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Mask and snorkel?

Discussion in 'New Divers and Those Considering Diving' started by BellDive, Apr 9, 2012.

  1. BellDive

    BellDive Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Israel
    Hey all, so I went to buy mask n snorkel so I cod start practicing in pool but ended up not buying as was not sure suddenly what to look for. Questions: 1) does snorkel tip have to be orange? Most in the sets were not and they were all from Mares.2) it's. Etter that mask eyes areseperate or one space? 3) what to look out for? Thank you all!
  2. FoxHound

    FoxHound Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Canada
    A snorkel is a snorkel is a snorkel really......nothing really amazing to look out for that way. Most important thing when looking for a mask is fit and comfort....usually they go hand in hand.....if a mask fits, its comfortable, if it doesn't fit it wont be comfortable.

    Most people will tell you about how such and such a name brand fits them....well that's great but everyone's face is different......find the one that fits your face and all will be good!
  3. Lemna

    Lemna DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Belgium
    The all important thing is fit. If a mask doesn't fit it won't do you any good. Bonus points for being small: easier to clear when it floods. And like FoxHound says: a snorkel is a snorkel. Inexpensive and simple is what you are looking for.
  4. DivemasterDennis

    DivemasterDennis DivemasterDennis ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Lakewood, Colorado
    In a snorkel, you want a decent diameter barrel, a flex hose up to the mouth piece, and a clearing "valve" in the bottom of the mouth piece. As to a Mask, fit is everything. Decent snorkel around here is about $30.00 A good mask, anywhere from $50 to $120.00.
  5. danvolker

    danvolker Dive Shop

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Lake Worth, Florida, United States
    I am going to differ from many here on the response.... I think you should get a freedive mask and snorkel, and LEARN the proper snorkel technique.
    FReedivers get annoyed when they see scuba divers with such poor snorkelling skills, that they need to use a snorkel with purge buit into it.

    While having a "dry" or purge equiped snorkel means you do not need to LEARN any new skill, it also drastically limits your abilities in snorkeling.
    Dry snorkels tend to become a problem when you need them the most....like when you need to use the snorkel due to no air in your tank, or to save some air in your tank, and the waves have become so large that the auto purge on the no-skill snorkels begins to constantly mal-function, and you suddenly can't breathe well. Or, the horrible flexible hose snorkels so many scuba divers end up with, that allow the tube of the snorkel to flop around, if the waves get large--just when you need to be able to point the top some place and keep it there.
    A real freediver type snorke will COST LESS that the nonsense flex hose and Dry / purge snorkels....the fancy no-skill snorkels can run upwards of $80 for junk that can fail when you need the snorkel most...the Freediver versions tend to be more like $20 to $30, are much wider bore so you can breathe easier, and have less CO2 buildup than the fancy no-skill scuba diver snorkels.

    A freedive type snorkel requires someone to "teach you" how to blow water out of the snorkel tube after you go under water. While not intuitive, this is so easy, that if someone is so uncordinated that they can't learn this in 30 minutes, then they should not ever become a scuba diver.. Period.
    As a scuba diver, you SHOULD get good snorkeling without your tank on....this is really far more important than how well you can swim....
    For a scuba diver that finds them self on the surface far from shore, freediver skills with mask and snorkel will allow them to be absolutely comfortable in 8 foot seas or larger, and to be able to relax for many hours like this...swimming in an appropriate direction.
    As a scuba diver, the very KNOWLEDGE of how competent you would be on the surface, with or without air in your tank, means a huge amount to your comfort level as a diver in the water.

    A nice Bonus is that now when you would like, you can enjoy snorkeling as much as scuba diving, whenever you have the opportunity.

    Best mask will often be a freedive mask as well...they usually cost less than scuba masks, are less likely to leak if they fit well, since they tend to have better seals, and the low volume nature is a plus for scuba....

