Until three weeks ago the last time I had used a snorkel was when I was 12 and back then I was wearing one to boldly explore the majestic waters of Tralee bay, as long as those majestic waters were within my depth, or slightly out of them if I thought I could get away with it. Three weeks ago, I finally decided to get myself a modern snorkel made for swimming. While I was telling a friend in the pool he pulled out his Powerbreather and offered to lend it to me for a week to write about it. So here we are.
My friend helped me into this the first time I tried it. The powerbreather is unique in that you have to put your head into the middle, put the mouthpiece in, and then screw the headband onto the back of your head. This felt very strange and it was impossible to talk or ask anything as I couldn’t take the mouthpiece out without unscrewing the headband. It took a little extra adjusting after the first 50m as I didn’t realise how tight I needed it to be. The tubes are flexible and wrapped around the sides of my head. This system of fitting the snorkel makes getting it off in a hurry or for a moment to say something very difficult. I found that out when it first filled with water and had to focus on staying calm as I tried to get it off so I could breath again.
Tumble turns & Streamline
I tried a few tumble turns, but each time I ended up with a mouth full of water. The air system of the snorkel means that exhaling will not clear out the water as it would for “regular” snorkels. To be fair to Ameo, their website says that there are special caps for the tubes which allows a swimmer to do tumble turns. As I was only borrowing the snorkel I didn’t have these caps and ended up avoiding these turns. The caps I did have were the “Speed Vent easy” ones and they allowed me to go underwater for a few meters when pushing off the wall. Unfortunately, I found the tubes got in the way of my streamline and ended up breaking it causing drag. Similarly, when doing certain drills my arms would touch off the tubes, this also happened occasionally when swimming too. It wasn’t enough to knock the snorkel out of place, but it was a bit off putting.
One of the main selling points for the powerbreather is its system of getting air in and out. This was interesting, but in a practical sense I didn’t really see much of a difference to the type of air I was breathing in. I did notice the other big selling point which is the limiting of air coming in.
This was interesting, as I said I had the “easy” caps, so it put just a bit of pressure onto my breathing. It took a few hundred meters before I got the hang of breathing in a way that wouldn’t gas me out. Things were going great until I decided to wear it for the drills part of my cool down after an anaerobic set, it put me under so much pressure that I had to stop on each 25 to get a little extra breath.
I should also mention on breathing that the design of the caps meant that small splashes or spray didn’t enter the tubes.
I didn’t try swimming very fast with the powerbreather, this was because it causes drag and seems to catch the water.
In the end I have to ask myself if I would buy or recommend this snorkel to anyone and I have to say the answer is no.
|Stopped small splashes/spray hitting the water||Need a special cap for tumble turns|
|The restricted breathing isn’t for everyone and takes some getting used to|
|Its method of being attached makes it hard to get off easily, which is a problem if water gets in, or if you need to say something, or you need to get more air|