Choosing the Best Skimboard for You – Skimboard Buying Guide

skim-board-1830034_640 Skimboarding is taking the world of watersports by storm. It is similar to surfing but the boards are smaller and a bit more nimble, and designed for use in shallow water. With the best skimboard, you can do a load of incredible tricks, and use your board at the beach or other bodies of water such as rivers. Skimboards can also go along wet sand at beaches and you can build up a lot of speed, great for tricks and for the rush you get from most types of watersport. One of the main benefits of skimboarding is that it is pretty cheap to get started, the skimboards themselves aren’t the most expensive items, especially when compared to surf boards, and though the hobby takes a bit of getting the hang of, it can be so rewarding and fun.

As Skimboarding continues to grow and more people find out about the sport, more manufacturers are creating products! Skimboard reviews used to be hard to come by, but now it is relatively simple to make a list of the best skim boards, and to compare the features of each brand. The features of each skimboard will be appropriate for different people depending on your size and speed, so the model best for one person may not be the best for someone else. The best skimboards for beginners may not be the best for a more advanced boarder. We’ve created a handy buying guide and some skimboard reviews to make sure you pick the best for you.

Considerations

Tempting as it may be to find a recommended model of skimboard and just go for it, you’re a lot better off thinking it through first, and even doing a small amount of research on the types of skimboard out there. Giving some thought to the below considerations will ensure you’re making the right choice.

Size – The boards generally are somewhere between 45 and 60 inches in height, and 17 and 23 inches wide. Which one you choose depends on how big you are, and how you plan to ride it! When finding the right height, as a general rule of thumb, it should come up to your chest when held out in front of you. If you’re not in a store and are buying online, you can quickly measure how long this is. The width and thickness are decisions you should make largely based on your level experience and how you plan to ride it. If you can handle a thinner board with less thickness in the material then you may be able to move very freely, but if you’re a beginner then this may not be advisable whilst you are finding your feet.

The following should help as a reference based on what you weigh, but can slightly vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Don’t panic, as when you choose a skimboard to buy it will tell you the recommended size of the rider.

  • 80 – 140 lbs: 45″ or below (Small)
  • 120 – 160 lbs: 45-47″ (M)
  • 140 – 180 lbs: 47-49″(M/L)
  • 160 – 200 lbs: 49-51″ (L)
  • 180 – 220 lbs: 51 and up (XL)

Foam vs Wood

The material which makes up the core of your skimboard will likely be foam or wood. Some other materials such as fiberglass can be used. Foam boards are a little more expensive than the wooden boards as they have more that goes into the process of making them. “Foamies” as they’re often called by watersport enthusiasts are made to skim across waves, and they’re incredibly light and flexible. This means that even if you use them a lot or in choppier waters then they are less likely to break or warp. Wooden boards can be good for stability if you are an absolute beginner, and of course are a cheaper option, some people prefer them for non-coastal waters or calmer currents. If, however, you think you will be using your board a lot, the foam or PVC materials are probably a better option due to its flexibility and durability. You’d be forgiven for thinking that the wooden model is more durable, but due to the fact it has no flex when pressure is applied, and will simply crack or break. Some skimboards are better than others at this.

The shape of a board is also something to think about. You’re likely to hear the term ‘rocker’ when it comes to skimboards and other types of surf boards, which is basically how much of a curvature the skimboard has. A lot of curve can make it easier to maneuver through the water and the sand, but it can also make the board slower. If you want something that will be quick across the water then a shallow curve or ‘rocker’ is probably the best option for you. Tails also have different shapes, some are square or ‘W’ shaped, which are great for flexibility. A ‘pintail’ shape is better for stability and allows you to keep steady and balanced in the water.

The “Wrap”

Having talked a little about the core of a board, it should be noted that there is also a ‘wrap’ around the outside. This material has an impact on how durable a board is and even how it performs. There are a few different wraps you’re likely to come across. E-Glass is a popular choice for the cheaper, lower end models, which is pretty flexible but also not unlikely to break. Carbon is the higher end choice and makes the board very strong, even when it comes up against waves, rocks, shells and the rest of the perils of the sea! Mid range boards tend to be S-Glass or Texilium, it is much stiffer than E-Glass but doesn’t have the speed of movement you get from carbon.

