A snorkel is a piece of essential equipment for different water activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, and free-diving as well as underwater sports like underwater hockey and underwater rugby. Spearfishing is also one of the water activities that benefit from the use of snorkels. Spearfishing can be practiced using the same equipment used in the other activities of scuba diving, snorkeling, and free-diving; and due to the different natures of these activities, the suitable snorkel for each activity and technique also differ in features. So, as we explore the best snorkels for spearfishing, keep in mind that not all features are suitable for all activities. At the beginning of this article, you will find our top recommendations and as you scroll down closer to the end you will find a guide on the criteria you should look out for.
Top Spearfishing Snorkels
All the following snorkels are traditional J tube snorkels without valves or splash guards due to them being most suitable for a speed diving activity such as spearfishing.
The Corsica is a simple J tube snorkel made in Italy by Cressi. It features a flexible tube design made of soft polymer with a large diameter that facilitates breathing. It’s easily bendable and adjustable which allows for comfortable positioning, easy clearing, and storage. The mouthpiece is made of hypoallergenic silicone that is flexible and comfortable. It also has a clip to be attached to the diving mask.
- The contoured design and flexible material allow for better fit and adjustment
- The flexible tube is easy to pack and it bends and springs back to original shape without damage
- Reduced size orthodontic mouthpiece to minimize disruption in the mouth
- Affordable price
- Bad clip quality, could easily break
This snorkel is made of thermoplastic polyurethane, a flexible type of plastic with high mechanical strength. The tube has a diameter of 20mm. It can easily bend yet rigid enough to prevent wobbling when swimming fast. All the parts of the snorkel are made of transparent plastic to make it invisible which is good when spearfishing. It also has a strap holder.
- Easily foldable for travel
- Transparent for camouflage
- Won’t swell in water or yellow from UV light exposure
- Does not fit the face perfectly
- Small mouthpiece, difficult to keep in your mouth
This snorkel comes in different sizes. It’s all made of silicon for flexibility and durability. It has a soft keeper clip that allows easy attachment and removal from the mask strap. The compact and hydrodynamic contoured design of the J tube is a good fit around the head and reduces the drag. It also comes with a case.
- The lightweight and hydrodynamic design reduce drag
- Fits good on the face and doesn’t flop
- Strong mask clipper
- The airway can get blocked with dirt and sand
The snorkel is fully made of silicon. The tube has a simple contoured design for flexibility and durability. It has a comfortable silicone mouthpiece that easily fits the mouth. A loop style keeper made of silicon is provided to attach the snorkel to the diving mask. It also comes with a traveling case for storage.
- Lowest price
- Small size and easily rolls up
- The loop style keeper sticks firmly to the mask
- Doesn’t fit well in its case
This snorkel is made of bi-materials with different textures to eliminate irritation when it touches the neck and to provide flexibility and good flow of air. It has a hydrodynamic design to reduce vibrations and noise during underwater diving. The diameter and length of the tube are good which prevent air turbulence caused by emptying. It also has a keeper to attach to the mask.
- Bi-materials textures ensure comfort at points of contact with the neck
- Good tube diameter for easy breathing
- Bad keeper clip
Use of Snorkels in Spearfishing
The most common ways to do spearfishing are snorkeling and free-diving. Scuba diving is less frequently used as it’s illegal in some countries to go spearfishing while using scuba equipment.
In all cases, spearfishing most probably requires diving down to hunt for fish and you might wonder why the need for snorkels? Mainly, snorkels are used at the surface of the water or a little below it to help you breathe with your face in the water by drawing air from above the water through the tube of the snorkel. A snorkel also helps you breathe better when hit by waves or rough waters.
When spearfishing, the snorkel will help you hover above the dive site, exploring and surveying it, looking for the fish to target without having to hold your breath and concentrating more on finding the fish.
Types of Snorkels
There are five common types of snorkels, each having specific features, making certain types more suitable for specific activities than others. Here are these types, their pros, and cons, as well as the activities they’re most suited for:
The classic snorkel also called traditional or J-tube snorkel because of its shape, is the most simple type of snorkels. It’s just a solid plastic tube with a mouthpiece. The tube is slightly bent but it can also be bent to a specific shape, although it’s a little bit rigid and less comfortable to use than the flexible types.
This type has the least volume due to not having any valves or splash guards. This lightweight makes it less affected by drag, which allows reaching great depths within one breath of air, but on the other hand, not having any valves allows water to enter the tube of the snorkel when submerged and the diver is required to clear the water from the top of the snorkel by exhaling forcefully after reaching the surface again. Due to its simple construction, the classic snorkel is best for beginners and most preferred for speed diving activities like free-diving and spearfishing.
- Lowest price
- Low volume and easy to pack
- Suitable for spearfishing because it doesn’t have valves which cause bubbles that may scare fish
- Easy to use which makes it good for beginners
- Uncomfortable because of rigidity
- Gets flooded by water from both ends
- Requires clearing by exhaling which drains energy
The tube of the flexible snorkel is composed of two parts, a rigid one and a flexible one. It also has a purge valve, which is a one-way valve at the bottom used to expel water that enters the snorkel.