    One place to look is https://www.flfreedivers.com/store/index.php?cPath=40&osCsid=p4jh464v0ggmm90cbilatcp9v6 for snorkels...
    or for masks https://www.flfreedivers.com/store/index.php?cPath=25&osCsid=p4jh464v0ggmm90cbilatcp9v6

    or for fins https://www.flfreedivers.com/store/index.php?cPath=218_216&osCsid=p4jh464v0ggmm90cbilatcp9v6 with Amazon doing the fins also for cheap Amazon.com: Cressi Men's Gara 3000 LD Long-Distance Long Blade Diving Fins: Sports & Outdoors cressis that are soft enough for a new diver to feel no exertion with.... The fins thing gets religious... if you want scuba fins, fine, I am not going to argue that point....the snorkel issue though I will hammer on ! :)
    agilis and g1138 like this.
  6. DM_cappie

    DM_cappie Divemaster

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Beaufort, SC
    I agree with danvolker IF you only want to do free diving and just that....
    however if your looking to practice for dive certification then Id say go out and buy the least expensive model you can find that has a flex hose, comfortable mouthpiece, and clearing valve at the bottom. While the free diving snorkels are nice, because they don't have a flex hose portion when your done practicing and move to scuba, the snorkel will interfere with the regulator underwater. this will lead to buying a new snorkel for diving and all the technique you picked up in the pool with the free diving snorkel will have to be tweaked for the new snorkel.
    As far as mask goes, don't get too concerned about color or style, try as many as you can and see how they fit on your face, from there you can select the color and style you want. personally I favor the low volume single pane masks, but you may find a different style fits and works better for you.
  7. danvolker

    danvolker Dive Shop

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Lake Worth, Florida, United States
    Again.....if this is just an agency issue, and you will never again use the snorkel, then fine..get the floppy hose snorkel, don't really learn the skill, and hope you never find yourself wishing you had freedive snorkelling skills at the surface.

    If you like the idea of having real life saving equipment like a freedive snorkel and the skill to use it, then you can easily figure out how you like carrying it or configuring it for the open water dives you will be doing.
    Even with my long hose/necklace reg configuration, I can comfortaBLY wear the freedive snorkel on my mask strap when scuba diving....occaisions where I might want to do this, would include a shore dive, or any dive where there was a good chance I might end up on my own on the surface for an extended period--as in any time you are on an anchor diving boat charter, and a current or bad weather comes up durring the dive.

    If there is only a very remote chance I might want it, then it can be stored in a thigh pocket on wet suit or dry suit ( which every diver should have --and use instead of BC pockets)...or in whatever other storage option the diver has with the rig they are using.

    Many dive instructors do not actually know how to use a freedive snorkel...and they need to spend 10 minutes to fix that !!! :)
    Once you learn how to use one, and try it in challenging conditions, versus the floppy hose version with purge in challenging conditions, you would never want to be in the floppy purge version again.....My advice is for Scuba Diving. It is aimed as much at the heads of the training agencies as it is at the OP.

    Dive Agencies use expedience in figuring out how to cut time and expense in training new students...the floppy purge snorkels fit the bill here.
    If you want to be BETTER on the surface than the average/mediocre diver, then learn the freediving techniques for surface snorkelling and in-water comfort...and apply this to your scuba diving! New divers CAN be better than average.
  8. g1138

    g1138 Marine Scientist

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Charleston, SC
    Common myth that freediving snorkels interfere with hoses. The main reason for this myth is because scuba divers w/ bad freediving skills push their snorkel butt up to the mask frame, where as divers with good freediving skills will push the snorkel back along the mask strap, using a snorkel keeper as an attachment. Doing this allows any snorkel to stay out of the way, and allows the snorkel to come straight and clean into the mouth when needed.

    With this method you don't need a flexible corrugated tube on your snorkel which is only needed when you push the snorkel butt up against the mask frame. With the snorkel pushed up to the mask frame, the corrugated tube allows the snorkel mouthpiece to fall clear of the hoses, where as the curve of the standard J-snorkel will hook onto hoses. With this configuration, the corrugated hose allows the bottom half of the snorkel to twist and curve into the diver's mouth. This corrugated tube however is still the bane of many diver's entanglement issues, which is why a lot of divers say to ditch the snorkel after class (how's that for wasting money?).