The Best Skimboard Brands

There are so many models of skimboard out there, but in reality most of them are made by three or four good quality brands. One of the best ways to go through the recommended models is to discuss each brand and what they have to offer.

Zap Skimboards

Zap are a very cool brand in the world of skimboards. They’re based in Florida where skimming and watersports happen all year! The build quality on these boards is excellent and you can tell just from holding one that love and care have been put into the design and manufacture. Most of their boards are made with a foam core and are renowned for flexibility, which is why a huge amount of them are used by the professional skimboarders and watersport enthusiasts, as you can see on their website.

Zap’s boards are made in the UK with quality at the forefront of their design morals, and it shows. The slogan ‘handmade in the USA’ is emblazoned with pride on their marketing material. They’ve got quite the following and even sell merchandise as well as skimboard bags.

Recommended models of Zap Skimboard:

Amp – Zap’s Amp skimboards are fast, very fast. If you’re serious about the sport and want something with some serious go across the water, this is a great option for you. It is quite a thin and streamlined model with 3/4 tapered rails allowing you both a lot of float and the ability to maneuver across the water. It is available in the bigger sizes you’re likely to see. 50, 52, 54 and 56 inch models.

Pufferfish – A much more forgiving model of skimboard. It is longer and wider than a lot of the models out there and allows you to balance with ease even in slightly choppier water. Comes in a 53 inch size which is great for most beginners and those who are back foot heavy on the board.

Zap Wedge – The manufacturer describes this as the ‘work horse’ of their skimboard lineup. It is amazing no matter what your ability and comes in three different sizes so you can find something suitable no matter what your size and style. Not only is this great for beginners, as your skills start to grow you won’t find yourself restricted by the Wedge. Strong, durable and pretty simple to get to grips with, the Wedge is an amazing skimboard and one of the most popular we’ve come across.

M5 – If you’re looking for a model that is great for professional use, the M5 has the perfect balance of speed, performance and durability and is designed to be used in a professional setting. It costs a little extra but the quality is evident.

Victoria Skimboards

Victoria describe themselves as ‘the original skimboard manufacturer’. They have been manufacturing from their base in California for over 40 years and have skimboards ranging from beginner models all the way up to pro models.

Grommet – The Grommet is designed for mainly smaller built users and beginners, a lot of younger people learn to skim on the Grommet board which is lightweight and flexible whilst also being durable. It is easy to stay on top of as well as having enough maneuvrability to start to learn tricks. There are five different sizes available so you can find something perfect for you, but the smaller models are definitely recommended for children and younger people to get to grips with skimming.

Bigfoot – If you have a larger build, then it can be hard to find a skimboard to use, but the problem has been addressed by Victoria who made the Bigfoot. In their words it is ‘designed to take a pounding’ and we’ve found it excellent for anyone who still wants to be able to skim but is well over 6 foot or even carrying a few extra pounds. The best skimboard for larger builds.

The Woody – The Woody has been manufactured for nearly 40 years now and is nothing short of iconic in the world of skimboards. As you might have guessed, it is made out of wood, but not just any wood, Russian Birch is used to ensure that this can take a beating and is less likely to warp or break than a lot of the lower priced wooden models you can find under $100. The Woody is an ‘all rounder’ and is good for people of all different shapes and sizes, as there are six different variations which accommodate little people (from 30 lbs) all the way up to 210 lb riders.

Budget Option – Wave Rebel Local Motion

Skimboards can cost a fair amount of money and if you’re a beginner you may want to find something that doesn’t cost the earth but can still get you started. Some beginners are looking for skimboards under $100 or even under $50, and this can sometimes be tough, though there are some wooden options available for a good price and allow you to learn the basics.

