Title:
Integrated snorkel mask front-mounted snorkel
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An integrated snorkel mask includes a front, center-mounted snorkel wherein the snorkel is attached to the center of the front of the mask frame. The snorkel preferably has a teardrop cross sectional shape. The snorkel and mask are integrated and, in some embodiments, are integral.



Inventors:
Trujillo, Cesar (Los Cedros, HN)
Application Number:
11/206134
Publication Date:
02/23/2006
Filing Date:
08/18/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
128/201.27
International Classes:
B63C11/16; B63C11/02
View Patent Images:
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Foreign References:
DE350585C1922-03-20
Primary Examiner:
MITCHELL, TEENA KAY
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DLA PIPER LLP (US) (Reston, VA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An integrated snorkel mask comprising: a frame, the frame having at least one opening for receiving a lens, the frame having a center indentation for receiving a user's nose; a strap attached to the frame for securing the mask to the user's head; at least one lens disposed in the opening; a skirt surrounding the at least one opening, the skirt forming a seal between a portion of the user's face around the user's eyes and a portion of the frame in which the at least one opening is formed; and a snorkel attached to the frame such that the snorkel is positioned between the user's eyes and extends over the user's nose and forehead.

2. The mask of claim 1, further comprising a second lens, wherein the frame has a second opening formed therein for receiving the second lens.

3. The mask of claim 1, wherein the snorkel has a teardrop cross sectional shape.

4. The mask of claim 1, wherein the snorkel has an inward bend formed therein, the snorkel being positioned such that the inward bend is positioned at a point where the bridge of the user's nose connects to the forehead.

5. The mask of claim 1, wherein the snorkel is formed from an upper section and a lower section, the lower section having an opening for a user's mouth formed therein, the upper section being attached to the mask, the upper and lower sections being sized such that one section fits inside the other, thereby allowing the upper and lower sections to telescope so that a distance between the frame and the opening in the lower section can be adjusted to accommodate users with faces of different lengths.

6. The mask of claim 1, wherein the skirt includes a pocket for covering the user's nose.

7. The mask of claim 1, wherein the frame and the snorkel are integral.

8. The mask of claim 1, wherein the frame has a cavity formed therein for receiving the snorkel.

9. The mask of claim 8, wherein snorkel has a non-circular cross sectional shape and the cavity has a corresponding non-circular cross sectional shape sized to accept the snorkel such that the snorkel is prevented from rotating when disposed in the cavity.

10. The mask of claim 9, wherein the non-circular cross-sectional shape is a teardrop shape.

11. The mask of claim 1, wherein the snorkel has a clip attached thereto for attaching the snorkel to the frame.

12. A snorkel comprising: a breathing tube, the breathing tube having a teardrop cross sectional shape; and a mouthpiece in fluid communication with the breathing tube.

13. The snorkel of claim 12, wherein the breathing tube includes an upper section and a lower section, the upper and lower sections being sized such that the upper and lower sections can telescope, the mouthpiece being in fluid communication with the lower section.

14. The snorkel of claim 12, further comprising a purge valve in fluid communication with the mouthpiece.

15. The snorkel of claim 12, further comprising a mask, the mask being attached to the snorkel.

16. The snorkel of claim 15, wherein the mask is integral with the snorkel.

17. The snorkel of claim 12, wherein the snorkel has an inward bend formed therein, the inward bend being positioned at a point where the bridge of the user's nose connects to the forehead.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCES

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/602,654, entitled “Integrated Snorkel Mask Front-Mounted Snorkel,” filed Aug. 19, 2004, the contents of which are hereby incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD

The invention relates generally to masks for water sports and more particularly to a mask with a front-mounted snorkel for use in swimming, snorkeling and other water sports.

BACKGROUND

In products available today for swimming, snorkeling and other water sports where a snorkel and eye protection is used, the mask or goggles are always separate from the snorkel. Therefore, a user must attach the mask or goggles to his or her head and then attach the snorkel separately. Each item has its own, separate adjustment requirements.

