The history of the snorkel

Snorkeling is one of the world’s most popular water sports – a must-try when taking a beach holiday and a favorite for water sports enthusiasts.

Learning snorkeling is simple for kids and adults. It’s simplicity makes it a popular leisure activity for all ages. It offers a great alternative to scuba diving, a snorkel and diving goggles are all you need to explore the stunning underwater world, without expensive diving courses and equipment.

When was the snorkel invented, and by whom?

There is no exact record of when and where the snorkel we know today was invented. Here’s what we do know:

The idea of using a snorkel most likely comes from around 350 BC when Aristotle observed an elephant under water, using its trunk to breathe. This story cannot be confirmed but is the first written account of the idea of snorkeling.

The earliest written mention of people snorkeling describes the practice of using tubes made of reeds. This was done to hide underwater– to escape from enemies or lure them into an ambush.

Texts dating back to the 15th century A.D. describe the use of helmets with integrated snorkels for underwater fishing.

Where does the modern snorkel come from?

The origins of today’s snorkel lie in the late 18th century, when helmets designed specifically for diving were developed.The earliest effective snorkels arrived in the early 19th century and had little in common with the diving equipment we use today: These early designs were made of leather and metal and had integrated air lines. The air was supplied by a compressor located on board a ship, severely limiting the range divers could swim.

The early 20th century saw rapid technological progress in the developmentof diving equipment, with the first lighter models coming onto the market and revolutionizing the world of diving. This made it possible for the generalpublic to enjoy diving as a hobby for the first time.

During this period the snorkel as we know it today was first developed. For scuba diving, they served as an emergency back-up in case the supply of oxygen runs out, or for saving on oxygen when swimming on the surface.

Snorkels are now also increasingly sold as individual items or combined with diving goggles – to hobbyists looking to explore underwater, and water sports professionals.

The snorkel of today is much more than just a tube with a mouthpiece on it. Technical progress has made great leaps in recent years, meaning today’s water sports enthusiasts enjoy more comfort than ever before.

What developments have been made in recent years?

For a long time, snorkels have followed a simple design. When descending or ascending with these devices, water could easily get into the air tube andin the worst case end up in the mouth or respiratory tract of the diver. This was an unpleasant experience (not only in seawater), which most experienced snorkelers have probably undergone at some point.

This no longer needs to happen provided you have the right snorkel. Following a period of extensive research and development, we succeeded in developing the Powerbreather – the first snorkel with two air tubes (known as “D-Tubes”), offering many advantages over conventional snorkels.

What makes the Powerbreather different from a conventional snorkel?

Better breathing

A conventional snorkel uses only a single tube for breathing, meaning usedair is exhaled via the same tube that fresh air enters the lungs.

This can result in what is known as “pendulum breathing,” where the remaining CO2 in the tube is breathed in again. This can be a health hazardand and lead to a drop-in performance – a major disadvantage, especially for professional athletes using a snorkel for swimming training.

With the Powerbreather, air is exhaled through the mouth and into the waterdirectly in front of you, you inhale 100% fresh air, and are supplied with sufficient oxygen. The snorkel also has a sophisticated valve system that ensures not a single drop of water can make its way in. Moisture and saliva are automatically released into the water when breathing out.

Comfortable to wear

Ordinary snorkels are usually attached to diving goggles using a simple rubber strap. This makes it practically impossible to adjust the snorkel, offering divers little comfort and stability. Also the attachment and diving goggles themselves are usually only available in one size, while in reality people’s heads vary in size.

When snorkeling in rough waters or making overly fast movements, the lackof stability may cause the snorkel to wobble and even slip out of the mouth, unless it is firmly held in place by biting the mouthpiece.

The Powerbreather, by contrast, uses a special mechanism – known as the “Twist Lock System” – that allows the snorkel to be easily adapted to any head size, for both adults and children from around the age of seven. The Powerbreather sits firmly on the head and is very comfortable to wear – a huge advantage for competitive swimmers in particular. The Twist Lock System keeps the Powerbreather secure, even during fast flip turns.

Advantages for sports

Anyone who enjoys water sports and uses a snorkel should try out a Powerbreather. It’s especially useful when swimming longer distances, during fitness training in the pool, lake or ocean:

  • Ameo’s patented fresh air system means you breath 100% fresh air, with no loss of performance caused by inhaling CO2
  • Secure and stable (it can be further stabilized with a swimming cap, but this is not strictly necessary)

No water makes its way in, and there’s no need to blow out any liquids as with a conventional snorkel. The Powerbreather is suitable for all face-down swimming styles (e.g. crawl, breaststroke and butterfly) – as with allsnorkels, backstroke is not possible.

Increase your performance with the Powerbreather snorkel

The Ameo Fresh Air System’s valve technology helps the swimmer and snorkeler learn the correct way to breathe, with full abdominal breathing. For additional respiratory technique and breathing muscle training, ambitious water sports enthusiasts can also modify the level of breathing resistance in the Speed Vents (Speed Vent medium, Speed Vent power), for a competitive advantage during races. Triathletes and free divers often undertake this kind of breathing technique training, as it helps them improvetheir performance in their own disciplines.

Flip or Wave Caps were developed for flip turns and swimming in stormy waters. These offer additional protection against water ingress in the event of high waves or rapidly changing water.

The Powerbreather has a modular design. This allows every user to adjust their Powerbreather to suit their own specific needs.

What factors should you consider before buying a snorkel?

As we’ve seen, the snorkel has come a long way since our ancestors first used reed pipes to hide underwater from their enemies.

Today, we thankfully use snorkels mainly for recreational purposes. Whether exploring underwater while on holiday or enjoying water sports in apool. It is important to choose a high-quality snorkel.

Even if conventional snorkels are usually cheaper, you end up paying more for these models in the long run, since they are often manufactured out of inferior materials. This means they wear out sooner, smell unpleasant and can start to leak, especially when used in saltwater.

Comfort is also an important factor, whether for sport or leisure – no one wants to be distracted by their snorkel while diving, and exploring underwater on holiday. It is also lot more fun when you have a clear view…

The Powerbreather’s fresh air system also reduces fatigue, since just as much oxygen enters your bloodstream as when walking on land; inhaling water is virtually impossible. Anyone who has the experience knows nothing spoils a dive more than breathing in salt water.

The Powerbreather offers an easy and safe introduction to water sports,even for children who have never been in the water with a snorkel. For professional and semiprofessional athletes, the Powrbreather’s technical superiority makes the difference. It is an essential tool for anyone unwilling to make any compromises in their training.

In the end, it is up to you to decide which model is best for you. We hope that just like thousands of customers before you, you too will choose the most comfortable and safest option.

The Powerbreather was developed out of our passion for water sports, and it our goal is to pass this same passion on to all our customers. We canonly do this when we are 100% convinced about our product – we are convinced you’ll feel the same once you’ve tried it for yourself.