The Wave Rebel Local Motion is a board with a lot of good reviews, and while it doesn’t quite hold up to the standards of some of the elite and professional boards, it is a decent beginners option or board for the casual user.

The board is made of wood and has a slight curve, and is made with a very sturdy design, easier to stay on top of than some of the more advanced boards, and therefore great for beginners. The board has 35 inch, 40 inch and 45 inch sizes all of which have slightly different capacities.

Conclusion

Our guide is designed to help you to work out the ins and outs of finding an appropriate skimboard for your use, whether you are an absolute beginner or a pro. There is a board out there to suit everyone, from children to teenagers, small adults to larger builds, it is simply a case of finding which one will best suit your own body type and needs. If you have any experience with the boards mentioned above, or have another skimboard to mention, feel free to leave a comment below.

Skimboarding is one of the most thrilling watersports out there, and it is accessible and simple to get into. It can be made a lot more fun by choosing the right board for you!

Four of the Best Bodyboards Plus Bodyboard Buying Guide

best bodyboard reviews and buying guideBodyboarding or ‘boogieboarding’ as it is sometimes called, is a fun, tough and rewarding water sport. It can trace its origins to hundreds of years ago but has become popular in the mainstream in the last 40 years or so. A bodyboard is a relatively simple concept, but finding the best bodyboard for your own needs can be the difference between surfing the waves with ease and ending up frustrated trying to pick up the hobby.

Bodyboard Basics

A bodyboard is a short square or rectangle made up of hydrodynamic foam, and tend to have a plastic bottom, as well as a softer top, also made of foam, this is known as the ‘deck’. The foam sides of the board are commonly referred to as the ‘rails’. Different models make these out of different materials and this can give the user of the board different levels of control and flexibility.

Modern bodyboards tend to have some sort of carbon or graphite rod within them, this is designed to make the board a little stronger and reduce the chances of it warping in shape. It also helps add speed and power to the user and give you more control on the waves you’re inevitably going to be surfing.

Boards tend to have different shapes and curvatures which will have an impact on how it feels to the user and the characteristics of the ride. If it is wider near to the nose then it is good for prone riding (with stomach fully on top of the board) and more of a narrow design at the nose is better suited to stand-up or drop-knee surfing as your body weight will be further back on the board.

As you can tell, there are a few technical terms involved, but they’re not overly complicated and are easy to get used to, especially if you’re already a surfer or know a little about bodyboarding. If you are a beginner, don’t worry, as our bodyboard reviews will talk you through the pros and cons of each model, and whether it is suitable for you.

The riding forms of a bodyboard are vital to understand. Check them out in the bodyboard wikipedia page for an understanding of how you can ride a bodyboard.

Buying Guide

Here is a quick run down of the inevitable considerations when it comes to buying your bodyboard, and the features to look out for when trying to find the most suitable board.

  • Size. This is vital, and your weight as well as your height should be considered when you are deciding. As a rough rule of thumb, the board should reach from your knees to your chin when you hold it. If you’re a bit heavier, then you should think about a wider bodyboard which will help you to float and ride with a lot more ease.
  • The Nose. This is the part at the front of the board as you lay forward on it, and it will have an impact on how you move across the water. A wide board will be 11-13 inches, great for prone riding. This is designed for stability, but if you are going to ride drop-knee then you will want something 10 inches or lower. Choosing something too wide can cost you a lot of your manoeuvrability, but if you go for something really narrow the control can be difficult to master. It basically depends how fast you want to move.
  • Your ability. This will make an impact on your buying choice, the best bodyboard for beginners is not going to be the same as that for a pro. As you get better, you will likely know which features you prefer and can sacrifice a bit of the stability for speed and flex.
  • Price. Finding the best cheap bodyboard or at least a good value for money bodyboard (under $100) will be high on the list for a lot of people. Price tends to play a part in the buying choice.

PE vs PP Bodyboards

These are two terms you’re likely to hear on your search for a bodyboard.

