Scorkl takes the best elements of both scuba diving and snorkeling

Awhile back we took a look at a device called the AirBuddy, which billed itself as a safe and easy to use alternative for those who want to try scuba diving without having to take special classes or get any kind of certification. But a new gadget called the Scorkl looks to take that experience a step further, giving users even more freedom for exploring underwater.

Scorkl, which derives its name from the combination of scuba diving and snorkeling, launched on Kickstarter a few days back. In a nutshell, it is a compact and lightweight scuba system that comes with a miniature air tank, an always-on regulator, and a pressure gauge. It is small enough to carry just about anywhere and can even be safely take on a plane, making it a good option for travelers and those who don’t want to waste a lot of time getting into the water.

The system allows users to dive in relatively shallow waters and stay submerged for up to 10 minutes at a time. Scorkl designers say that it is safe for use down to 20 meters below sea level, provided the diver is scuba certified, although they recommend that most people don’t go any deeper than 10 meters. They also recommend that uncertified divers stay within 3 meters of the surface at all times.

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Perhaps the most intriguing feature of the Scorkl is the ability for the air tank to be refilled by the users themselves. The system ships with a special air pump that resembles something that would be used to put air into the tire of a bike, but in actuality it has been specifically engineered to provide a high-pressure refill to the tank. The process takes about 12 minutes to complete, although the Scorkl can be refilled in 30 seconds using another scuba tank, allowing divers to get back in the water as quickly as possible.

Because Scorkl is so small and light, the experience when using the system is reportedly much more like snorkeling or free diving rather than traditional scuba diving. Since users don’t have a large tank strapped to their back they have a lot more freedom of movement in the water, even if they are restricted to staying closer to the surface. The idea isn’t to replace scuba diving altogether, but give users an alternative that is safe, efficient, and simple.

The team that designed the Scorkl had hoped to raise $22,576 on Kickstarter, but have easily surpassed that goal, raking in more than $175,000 in just a few short days. That means the device will go into production later this year and should be available to purchase in October at an estimated price of $300. Early-bird supporters can reserve one now for just $199.

Find out more at the Scorkl Kickstarter page.