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Wetsuit?

gingebailey

Active Member
Aug 2, 2011
19
8
43
Clonakilty, West Cork.
Yo! Looking to finally get a proper spearfishing wetsuit and ditch the old surfing wetsuit and was wondering if anyone could point me in the direction of a one piece suit or should I forget the one piece and go for a two piece? Also I’m a big chap so anyone know what suit and make would be best for the larger gentleman? Cheers!
 

cdavis

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2003
3,951
730
218
70
Sarasota, Fla
Two points

Go for the two piece, hooded, no zips. Its a lot warmer and lets you use less rubber, a huge advantage for freediving.

Shop around on sizing. If you can't find an off the shelf suit that fits really well, its worth a good quality custom. They are much much warmer than a poorly fitting suit. Think Elios or Oceaner.
 
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Leander

Active Member
Oct 17, 2017
137
61
43
36
Between here and nowhere
I use an Elios custom. Just a simple, plain black, lined outside, open-cell inside two-piece wetsuit.

I can't tell you if it's warmer than others, I chose to spend a bit more from the start as I was done with mass-manufactured products failing on day three.
I can tell you however that where every shop around here on Crete adviced me to go for 5mm with their off-the-rack suits, the Elios keeps me plenty warm @ 3mm (16°C winter sea temperature).
Less neoprene means more mobility and less lead, so longer and more relaxed dives.

A big plus for custom suits is that you can choose the neoprene. Most off-the-racks won't state the neoprene used, and when I contacted companies (Seac, Cressi, ...) I either got no answer or something generic like "Taiwanese/Japanese". If they were proud about the quality materials used they would not just tell me, they would mention and advertise it everywhere.

I had mine made with Heiwa medium-density neoprene as it resists compression more for repeated deeper dives and generally lasts longer than the super flexible ones. Tbh I can't imagine neoprene being even more flexible than this. Perhaps this is different for thicker suits. But then again, better resistance to compression also means it keeps you warmer at depth.

The big downside of Elios is the shipping cost. From Italy to Greece it was around €40 in shipping iirc. The service (both the manufacturing and the shipping) was really fast though.
 

cdavis

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2003
3,951
730
218
70
Sarasota, Fla
My Elios is near identical to Leander's and my experience with both the company and the diving is the same. The suit is about 10 years old now and not quite as flexible as when it was new, but otherwise still near perfect.

Couple of pointers if you get an Elios. First, use the expensive, private company shipping. I didn't and it was a mistake. Second, Elios's fitting process scared me to death. Worked perfect none-the-less.
 

Leander

Active Member
Oct 17, 2017
137
61
43
36
Between here and nowhere
What was so scary?

I happend to pass through their town as I was cycling from Belgium to Greece, so I had them take the measurements instead of trying to do it myself.

Nice people I have to say. The kind of people you do want to give your money to.
 

cdavis

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2003
3,951
730
218
70
Sarasota, Fla
The videos they had me use for fitting were imprecise and confusing. I couldn't see how in the world they could work consistently. Probably they have improved them by now. They did check the measurements I sent them pretty close and questioned a couple of them. I'm so skinny it must have looked strange. Anyway, the result was perfect. I've had several suits made for me and this one is, by far, the best.
 
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gingebailey

Active Member
Aug 2, 2011
19
8
43
Clonakilty, West Cork.
Thanks for all the advice. Liking the look of the Elios. Looks like one of the off the peg sizes will fit me. Gonna drop them an message and see what they recommend for me. I do my spearing over both sandy seabed and in amongst kelp and rocks so not sure if I should go camo or just black.
 

Leander

Active Member
Oct 17, 2017
137
61
43
36
Between here and nowhere
Personally I think camo is more for looking tough out of the water. I mean, yes of course, fish also use optical camouflage, but that's mostly the smaller fish that are small enough not to get their heartbeat listed on a predators lateral line while they hide.

Now the other day a mediterranean monk seal passed by me at about 5 meters, hunting the octopus I just had a morning chat with. 2.5m, 300+kg and all grey, but I didn't notice it until it was so close because of the way it moved: slowly and carefully hugging the bottom and sliding from cover to cover to get closer to the prey. It was so graceful!
I think we can be compared to the seal, both in the way we look underwater and in the way we (should) move and behave. If you can be calm and one-with-the-ocean enough yoy can get close to anything.