In the case of recreational snorkeling equipment, most snorkel products are designed to be side-mounted and attached to the strap on the side of the mask. Traditional, side-mounted snorkels have several disadvantages. First, they are not hydrodynamic because they are positioned on the side of the face where they create drag as the person swims along. Second, they are hard to fix in one place because they move along the strap on the mask as the person swims. This requires the user to adjust the snorkel constantly so that it is in a comfortable position in relation to the mouth. Third, existing snorkels are not bio-mechanically correct because the human's breathing function is in the front of the face and not on the side of the face. Fourth, the cross section of the snorkel tube is typically round, rectangular, flattened oval, or elliptical, which are not optimal designs for reduction of hydrodynamic drag.

For swimmers, there are two options currently available—the traditional side-mounted snorkel as described above or a front-mounted snorkel designed especially for swimmers. One example of a front-mounted snorkel is disclosed in U.S. Design Patent No. Des. 406,333 to Garraffa. This snorkel uses a silicone rubber strap and hard plastic head bracket covered with urethane foam rubber to attach the snorkel to the user's head. A second example of a front-mounted snorkel is disclosed in U.S. Design Patent No. Des. 350,379 to Kirchner. All drawbacks discussed below in connection with the Garraffa snorkel apply to the Kirchner device as well.

The Garraffa snorkel has the following drawbacks:

1. Because of its design, the head bracket does not conform in a contoured manner to the shape of the forehead and thus concentrates most of the pressure on two spots in the center front of the forehead. This concentration of extreme pressure causes capillary shutdown and the resulting lack of blood circulation causes significant discomfort on the forehead. The longer you use the Garraffa snorkel, the more uncomfortable it becomes.

2. The Garraffa front-mounted snorkel is a separate item from the goggles or mask. Therefore, if the user wants to wear eye protection he must attach two items to his head—the goggles or mask plus the snorkel. Each item has its own strap that the user must adjust to their own comfort level. It takes longer to attach and adjust two separate items. Furthermore, the straps typically overlap on the back of the head. Thus, if a user wants to remove the mask to clear his eyes or nose, he must first remove the snorkel and then remove the mask.

3. The Garraffa device is positioned at a distance far enough away from the face that it significantly obstructs the field of vision between the eyes. Therefore, it is not suitable for a recreational snorkeling application where good visibility is essential.

4. The Garraffa snorkel, like existing snorkels, has a shape that not does not have optimal hydrodynamic properties. The upper section of the snorkel tube has a flattened oval cross section and the lower section of the snorkel has a round cross section.

5. The lower portion of the Garraffa snorkel tube and head bracket opening in which this lower snorkel tube fits are both round in cross-sectional shape. The tube, therefore, cannot be fixed in place by the bracket and it is common for the tube to rotate inside the head bracket while the user is swimming. This causes the top tube opening (air intake) to get close to the water and allows water to enter the snorkel tube.

SUMMARY

The present invention addresses the above-mentioned issues to a great extent by providing a combination swimming/snorkeling mask with a front, center-mounted snorkel wherein the snorkel is attached to the center of the front of the mask frame. The integrated snorkel mask preferably has a silicone rubber skirt that provides a seal to keep the water out and make the snorkel mask more comfortable by distributing the pressure around the periphery of the mask. By integrating the snorkel with the mask, the discomfort associated with known separate snorkels such as the Garaffa snorkel is eliminated. In preferred embodiments, the skirt includes a nose pocket that covers the nose.

In one aspect of the invention, the snorkel preferably has a teardrop cross sectional shape and is oriented such that the narrower edge of the teardrop points forward. This provides two benefits. First, it improves vision. Second, it reduces hydrodynamic drag relative to known snorkels with round, oval, rectangular and elliptical cross sectional shapes.

In another aspect of the invention, the snorkel includes an inward bend at a point where the bridge of the user's nose connects to the forehead so that the snorkel follows the form of the face. This inward bend allows the snorkel to be positioned closer to the face than existing snorkels, which also improves visibility.

In highly preferred embodiments having a snorkel with an inward bend, the snorkel also includes a telescoping section located below the bend to which a mouthpiece is attached. The telescoping section allows the distance between the bend and the mouthpiece to be adjusted for users having faces of different lengths so that the mouthpiece always enters the mouth at a preferred angle which improves user comfort.

