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I really got into snorkelling a few years ago on a holiday to the Red Sea (just like swimming in a giant tropical fish tank!!). But for quite a while, I use to just use the traditional style of snorkel with the silicon mouth piece connected to a stiff plastic pipe that bent around your head. Great for everyday holiday snorkelling, but after a while I would find that water would slowly collect in the bottom of the pipe, and then when you turned your head, you would suddenly get a mouthful of sea water mid-breath, which is never good. You could try blowing out as you go along, but you never seem to be able to get rid of all the water from the pipe, and obviously diving made it even worse.
I actually saw this Typhoon TS3 model for £12 in a shop in London and thought that it looked like a lot of attention to detail had gone into the design. Initially, the first noticeable difference between the TS3 and a conventional snorkel is that the TS3 has a small box arrangement that sits off the bottom of the breath pipe, just below your mouth. The reason for this may not be readily apparent, but it is effectively a water trap, so that any water that gathers in the pipe falls into the box, leaving the breath pipe fully clear. Ok, so what happens when the box fills up? Well that's the next ingenious bit because the bottom of the box has a non-return valve/flap arrangement called a purge valve. The idea here is that as you blow out, you force any water out through the valve, thus clearing the box area out. The valve then reseals to prevent any water coming back in, allowing you to carry on with your snorkelling.
The other key design area to look at is the short length of flexible silicon hose between the mouth piece and the stiff plastic pipe. In my experience with the traditional style of snorkel, the one solid pipe from the mouth piece is meant to be 'one size fits all', which isn't always the case. So what you find is that with the pipe clipped to the side of your mask, it may pull the mouthpiece very slightly, hence causing some distortion, which could then lead to some leakage and hence the water gets into your breathing pipe. With this TS3 model, the flexible hose allows for some give in that arrangement. Hence, whilst you still have the stiff pipe clipped to your mask, the flexible pipe takes up any differences in face/head shape etc, allowing you to have the mouthpiece sat squarely in your mouth. Hence, it minimises the chances of getting any water into the breathing pipe.
In use, it does sit quite comfortably around your head, and the valve in the bottom of the box does seem to seal quite well. To be honest, it does leak very slightly over quite a time, which you could probably expect for the arrangement. But any water that does get in does remain in the bottom of the box, and a quick blow out will dispel it again from the snorkel.
In summary, whilst I was fairly happy with the more traditional stiff pipe snorkels, I never really appreciated how good a snorkel could be until I got this Typhoon T3 version, and it is only when you really look at it and try it out that you appreciate how good the design really is. Hence, a 5 star recommendation from me.
After my first holiday experience of snorkeling, I decided to get my own gear. I had been advised not to go for the all-in sets which on the face of it, seem to offer best value, but to purchase the items separately and get the best you can for mask, snorkel and fins.
I went to the Decathlon store in Nottingham to have a look around at snorkelling equipment but they didn't have much choice and the main brand stocked was Tribord which a friend had told me to avoid. (I subsequently bought Tribord fins off ebay and they were fine). So I went to a local dive shop, where there was more choice but where the prices were a bit higher. It was there that I saw the Typhoon TS3 snorkel and it seemed to give me everything I needed as an enthusiastic beginner. I was advised that it was a good one to choose in their budget range but they seemed more interested in selling me a wetsuit! I didn't buy a wetsuit there nor the snorkel and did what most people do and went back and sourced it a few quid cheaper on line. I am slightly ashamed of this at a time when independent shops are struggling. Nevertheless, I am just a human being with human frailties.
In use, the snorkel turned out to be a good buy. It was comfortable to use with a nice flexible silicone flange around which you wrap your gob to form a seal and of course the usual bit to bite on. The tube itself is corrugated and oval in shape with a bend at the top and a hole at the top through which you draw air and sometimes indeed seawater! The tube attaches to your mask at the mid point but you can adjust the height of this to what is comfortable to you.