Extruded polyethylene (PE) is also sometimes referred to as Dow Core, but different chemical companies sometimes give it different names. They’re historically the most popular material of bodyboard, but as it has become an environmental concern and the strength has been compromised recently some people have turned to PP. PP is also a good choice for beginners. PP offers water resistance, durability and is very light.

There is no simple ‘best’ between PE and PP and different models of bodyboard make the most of different materials, so it is worth looking at the individual bodyboard reviews below to decipher which is the best for you.

Bodyboard Reviews: Counting Down the Best Models

Best Morey Body Boards:

Morey are a brand with a lot to offer in the world of bodyboards, and we have a few of their products on our ‘best of’ list. The story behind the company is awesome. From their own website:

“On July 7, 1971, the bodyboard was born. Tom Morey borrowed an electric carving knife and a household iron, whittled some scrap polyethylene foam into a small rectangular mat and covered it with newspaper. He trademarked the name and placed and placed an ad in surfing magazine. By 1977 he was producing 80,000 per year.”

Morey Cruiser 42.5″ Body Board

Designed as a full sized board which is great for those just starting out as well as intermediate and advanced users. The board has a crescent tail, a bottom skin with channels and a wrist leash to make sure it doesn’t slip off and go missing. They’ve built it to be used by riders who are 5’9 and up and who weigh somewhere between 160 and 185 lbs, but there are reviews where people larger and smaller have said that they use this board with no issues. 42.5 inches is a versatile size and can be used by a wide range of users.

Versatility is one of the positives of this board, and it offers a good middle ground where it gives plenty of buoyancy and stability whilst still being fast across the water and great for those who want to learn more and become more advanced bodyboarders. The Morey Cruiser gets the thumbs up from us, all at a pretty good price, too!

Morey Big KahunaThe Big Kahuna is a bit more of an intermediate to advanced version that can still be bought at a good price. It is 44 inches and this makes it great for slightly larger users and those with bigger builds. Extremely durable and in their own words this is designed to ride ‘hard and long’. Big Kahuna reviews are generally very positive and show what a reliable brand they have become. The features include:

  • 44″ design perfect is for people over 5’10″/185 lbs or more.
  • Strong carbon tube within the board provides a lot of strength and solidity.
  • PE (polyethylene) core, strong and suitable for both cold and warm water.
  • Crescent tail assists in your body positioning and gives a lot more control over the board.
  • Extremely durable and high quality whilst retaining quality.

662 Sixsixtwo Splash Bodyboard

The SixSixTwo splash board is made of high quality EPS foam with a slick bottom. The performance of this is very good, which is further helped by its crescent tail, which makes it a very manoeuvrable model of bodyboard which is very strong and stays water resistant in all sorts of conditions.

It has a leash to make sure that the board doesn’t slip off and can stay attached to you at all times, and there are fin tethers included which keep the fins in place. The bottom of this board is very fast and slick and lets you swoop across the water at some speed.

This model may not be the best choice for a 6 ft 5 bodybuilder, but it is great for children and those with a smaller frame. Its 36 inch design is amazing for those looking for a high quality small and flexible board which can give a lot of speed across the waves.

Bodyboard & Full Beach Pack by BPS

BPS is short for Bulletproof Surf, and the brand are making a name for themselves in lots of different areas of water sports. Their offering in terms of bodyboards is a ‘full beach pack’ with everything you need to get out on the water on your bodyboard.

This comes with an ultra-lite body board, which is available in multiple sizes (this is a real plus point and not something every bodyboard brand offers). It also has a leash and a set of tethers to keep your swim fins attached and ensure they don’t get lost at sea.

This is one of the cheapest bodyboards we’ve seen on offer and though it may not be as rugged and durable as some of the high end models, it is great for beginners and the fact that it comes as a set is a real positive. Perfect for families and hobbyists who want to try bodyboarding for the first time. It probably won’t be the fastest, but the lightweight, portable and easy to use board set is great value for money and a good starting point. It is also available in blue and pink, especially good if you’ve got kids and can let them choose their favorite color.