    With the snorkel pushed back along the mask strap, the mouthpiece (J-type or corrugated hose type) will be at your clavicle and clear of all hoses. With a snorkel keeper used as an attachment in this configuration, you'll be able to pivot the snorkel so it can come clean and straight into your mouth.
    With this configurations, the corrugate hose becomes a gimmick that's not needed at all. It serves no purpose.

    Dry snorkels can become jammed with large sand, restricting air flow entirely (depending on the beach this could be very likely to non-existent).
    The top dry valve also has a smaller orfice for air compared to a regular splash guard or plain snorkel. It also takes significantly longer to blast clear than an open top regular snorkel.
    Splash guard snorkels are nice, but not a necessity if you practice good skin diving skills.

    So for a snorkel, get a cheap J-valve snorkel, purge or no purge. I prefer no purge because it means you can blast clear as hard as you want. With purge snorkels a big blast clear might go out the bottom of the purge, meaning you have no air and still have all that water in the snorkel. A normal teen and adult will have enough lung power to blast clear any snorkel w/o a purge. With purge snorkels you often have to focus on using a light purge to really effectively clear the snorkel; this may sound ideal (using a light purge) but when your stressed it's very hard to control (ie during high waves, when you're winded, or when you're running low on breath).

    Masks are a different story. 2 pane masks tend to be less volume than 1 pane. Meaning it takes less air to clear your mask if it's flooded.
    1 pane tends to have a bigger peripheral view than 2 pane, but this can change depending on the manufacturer. You do NOT notice the "blind spot" in the middle of your mask on 2 pane masks, unless you go cross eyed.

    The most important thing about a mask is the fit. You should be able to hold the mask (w/ no strap) on your face by breathing in through your nose (using suction alone). A stellar fitting mask will have no gaps between your face and the skirt when you just lay it on your face, head tilted up. (once again, no mask strap, but no suction this time)

    Clear VS Black mask
    Clear allows more light in, which can create glare, but a feeling of less claustrophobia for some. The glare can be annoying if you're trying to use a camera or view into a dark nook for sealife.

    Black mask take away this glare, but can give you a feeling of claustrophobia. If you're not claustrophobic, then it shouldn't matter.
    I prefer black mask because during sunny days you're not constantly squinting on the surface. The mask can act like a visor against the sun if you turn your head the right way.

    Purge or no Purge mask
    Like snorkels it isn't necessary. Some may like it, preferably those who breath out their nose when diving. It can make mask clearing easier, but it can also fail because of sand. Just like with purge snorkels, over purging can force all the air out and still leave water in the mask. You have to force yourself to not purge to hard

    Side Viewing panes or standard
    Side viewing panes adds just a tiny bit more peripheral viewing room for your, but makes the mask very high volume. Unless you prefer to strain your eyes (VS turning your head) when you want to look sideways, then forget about this option.

    ---------- Post added April 9th, 2012 at 10:18 AM ----------

    Snorkel examples that I prefer are soft, not made of plastic but with a flexible synthetic, and no purge, corrugated hose, or other gimmicks:
    Cressi Corsica
    View attachment 120936
    Riffe J-snorkel
    View attachment 120935
    Mares Pro flex
    View attachment 120937

    Many other manufacturer's still make standard J-snorkels. Feel free to mix and match with your mask.
    danvolker likes this.
  9. DM_cappie

    DM_cappie Divemaster

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Beaufort, SC
    sorry Dan didn't mean to hurt your feelings
  10. danvolker

    danvolker Dive Shop

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Lake Worth, Florida, United States
    C'mon..I did not respond like that :)

    This is almost a rant topic for me, because of so many years of experience with dives where you may need a snorkel, and the first hand experience, many times, of the floppy and purge snorkels not working well.
    I actually was happy about your post, because it gave me another shot :)

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