Not all snorkels are created equal.
We know people have been snorkeling for millennia in part because of Aristotle. In his On the Parts of Animals, one of the first biology textbooks of the ancient world, written around 350 B.C., he compares an elephant’s trunk to “divers equip[ping] themselves with instruments for breathing.” Since that time, however, little has changed in the design of such a breathing instrument. But what if you could relocate the cumbersome schnorchel—German slang for snout—or the curved tube Aristotle envisioned as a trunk, so that it allowed you to breathe more naturally?
Tribord Diving (in the process of rebranding to Subea), has essentially done just that, with the first full-face snorkeling mask. Suited for children and first-time divers, the Easybreath mask ($38) allows users to breathe just as easily and naturally underwater as they would on land—through the nose and mouth. Airflow is controlled, thanks to distinct chambers, valves, and tubes that separate air intake and outflow. This makes breathing easier—similar to a scuba-system regulator—but it also obviates the obligatory fogging up of the mask lens. (Every damn time.)
The real innovation of the Easybreath is what Tribord calls the “dry top stop water system,” built into the snorkel itself. Contrary to how it may appear, since the snorkel of the Easybreath is positioned above the user’s head, it sticks out of the water more than a traditional snorkel does. The mask is also equipped with a mechanism that seals the top of the snorkel when submerged, to effectively stop water from entering the snorkel. I hate to call it a drawback, but this mechanism works so well, the air supply can become completely blocked if, let’s say, you tilt your head too far forward or a wave passes over your head—a surprising phenomenon the first time it happens, but a good one. Having a bushy beard is also a problem, as the mask relies, in part, on a face-hugging chinstrap to become watertight. Sounds like Aristotle himself wouldn’t be able to use it. tribord.co.uk
This article originally appeared in the July 2017 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.