With snorkelling, it is about the technique more than the equipment as to how successful you are and how much seawater you swallow. Like a lot of beginners, I swallowed my fair share and every time water got in at the top, I spluttered to the surface to regain my sang-froid. Of course, I felt a bit of a prat doing this until I was told how to properly use the purge valve and I can now proudly snorkel away spouting forth like a whale amongst the other more experienced snorkelers.
I have since replaced this snorkel as the tube split. However, I think this was due to how I had packed it on return from a holiday rather than any shortcoming in the design or quality of the snorkel. By the way, you should always wash your snorkelling equipment in fresh water after use.
You can still get the TS3 and although there is now a huge range of snorkel options available, this remains in my opinion a good low cost option for the enthusiastic amateur. Snorkelmeisters would poo poo it, I'm sure. The TS3 comes in a range of colours for the fashion conscious snorkeler and they're only about a tenner. I see that the newer versions now have a whistle too!
I enjoy snorkelling and bought my Typhoon TS3 snorkel a few years ago for a holiday, having lost the original snorkel I bought when I started diving. I wanted a basic, but comfortable and reliable snorkel, and I didn't want to pay a fortune for what is, after all, just a plastic tube.
Typhoon International is a British brand, originally called ET Skinner and founded in 1947. The founder, Oscar Gugen, also started a small diving club that grew over the years and is now known as the British Sub Aqua Club (BSAC). Typhoon produces a range of diving, sailing and general watersports equipment, supplying the RNLI and the British Armed Forces as well as selling to the general public.
The TS3 is a J - shaped snorkel, consisting of a plastic tube with a mouthpiece attached. It is available in a variety of colours, mine is silver, but they are also available in black, yellow, blue, pink and clear. They can be purchased from watersports shops and online, and are available from under £10.00. The snorkel comes in a sealed plastic bag, with the Typhoon company details on, and some basic information on the care of the snorkel.
The main part of the snorkel is the breathing tube. In the TS3 this is a hollow oval plastic tube, 2cms in diameter at its' widest point. It is the simplest of designs; a purge snorkel, this means that eventually waves will find their way down the tube, and the water will need to be purged from the tube. I have tried other designs; semi-dry and dry snorkels in the past, and have not found them to be totally effective, I think it's best to accept that when snorkelling you are in the water, and water will eventually find its' way everywhere despite your best efforts - so it's best to be expecting it! This breathing tube has a small plastic clip around it, which can be used to secure the snorkel to the strap of a diving mask, ensuring it stays in place even when not in use.
Attached securely to the breathing tube is a hollow corrugated pipe made of soft, flexible, silicone. For me, this is preferable to the snorkels that are constructed entirely from rigid plastic, as it allows the wearer to move their head without jeopardising the positioning of the snorkel, and makes it a far more comfortable piece of equipment.
The corrugated pipe leads to a purge valve and soft silicone mouthpiece. The purge valve sits below the mouthpiece, and is made of rigid plastic, it houses a small opening, which contains a one-way valve. A thin circular piece of rubber covers this valve, allowing the wearer to expel water through the valve, as the pressure of the expelled water forces the valve to open, but not allowing water back in. Above the valve is the soft mouthpiece, consisting of a large oval lip flange, and a bite-piece. The name of this bite-piece is a little misleading, as no pressure is required. I found when I started using a snorkel I had a tendency to bite hard on this, not surprisingly I found I had an aching jaw and a headache after 30 minutes or so of snorkelling. The lip flange should sit comfortably behind the lips, providing an additional barrier, but the seal is created simply by the lips gently but firmly covering the flange. The size and flexibility of the mouthpiece it what will really dictate whether a snorkel is comfortable or not, and for me the TS3 offers the perfect combination. The newer version of the tS3 also contains a built in whistle, but my slightly older version of this model does not, so I am unable to comment on the reliability or usefulness of this feature.
This is a snorkel I would recommend unreservedly. It is so cheap even if you only use it couple of times, you will soon recoup what you have saved on renting a snorkel. It is a great piece of kit, which I love for its simplicity, comfort, and ease of use.