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Warm new suit - advice please (UK)

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.


Aquatic shopper...
Jul 3, 2003
I am thinking of burning my 5000 year old surfer wetsuit and buying a new "freediving" wetsuit. And to be honest I could do with some help and advice.

++ what is better: a one piece or a two piece (Farmer John) ?

++ what about the lining ?

++ what about the thickness ?

++ Any makes to avoid ? // Any makes that are particularly good ?

++ To have a hood or not ?

OK, i am a beginner, I dive to around ten metres, maybe a bit more now (need a D3 or Mosquito too!).

I am in the sea for about an hour and a quarter to an hour and a half before I get shakingly cold - the sea is about 15 degrees C. Bottom time depends on if there is kelp to hang onto and whether there are fish around.

The suit I currently use is an old surfing one - I think it is quite thick - 5mm on the arms/legs and 7mm on the body? But it has large holes under the arms and the back is ripping. All the seams are falling apart and I can't be bothered to sew it up again.

I have tried a hood but I find I can't equalize so I was thinking that getting an integral hood in a thin neoprene (3mm) and punching holes by the ears might be a good approach and keep me warmer than no hood.

A friend has a 3mm 2 piece Immersion suit that he likes. It is open cell inside and keeps him warmer than me in my old rags.

I need a suit for non-competative use - I would like to be able to go out for more than 2 hours (without looking like the Michelin Man). I use Cressi Mettalite 3mm socks and gloves. These are open cell inside and slip on fine with some lube.

[thinking of ditching the washing up liquid in favour of olive oil and water - anyone tried this ? I find the washing up liquid even in low conc.s gives me a skin rash - ie I am marinating in it for an hour - too many harsh chemicals].

I would be happy to be able to dive to about 20 metres and am not aiming for more than this for this season.

are the Elios suits good ? Or is this inadvisable for a beginner ? Should I start with an Immersion / Picasso etc off the peg suit ?

Thanks for any advice.
You want a 5mm nylon outer/cell interior, with high waist trouser rather than longjohn.
As a beginner, avoid smoothskin suits as you will only tear them. Use a mixture of hair conditioner, antibacterial handwash (own brand equivalent of Sanex) and water as lube
I'm with Dave. Get a 5mm for the summer and you'll be fine. Possibly the winter too, if you add a 3mm vest. Plus don't worry about the hood: the thicker the better: I wear a 6mm detatched hood over my attatched 5mm hood when it's cold and it makes a big difference. Just poke the holes by the ears if you need, and/ or make sure you allow some water in their when you start diving.
Erik Y.
The sea temp in the uk averages about 11 or 12 degrees no wonder your shaking! My first suit, albeit more for spearfishing than serious freediving was a beauchat suit from www.spearo.co.uk (a good friend) cost me £90 2 piece farmer john 5.5mm I think a two piece is more practical for the extra warmth over the torso without being thick and cumbersome all round and a hood is a definate must, as are good socks and gloves. That suit was brill, dived for hour on end until exhausted or begininng to chill. My new suit.. purely for spearfishing is a picasso mimetec 5mm 2 piece, £150 (diveinn.com) it is best suit yet, warm camoflauged dove recently for 6 hours with no chill. I have 3mm titanium gloves (dunno what make) these are really warm and leave good feeling for shooting etc and socks from a shop in portland.. best socks ive ever had, tough enough to walk on rocks with, last ages and slip in fins no probs. They run quite expensive at £25 quid a pair and are custom made for this shop so you wont get them elsewhere! Hope that helps. Joe
i've just been in touch with Elios - i was after a 5mm top and long johns. they advised me to get trousers.

i currently have
picasso black termic nylon 7mm with long johns
picasso black termic nylon 5mm with trousers
picasso biotermic chicle 3mm with trousers of course.

i've been quite happy with the 7 and 5. the 3 has been ok, but it is incredibly compressible! i've given the 7 and 5 a serious hammering over the last 3 years. so it's time to get new suits...

