel Tubes
Purge valves are included on most snorkels these days. The purge valve is a one-way valve commonly found at the bottom end of the snorkel. The purge valve makes it easier for a snorkeler to clear out any water that may have entered the snorkel tube. With little effort, exhale and the water is easily forced out through the valve. This expends much less effort than having to blow the water out through the top of the snorkel.
Mask Strap Attachments
Need Kids Size?
In general, not all of the options discussed above are available in smaller sizing for kids, but there are some very good kids combo sets out there that will have everything you need. There are masks that can accommodate a smaller size face as well as snorkels with shorter tubes and smaller mouthpieces. See this Youth Single-Window Combo Set for Kids offered by Reef Tourer with a 3-Year Warranty and many color options. It offers a semi-dry snorkel with a purge valve and a nice 1-window mask for the best viewing experience.
Snorkel features to look for:
How to clear your snorkel
Just because you have a snorkel, this doesn’t mean you can breathe under water. Water can still enter through the top of the snorkel if a wave comes or if it dips below the surface. To avoid swallowing water, you will need to clear the snorkel. The “snorkel clear” is the technique of exhaling “HUH” and blowing any water in the pipe, either out through the top or through the purge at the base (not all snorkels come with a purge valve).
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