Conclusion

Once you get past a bit of the jargon and understand what criteria make up the best bodyboard it is relatively simple to pick the best one for your own needs. As you can see, the size and build of the user is going to play a big part in the decision. There are certain brands in the world of water sports we have come to love and trust, and in the bodyboard world this is no different, with Morey and BPS being among the best.

As we’ve alluded to, what is best for one person may not be best for someone else, and taking a little time to delve into individual bodyboard reviews and learn what you like when out on the water, as well as evaluating your own skills, can play a huge part in any buying decision you make.

Whether you call it bodyboarding or boogieboarding, this is a very rewarding and enjoyable sport that can help you enjoy the sea, stay fit and have a great time either alone or with family. Getting the right board is vital.

 

Best Life Jackets and Life Vests for Dogs

hungarian-viszla-658007_640We normally think of our canine friends as good little swimmers, but just like humans, dogs are susceptible to the water, they can get tired and fall foul of choppy waters just like us, and some dogs aren’t even that good in the water to start with. Taking your dog to the beach, on boating trips, in a kayak, out fishing or any of these fun activities is very rewarding and can be a great way to spend time with your pooch, but making sure you have the best life jacket for dogs can be a wise move to make sure tragedy doesn’t strike, you never know when a lake, the sea, a river or even a pool is going to prove tough for your four legged friend. Safety first is always our motto here at the watersporter, and that is why we’ve put together a list of the best live vests and life jackets for dogs.

What Makes a Good Life Jacket for Your Dog?

Size/Fit – Something which will comfortably fit your doggy friend is perfect for your needs. Many of them come in different sizes to suit different breeds of dog, so paying a little attention to the sizings and whether it is suitable for your breed of dog, plus the build quality and materials, can ensure that your pooch doesn’t mind wearing the jacket and is perfectly comfy.

Buoyancy – You want something which will adequately help your pet to float in the water. They have different flotation pouches and areas which are buoyant depending on which model you buy, some are just around the sides and top, some have a belly float too. Looking at dog life jacket reviews can give you an indication of where the floats are and whether it will be sufficient for your dog. If you have a heavy dog, there’s no point in just having a couple of little tiny air pockets which will do very little good, so you need something buoyant enough to support them.

Handles – Of course if disaster strikes or even if your dog gets in a little bit of trouble across the water, you need to be able to quickly and adequately pull them out of it, which means handles. Most of these products have handles of some description but you need something sturdy that means you can grip the dog properly without causing discomfort but remaining sturdy.

Bright and Fluorescent Colors – This can be extremely helpful. Bright colors can help should your dog need to be located in the water, and also means that in busy lakes or waters people can stay out of the way if needs be. It adds another level of security to the jacket.

Price – When buying a product for safety, price shouldn’t be the first thing you think about, but it may play a part, looking for the best value for money is just good common sense and affordability is something we’re looking out for.

Paws Aboard Double Designer Doggy Life Jacket

This is one of the best selling dog life jackets we’ve found. Paws Aboard are made by Fido pet products and a lot of thought has clearly gone into this particular product. It is hi vis and comes in a bright yellow color as standard, though there are other colors and even patterns available. The jacket really stands out and ensures visibility for your pet in the water.

Designed to be breathable underneath your dog, it allows for quick drying so the dog doesn’t stay soggy for a long time after being in the water, this can be a problem with many life jackets which tend to seal in the moisture, never good with an active dog!

This has six sizes and which one you need will depend on the size and weight of your dog. They have a little give and are slightly adjustable so as long as you get in the right ballpark you should be able to create a comfy fit for your little pal. At the moment, the package even includes a novelty ski rope leash for your dog which is both funny and functional! Attached to your dog with a life vest or jacket on he or she will look utterly adorable too, which is a plus. You don’t have to spend a great deal to get your hands on one of these, it is a relatively affordable product, though the price may vary slightly depending on which size you need to buy. It has enough buoyancy and is extremely well reviewed, which means it gets the paws up from us!