what are your thoughts: long johns or trousers - for winter diving?
Hwyl Alun :)
I think Elios's reasoning is that there is a gap under the jacket caused by the longjohns, letting the dwr slosh round, or so Ive been told.
I enjoyed that article about you :) Didnt know Sir Fon had such a star ;) will have to haul myself up to the Dorethea one weekend to see for myself :D
hi Alison

ah, i see. i thought the extra layer of neoprene would make it warmer. well, i'll probably follow their advice. if i feel too cold then i'll either have to wear a 2-3mm vest or start eating more pies.

yes, it would be great to meet another DBer!are you back in Rhosneigr now? (isn't that where you live?). i'll pm you with my contact details. Dorothea is now 16C - it's very nice there on a sunny day... !
I'd follow Dave's advice, as that's what I now use.

I also own a Cressi super comp, Imersion 5mm, and a Picasso Bio Termic 3mm. All of these suits worked out well, and would certainly be better than anything your now using.

Howver, I bought myself two suits this past spring, a 3mm and a 6mm, from Elios. I have been suing the 3mm for the past month and a half since the water is now to warm for my 6mm. I also bought an extra vest to go under the suit to keep warm, but was so warm in the 6mm suit this past winter I never used it once!

I have opencell inside and smoothskin outside. For your first apnea suit I would get the superelastic nylon for the outside to make sure that you don't have to glue it up everytime you use it. I haven't had a problem with my 6mm, but I did put a hole in my 3mm once already- luckily it glued up much better than I had imagined.

High waisted pants are fine since the suits are custom cut. This will make it much easier for you to breath and you could get an extra vest in case your worried about the cold- but you won't need it.

I can't say enough good things about Elios as they are the warmest suits I have ever owned.

Cheers guys and girls for the advice.

I've been looking at the Dive Inn site (scubastore.com) for Picasso suits and came up with this list :

Cressi Sub Competition 5mm - £ 116 -(£ 96)

Imersion Seriole 5mm - £ 98 -(£ 80)

Picasso Apnos 5mm - £ 100 -(£ 82)

Picasso Dark 5mm - £ 106 -(£ 87)

Picasso Dark Termic 5mm - £ 142 -(£ 117)

Is there alot of difference between them ? I am leaning towards the Picasso Dark Termic as I get pretty chilly quickly and think this will be the warmest. How would it compare to a custom Elios one ? And are the Elios alot more cash than £117 ? (second price is a rough price without tax).

Is the Apnos alot different from the Dark Termic ?

I'm 6'2" / 190lbs (13.5 stone/85kg roughly - I'm not fat at any rate !) - any ideas on sizes ?

Just had a look on the Picasso site and they recommend :

XL - 56 - for 5'8" to 6'3" (195 - 220 lbs) for their 5mm suits.

Can anyone confirm this sizing ? ie have you used the Picasso sizing table (http://www.picassoamerica.com/sizing.php) and did it work for you (I cannot try this on before I buy - I will be buying unseen off the web).

It may be some help to you I'm 6 foot tall, 42 inch chest, waist 34 inch and 82 kg 180 LB and I brought the Picasso Apnos 5mm size 54/L it is a lovely suit and is very warm and easy to put on with water and hair conditioner
Ps I'm in the UK southern England so water temp should roughly the same
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XL Picasso will be way too big, if you are buying a standard size and are tall and skinny, it is better to be guided by width rather than length! A suit that is a bit short will not cause too many problems, but one which is too wide will be useless from, an insulation point of view. The solution of course is to go for made to measure!
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Dave / Yakdiver
I am 6'2" - 32inch waist - 44 inch chest - 16.5 inch neck - I wouldn't say I was tall and skinny but just not fat - maybe I got the weight wrong - maybe I am more like 14 stone - hard to tell without scales. Do alot of cycling so big legs.

The current suit I have fits snug on the legs and arms and neck and top of torso but I noticed that there is a bit of slack in the lower back area - I guess this is the result of a one-piece suit design (ie stretch a string from your neck to your a$$ and you will see a dip by your lowerback) - I am thinking that long trousers and a beaver-tail top would overcome this a bit better ?

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