There isn’t a year that goes by that I don’t daydream about which new place I’m going to be able to snorkel at this year. Which exciting place will I be wading in clear waters with turtles and fish below and around me?
Looks like this year is going to be a lot of Florida Keys and St. Thomas. (We have a trip to St. Thomas in April and another to South Florida at the end of the summer.
Last year we tried to snorkel while kayaking with dolphins on Hilton Head but that was underwhelming. It was cool to kayak with dolphins the but the water was too murky to snorkel and, well…to put it bluntly, once you’ve snorkeled (by chance) with dolphins (in the wild at Honaunau on the Big Island, Hawaii) then nothing really can match up. Know what I mean?
I know, I know…1st world problems. I got it. But that doesn’t change the fact that I’m a snorkaholic and I need a constant (at least annual) fix of snorkeling somewhere new and somewhere beautiful, every year.
In our opinion, if you get bored of your world the do something about it. Find a different part of it to enjoy again and then appreciate it while you’re there. You never know if you’ll get the chance to experience anything again.
Ok, off the soapbox. Let’s get down to some of the good stuff about 2019 snorkeling trends.
What Vacation Spots are Snorkelers Traveling to?
People will always be drawn to the hot spots like Hawaii and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef
and other areas. The truth is, though, that those are expensive places to visit and it really gives a beating to the old wallet.
Some of the hottest snorkeling destinations we hear people talking about these days are:
Lizzy and I have visited Phuket once and stayed at a nice place via the Marriott Vacation Club that we bought into in Hawaii.
There are some really good snorkeling spots and beaches in Phuket if you can make it over there. We’re pretty sure you’ll enjoy the heck out of it just like we did.
Sure, Phuket is far, far, away…but in many cases it’s going to be a lot more affordable than a family trip to Hawaii. Particularly if you can book early enough or have a great deal on a timeshare.
Our favorite spots to snorkel in Phuket were Ao Sane and Kata Noi.
- The Florida Keys
So, Ken just got done (last month-ish) with a pretty thorough Florida Key snorkeling guide that you can read here.
We’re looking forward to snorkeling the Keys this year and particularly some of the marine conservation areas like Dry Tortugas National Park. If any of you get there before we do, please leave a comment and let us know how it was.
We really plan on getting to the Maldives in 2020 if we’re not back living in Hawaii again. That being said, while this is currently a hot snorkel and vacation destination for many around the world, Ken and I are still researching this spot and we’ll have more information and content on snorkeling the Maldives as 2019 rolls along.
What’s the Latest Snorkeling News?
People are still up-in-arms or nervous (in some cases they’re scared) to be wearing/using full-face snorkel masks because of certain risks and hazards.
We’ve maintained since the beginning that these snorkel masks should be worn for their intended purposes and from reputed brands.
You should be using a full-face snorkel mask as though you were in a pool, lazily floating at the top and looking down. It shouldn’t be worn in choppy waters or be used to dive or when swimming distances is required. People have misused these masks and blamed bad stuff on the mask.
Remember these Easy and Life-Saving Rules When Using a Full Face Snorkel Mask:
- Stay at the Surface
- Don’t Swim Until You’re Out of Breath
- Stay Shallow
- If you Get Light Headed go to shore, stand up or call for help
- Never snorkel alone
Being conscientious of the environment and nature is also huge this year (and has been for a while and should remain so for a long time). Whether that means big cruise ships or snorkel tours are limiting the number of people snorkeling in one area to reduce the impact on the environment OR if you personally are caring for the ocean by wearing the correct sunscreen so as to not harm the coral or if you’re respecting and/or protecting the wildlife.
Lastly, one trend that Ken and I love are the “mini-vacations”. We love to burn in and out of a location for 4 days. Some people may think that it’s not worth the money to hit a location for 4 days but we find that we spend less money when we don’t stay too long. Get int, get done what we want to get done, experience what we want and get out of town. ?
What’s the Hot New Snorkel Gear for 2019?
So, Ken and Lizzy, What are you favorite snorkel gear additions for 2019? Well, we’re looking to add the following:
Well, we’re still huge on the Ocean Reef Aria full-face snorkel mask for a few reasons:
- Optical inserts
- Top-quality from a reputable brand.
Our TOP FAVORITE snorkel gear this year is by an old friend, Wildhorn Outfitters. We’ve been a big fan of the brand for a while now and they continue to impress. Wildhorn Outfitters make, probably, the best and safest full-face snorkel mask in the world with the Seaview 180 V2.
