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best wetsuit for liveaboard/extensive diving?

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Deeper Blue Dude
Sep 15, 2004
from start march to end april i am going on a free/scubadive tour to thailand/indonesia(oh yeah!!)

i am about to order a suit for the trip and was thinking that an elios 5mm smoothskin/opencell highwaist hooded would be good. i am going to be in the water a lot as i am taking a lot of courses(scuba) and will spend a a lot of time on liveaboards to

i am 187cm an weigh 70kg(no fat)

any thoughts
is this the right suit.. too thick/thin?


Try getting a hold of Iyadiver or Eric; they would probably know. Personally, I think a 5 mm would be too thick. The water is similar to Hawaii and I know I would overheat in a 5 mm here.

5mm is a good thickness. i have worked on liveaboards, and doing three dives a day 7 days a week, and 3 night dives a week, i found that my body lost a lot of resistance to cold. after a month my 3mm got too cold and i used a 5mm. i then switched to a 7mm semi-dry.. hahahahaha. our water here is 28-30 deg C.

have a great time in Thailand!
For scuba or any other hard use I would think about that smoothskin. I have suits with super stretch and ordinary nylon on the outside and they are far more durable. In theory there is a loss of performance but it is so small that I can't measure it.
thanx for the answers

i have thought about the lining but it doesnt sound like it is very optimal as it wont stretch as much/fit as tight, isnt being careful enough or is it impossible to keep smoothskin for scuba..?

how about boots and gloves/mitts, is that necassary or even a good idea..?

when i was in the philippines i dove with an instructor that used i think it was 3x1mm fullbodys and 2x3mm shortys, because his cold resistance was so low after diving these waters for many years(dont know why he didnt use a 5/7mm fullbody instead)..

we refrain customers from using gloves so they arent tempted to touch the corals.

as for boots.. i have seen a wide mixture. some divemasters use full foot fins as they are so easy on/off, others use boots. i use boots as my feet freeze otherwise!

dive with what you normally dive with and what's been comfortable for you forever. on a liveaboard, the less jingles and dangly bit the better. keep it as simple as poss.

enjoy! i envy you!
island_sands, maldives and dubai doesnt exatly sound like bad places to be either..
As Bill pointed out, the superstrech nylon on the outside of the suit is really nice. Although the speed may be sacrificed slightly, you have a much tougher suit. I don't imagine a smoothskin suit would last for very long if using it for scuba. As far as flexibility and fit goes, my suit with the nylon outside feels at least as flexible as my smoothskin suit. The fit shouldn't really change either. I don't think I'd ever buy another smoothskin suit unless it was for freedive competition only.

My thoughts :)
mofo said:
island_sands, maldives and dubai doesnt exatly sound like bad places to be either..

yeah its great! although i am working on an island right now it's office work again and we only get to dive once a week if we're lucky :(
once a week in Maldives is the equivalent of diving 5 times a day in pea soup :D
mishu1984 said:
once a week in Maldives is the equivalent of diving 5 times a day in pea soup :D
That math would only work if you consider diving in pea soup a positive thing. I think I draw my limits somewhere just a bit before... in pee soup maybe. :)
DeepThought said:
That math would only work if you consider diving in pea soup a positive thing. I think I draw my limits somewhere just a bit before... in pee soup maybe. :)

rofl rofl rofl
If you really want the smoothskin there is another thing you can try. I had this old ugly 1pce nylon stinger suit that I would wear over the top of a smoothskin and used it for scuba. That way you are much less likely to rip or tear it on rocks or taking the scuba gear on&off. Would have to be a slightly larger as a well fitting nylon over a 3mm may still be slightly too tight. Some other alternatives not as good but cheap - tshirt and shorts over the wetsuit. :p

I do like the smoothskin but even for normal spearfishing you are probably better of with an outer lining. Sure for a depth competition the extra few % saved in drag is worth it but when spearing, not such a big difference....

Other factor you have to consider, I have scuba dived quite a bit with freedive suits. In general at depth the freedive suits become less warm then a scuba suit because they compress far more. ie on surface much warmer, seals better, but at say 20m even a 3mm freedive suit is about 1mm or less. The scuba suits aren't as stretchy but most have much better compression resistance. Probably the only freedive suit which I've tried which is pretty warm at depth is a Elios - Heiwa high density. It's less stretchy then the low density, but far warmer at 10-20m. Mine is a 3mm with superstretch inner lining. When I say less stretchy then the low density, compared to most spearfishing suits it's still much stretchier. I have used it for competition training and done depth dives to 80m so it's not such a huge performance difference vs a low density suit as some freedivers will tell you. What does make a big difference is with a low density suit because of the compression you start gliding much earlier, which some divers definitely like. But this is what makes it colder....
Whatever you get, I definitely recomend a custom made suit, once you get one you won't ever wan't to dive in a stock suit again.

Last edited:
I wouldn't dream of trying to scuba dive in a smoothskin suit - far too fragile. I have however scuba dived quite a bit in lined freedive suits.

At the moment I am using an Elios Heiwa 7ml, open cell inside and nylon outside. It is the most comfortable suit I have ever warm, does not seem to compress much and is tough as old boots - I reckon that would be a good compromise (well maybe not as thick but I wouldn't go less than 5ml, with that much diving planned your core temp will drop).

oh yeah.. and when I hear the words scuba, freedive and liveaboard in one sentence I hear warning sirens. 18 months on I am still suffering from the effects of mixing the two on a liveaboard where I couldn't get treated quick enough. Don't dream of freediving until your scuba computer is totally clear. I got bent freediving 16 hours after my last scuba dive on a heavy liveaboard trip in 2003 and it's not fun.....

be careful!!

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