Outward Hound Ripstop Adjustable Dog Life Jacket

The main benefit of the outward hound model we are now going to review is how adjustable it is. Obviously, dogs come in all different shapes and sizes dependent on breed among other things. There isn’t a one size fits all option for dogs, not when it comes to a product they need to wear. As well as coming in an impressive six different sizes, this is a totally adjustable model, allowing you to tighten and loosen within that size to make the fit perfect for your dog. You do need to ensure you’re getting roughly the correct size to start with, but their handy size guide should help with this.

Another very cool feature of the Outward Hound dog life jacket is the fact that it has an inflatable at the front designed to keep your dog’s head above water. If your dog does lose control in the water, the head can be the most distressing area to be submerged, so this ensures they can see above water and helps then with their swimming. Made largely out of neoprene, the Ripstop is designed for comfort and should mean your dog is pretty snug and happy wearing the jacket. Lots of dogs won’t be used to any sort of clothing so a life jacket can be tough to get used to if it isn’t comfy. The grab handles make for an easy rescue should you need to get your dog out of a tight spot, and the bright colors increase visibility.

This may well be the best selling life jacket on the market for dogs, and it isn’t too hard to see why, as well as being very well designed and fitting the bill in terms of hi visibility and ease of use, this is actually not the most expensive, and is on the cheap end of the market for doggy accessories at the time of writing. Ensure you get the right fit with the sizing chart, based on weight and chest size of the dog, and then you can adjust from there to make sure you’re getting the right fit for your pup.

A quick look at the reviews on Amazon and elsewhere online show that this is a well respected product which a huge amount of people have invested in, and found themselves very happy with. You can enjoy water based activities with your dog with peace of mind with a high quality vest like this one.

Vivaglory Dog Life Jacket Life Saver Model

Another option worthy of a mention is the Vivaglory life saver model of doggy life jacket. It does a good job and also has a focus on the comfort of your dog, so can be good if your dog is new to wearing things.

  • Comes in five different sizes, and a convenient chart lets you choose the correct size.
  • Available in lots of different colors, all of which are bright and reflective, not all of these products have a lot of different colors so for the fashion conscious, this can be a cool little feature.
  • This is a very safe and heavy duty product, and has a front float just like some of the competitors to help keep the head above water, this is removable should you so wish.
  • The Vivaglory has a clever and convenient design, you can grab the handle just like with the other products mentioned here, and you can also attach the D-Ring to a leash if you need to. The nylon straps are adjustable so you can make sure the fit is just right for your dog.

Conclusion

There are a number of models out there which will do a good job for your pet. You need to decide which features you are looking for, and if things like the color are important to you, before making a choice. There are so many consumer reviews available on the online retailers such as Amazon which are selling these products, which will all tell you something slightly different, and can let you look into which may be better for specific breeds of dog, and which size you’re going to opt for. Investing a bit of money in buying a life jacket for your dog can make all the difference, and ensure safety going out on the water with your pet.

Reviewing the Best Snorkel Gear – Fins, Snorkels and Masks!

the best snorkel gearIt is easy to see why snorkelling is such a popular pastime these days. People all over the world are taking to the seas to head underwater and see what there is to offer. Snorkelling gives you a chance to see the world as never before, but to do so you need the best snorkel gear. This article is designed to walk you through what you need to start snorkelling as well as reviewing some of the top equipment to ensure you’re happy with the purchases you make before you head on your trip.

Snorkelling is popular in Europe, South America, Asia, North America and of course Australia…pretty much anywhere where there is anything to see underwater, it is worthwhile, you can spot everything from pretty fish to amazing turtles and other marine life. Whether you’re in the great barrier reef or one of the lesser known diving or scuba diving destinations, you need to get the right equipment sorted out for your trip.

What Makes Good Quality Snorkel Equipment?

So, what are we looking for when it comes to snorkel gear? What are the criteria for something you’re going to get a lot of use out of, and be happy with the money you’ve parted with when purchasing it?