And remember when fish tend to stay out of your speargun's range that there are people succesfully hunting those same fish using a pole spear. ☺
 
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gingebailey

Active Member
Aug 2, 2011
19
8
43
Clonakilty, West Cork.
I hunt on a sandy beach where there is no weed or cover and just think a large black object (I’m a big dude!) would spook the fish so just thought the break in pattern would help not spook the fish but in saying that I’ve gotten by with my black rip curl for the past 6-7 years!! So who knows!!!
 

cdavis

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2003
3,951
730
218
70
Sarasota, Fla
Leander and I seem to be agreeing a lot. I've never noticed any difference between the spearing success of camo vs black. A good shooter does well no matter his color (and vis versa). Seems like fish are far more atuned to body language and movement. The smooth guy gets close. I dive with a guy from Wisconsin who does it all wrong for the tropical water fish we hunt, but he is the smoothest spearo I ever saw. He regularly beats me.

One thing specific to how we dive that I'd love to play with. We spot fish from the surface, 30-70 ft of water. Even at a distance, being smooth is critical, but maybe camo would add to it. Something very light on the front, with some kind of reddish tinge to it that would get relatively darker with depth, shading into blue on the back. Might work.
 

Leander

Active Member
Oct 17, 2017
137
61
43
36
Between here and nowhere
Or just wear a contrast colored tshirt over the suit to break up the big blob of black. Not sure if it will work, but it does work to camouflage against human eyes though. It's like square tubes of toothpaste: you can be in the supermarket staring at the shelf close-up and not seeing them as your mind has a very defined image of what a tube of toothpaste looks like.

Now in the theory that optical camo does work, maybe one should try painting the suit with patterns of black-light-reflecting paint. Many fish can use uv-light as well as the normal visible light.

But no matter the camo, fish will know you're in the water anyway. Their lateral line gives them all the information they need. Even if they can't see you they still feel you.

I think why some say their camo wetsuits work, is because they feel more confident and one-with-the-water, so they become more relaxed and less focussed on what and how they are doing. Self-concience is good, but in the water I'd say let it all go. Just be. Be a fish. Heck, be water, my friend.
 

Leander

Active Member
Oct 17, 2017
137
61
43
36
Between here and nowhere
The smooth guy gets close. I dive with a guy from Wisconsin who does it all wrong for the tropical water fish we hunt, but he is the smoothest spearo I ever saw. He regularly beats me.
Some time ago there was this day no fish seemed to stay around. Even those that are normally very curious like the baby groupers ran to their hidings. It got me angry and frustrated. Wondering what the hell was wrong with me... I mean with them of course! :mad:

Well, I had hardly any sleep the night before as dogs nearby where barking non-stop and mosquitos were buzzing all night. The next morning I couldn't wake up, eggs for breakfast turned into scrambled eggs, on the way to the shore the road was floided and someone tried to fix it by dumping construction waste in it, which made it hard to cross even with my gravel bike, and on the walk down the cliffs I slipped and cut my toe, hurt my ankle and badly scratched my fins that where on my backpack...

The fish? They noticed me and my bad mood already before I even left the caravan.

A week (and some beers) later everything was fine again. Good sleep, tasty breakfast, calm water, good breathhold and the fish let me so close I could almost touch them. In fact, this record size octopus that would later become the seal's dinner actually let me pet it.

Both times were with a black wetsuit btw ;)
 

vrokhlenko

Well-Known Member
Sep 22, 2002
188
39
118
55
USA, NJ
Visit site
Yo! Looking to finally get a proper spearfishing wetsuit and ditch the old surfing wetsuit and was wondering if anyone could point me in the direction of a one piece suit or should I forget the one piece and go for a two piece? Also I’m a big chap so anyone know what suit and make would be best for the larger gentleman? Cheers!
It all depends what parts of yours are big. If it is chest - you will have to go custom. In general custom is a way to go. I have a huge chest and have zero options buying off the rack. Polosub makes extremely good reasonably priced wetsuits. I had my 5mm jacket for 6 years (dive 30-40 days a year for 3-4 hours up to 26 meters deep). Two piece is a must for a better fit.
Among off-the rack brands according to my research Beuchat makes wetsuits that can fit larger guys. Maybe Mares. Others are undersized. Go custom!
 

Retto

Member
Apr 18, 2019
11
7
18
Seattle
To be totally honest, I think with the camo/black debate, from my experiences a wetsuit that somewhat matched my surroundings somewhat helps, but the most important thing, as mentioned above is how YOU act and your mindset. And on that sense alone I think camo can help people. It gets them feeling like they are blending in and can make some people feel and act more calmly/smoothly which in turn aids them. Is it necessary? No. Will it help you? Maybe. Would putting it on make you feel like you’re a new predator in those waters quietly stalking your pray? If you answer yes, get camo. If you answer no, it doesn’t matter
 
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