One of my family’s favorite summer pasttimes is going to the beach. On one such outing, in 2012, my daughters found a mysterious object discarded in the sand. They ran to ask what this strange discovery was.
It was a snorkel tube.
Looking down, I suddenly had a flashback. It was 40 years earlier, and I was a boy who loved the sea very much. For my birthday that summer, my dad surprised me with a very special and expensive gift: a high-quality snorkel and mask - and not just any snorkel, but a special patented snorkel with an airball at the top designed to block water from entering the tube.
I was so excited about the gift and waited with anticipation for our next trip to the sea, so I could finally see the beauty of the underwater world. We drove to a beach with a breakwater, where the sea was calm and a little bit wavy. I already knew how to swim, but this was my first attempt at snorkeling.
The buildup of excitement and anticipation made the subsequent disappointment that much harder. The device was extremely uncomfortable, cumbersome and difficult to use. Before the day ended, I had cast aside the snorkel tube, and my older brother and I took turns using the mask to see underwater. It was the first and the last time we used the snorkel tube.
Decades later, with a family of my own and a house by the sea, it never even occurred to me to buy snorkels for my daughters. In all the ensuing years, I had never encountered snorkeling equipment that was easy to use, and I hardly knew anyone who used them at all. It was no surprise that my daughters didn’t even recognize what they had found.
That moment was when Snorkelin was conceived. While this was not my field of expertise, I could not stop wondering why, with all the progress in the world, no one had succeeded to invent an easy and convenient way to snorkel effortlessly, in order to peacefully enjoy the magnificent underwater life. I became obsessed about finding a way to bring this possibility into the world.
In the beginning, my line of thought was like that of many others who had gone before me: To float the top of the snorkel tube regularly above the water with the help of a buoy that was unconnected to the user, and out from which came a tube that connected to the user’s mouth.
After in-depth research, however, I understood that there were dangers, complexities, and problems in this line of thought, and that it was not worth pursuing.
Despite the many attempts over the years to improve the quality of the snorkeling equipment and the snorkeling experience – including a full snorkel mask and snorkel tube designs in various shapes - we remained with the same uncomfortable and limited form, one that requires effort and involves placing a cumbersome device on the head, just like 40 years ago.
My research continued, and one day revelation struck: the change needed could come by way of changing the buoy, which I saw had the possibility of doing two things simultaneously. One, it could hold the snorkeling tube permanently above the water. Two, by being attached to the user at the water’s level, it could enable his or her body to automatically float in a balanced manner, with no effort.
It was already autumn at this point, and there were only days left in which one could still comfortably enter the sea. I rushed out to build a very simplistic prototype, just to test the feasibility of my idea and to know if there was any reason to keep going. I grabbed an inflated tire inner tube to serve as a buoy, and connected it with some improvised ropes to both me and the improvised snorkel.
The sea was cold and the waves were daunting, but I refused to turn back. The moment I entered the water, the improvised prototype strapped to my body, everything became clear. Again, I flashed back to 40 years earlier, feeling like that kid who was snorkeling for the first time, only this time, I suddenly realized that the story would have a different ending. This time, I realized that I had to go on, and to turn my idea into a product that everyone could use and enjoy.
From that day on, I became devoted to this mission. Despite being a man of very modest means, I decided to invest all of my savings and everything I had into the development of Snorkelin.
The following summer, I created a new homemade prototype for further feasibility studies and research. By the year after, I had secured a large financial investment, and begun building high-quality prototypes with the guidance of engineers and other professionals. I purchased equipment and established a workshop at home – actually, it was a mold-making factory, with 3D printing and plastic injection molding.
Over the next five years, I built more and more prototypes. I invested resources and time into learning the field, performing many trial-runs down at the beach, all of which helped to clarify how the final product should be built and what it should look like.I established a team of professionals, including a product designer, engineer and production manager, and together we worked nonstop to develop a product we could take to market.
Today, after 12 years, the dream has been fulfilled. Anyone and everyone, regardless of their skill or experience, can now enjoy snorkeling in an easy and calm way without physical effort, without water entering their tube, without obstacles to breathing and with many other significant benefits.
Anyone who loves the underwater world and wants to experience its magical splendor will fall in love with the simplicity and charm of Snorkelin and the freedom it provides. As for the team, that same motivation and enthusiasm that moved me to begin in 2012, continues to inspire all of us today to continue working on Snorkelin, to bring more ideas to life and to discover the next chapter in the story of its development.