In other embodiments having a snorkel with an inward bend, the mouthpiece is connected to the snorkel with a flexible section to accommodate users with different face sizes. The flexible section is oriented such that it automatically swings downward away from the mouth when released. This allows a user to talk when out of the water without having to manually move the mouthpiece away from the mouth.

In another aspect of the invention, the snorkel includes a purge valve located at the bottom for clearing water that enters the snorkel.

In some embodiments of the invention, the snorkel and the mask are physically separate devices and the snorkel is attached to the mask by inserting the snorkel tube inside of a teardrop shaped opening located on the top-center of the mask frame. Since the snorkel is removable in such embodiments, the mask can be used with or without the snorkel. In other embodiments of the invention, the snorkel is integral with the frame of the mask.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an integrated snorkel mask according to a first embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a front view of the integrated snorkel mask of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a side view of the integrated snorkel mask of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a top view of the integrated snorkel mask of FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is a side view of the integrated snorkel mask of FIG. 1 showing a telescoping section of the snorkel completely contracted.

FIG. 6 is a side view of the integrated snorkel mask of FIG. 1 showing a telescoping section of the snorkel partially extended.

FIG. 7 is a side view of the integrated snorkel mask of FIG. 1 showing a telescoping section of the snorkel fully extended.

FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view of a telescoping section of the snorkel of the mask of FIG. 1 at 0% extension.

FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view of a telescoping section of the snorkel of the mask of FIG. 1 at 100% extension.

FIG. 10a is a view illustrating a teardrop cross-sectional shape of the snorkel of the mask of FIG. 1.

FIG. 10b is a cross-sectional view of the snorkel of the mask of FIG. 1 relative to a user's head.

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of the mask portion of the integrated snorkel mask of FIG. 1.

FIG. 12 is a front view of the mask portion of the integrated snorkel mask of FIG. 1.

FIG. 13 is a side view of the mask portion of the integrated snorkel mask of FIG. 1.

FIG. 14 is a top view of the mask portion of the integrated snorkel mask of FIG. 1.

FIG. 15 is a side view of the snorkel portion of the integrated snorkel mask of FIG. 1.

FIG. 16 is a perspective view of integrated snorkel mask according to a second embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 17 is a front view of the integrated snorkel mask of FIG. 16.

FIG. 18 is a side view of the integrated snorkel mask of FIG. 16.

FIG. 19 is a side view of the snorkel portion of the integrated snorkel mask of FIG. 16.

FIG. 20 is a perspective view of an integrated snorkel mask with an integral mask and snorkel according to a third embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 21 is a front view of the integrated snorkel mask of FIG. 20.

FIG. 22 is a side view of the integrated snorkel mask of FIG. 20.

FIG. 23 is a top view of the integrated snorkel mask of FIG. 20.

FIG. 24 is a perspective view of integrated snorkel mask with an integral mask and snorkel according to a fourth embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 25 is a front view of the integrated snorkel mask of FIG. 24.

FIG. 26 is a side view of the integrated snorkel mask of FIG. 24.

FIG. 27 is a perspective view of integrated snorkel mask according to a fifth embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 28 is a front view of the integrated snorkel mask of FIG. 27.

FIG. 29 is a side view of the integrated snorkel mask of FIG. 27.

FIG. 30 is a top view of the integrated snorkel mask of FIG. 27.

FIG. 31 is a perspective view of the mask portion of the integrated snorkel masks of FIGS. 27 and 35.

FIG. 32 is a front view of the mask portion of the mask portion of FIG. 31.

FIG. 33 is a side view of the mask portion of FIG. 31.

FIG. 34 is a top view of the mask portion of FIG. 31.

FIG. 35 is a perspective view of an integrated snorkel mask according to a sixth embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 36 is a perspective view of integrated snorkel mask according to a seventh embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 37 is a perspective view of integrated snorkel mask according to an eighth embodiment of the present invention.

