About the Lary Freedom Snorkel®
After Bob Bauer, the inventor of the Lary Freedom Snorkel® in Hayward, California, watched John Lubeski's dry suit demo, he came upon the idea of designing snorkel gear for people with stomas. He was wondering how he could swim and breathe through a tube—since he couldn't do it through his nose—without having to wear the dry suit. This question motivated him to look for a solution. Find out how he came up with it by reading on.
Discoveries Through Observation
One day while on vacation, Bob realized that his base plate had to be air tight for him to voice. Logically, he realized that his base plate was also watertight. To test his theory, he put on a new push-button type HME cassette, turned it on, jumped into the four-foot section of a pool, and stayed underwater for a few seconds. Although his experiment put his safety at risk—his wife was so terrified by his bravery—it was a success: he found out that it did not leak.
The Development of the Lary Freedom Snorkel®
Following the confirmation of his theory, Bob created a way to connect a breathing tube to the base plate. He searched for a device that would snap into the base plate as easily as an HME does. After some time, he found the right connector. To put the snorkel together, Bob used tubing, a nylon connector, and wire ties. After testing its durability in the pool, it was then that he realized how weak the wire ties were. Because they were not reliable enough, he switched to a shrink wrap, which turned out to be a better solution.
Getting the Perfect Solution
Bob tested the snorkel out of water first. He found out that it was easily dislodged when something or someone hits it. This prompted him to make a safety strap. For this purpose, he used nylon strapping and Velcro®. To use it, all he had to do was pull the safety strap tightly around his neck, which kept the connector in place. Also, it compressed the "O" ring on the connector to the base plate, which provided a watertight seal.