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Tips on neoprene choice

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.


Blue Member
Aug 30, 2002
My local freedive store supply made-to-measure suits in a number of different materials.

Their standard suit is 'naked' open-cell neoprene that seems incredicbly comfortable but is obviously delicate.

Optionally they can add a woven shell and / or metalized lining.

Can anyone offer advice for the best combination? I'll be using it often from the beach, so it's got to wear well.


OK, so it's not cool to answer your own questions (especially when you're the only one...) but Octo kindly pointed out that I suck at this.

So, I thought I'd be a bit more specific and see if it inspired anyone to help.

Basically I'm not going to buy a Picasso or an Omer, so I'm not looking for a comparison. But the suit I'm going to buy (Top Sub) is made out of Japonese neoprene (choice of HEIWA AWS, YAMAMOTO, or RUBATEX - none of which mean anything to me by the way...), costs under 200 Euros (custom-made) and is available in a number of models :

SUPERCACCIA - smoothskin outside, cellular inside.
SUPERCACCIA TEKNA - sandwich neoprene, containing a superstretchy nylon layer to prevent tearing.
SUPERCACCIA TS - smoothskin outside, Thermoskin inside.
SUPERCACCIA TEKNA TS - sandwich material, smoothskin outside, Thermoskin inside.
CACCIA - smoothskin outside and nylon lining inside for faster dressing.
MEROU D’OR® - cellular inside and nylon lined outside for added resistance to cutting and abrasion.
MEROU D’OR® TS - same as Merou D’Or but with thermoskin inside.
BIFODERATA - jersey stretchy lining outside, extrasoft thermoplush inside, high belt trousers with 3 mm smoothskin


Now, does any of this make sense to anyone?

I'm in the Med, so it's not freezing, and my average diving session (off the beach) is under an hour. I read in other threads that open-cell is easy to put on as long as you have soapy water to hand... now come on - I look strange enough on the beach putting on my Sporasubs, if I start soaping myself I'll get arrested.

Anyway, back to my original question... can I / should I go for an inner / outer lining without sacrificing comfort, manoeverability, warmth, etc.

Perhaps more importantly, should I buy a Picasso instead?

Thanks in advance.



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I have done a lot of spearing in the Med (Greece) and the suit that worked the best for me was a 3 mm H.Dessault with nylon on the outside and smoothskin (open neoprene) on the inside. This way you avoid destroying your wetsuit on the rocks (especially since you are going in from land) and you have a good fit with the smoothskin inside. Obviously, if you are going to do deep diving without rumagging in the rocks, you should consider smoothskin on the outside. However, this only makes marginal difference compared to nylon lining which again is more durable. Even so, with the first big holed-up grouper you will get you can still ruin your suit. Don't be concerned about soaping yourself up first. Us spearos are a weird bunch anyway.
I think Top-sub is a great manufacturer and you will not get much more with a Picasso or an OMER other than a bigger pricetag. My brother had a made-to-order suit by Topsub and he loves it. Make sure they put the chest reinforcement for loading your gun.
Thanks frogman. This is just the advice I needed.

It takes 15 days to make the suit, so I'd better start tonight!

I found a picture of the nylon version with the chest-protection...


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That suit looks great. Again, 3mm is just right for Greece (I think Genoa is about same water temperature). You can add a vest for winter or 5mm top. I found that 5 mm bottom is not necessary for the Med and it restricts you movement considerably. Good luck with the groupers and snappers !!!
Get the "Thermo" lining !

I've got a Picasso Gold lining wetsuit, and also have 3mm topsub pants Nylon outside, slick silver on the inside. I would rate the top sub to be almost as good as the picasso.

I recommend getting the Thermo lining over the open cell, becuase it's much easier to put on, and I find warmer. Yeh stick with the Nylon outside, my Picasso doesn't and it's held together by glue from all the rips :(

There is a bit of an argument wether the silver or gold lining in wetsuits actually do make it warmer, I find it does.

Even if you don't believe it works in the water, try it on in the store dry and see how much you overheat in it !
At the very least it keeps you warmer in the boat.

Thanks for your help.

I went last night to get fitted.

I was amazed... he measured everything, including 6 individual measurements on each arm!!

What amazed me most was the fact that such a tiny shop in such a hidden street is the headquarters (both administrative and manufacturing) of a company whose name is known in Australia by Wal!

They keep your measurements on computer, so you can phone up and order a new one from anywhere in the world.

Anyway, should be ready in 10 days...:p

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