FIGS. 38 a, b and c are top, side and front views, respectively, of an integrated snorkel mask according to a ninth embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 39 is a cross sectional view of a portion of the integrated snorkel mask of FIG. 38.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present invention will be discussed with reference to various preferred embodiments of snorkel masks. Specific details, such as methods for attaching the snorkel to the mask, will be set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the present invention. The specific embodiments described below should not be understood to limit the invention.

An integrated snorkel mask 100 according to a first embodiment of the invention is illustrated in FIG. 1 (perspective view), FIG. 2 (front view) and FIG. 3 (side view), FIG. 4 (top view). The integrated snorkel mask 100 includes a mask portion 101 with a silicone rubber skirt 102 including a nose pocket 107 that forms a watertight seal around a user's eyes and nose. The mask portion 101 has a frame 103 and a pair of transparent lenses 106. In preferred embodiments, the frame 103 is comprised of molded plastic; however, any suitable material including plastic resin, carbon fiber, fiberglass or synthetic resin may be used. (Although a pair of lenses 106 are illustrated, those of skill in the art will recognize that a single lens that covers both eyes and the bridge of the user's nose could also be used.) The lenses 106 can be transparent, tinted or mirrored, and may be formed of any suitable glass, plastic, or polycarbonate materials. A front, center-mounted snorkel 104 is attached to the center of the front of the molded plastic frame 103 of the mask portion 101. An adjustable silicone rubber strap 105 attaches the integrated snorkel mask 100 to a user's head. Because the snorkel 104 and mask portion 101 are integral, only a single strap 105 is necessary.

The snorkel 104 is generally J-shaped, and as shown in FIG. 15 is comprised of two parts: an upper portion 1510 and a lower portion 1512. The upper portion 1510 has an inward bend 104a. The inward bend 104a is positioned at the point where the bridge 1501 of a user's nose 1502 connects to the forehead 1503 so that the snorkel 104 follows the form of the user's face for superior ergonomic properties. The upper portion 1510 has an open top end 1511. The lower portion 1512 has a silicone rubber mouthpiece 109 through which the user breathes. The lower portion 1512 has a narrow top 1513 that fits into an opening 1514 on the bottom of the upper portion 1512 such that the upper and lower portions 1510, 1512 “telescope.” (Those of skill in the art will recognize that the narrow top 1513 could also be sized such that it fits over the bottom of the lower portion 1510.) This telescoping arrangement allows the lower portion 1512 to be moved relative to the upper portion 1510 as shown in FIGS. 5, 6 and 7 to adjust the distance D between the frame 103 and the mouthpiece 109 for different face sizes so that the angle of entry of the mouthpiece 109 into the user's mouth is the same for users with different face sizes.

A more detailed view of the telescoping portion of the snorkel 104 is shown in FIGS. 8 and 9. FIG. 8 depicts the telescoping portion at 0% extension and FIG. 9 depicts the telescoping portion at 100% extension. An o-ring 802 is disposed in the opening 1514 of the bottom of the upper portion 1510. The o-ring 802 forms a water-tight seal around the narrow top 1513 of the lower portion 1512. The opening 1514 has a shoulder 804 and the narrow top portion 1513 has a flange 806 that engages the shoulder 804 to prevent the upper and lower portions 1510, 1512 of the snorkel 104 from becoming separated.

Referring back to FIGS. 1-4, the snorkel 4 also has a purge valve 110 located at the bottom end of the lower portion 1512 of the snorkel 104. The purge valve 110 includes a small rubber diaphragm that only opens one way, preventing water from entering the snorkel 104 through the bottom. Any water that gets into the snorkel 104 flows downwards towards the purge valve 110. When the user exhales forcefully, any accumulated water is forced out of the purge valve 110.

In preferred embodiments of the invention, the snorkel 104 has a tear-shaped cross-sectional shape as shown in FIG. 10a. Preferably, both the upper and lower portions 1510, 1512 of the snorkel have this teardrop shape; however, in some embodiments of the invention, only the upper portion 1510 (or some part of the upper portion 1510) has this cross-sectional shape. As used herein, a teardrop cross sectional shape means a two dimensional shape that is generally symmetrical about a center axis, is wider and rounded in the back and narrower in the front. The front of the teardrop shape is pointed in some embodiments and slightly rounded in others. The sides of the teardrop shape may be straight, deflected slightly toward the center axis, or deflected slightly outward. This cross-sectional shape provides superior hydrodynamic properties to reduce vibration and water resistance as compared to the round, rectangular, oval, flattened oval, and elliptical snorkel cross-sectional shapes found in the prior art.