- Big airways
- Less chance of rebreathing
- A large field of view
- Easy to inflate
- Perfect safety reading
- Trendy and a new take
And finally, we’re really high on the TUSA Freedom HD dive and snorkel mask. It has a huge field of view, a rotational buckle system, and a the softest, most comfortable, round-edge silicon skirt. Man, is it comfy!
- Soft and comfy
- Large, traditional snorkel mask
- The best view under the water
Beach and Summer Styles for 2019
If you don’t want to worry about fitting perfectly into a 2-piece bathing suit this summer or if you just prefer a one piece then you’ll be happy to know that according to Harper’s Bazaar, the one-piece is still just as trendy as it always has been. Yay, you!
Also for the women, there is a trend in beach day outfits where you not only plan your bathing suit but also your towel, sandals and straw totes. The Trend Spotter recommends a bathing suit, with a beach dress thrown over it and a straw tote bag to carry your round beach towel, an insulated water bottle (like a HydroFlask), a book, and everything else. Don’t forget the sunblock!
Lastly, for the men, we have a great wealth of information from Men’s Health. Men’s swimsuits and trunks may look like a carefree, basic purchase…but they’re not. Here’s what to look for:
- Length: Most guys will have a sweet spot for hitting just above the knee, say…2 inches. Some men will like their swimsuit lengths a bit longer.
- Waist: Always go with elastic waistbands with a drawstring. Stay away from snaps.
- Color: Solids in Navy or dark neutrals can be worn with graphic t-shirts to put some fun in the situation. Prints and bright colors can backfire easily. Take it easy and avoid wallpaper looking patterns from the 70s and 80s…unless, of course, that’s what you’re going for.?
The Future of Snorkeling
Snorkeling isn’t a constantly changing activity and hobby. If you buy new gear every 2 years or so, you’ll be fine. However, there are some directions that we think the snorkeling gear makers will continue to go.
Let’s start off with what we think everyone needs to know first: Having air in a pinch when you need it isn’t new. Neither is Spare Air 300. If you’re an avid snorkeler or diver then you should probably have this already if you can afford it. Again, this isn’t “the future” of snorkeling, it’s the “now”. We just wanted to raise some awareness to it for those who aren’t already aware.
More improvement on the full-face snorkel mask. Most people love them but if they’re dangerous, that’s bad. We think, just like Wildhorn Outfitter’s has done with the Seaview 180 V2, they’ll continue to make improvements so that everyone can enjoy snorkeling.
They’ll also be more and more iterations of gear that make it easier for people to pack and go. Again, Wildhorn Outfitter’s Topside snorkel fins are an indicator or this. Two pieces of gear in a smaller, travel size.
If you really want to get into the future of diving and snorkeling then you shouldn’t miss out on the D-Mask. We’re not sure how close that baby is to being owned by any snorkeler on the beach but we think it’s a pretty awesome product to follow and we’re itching to give it try.
Then there’s the Platypus. Check this awesome thing out!
Lastly, our impact on the ocean’s has been felt, is evident and extremely damaging to the corals and marine animals. There will be more regulations, limitations and over-watch of what we are doing in the oceans because some people just don’t respect its awesomeness (like this idiot riding a whale shark). Others don’t know the impact they’re having. Read our snorkel etiquette article for examples.
Other Fun Beach and Ocean Activities that May Interest You
Also, in 2018 we started to shift the focus of Snorkel Store to more than just snorkeling. Don’t worry, we are still going to be keeping this site mainly snorkeling, diving and summer beach fun.
We spent a good deal of time and money this year creating content for:
- “Best Beach Stuff” LOL. Here’s a Link. From water bottles to towels and beach carts. We’ve tried a lot of them and we’ve reviewed and recommended some of them.
- We’re still gearing up for diving but we do have some content for you.
- Kiteboarding– We are thinking of getting back into kiteboarding this summer in Hilton Head so we’re gearing up for that.
- Underwater Photography is always an interest of ours and we have a dedicated page to underwater cameras that won’t cause you to re-mortgage your home.
So, that’s about it. Sorry, this 2019 update is so late. We’ve been traveling and moving and working.
We hope you all had a great, fun-filled, snorkel-laden 2018 and may your Summer 2019, Tropical Vacation, or everyday life if you’re lucky to live in a spot where snorkeling is possible all year long is as great as you want it to be.
Remember, you don’t have to travel the world to be a snorkeler. Just find a beach and do it. That’s what makes you awesome.
We hope that you continue to hit us up on email and social media (and the comments on this site) with questions that we may be able to answer as well as sharing your experiences with the gear that we recommend and the places we write about.
Ken & Lizzy