First up, the snorkel mask. If your mask doesn’t fit snugly and properly on the face it will cause a lot of condensation, making it really hard to see. This won’t be immediately evident as you should bear in mind that all new masks have a tendency to get a bit foggy due to the way they have been made. Toothpaste applied to the mask usually helps. When the mask is on and has been used for a little while (try it out of the water first) it should be comfy and not filling with steam that makes it hard for you to see what is in front of you.

At a glance, it may seem like a snorkel itself is a really basic piece of kit, but getting it right can be really tough. The main thing to think about here is the comfort of the mouthpiece. It should fit neatly into your mouth and your teeth should be able to rest on it rather than biting it, biting down can be tough, can damage your teeth and make your mouth very sore and tired, so getting the right snorkel is vital. The best snorkels come in different varieties, and may be dry or moist around the mouth. We recommend dry for beginners, but the choice is up to you and the models reviewed below will help make your choice.

Fins. The fins are a lot smaller than they once were. Again, comfort is an issue, you want something that fits nicely around the feet without being painful, but that stays on at the same time. The sizings on the product are usually pretty accurate and it is a bit like buying shoes. The best snorkel fins will also allow you to move freely and maneuver within the water without difficulty.

Build quality is a big consideration when you are choosing your snorkel and other gear. If you buy something cheap and flimsy you can easily end up with leaks, straps that don’t keep it tight to your face and very uncomfortable equipment. Padded straps provide the most comfort possible. Vision is vital throughout the whole process so you should only even be considering snorkels that keep your vision clear the whole time and allow you to see where you’re going, plus, the whole point is to be able to see the amazing wildlife!

Some of the features are a little less simple to understand, especially for beginners, but we’ve got some info on the terms you might come across to try and demystify them!

  • Purge valves – purge valves are designed to help the water drain out and assist getting rid of water that gets into the top of the snorkel.
  • Flexible barrels – these are flexible sections that are attached to the barrel near the mouthpiece, it is designed to be a more comfortable and flexible fit.
  • Rotating mouthpiece – this is pretty self explanatory, and can have a big impact on the tiredness you’ll feel in your jaw as you are using for an extended period of time.

The perfect snorkel gear for you is subjective, and it is up to you to work out which combination of features you need, and how much you are willing to spend. Which leads me nicely to the next point:

Cost of Snorkel Gear

How much does snorkel equipment cost? There isn’t one figure that can be applied here. Generally speaking, a lot of snorkel gear and kits to get going will cost under $100, which is pretty reasonable assuming you get long term use out of them. There is a higher end of the market with even more professional gear and you can pay a premium for these. The cheap end of the market can see you spending under $50 to kit yourself out with enough snorkel gear. Of course, whether you are buying things separately or buying them together in a snorkel kit will have an impact

Well made snorkel gear is easier to spot from poor quality models. The online age of transparency means that snorkel reviews are pretty easy to come by, and we’ve summarized some options for purchase below.

Phantom Aquatics Adult Speed Sport Mask Fin Snorkel Set

The Phantom Aquatics Snorkel set provides something of a complete solution for getting started in the world of snorkelling. It has small but effective fins which help you soar through the water. There are different sizes, but the fins are adjustable so you can get the perfect fit. These are very lightweight and people who have purchased them have reported them being exceptional value for money, especially when you consider the daily rental rates of snorkels when you go on holiday.

The snorkel set is really easy to put on and is good at staying dry in your mouth. An immense amount of positive reviews elsewhere on the internet, stating that the silicone is of an excellent quality, the mask is comfortable and the set is great for beginners and more advanced users.

U.S. Divers Adult Cozumel Mask/Seabreeze II Snorkel, Proflex Fins and Gearbag Review

This offering from US Divers is another kit which provides both mask and snorkel along with the fins. It is also immensely well reviewed and a look at the consumer reviews online will show you how much people think of the product.

