UPDATE: I’ve updated the post’s links to point to Spare Air, a company that’s been making a backup cylinder for much longer than the SCORKL guys, and market it as a safety mechanism, not a toy.
DISCLAIMER: I’m not a diver; never was. But my wife was a PADI certified scuba diver.
The SCORKL (AEKA Skorkle) is a prototype spare diving cylinder with a nice paint job and a funky logo. People are falling over themselves to fund it, but it seems like a string of accidents waiting to happen.
I came across the SCORKL in one of my crowdfunding diamond digs.
At first I was impressed.
Who wouldn’t want to spend up to ten minutes underwater with little to no effort?
But careful consideration led me to realize that the SCORKL is a potential death trap.
I showed my wife the SCORKL promo video. Her first reaction wasn’t that it poses a danger, but that it seems impractical.
She couldn’t think of a scenario where the SCORKL would be useful. The ten minute time frame doesn’t make sense.
She mentioned that she used to lug around a camera when she went diving, and that the SCORKL would make such a task difficult.
From there we went on to discuss the dangers inherent to scuba diving, especially if you don’t receive training.
It became clear that the SCORKL might as well come with a pinless hand grenade. It’s a matter of time before it blows up.
Let’s take a look.
What is the SCORKL?
The SCORKL is a mini refillable diving cylinder with a regulator and a mouthpiece.
There’s not much technical info on the product, but let’s see how far we get.
Same spec as scuba
David Hallamore, creator of the SCORKL, claims that his product is specced and manufactured to the same standards as normal scuba cylinders.
The SCORKL’s regulator is an always-on, breathe-on-demand, balanced single stage type.
The SCORKL comes with a side-mounted pressure gauge which indicates how much air is left in the cylinder.
Since the gauge is mounted to the SCORKL’s side, and the SCORKL is in your mouth while you’re using it, you won’t be able to see how much air remains, unless you remove the SCORKL from your mouth.
Scuba refill adapter
The SCORKL ships with a free scuba tank refill adapter. This allows you to refill your SCORKL in seconds.
High pressure pump
SCORKL makes an optional hand pump with proper filters that you can use to refill the SCORKL with.
The pump delivers pressure of up to 3,000psi.
They don’t state how long it takes to refill the SCORKL with the hand pump. One of the commenters said between 12 to 15 minutes. I don’t know if that’s accurate.
SCORKL makes a good-looking hard plastic case with foam inserts, to carry your SCORKL, pump and other equipment in.
The SCORKL ships globally at no cost.
At first glance the SCORKL looks like a phenomenal little toy. But this is one toy best avoided.
Diving circles seem to be concerned about the safety levels of the SCORKL, as this article from Dive Magazine UK attests.
Warnings from the creator of the product abounds. He dedicates a large part of his Indiegogo campaign cautioning people against the dangers of not using the product as intended.
But we know the world is full of James Bond wannabes. Warnings serve only as motivation.
I would love to see the SCORKL succeed. I like the Aussies. They’re great people. But this product seems like a shortcut to your Maker.
I hope David Hallamore, the man behind the SCORKL, has a good lawyer. This thing he’s created could be a one way trip to bankruptcy and who knows what other damages.