The teardrop shape of the snorkel 104 also has the capability of improving visibility. This can be accomplished by making the sides 104c of the teardrop roughly parallel to a line between the front 104d of the teardrop and the user's pupil 1001 as shown in FIG. 10b. It should be noted, however, that this parallel relationship between the sides of the teardrop and the line between the user's pupils and the front of the teardrop is not present in all embodiments.

The snorkel 104 attaches to the mask portion 103 by inserting the top part of the snorkel 104 upwards into the teardrop-shaped opening 1103 on the front of the frame 103 of the mask 100. The mask portion 101 and the snorkel 104 become one integrated unit when the snorkel 104 is attached to the frame 103. Since the snorkel 104 is removable in this embodiment, the mask portion 101 can be used without the snorkel 104 as illustrated in FIGS. 11 (perspective view), 12 (front view), 13 (side view), and 14 (top view).

An integrated snorkel mask 200 according to a second embodiment of the invention is illustrated in FIGS. 16-19. The mask 200 is similar to the mask 100, except that the mask 200 does not have a purge valve at the bottom of the snorkel 204. A mouthpiece 209 is attached to the lower portion by a flexible portion 209a. The flexible portion 209a allows the height of the mouthpiece to be adjusted for users with different face sizes. However, the flexible portion 209a can change the angle at which the mouthpiece 209 is disposed in a user's mouth, which some users (though not all) may find uncomfortable. Alternatively, the lower portion 212 of the snorkel 204 may telescope into the upper portion 210 similar to the manner illustrated in FIGS. 8 and 9 discussed above.

An integrated snorkel mask 300 according to a third embodiment of the invention is illustrated in FIGS. 20-23. In this embodiment the snorkel 304 is integrated into the frame 303 of the mask 301 and is therefore permanently attached to the mask 301 to form a single monolithic structure. This embodiment does not provide the ability to use the mask 301 without the snorkel 304 as can be done with the embodiments illustrated in FIGS. 1-4.

An integrated snorkel mask 400 according to a fourth embodiment of the invention is illustrated in FIGS. 24-26. The integrated snorkel mask 400 is similar to the integrated snorkel mask 300 in that the frame 404 of the mask 401 is integral with the snorkel 404, except that the integrated snorkel mask 400 does not have a purge valve at the bottom of the snorkel 404. Rather, the bottom of the snorkel 404 includes a flexible section 409a attached to a mouthpiece 409 similar to the embodiments illustrated in FIGS. 16-19.

The integrated snorkel masks 100, 200, 300 and 400 are believed to be well-suited for use by competitive swimmers in a training application, by fitness lap swimmers, recreational swimmers and in a snorkeling application. In addition to the variations among embodiments discussed above, other elements of the integrated snorkel mask may also be varied. For example, the silicone rubber skirt 2 and nose portion 6 of the mask 100 vary in different embodiments of the invention as described below.

An integrated snorkel mask 500 according to a fifth embodiment of the invention is illustrated in FIGS. 27-34. The mask 500 is similar to mask 100 except that, on mask 500, the silicone rubber skirt portion 502 does not have a nose portion to cover the nose. Like the embodiment 100 of FIGS. 1-4, the snorkel 504 is detachable from the mask 501 as illustrated in FIGS. 31-34.

An integrated snorkel mask 600 according to a sixth embodiment of the invention is illustrated in FIG. 35. The mask 600 is similar to the mask 500, except that the 600 does not have a purge valve at the bottom of the snorkel 604 but rather has a mouthpiece 609 connected to the snorkel 604 by a flexible portion 609a.

An integrated snorkel mask 700 according to a seventh embodiment of the invention is illustrated in FIG. 36. The mask 700 is similar to the mask 300 except that mask 700 includes a rubber skirt portion 702 that does not have a nose portion to cover the nose.

