Torben Lonne, Dive Instructor
The Ameo Powerbreather
When it comes to your water kit, often the most cast aside piece is the snorkel. Anyone who has used a snorkel knows the annoyance of a limp snorkel that always seems to just get in the way of every movement. As an avid diver I have used a lot of different snorkels over the years in an endless effort to find that perfect snorkel.
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My search made leaps and strides forward when I wrapped my lips around the Ameo Powerbreather. At $149 US I this is a pricy snorkel, my previous favorite was only a $60 snorkel. However, after extensive research and a lot of youtube videos, I decided to give the Powerbreather a try. My initial impressions, out of the box, were confusion and regret. I was looking at an oddly shaped snorkel that was all plastic, except the rubber mouth piece.
Being a diver I was used to being able to spit the regular snorkel out to talk to my buddy or breathe some fresh air. But, I had dished out the money so I took it for a try in a local eight foot deep pool.
A try in the Pool was an eye opener
Photograph by Ameo
One of my first concerns was quickly erased as I was easily able to slide the dual tubed snorkel comfortably over my mask. I loved that the snorkel doesn’t attach to my mask. Instead, each tube goes around either side of the head and uses an adjustable strap across the back of your head. The strap easily tightens and loosens with a dial style adjuster. After getting it in my mouth and tightening it down I found that I could adjust the angle of the tubes and mouthpiece for more comfort.
Once I got in the water I was extremely satisfied with the way the snorkel felt as I was breathing. The breathing in and out was more natural than I expected, and the exhale was outstanding. Instead of inhaling and exhaling through the same source, the exhale is like a regulator. When you exhale using this snorkel the air exits through a valve in the base of the mouthpiece. The resulting inhale was filled with clean and fresh air, and there was no delay for my inhale.
“Once I got in the water I was extremely satisfied with the way the snorkel felt as I was breathing”
Before attempting any practice dives I swam around the pool to see how the snorkel felt while at the surface. Again, I was pleased with the performance of this snorkel. I am not a lap swimmer, but the Powerbreather made me feel as if I could be. Cruising back and forth I noticed that as I moved my arms and head the snorkel did not slip, slide, or fall away from where I had set it. Even when thrashing around more vigorously, for fun, the snorkel system stayed comfortably in place.
Moving on to the deep end I was pleased by two different benefits of the snorkel; One, I was easily able to transition into my dives, without the snorkel flopping around. This was nice because it also meant that my mask didn’t shift when the snorkel pulled against the water resistance. Two, the exhale valve on the mouthpiece makes it so that I was not inhaling my own exhaled air. The fresh air that I was able to pull in through the twin tubes gave my body more oxygen, so my time underwater was a little longer and more comfortable.
An unexpected benefit of the Powerbreather is the slight resistance built into the system. I had read about this before buying but didn’t notice it too much since I was used to deep breathing for my free dives. I did start using it to train with swimming. The resistance exercised my lungs, and allowed me to actively increase my lung capacity while working on my swimming and diving technique. I am hoping the long term result will mean more bottom time, and deeper dives.
Powerbreather with small and large speed vents
Photograph by Torben Lonne
The Ameo Powerbreather in Open water
Ok, the pool is great and all, but we need to see how the Powerbreather performs in the wilds of the ocean.
One of the most unique and enduring features of the Powerbreather is the inclusion of interchangeable vents that attach to the top of the snorkel’s twin tubes. The vents have different shapes that can be used in different types of water. In the ocean I used the large speed vents, which kept water from entering the snorkel due to the rolling waves.
I was again pleased by the ease of adjusting the snorkel. In the ocean I add a dive hood to my setup, but the flexibility offered by the adjustable dial made the snorkel just a comfortable to use as when I was in the pool.
The top test for a snorkel it how it performs while underwater, and transitioning back to the surface. In free diving this is the point where a poor performing snorkel will cause an unexpected drink of water. Diving down to fifteen to twenty feet was no problem.
I had read that as long as you don’t inhale underwater the snorkel won’t take in any water. While this wasn’t 100% true, the snorkel didn’t take on a lot of water, and was easy to clear with a normal exhale when I returned to the surface. So much so, that had I not heard the water exiting the snorkel, I wouldn’t have noticed it to begin with.
THE CONCLUSION OF THE AMEO POWERBREATHER
In the end my only complaint about the power breather is that it doesn’t simply pop out of my mouth when I wasn’t to talk to my buddy. You have to loosen the head strap in order to remove the mouthpiece from your mouth. My buddy didn’t seem to mind me talking to her less, so for her this was a positive.
The Ameo Powerbreather is, overall, an outstanding addition to my dive kit.
I can use it for my normal freediving activities, as well as for training to increase my lung capacity. I still had to hold on to my old snorkel for scuba, but that’s a small concession for the marvelous performance of the Powerbreather.
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