Snorkeling Gear

Wetsuit

The temperature of Cape Town’s ocean varies considerably depending on the weather, season and location.The Atlantic Seaboard is generally colder than the False Bay side of the peninsula. A good snorkeling wetsuit for Cape Town’s conditions should be able to keep you warm in temperatures that vary from 6 degrees to 21 degrees. For this, a two piece, 5mm wetsuit is ideal. Our 5mm avatar freediving wetsuit is a good example of what you need. It consists of long John style pants and a jacket with a hood. This combination provides 10mm of neoprene over the torso to keep your vital organs extra warm and it negates the need for zippers which tend to leak. It is also far more comfortable than a 1-piece wetsuit. Other than warmth and comfort, buoyancy is needed. Snorkelers in tropical waters tend to wear a life jacket and a swimsuit. The lifejacket provides enough buoyancy to keep the snorkelers afloat at the surface. With 10mm of neoprene over your torso and 5mm over the rest of your body, a life jacket is not required when wearing a 2-piece, 5mm wetsuit. If you ever decide to become an Adventure Freediver, then you can use the same wetsuit and just add a weight belt to counter the wetsuit’s buoyancy.

  • Avatar Freediving Wetsuit Front
    Wetsuits

    Avatar 5mm Freediving Wetsuit

    R4,750.00 incl.VAT Select options

Mask

Masks labelled as ‘snorkeling’ masks tend to either be cheap and poor quality or very expensive and gimmicky like many of the full face masks. Rather choose a diving or freediving mask as these tend to be practical, comfortable and reasonably priced. A good mask for snorkeling should have a soft silicone skirting which seals comfortably on your face and accommodates the size and shape of your nose. Some freediving masks are frameless, but most masks still have a frame which contains the lenses. The frame should be comfortable, ideally flexible and should not press too hard against the nose or brow. Lenses are mostly made from shatterproof glass. If it is glass and not shatterproof then definitely avoid that mask. Although some freedivers love masks like the  Aqualung Sphera which have plastic lenses and are great for deep freediving, plastic lenses bend and distort vision so avoid these types of masks for snorkeling. If you are only snorkeling or maybe mostly snorkeling and freediving to shallow depths then a single lens mask might be a great option as they tend to have a very wide field of vision compared to dual lens masks. To check if a mask fits your face, place the mask on your face with the strap loose above it. Then inhale through your nose to create a vacuum and hold that vacuum for 10 seconds. If the mask stays on your face and air does not seep into the mask then the mask seals well. Lastly, put the mask on with the strap behind your head, holding the mask on. Make sure the strap is not too loose or too tight, leave the mask on for a minute and feel for any contact points on your face where the mask might be hurting you. If there aren’t any, then the mask should be a good fit in the water and should not leak.

  • Reef Inferno Mask
    Masks & Snorkels

    Reef Inferno Mask

    R558.00 incl.VAT Add to basket

Snorkel

Simple is best when it comes to snorkels. The basic J-shaped snorkel is still the best option for a snorkel whether you are using it for diving, freediving or snorkeling. A good medium length snorkel tube should be made from a soft, but firm material like silicone or soft plastic. The mouthpiece needs to be soft and comfortable in the mouth and this typically means it needs to be made from silicone. Avoid purge valves or any other gadgets as these tend to work poorly and end up leaking. Lastly, choose a black or dark coloured snorkel and avoid transparent snorkels… nobody wants to see your spit in a tube and dark colours do not discolour easily.

  • Rob Allen Snapper Evo Snorkel
    Masks & Snorkels

    Rob Allen Snapper Evo Snorkel

    R235.00 incl.VAT Add to basket

Fins

Fins or ‘flippers’ tend to be an optional piece of equipment when it comes to snorkeling. In flat, calm ocean conditions fins are not needed provided that you can easily access the snorkeling site either from shore or from a boat. If however you need to swim out to the site or intend snorkeling over a wide area then fins will be beneficial. Most snorkeling fins have short blades which makes them easier to move in the water. Short fins are also friendlier on the reef as there is a lower chance of you unintentionally smacking them against the marine life close to the water surface. If you intend adding a bit of freediving to your snorkeilng or if your snorkeling requires more powerful movement for covering longer distances or swimming through surf or against currents then freediving long fins are a good option. In Cape Town, there are a few great snorkeling sites that require a good swim out from shore, the seal colony and Strawberry Rocks is a good example. For these, long fins are definitely recommended. Blade length aside, a good pair of snorkeling fins should have closed heels and comfortable footpockets. Open heel fins are not ideal as they allow for too much movement of the foot and heel which reduces the transmission of power from your kicks to the fin blade.

  • Rob Allen Scorpia Long Fins

Neoprene Socks

Fins and wetsuits tend to leave toes and ankles exposed which isn’t too much of a problem if the water temperature is warm enough, but if you are planning on snorkeling on the Atlantic Seaboard or on really cold False Bay days then wearing neoprene socks is a good idea. 2-3mm neoprene socks are thick enough to provide sufficient warmth for an average length snorkeling session in cold water. They also provide some protection against scrapes and stings in the water. Make sure that the socks you choose fit comfortably with your fins.

  • Coral Wetsuits Neoprene Socks
    Accessories

    Coral Wetsuits Neoprene Socks

    R285.00 incl.VAT Select options

Gloves

The final item you might want to consider for snorkeling in Cape Town is a pair of diving gloves. These can either be full neoprene or leather palm gloves and ideally not so thick that you lose fine motor control of your fingers. Snorkeling gloves will keep your hands warm, protect you from sunburn, scrapes, cuts and most importantly, urchin spines.

  • Accessories

    Rob Allen Camo Gloves

    R405.00 incl.VAT Select options
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