An integrated snorkel mask 800 according to an eighth embodiment of the invention is illustrated in FIG. 37. The mask 800 is similar to the mask 700, except that the mask 800 does not have a purge valve at the bottom of the snorkel 804.

The integrated snorkel masks 500, 600, 700 and 800 are believed to be particularly well-suited for competitive swimming applications, for use by fitness lap swimmers and monofin swimmers.

An integrated snorkel mask 900 according to a ninth embodiment of the invention is illustrated in FIGS. 38 a, b and c. The snorkel 904 attaches to the frame 903 of the mask 901 with a clip 990. Since the snorkel 904 is removable in this embodiment, the mask 901 can be used with or without the snorkel 904. A more detailed view of the attachment of the snorkel 904 to the mask 903 is illustrated in FIG. 39. The frame 903 includes a recess 992 into which the clip 990 is received. The walls of the recess 992 include a number of detents 994 which cooperate with protrusions 996 on the clip 990 to firmly anchor the clip 990 in the recess 992. The mask 901 and the snorkel 904 become one integrated unit when the snorkel 904 is attached to the frame 903 of the mask 901.

Aspects

Various embodiments of integrated snorkel masks according to the present invention have been illustrated above. Some or all of the following aspects can be found in these various embodiments.

1. The invention combines a mask and front-mounted snorkel into a one-piece, integrated (and, in some embodiments, integral) unit. This is in contrast to known products in which a front center-mounted snorkel is separate from the mask.

2. The integrated snorkel mask is more convenient and quick to use because it requires putting only one item on a user's head. Furthermore, it feels better on the head and face because the user feels only one item instead of two.

3. The integrated snorkel mask is more comfortable to use because the snorkel is integrated into the frame of the mask, which distributes the pressure of the mask-snorkel combination over the whole frame of the mask and cushioned by the silicone rubber skirt, thereby providing a much higher level of comfort as compared to prior art devices such as the Garraffa device discussed above. Other than the mouthpiece and skirt, no portion of the snorkel will come into contact with the user's face.

4. The integrated snorkel mask is more hydrodynamic as compared to known snorkels because the snorkel has a teardrop-shaped cross section. The sharp edge of the tear drop faces forward for superior hydrodynamic properties (less resistance and less vibration) since the sharp edge will slice through the water better than known snorkels with round or elliptical cross-sectional shapes. It will be understood by those of skill in the art that known snorkels such as the Garaffa center-mounted snorkel discussed above as well as a conventional side-mounted snorkel can also be modified to have a teardrop-shaped cross section and such a device is within the scope of the present invention.

5. In embodiments in which the snorkel is detachable, the teardrop cross sectional shape of the snorkel cooperates with a similarly shaped opening on the upper front of the mask frame into which the snorkel is inserted to create a mechanical lock that prevents rotation of the snorkel in the opening. This is in contrast to the Garraffa snorkel tube discussed above, which tends to rotate while in use and let water into the top opening of the snorkel tube.

6. The integrated snorkel mask provides significantly improved visibility because the snorkel will be positioned close to the face between the user's eyes. The snorkel will have an inward bend at the point where the bridge of the nose connects to the forehead so that it follows the form of the face. Therefore, the field of vision will be significantly improved over existing front-mounted snorkels such as the Garraffa device where there is a significant gap between the face and the snorkel. The closer the snorkel is to the face, the wider the field of vision is. Also, the teardrop shape of the snorkel contributes to widening the field of vision because the cross section of the snorkel narrows as it extends outwards from the face.

7. The integrated snorkel mask has a snorkel with upper and lower sections that telescope to fine tune fit and enhance comfort in some embodiments. The lower portion can be extended or retracted to allow users with different distances from the eyes to the mouth to adjust it to their own personal comfort level.

8. The design and function of the one-piece mask/snorkel unit is bio-mechanically correct as compared to other products in the market because the snorkel is integrated into the front section of the frame of the mask where the human's breathing function occurs. Furthermore, since the upper section of the snorkel tube bends inward toward the user's face where the bridge of the nose meets the forehead, the snorkel follows the outline of the face, thereby providing superior ergonomics.