The flexible part makes this type more comfortable than the classic one as it fits better around the face and allows the diver to adjust the top of the tube and the mouthpiece to different angles for more convenience of use. It will also drop away from the face when not used.
The purge valve is an area at the bottom of the mouthpiece which accumulates any water that enters from the top of the tube which gets flushed through the valve when the diver exhales or blows the water out. It requires less energy than blowing the water all the way to the top which helps save energy and have better breathing but it can fail if sand and dirt get stuck inside and block the airway. This type is good for snorkeling and scuba diving.
- More comfortable due to the flexible part
- Drops away from face when not used
- Purge valve helps with water flushing
- Gets flooded by water from the top
- Valve mechanism can get blocked
- The flexible part can be unstable underwater
The semi-dry snorkel features a splash guard, also called a deflector, at the top of the tube. Often times it will also have a flexible tube and a purge valve at the bottom.
The splash guard helps prevent water splashes and sprays from entering the tube while you’re on the surface. It does so by having slits and angles which deflect water away from the tube. However, the semi-dry snorkel will not prevent water from entering when fully underwater or if the top of the snorkel gets covered by a high enough wave. Also, some splash guards feature a moving mechanism which could get stuck due to sand.
This type is good for scuba divers because they can use it on the surface to save the air in their tanks.
- Splash guard prevents water from entering the tube on the surface
- Features a purge valve and a flexible tube
- Doesn’t prevent water when submerged
- Splash guard could get jammed
The dry snorkel features a valve at the top of the tube which completely blocks water and air from entering when the snorkel is totally submerged underwater. The mechanism of the valve depends on a floatation bob that floats upwards blocking the airway when the snorkel is underwater. After emerging to the surface, the floatation bob falls back to open the airway and allow the diver to breathe again.
Similar to the semi-dry snorkel, the dry snorkel also has a purge valve at the bottom and could have a flexible tube.
This snorkel allows the user to dive without having to clear it every time they return to the surface and the purge valve will help expel water, in case it gets in, through exhaling.
The dry snorkel is good for snorkeling and shallow dives but not for spearfishing which requires getting down deeper. This is due to the fact that the snorkel is bulkier and tends to become more buoyant because of the trapped air which makes it float and increases drag. The other drawback of this type is that it could get blocked or sometimes fails to prevent water from entering at certain angles.
- Does not require water clearing
- Purge valve to flush out water that comes in
- Saves energy on the surface
- More buoyant and bulky which increases drag underwater
- Could get blocked and make it hard to breathe
- Most Expensive
Full-Face Snorkel Mask
This snorkel combines a mask with a dry snorkel. The tube is at the top of the mask and it doesn’t have a mouthpiece, you breathe normally instead. This is the easiest one to use as it requires no training, you just put on the mask, strap it on and seal it on your face completely, and breathe normally through your mouth.
Although very easy, the mask is not very comfortable due to the large volume of air trapped inside it which will create pressure on the face as well as having your warm breath circulating around your face. It’s also possible to have leaks.
- Requires no training
- Allows to breathe normally without a mouthpiece
- Good for beginners and divers with jaw issues
- No access to nose for equalization
- Uncomfortable due to pressure and warm breath underwater
- Can fog up
- Leakage risk
What Makes a Good Spearfishing Snorkel?
When choosing a snorkel for spearfishing, it’s better to have these features:
- The tube should be contoured. Contoured snorkels are classic snorkelers with a slightly bent tube which is reasonably comfortable and offers little resistance. These are more recommended than flexible snorkels because although flexible snorkels are more comfortable, they tend to have more resistance underwater.
- The snorkel should have a dark color so as to not scare the fish while hunting.
- The top of the snorkel should be a different recognizable color in order to be easily spotted by your partners.
- The snorkel should be made from soft material like soft rubber to be more comfortable than hard plastic when touching the face and fit better, but not too soft which might cause the snorkel to wobble and bend and shut the flow of air when you swim fast.
- The mouthpiece should be made of soft material like silicon for comfort and has to be easily replaceable.
- The ideal length and diameter of the snorkel differ between divers, depending on their size and lung capacity. A tube with a large diameter will essentially make it easier to breathe but harder to clear the tube while a small diameter will make it harder to breathe. If the length is too short, the tube will fill with water. If it is too long, it will be harder to breathe. So, you should try and see what suits you best.
- Unlike the dry snorkel, you should choose a lightweight and small size snorkel for spearfishing to minimize drag.
- Having a simple traditional J tube snorkel is the best choice of type for spearfishing. A semi-dry snorkel is also good but with the drawback of scaring the fish when flushing water out of the purge valve.
When choosing the best snorkel for spearfishing, it’s all about simplicity, comfort, and ease of use. Out of the five snorkels we reviewed, The Cressi Corsica is the best, in my opinion, it has the most value for a good price. It provides a good comfortable design with good quality. The only drawback is the clip but you could replace it with a simple loop style silicon keeper that straps to the diving mask.
Otherwise, you could consider the Kraken Aquatics for its low price and small size or the Zoom Pro if you want the transparent option for better camouflage.
You should also consider buying the snorkel as part of a complete snorkeling gear that includes a diving mask, fins, and gear bag.
Hope you found this guide informative. Happy fishing.