  • Features a two window mask for maximum visibility
  • Has three way adjustable buckles for flexibility and to adjust to your own personal
  • Splash top with Hydro-Adhesion technology
  • Comfortable and hard wearing fins giving a lot of projection through the water
  • Mesh panelled gear bag for drying out and ease of storing.

This set is comfortable and has minimal condensation or steaming up which make it easy to see all of the amazing underwater sights. It is lightweight and the bag means you can just sling it over your shoulder or in the back of the car and get going. If you’re traveling abroad you also don’t have to worry about this taking up a huge amount of your luggage.

Seaview 180° Panoramic Snorkel Mask Review

Time to look at some of the individual pieces of equipment, and this is a really amazing snorkel mask which has changed the way many people look at the hobby. Snorkelling is easier than ever with one of these masks which are also designed to provide maximum visibility (180 degrees).

Features include:

  • Full face  design which makes breathing really simple through both mouth and nose.
  • A go pro mount, get your GoPro on the snorkel so you can record everything you see and make sure the moments from your trip can last forever.
  • The dry technolgoy prevents salt water getting into your mouth.
  • It has an anti fog design so it doesn’t keep fogging up, in fact the design is such that the breathing chamber is separate from the viewing visor and minimizes the risk of any fog whatsoever.
  • Easy to set up and great for youth and beginners who are learning the process of snorkelling and having to breath underwater.
  • Really cool and unique looks! It is pretty cool to look at and certainly provides a talking point.
  • Super easy to adjust and make the fit as perfect and snug as possible.

Since this revolutionary design came onto the market, it has been my go-to when it comes to snorkel masks. The Seaview 180 is a wonderful piece of kit that solves so many problems that we come across when we get started in this hobby. Many beginners are nervous of trying to use a snorkel for the first time but this can take a lot of the anxiety out of the process.

This has become one of the best selling snorkel masks out there, and it is clear to see why. A quick look at the reviews on amazon and elsewhere online shows a lot of the plus points people have discussed with this product, and tales of people using this for their kids, seeing more than ever before when they go snorkelling or scuba diving and having an all around better experience underwater.

Cressi Scuba Diving Snorkeling Freediving Mask Snorkel Set

This set is different to those above in that it has only got the mask and the snorkel included. This is enough for some of us, fins aren’t always essential, or you may already have some from swimming. I had to include Cressi on this list as they truly are one of the best manufacturers of snorkel gear. As a brand, Cressi have been operating since the 1940s and providing underwater equipment.

The mask here is designed to give the most possible field of view from a mask of this type, it is very adjustable and the buckles swivel to maximize your comfort and make sure you can get a fit perfect for your face.

The images of the product show just how compact the set is, coming in its own, very small carry pouch which is great for slinging in a backpack, or into a photography bag if you’re a photographer looking for snorkel equipment.

Designed to fit kids and adults, this is immensely well reviewed with a huge amount of five star reviews on online retailers, everyone who I’ve spoken to who owns something by Cressi tends to be very happy with it, they’re a very good brand and their equipment is well manufactured, meaning you can rely on the quality. Not the cheapest set, especially as it doesn’t have fins included, but it does an excellent job and can be relied on to last a long time.

Conclusion

So there we have it. The best snorkelling equipment reviewed. This is great for those who want to start diving, enjoy the hobby, are photographers or hunters and have a need for this kind of gear. It can be easy to treat this kind of thing as an afterthought and end up with very poor quality equipment which is unlikely to last more than one trip, but the snorkels and peripheral products mentioned above are all a lot more sturdy than that if treated right.

You can rent equipment when you head to these destinations and the beaches or trips where scuba diving is offered, but there are quite a few downsides to this, you never know exactly what you’re going to get or if it is going to fit, be comfortable or be easy to use. If you wait until you are on your trip to buy the snorkel, fins, mask or other gear locally, you may end up with something really cheap and flimsy and lose having the control of being able to look at reviews online and make an informed decision. Over the years, the masks and fins have become much more compact, which means they are easier to transport and one less thing to worry about when you’re on the road.