What do you do with the snorkel when you freedive?
Note: You should ALWAYS take the snorkel OUT OF YOUR MOUTH while holding your breath underwater. This post is not whether keeping it in or out of your mouth, but whether keeping it under the mask strap or leave it on the surface.
On very deep dives the answer is simple, no snorkel during the dive!
Most freedivers who dive deep don’t dive with a mask and don’t do their final breathe-up through a snorkel.
Deep freediver Alex Lozano breathing-up on the back with the support of a “noodle”: this is one of the most popular ways to breathe-up for deep dives, but it’s not recommended when diving in wavy/rough conditions as water will splash on your face and you may swallow some when inhaling.
Those who prefer to breathe-up through the snorkel, usually take it out of their mouth after the final inhale and leave it on the surface; a buddy will pick it up for them so not to lose it. This is easier than having to try secure it on or inside the buoy while you are holding your breath.
Another option is to secure it to a string that is attached to the buoy; this eliminates the need for a buddy to take it (sometimes they forget to do so and it get lost).
Be careful though, strings and bits of ropes around the buoy can be very tricky! It is not uncommon to get tangled on one of these right at the start.
An example of a “snorkel accident”: the snorkel got tangled to the freediver and followed him to depth.
MID RANGE DIVES
For 30/40 meters dives, the answer is: it depends.
The snorkel might bother you especially on the ascent, and especially if you are fast, in which case it’s better to leave it on the surface.
This is usually always the case for who is diving with a monofin, so better planning on leaving it behind.
For Free Immersion or Bifins dives, it’s totally up to you. If it doesn’t bother you then keep it with you.
For CNF (constant weight without fins) diving with the snorkel is not an option! You want as little drag as possible when training this discipline. In any case most CNF freedivers only use a noseclip and no mask, so there is nowhere to attach a snorkel.
On shallower dives, safety dives, warm up dives, such as hangs, it might be much more practical to keep it under the mask strap; this way you can use it during your breathe-up and not having to worry about removing it and pass it on to your buddy or securing it in the buoy – and maybe lose it in the process.
Any doubts or questions? Ask the expert!