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Snorkel closes while inhaling

Discussion in 'Snorkeling / Freediving' started by ernestosabato, Aug 2, 2019.

  1. ernestosabato

    ernestosabato Garibaldi

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: Chicago
    This is a very elementary question from a novice snorkeler. Your expertise, particularly as I find myself in Kauai at the moment is appreciated.

    Thanks to extensive personal travel, I have snorkeled in probably four or five different countries in the past, but never received more than cursory orientations. (Such is the case in the kinds of countries that most interest me. In Colombia, the tour guide dropped three of us off in the Caribbean and sped off to a nearby island, telling us the currents would take us to him. Voila — a snorkel “tour.”)

    However, I am brand new to snorkel ownership. I bought a dry snorkel online and have it with me.

    But unlike any trip in the past, my snorkel frequently shuts down while I’m inhaling, and sometimes while exhaling. It sucks.

    You cannot take in air. Period. You have to hope you can blow it open.

    I presume it’s the valve? But that’s why I write. My rental gear In the past never had this problem.

    Am I changing a required angle? Am I doing something wrong and unknowingly triggering it to close?

    Or is my snorkel perhaps even faulty?

    It sucks to stop. I lost track of a couple of sea turtles today as a fiddled with the damned snorkel. I needed breath for goodness sake.

    This is not happening during a dive underwater. It’s on the surface.

    Any thoughts are helpful. Thanks. It happens a lot.
  2. happy-diver

    happy-diver Skindiver Just feelin it ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: same ocean as you
    Take the ping pong ball out mate

    divad likes this.
  3. jonhall

    jonhall Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Indianapolis
    First question that comes to mind is, does it “shut down” when you are not in the water? If it does it may be defective or, depending on the type of snorkel you have, something is sticking. To know the brand of snorkel would have been helpful.

    I have an Oceanic that has a float with a hinged trap/flap door on top of it. When the water pushes the float up, the trap door falls on top of the snorkel opening to seal it and keep water out. In this type of setup, it is possible that the float/trap door is not seated properly or the hinge part is sticking and not allowing the trap door to fall and cover the top of the snorkel.

    If the snorkel works when you try it out of the water then think about how your attaching it to your mask. The positioning of the snorkel is important. The more perpendicular it is to the water, the better the float will rise allowing the trap door to fall over the snorkel opening.
  4. Zef

    Zef Divemaster

    It would help to know what make/model snorkel you have along with seeing pictures of it, especially the valve area.

    There is not much to snorkeling that is more than "cursory orientation". You hover/kick around on the surface while looking at the environment below using the snorkel to get plenty of air. If you decide to descend to get a better look at things you hold your breath and head down. As you rise back up, you either wait for the snorkel to break the surface and then exhale forcefully to purge the water from the snorkel or you time things so that as you normally exhale the expanding air bubble clears the water from the tube (this takes a bit of practice). This allows you to keep on hovering/kicking around while keeping your face in the water. Rinse and repeat. Not much to it from the sense of formal training.

    Beyond the above rudimentary skills is the realm of free diving/skin diving that involves apnea training to extend time underwater, mental/physical relaxation to extend time underwater, and risk/danger awareness so that extending time underwater is done safely.

    Snorkeling is like cross-country skiing...you are a beginner for 5 to 10 minutes and then an intermediate for the rest of your life.

    Esprise Me likes this.
  5. John C. Ratliff

    John C. Ratliff Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Beaverton, Oregon
    It's the snorkel. I have been testing snorkels for years, and I like either the straight snorkels without anything, or the semidry ones, specifically the Scubapro Shotgun snorkel (which I think is discontinued) or the Aqualung Impulse III (or the earlier Impulse snorkels if you can find them). These allow unrestricted breathing while still routing water that comes down the tube out of the snorkel and away from your mouth.

    АлександрД likes this.
  6. John C. Ratliff

    John C. Ratliff Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Beaverton, Oregon
    I just had another thought, in that during my snorkel testing, I would routinely take off the upper valve and use the snorkel without it. Today's snorkels are made of a plastic which becomes more maliable when heated; I ran hot water over that part of the snorkel, heating it until is would bend slightly, and worked the upper valve off the snorkel. What you are left with is an open snorkel which is shorter, but very easy breathing. If water comes down the tube, usually a simple, sharp exhalation will get rid of it. But if that doesn't work, then simply putting your hand, or thumb, over the end of the snorkel and blowing out will positively remove the water fro mm the tube.


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