According to their website FINIS developed their first snorkel in 1995 and it was their second product. I like the look and range of FINIS products and I especially like the idea of having specific products for different parts of a swimmers stroke. So when I got one I couldn’t wait to try it out.
The last snorkel I reviewed was the Arena Swim Snorkel and as they are both in the same area I’ll sometimes use it as a comparison.
I felt the mouthpiece was smaller than what I prefer and led to me working to try and hold it in my mouth. Initially the solid headpiece that holds the snorkel felt very small, but after a while I did get used to it. Despite these things and the strap itself being smaller or thinner than their equivalents on the arena snorkel and don’t feel as secure when initially putting it on, they are quite secure when swimming. With one or two slight exceptions, see below.
The headpiece is cleverly kept in place partly by the tightness of the strap. So, to move it up or down simply take it off, if you were wearing it, and slide it, putting it back on will hold it in place. I really like this feature, its quick and easy to make adjustments.
Swimming with it
The snorkel is quite long and allows for a good head position in freestyle and freestyle drills. It is steady and allows for easy unrestrictive breathing. It is quite comfortable and doesn’t move once I’m swimming. It also is longer longer than the Arena snorkel which allows me to keep a good head position with plenty of extra snorkel sticking out of the water in case I’m hit by a wave from some other person in the lane. Which is unfortunately a hazard when swimming in public pool sessions.
It does take some getting used to on turns and off the walls. I usually like to start from the wall in a drop and glide motion, replicating an open turn, but this causes the snorkel to catch the water and move laterally. This forces me to start face down, and means if I do an open turn I have to adapt it to do this. On freestyle turns it behaves similarly to the arena snorkel, so I have to nestle it within my streamline and get onto my front as soon as possible. These are really small things and I imagine that they affect most if not all front snorkels to some extent.
On the packaging and instructions that come with the snorkel FINIS make the claim that it can be used for all four strokes. I decided to put this to the test and found the following:
Butterfly: The same problems that I had trying fly with the Arena snorkel affected me trying fly with this one. It was too disruptive to the stroke to really make any difference and it was quite hard to not have the snorkel go underwater.
Backstroke: The diagram for this one looked simple enough, the snorkel can be turned in such a way that the curve faces up. I couldn’t really get it to work with my head position and I was constantly worried about water splashing into the opening.
Breastroke: This worked fine for breastroke, but as with the arena snorkel, I’m not sure why I would wear it for swimming breaststroke. Of course, it works great for some of my breaststroke drills.
Freestyle: see the “swimming with it” section.
A nice touch are the extras available from FINIS. There are two different tops that can be bought and fitted to the snorkel. These are a “cardio top” that restricts air intake, and a “dry top” that stops water from entering the snorkel when it is underwater.
The headpiece can also be replaced as well as the purge valve on the bottom of the snorkel. It is also easy to take apart if you need to clean the clear plastic part.
|Comfortable||Found the mouthpiece, straps & headpiece a bit small or thin|
|Stable when swimming|
|Good length allowing for a good head position|