Who is Snorkel Bob?

by Mihai Pinzariu on September 24, 2019

If you read enough about snorkelling online, you’re sure to hear all about this mysterious fellow ‘Snorkel Bob’. Is he fiction or is he real? Is he a cartoon or a man? Anyone who’s curious about the man behind the myth, read on to learn all about the character that is Snorkel Bob.

Robert Wintner

Believe it or not, ‘Snorkel Bob’ is not this man’s real name. Born Robert Wintner, Snorkel Bob is famous for being Hawaii’s biggest reef outfitter, reef conservationist, and a hilarious writer of snorkelling guidebooks. “What’s the big deal?” you ask? Well, check out thiås advertisement for Snorkel Bob’s snorkelling concierge services in Hawaii:

Is there any wonder this guy has become a thing?

Why Snorkel Bob is so popular

Look at the advertisement above, browse his website, read more of his advertisements. You’ll start to see a pattern. Snorkel Bob is one hell of a funny and eccentric guy, and to top it all off he seems undoubtedly genuine and kind. This is a guy who’s not only chasing his passion in life (you can tell he loves snorkelling, like loves snorkelling. And Hawaii), but also trying to put a smile on people’s faces while doing it. You don’t often see business owners showing so much personality, humour, and lax vibes. They’re too busy trying to play the professional game. Snorkel Bob ain’t havin’ none of that, though. He’s a funny guy doing what he loves, and his business is built on his weird and funny behaviour.

Snorkel Bob’s in Hawaii

You’ve been to Hawaii, you’ve seen Snorkel Bob’s (or at least heard about him). He calls himself the ‘Snorkelling Concierge’, and he’s out to make sure every tourist in Hawaii is equipped with a set of rented snorkel equipment, fins, beach umbrellas, bodyboards, beach chairs, and more. With 11 stores across the 4 Hawaiian islands, Snorkel Bob’s answers a lot of travel dilemmas and makes snorkelling in Hawaii super easy. You can rent equipment from one store in Maui and drop it off at another store in Oahu. He’s also got all your Hawaii entertainment and sightseeing sorted, with whale watching tours, boat trips, ziplining, paddle boarding, and more. Basically, he’s your one stop shop when you’re in Hawaii.

Are Snorkel Bob’s products good?

So you’ll find his stores everywhere and he makes it super easy to get what you want, when you want, but is Snorkel Bob’s snorkelling equipment good quality? We want to stay neutral on the matter, but feel free to read the reviews and judge for yourself. We reckon people love Snorkel Bob more for his passion, eccentricity, and reef-conservation, but who knows! We will say one thing, though – the guy offers everything you could possibly need for a Hawaiian family holiday. Equipment, entertainment, cheap prices…

Snorkel Bob and reef conservation

All laughter aside, Snorkel Bob is using his passion for snorkelling and coral reefs to campaign globally against the aquarium trade. He’s Executive Director of the aptly named Snorkel Bob Foundation, which is dedicated to reef recovery and putting an end to aquariums everywhere! As he says, “it’s all one reef”.

What is the Snorkel Bob Foundation?

Aquariums (both small ones at home and huge touristy ones) are slowly destroying the world’s reefs. For any snorkeller, this should come as horrific news. How will you snorkel when there’s no more reef? You can’t go snorkelling inside someone’s pretty aquarium, but that’s where all the reefs are going to end up. That’s not fair! This is what made Snorkel Bob start the Snorkel Bob Foundation. Wildlife and reef species belong to everyone, and they shouldn’t be caught and sold the way that they are. Reefs are being stripped just to create pretty little aquariums for people to look at – when they could just be going out to the reef to see all the stuff in its natural environment!

Why is Snorkel Bob anti-aquariums?

98% of aquarium fish are caught from the wild. Let’s think about that again – 98% of those fish you see sitting in pretty aquariums in offices, waiting rooms, venues, and houses have come from the wild. They were once swimming out in the open ocean amongst the reef, and now they’re in a glass box. In fact, the aquarium trade is leading to the decline of many of Hawaii’s most popular fish. Popular or not, specific fish species are in decline and endangered purely because the aquarium trade is catching more than are out there. In turn, the price of these fish becomes inflated, and who benefits? The aquarium traders. If this sounds as devastating to you as it does to us, you can read more about Snorkel Bob’s anti-aquarium campaign here.

Snorkel Bob’s books and photography

We don’t know how he has time to do it all, but somehow he does. Snorkel Bob has also written several books, both fiction and non-fiction, which are filled with his trademark humour and wit. And he’s also an accomplished underwater photographer, with his own journals chronicling the personalities and society of the reef. Don’t expect scientific encyclopaedias here! Snorkel Bob’s insight into fish life is hilarious and imaginative, and as he says “every fish tells a story”. Snorkel Bob’s Reality Guide to Hawaii is a tongue-in-cheek and funny guide to Hawaii’s beaches, snorkel sites, reefs, hazards, and more. Will you laugh? 100% yes. Is this as informative as a Lonely Planet? Maybe not… Neptune Speaks is a book & movie that highlights the culture and reef characters of Hawaii, Palau, and the Caribbean, with hundreds of photos of sea life as well as narration. Reef Libre is an in-depth photography book and mini-documentary that explores ‘Cuban exceptionalism and the last, best reefs in the world’. Buying one of Snorkel Bob’s books/movies helps support his campaign to end reef wildlife trafficking.

Snorkel Bob quotes

This guy has zingers coming out of his ears. All over the website, in the fine print, amidst boring details, you’ll see something hilarious. Here’s just some of the funny stuff Snorkel Bob has said:

Fine print on an offer on his snorkelling packages: “Wusses, whiners and groaners need not apply. Persons suspected of exploiting this amazing offer to unfair advantage will suffer exposure to my, Snorkel Bob’s, now-famous Shark-Frenzy Impersonation. Have a nice day. I mean really.”

On an advertisement for extra-large snorkel fins: “Why do I luuv guys with big feet…? Because they need big fins!”

From the advertisement above with the cat: “Snorkel Bob admitted to sleep deprivation since Larry arrived. “Worse yet, he interrupts Catfish and me, Snorkel Bob, if you get my drift. On the bright side, neither hairballs nor missing the litter box can deter our joy. Catfish is the mother of our kitten.”

In an advertisement for his snorkel rental company: “Snorkelling is a great way to stick your head in the water without the inconvenience of holding your breath”

About one of his pieces of snorkelling equipment: “This mask will outlive you, even if you don’t drown“

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