9. The snorkel is detachable in some embodiments of the integrated snorkel mask. This allows the mask to be used for multiple applications with or without the snorkel.

10. The integrated snorkel mask is also lighter weight than the combination of a Garraffa snorkel with a swim mask because such a combination includes the additional weight of the snorkel's forehead brace and strap.

The invention can be made cost-effectively by using the same types of materials (plastics, silicone, lens materials, etc.) and injection-mold technology being used for existing mask and snorkel products. The difference lies in that the design of the molds for the invention will integrate the snorkel and mask into one piece allowing for significant savings. Less raw materials will be required as the invention does not require a separate head brace and strap as the Garraffa snorkel.

Benefits of the Invention when Used for Different Applications

For Beginning and Recreational Swimmers:

    • Allows concentration on stroke technique and body position. No need to worry about turning the head to breathe.
    • A snorkel allows you to conserve your energy because you needn't raise your head for breathing.
    • Uninterrupted breathing reduces fatigue while swimming
    • Silicone rubber nose pocket helps keep water out of nose for more comfort
    • Easy to attach and use
    • A snorkel also lets you enjoy an uninterrupted view of the activities below.
    • A front-mounted snorkel is more comfortable because it is bio-mechanically correct. Side mounted snorkels tend to move around requiring frequent adjustment of position. Also, when not in use they hang there loose and swing around uncomfortably.
    • The silicone rubber nose pocket keeps water out of the nose and is large enough to help with the equalization of ear pressure when the swimmer submerges below the water surface.
    • The teardrop shaped cross-section of the snorkel tube provides superior hydrodynamic properties because it reduces vibration in the upper section of the snorkel tube and minimizes resistance since it slices through the water more effectively.
      For Fitness Lap Swimmers:
    • Uninterrupted breathing with the snorkel gives you more power which allows you to swim harder, swim longer and swim faster for a more thorough workout.
    • Not having to turn your head to breathe reduces fatigue and strain on the shoulder, neck and back muscles. This allows you to focus on stroke technique and proper body position and reduces hip rotation.
    • A front center-mounted snorkel is more comfortable because it is bio-mechanically correct. Side-mounted snorkels tend to move around requiring frequent adjustment of position. Also, when not in use they hang there loose and swing around.
    • The teardrop shaped cross-section of the snorkel tube provides superior hydrodynamic properties because it reduces vibration in the upper section of the snorkel tube and minimizes resistance since it slices through the water more effectively.
      For Monofin Swimmers and Competitive Swimmers
    • Monofin swimmers currently use goggles separate from a front-mounted snorkel such as that disclosed in Garraffa. Therefore, the invention is faster to attach, easier to adjust, significantly more comfortable and lighter weight. It also provides significantly improved visibility over existing front center-mounted snorkels.
    • The teardrop shaped cross-section of the snorkel tube provides superior hydrodynamic properties because it reduces vibration in the upper section of the snorkel tube and minimizes resistance since it slices through the water more effectively.
      For Snorkelers:
    • A front, center-mounted snorkel is more comfortable because it is bio-mechanically correct. Side mounted snorkels tend to move around requiring frequent adjustment of position. Also, when not in use they hang there loose and swing around.
    • The silicone rubber nose pocket keeps water out of the nose and is large enough to help with the equalization of ear pressure.
    • The ergonomic positioning of the snorkel tube close to the face as well as the teardrop shape cross section of the snorkel tube allow for great visibility.

It should be understood that the various features of the invention described herein are not all present in all embodiments of the invention. For example, some embodiments of the invention use a snorkel with a conventional cross-sectional shape rather than the teardrop cross-sectional shape disclosed herein. Conversely, the teardrop cross-sectional shape may be employed with an otherwise conventional side-mounted snorkel or a snorkel of the type disclosed in Garraffa.

It will be recognized that many changes and modifications can be made to the preferred embodiments discussed above without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. The preferred embodiments discussed above and illustrated in the attached drawings are illustrative only and should not be understood to limit the invention.