I first went snorkeling when I was six, and I gave up after only a few minutes -- and more than a few unwelcome gulps of seawater. I ended up playing on the beach while my parents snorkeled. As an adult, I learned to manage a snorkel, and now snorkeling may be my favorite thing to do. Period. But, as we planned our first Hawaiian trip with a child, I assumed that our little guy would not be able to participate all that much. Managing a snorkel can be a little daunting even for an adult, and Bambino is still learning to swim, so I was prepared for a less-than-amazing experience.
Then I read about Tribord’s EasyBreath Snorkeling Mask. I watched their videos and thought Bambino might be able to use it. So, I ordered one.
Bambino takes swimming lessons twice a week, so when the mask arrived, we took it to the pool with us to practice. I kid you not: my four year-old was snorkeling in under a minute. It was a miracle! He had no fear. He loved swimming with it on. It didn’t fog up. He never once got an unwelcome gulp of water. No sputtering. No fussing. Nothing.
I can not rave about this mask enough. In fact, it was so amazing to watch Bambino use it, that I ordered one for myself and another for my husband. We will never go back to conventional snorkels again. I didn’t realize the tension and coordination that snorkeling requires until it was completely gone and my favorite activity became even more enjoyable.
The EasyBreath mask and snorkel is all one piece which fits snugly around the face. Once it is on, you simply breathe normally. A valve in the snorkel prevents water from getting into the breathing apparatus. The mask does not fog up. It does not leak. It is comfortable to wear for long periods of time. You can dive down under water and never have to worry about water in your snorkel. And it has a huge viewing area -- your vision is not compromised one bit.
We snorkeled almost every day on our Hawaiian trip. While the mask is more expensive than a traditional mask, it was money well spent. Bambino was a full participant every time we snorkeled -- close to shore and out on the reefs -- and he loved it!
But if you show up at the beach with an EasyBreath be prepared for one thing: everyone you see will ask you where you got it. Tribord is a French company, and the masks are not easy to find in the US. I ordered ours on Amazon. The Tribord site has a measuring guide to get the right fit, and this is key. The mask won’t work well if it can’t seal properly around your face. So measure before you buy.
As our family hit the beach each day, I saw parents with their young children confined to the shallows while Bambino forged ahead with us. I was so glad that he was able to join us, swimming together in pursuit of Trumpet Fish, Unicorn Fish, Humuhumunukunukuapua`a, sea turtles, and the whole cast of Finding Nemo. After each day of snorkeling, we sat looking at a tropical fish guide, and Bambino could identify as many species as we could which made for an incredibly rich experience for our entire family.
Cost: $75 each (roughly)
I bought three masks from three different sellers at three different prices, but the average was $75. I later learned that some dive shops have EasyBreath masks for rent which may be a cheaper option depending on how much snorkeling you plan to do.