There are a lot of generic looking snorkels on the market and they all look similar to the FINIS snorkel I bought and reviewed previously, so I expected the Mad Wave Pro Snorkel Breathe Trainer to be much the same. I was pleasantly surprised to find that there are some distinct differences between the two.
Out of the box
There is nothing odd about getting a snorkel in two pieces if you’re not buying something like the Arena snorkel I reviewed before, but this snorkel came in 3 parts that needed assembly. So from the beginning you know something is different about this snorkel. It isn’t obvious when you look at it online or on it’s own, but the shape of the snorkel is also a little different to the FINIS one. This is really only obvious when the two are side by side. However, the two major differences between this snorkel and others are the headpiece and the mouthpiece.
The headpiece is simple but clever. There are grooves along the snorkel which the headpiece can slide along, that also make sure that the snorkel and headpiece are aligned properly. It is softer and more malleable than that of any other snorkel I’ve used which also makes it the most comfortable when I wear it. While the FINIS seems to rely on the stiffness of the headpiece to hold it in place Mad Wave have instead added a clasp which keeps it tight around the snorkel preventing it from sliding. This does add an extra step if you need to adjust it up or down, but really only adds a second or two and it is definitely worth it. The strap feels quite secure when on and is easy to adjust if you want to tighten or loosen it.
If you thought the name was a mouthful wait until you use the mouthpiece. It really sets this snorkel apart from the others. It has an extra inner part not found on similar snorkels that I’ve used. It seems to hold itself in place and I found that I didn’t even need to try and hold it by biting down as I would in other snorkels. I could even leave my mouth and jaw completely relaxed and it held in place. This helped with my head position and also meant I wasn’t chewing up the mouthpiece. It did take a little getting used to though as I had to remind myself to relax and had to try and think how I was going to describe it here. It also has a lower valve under the mouthpiece similar to other snorkels that I reviewed. I understand this deals with small amounts of splash that might hit the opening on top so that it doesn’t go straight to your mouth.
In general, this snorkel performed well and when swimming it acted as other similar snorkels do. It was steady when swimming and its length allowed for a good head position. I’m well used to these snorkels now when doing my turns, but still I felt this was probably more stable than others when turning and gliding.
It has “Breathe Trainer” in its name, but it doesn’t really restrict airflow anymore than a regular snorkel does. Perhaps this is simply an exact translation from a Russian phrase, and they didn’t mean it as a snorkel that forces you to breath harder.
Overall, I really like this snorkel, it’s hard to be innovative with these things, but once again Mad Wave not only found a way to improve on something through little changes, but they also offer it at a very competitive price.