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Casual Wet suit for fast action

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Carp Whisperer
Jul 27, 2004
Wow! Got my Elios 5mm Superstretch open cell suit - it is ridiculously warm - overkill for most of my useage - though that may change with these new thermal powers :).
I am thinking about getting lighter/cheaper suits for myself and my daughter. Something we can throw on on short notice without lube and use when the water is warmer - probably 3mm. We're both tall and slim but I'd like to avoid doing another custom suit. These would be sans hood with the idea we could add vests/hoods if need be at some point. Anyway - focus is on something I can leave in the car and throw on for a lunch-hour dive.
Any ideas/experience with good fitting surf-suits and the like?
I think they call it 'Black Shadow' on the elios site - superstretch is the nylon outside coating. It is very stretchy, comfortable and fairly dense neoprene - very warm, comfortable and durable stuff. I'm kind of new to the custom wetsuit world but this stuff seems pretty amazing.
I'm no expert, but here's what little I found out in searching for a new suit, about 2 years ago.

Surfer suits are tricky, lots of significant differences that are hard to see in the store. Store personel are not usually very knowledgable.
The super stretch rubber is super flexible, more than you really need for diving. Very nice to wear.
Some surfer suits are not glued, just sewed together. NOT WARM for divers, doesn't matter so much for a surfer.
Some surfer rubber stretches and stays stretched, gets baggy and is totally unacceptable. The 2 mil stuff seems particularly bad.
I have a 3/2 one piece full suit by Quicksilver. It seems to fit very well, has glued seams, but lets in a lot of water, particularly around the neck. When body surfing or swimming fast, you can feel water passing through the suit. I would not recommend it. My other suit is a 3 mil Aleeda, farmer john, lycra short sleeves, very warm for what it is, seals extremely well. It must be at least 15 years old(bought it used), is rotting away and pretty stiff, but still fits like God made it just for me. I would get another one in a heartbeat if they still made them
There are huge differences in how different manufacturers cut their suits, sizes are not consistant.

If possible, find a shop with hundreds of suits, maybe 10 that should fit you. Try'em all and you might find one that is right. It is very helpful to be able to switch back and forth once you narrow the choice down to 2 or 3. My Quicksilver cost me $95, a deep discount, and was supposed to be a relatively good suit.

Good luck, and if you find one you like, let me know.

I need to get one for my daughter - she is tall and slender but a bit more proportionally 'normal' than I am - might be able to get her an off-the-shelf henderson or something. We'll hit the scuba stores here and try them on. I'm 6'1" 160lbs - I may have to talk some more with elios guys to see if any of their off-the shelf 3mils will do the trick. I have a cheapo henderson 3/2 that is too short and baggy - but it did help quite a bit this summer. One that actually fits would probably be dynamite most days. I like surf suit design but may go with a two-piece for warmth. Good to know about he neoprene - I noticed that with my henderson - it gets a little floppy and certainly 'breathes' way too much. Solidly made though.
I think you will find that surfer suits are much more flexible than scuba suits. Even my custom scuba suits were pretty poor on flex, especially on holding your arms above the head. Flexibility to fast movement is way more important to surfers. They don't need nearly as warm a suit as we do, at least not in Fla, so the surfer suits aren't usually very warm by diver standards.

I agree that a typical freediving suit is too hard to get on and off, completely unacceptable for the type diving I do most often. Too bad, I would love to dive in one. Come on manufacturers, make us one that is easy to doff and don.

Oh I think the trade off is okay. For those long expeditions when you really need warmth it's well worth it to have to get slimed up. And for on the fly dives - those are usually short anyway - so warmth is not as critical. I live and work in a town that is right on the water and in summer it's nice to be able to whip on down to the shorline after work or on the spur for a quick dive. Mostly I'm just trying to sort out sizing and what's good - having realized the wisdom of not trying to have one suit for all purposes :)
Personally, what I would look for is a nylon-lined suit with hood and either nylon outside or smooth skin with kneepads and elbow pads. Nylon inside is the key to getting it on easily and with durability. The down side is it’s not nearly as warm as smooth skin inside. That is why I would get it with a built in hood, because that will help compensate for the nylon inside being colder. Plus it’s more hydrodynamic.

I think your right about the 5mm Elios being an overkill. It doesn’t get real cool here, but I have been in water in the 50’s with air in the 40’s and never been cold in my 3mm Elios smooth skin. I know you northerners are laughing right now! A large range of temperatures can be compensated for by hood, thicker gloves and warmer socks.

My latest practical suit is a Sporasub TSUNAMI (TSUNAMI until just recently was considered a cool word). Its only 1.5mm thick, but that is just what I need for the pool and summer diving here. Its nylon inside, smooth skin outside with knee and elbow protection, attached hood, and is made of extremely soft neoprene. Maybe Yahomota 45. I’m sure Sporasub makes similar suits in thicker neoprene. This neoprene is so soft that it would still be very flexible in 3 or 5mm.
Hope that helps,
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