With a snorkel tube (snorkel) you can breathe while in the water with your face facing down. A snorkel tube consists of at least the following components: a mouthpiece, a breathing tube, the (flexible) joint between the mouthpiece and the breathing tube, and a holding clip to attach the snorkel to the diving goggles strap. Actually the snorkel is attached to the left side of the diving goggles.
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Many modern snorkels have a purge or splash protection valve (splash cap). Both are nice but not necessary. Choosing the right snorkel seems easier than it is. There are several types and sizes to choose from. What one finds nice might have no value to the other.
The length of a snorkel tube varies between 35 to 45 centimeters. The inner diameter is between 1.9 and 2.5 centimeters. For children, there are smaller snorkel tubes in length and diameter. The snorkel tube cannot be very long because of the lung volume, the water pressure, and the exhaled air in the snorkel tube. For children always buy a suitable snorkel to avoid the risk of inhaling the exhaled air free of oxygen again.
Choose silicone material
Nowadays most snorkels are made of silicone. Sometimes you can find a rubber one. These are generally cheaper but better ignore rubber snorkels because it breaks easier. It is better to spend a little more money on a silicone snorkel. They also sometimes have the possibility of replacing the nozzle.
The flexible or fixed joint
Before the snorkel tube consisted of a set, nowadays you can buy a snorkel tube with a flexible joint. The flexible part allows the snorkel to move easily to the mouth and does not hinder so much by diving. It really is a personal decision if you want to have a snorkel tube with a flexible or fixed joint.
The shape of the snorkel
The cheapest snorkel tubes are usually J-shaped. More ergonomic shape is more comfortable because the snorkel swings less while snorkeling.
A purge valve ensures that water entering the snorkel can be easily removed. This is done by exhaling several times briefly and forcefully. Water will be discharged through the purge valve (and the upper side). It is very useful because always a little water comes in, even if you can snorkel very well.
Splash guard or splash protection
It is advisable to have a snorkel with a splash guard to limit incoming water. This protection is at the top of the tube and covers the upper opening. The protection prevents splashes or water from entering the waves. If you go underwater with the snorkel, the tube will be filled.
A snorkel with automatic closure
There are also snorkels (dry) with a mechanism at the top to ensure that water cannot enter the snorkel tube. Previously these were absurd and also dangerous because the mechanism, usually a little ball, could get stuck. Today there are better snorkels and some prefer this type of tube. With this, you can dive underwater without filling the snorkel tube. Once above the water, you can continue breathing without first having to empty the snorkel.