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Towards a typology of snorkels

DRW

Vintage snorkeller
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This morning I decided to conduct a Google search with "snorkel types" as my search term. Among the results, five broad categories emerged for breathing tubes:

1. Traditional/Classic
2. Flexible
3. Dry
4. Semi-dry
5. Full-face


Let us look at each of these snorkel types in turn.

1. Traditional/Classic
The snorkel below is described in several online "snorkel guides" as an example of a "traditional" or "classic" snorkel. One or two even call it a "J-shaped" snorkel, when "C-shaped" seems a more appropriate description:

CSBSCR.jpg
So what about the following equally "classic" or "traditional" snorkels below, which may still be in production? They perfectly exemplify the "flexible-hose" snorkel, the "L-shaped" snorkel, the "contour" snorkel and the "J-shaped" snorkel from the illustration below in an early PADI manual. Each of these four types evolved to match different needs and priorities.
black-snorkel-retro-design-by-sommap-2-1442-p-jpg.524470


IMG_8556.jpg

Perhaps the wide-bore "contour"-type snorkel labelled as "classic" or "traditional" might be better designated as a "wet" snorkel to distinguish it from the dry or semi-dry variety. I'll take a critical look at the other four "types" in subsequent postings and then come up with a better set of types that might even amount to a coherent snorkel typology! Please feel free to contribute your own take on the matter.
 

DRW

Vintage snorkeller
Joined
Jan 5, 2007
Messages
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Points
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"Flexibility" may sound like a simple enough concept to apply to snorkels when determining type, but what form does it take in practice? In its most extreme form, nowadays,flexibility covers "collapsible" breathing tubes that can be so reduced in size by folding them up that they can fit inside a pocket out of the way but ready to use, e.g. the following "elastic snorkel":
tubo-elastic.jpg
Then there are snorkels that are partially flexible, such as the flexible-hose snorkel that has been around since the 1950s:
9200000031755688-jpg.405375
The corrugated hose between the mouthpiece and the barrel drops out of the way when the mouthpiece is not in use. There are many other combinations and permutations of flexibility, such as snorkels with flexible joints allowing the position of the mouthpiece to be adjusted to the user's specifications and maintained in that position. Some J-shaped breathing tubes have a straight hard barrel and with a combined soft-rubber elbow and mouthpiece attached that will pull less on the jaw in use and hence cause less fatigue over prolonged sessions in the water.

All the above may satisfy the criterion of flexibility to a greater or lesser extent. In other words, it may be better to envisage partial or total snorkel flexibility on a spectrum from total pliability to total rigidity. It also makes sense to bear in mind what problem the relative flexibility or otherwise of a snorkel is seeking to solve. Foldable and flex-hose breathing tubes were designed to be particular responses to two completely different requirements and ne'er the twain shall meet!
 
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