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Worth getting a off the shelf wetsuit tailored?

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Fishstab

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Jun 16, 2020
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I’m not sure if this is even a thing, but I got what seems a decent 5mm wetsuit that never been used which is actually a sample from northern diver (stamped sample inside).

It’s an XL and fits me nice and snug everywhere apart from around my stomach and lower back where it’s too loose. As it was a freebie I’m considering looking into whether a wetsuit tailor would be able make adjustments for me but I’ve never heard of this service before only fully tailored wetsuits. Anyone got any insight?
 

Mr. X

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How much too big? Could you just live with it? I've both gained weight and then lost weight since having my made-to-measure Eliossub suit made, it has remained a pretty good fit despite that. Eat more pies? Wear a neoprene vest underneath (for some reason neoprene vests are often more expense than a shortie wetsuit, odd, should be about £12 but more often £22-£45)? I'm sure your wetsuit could be adjusted but finding somebody willing and able to and at reasonable cost might take a little effort. I believe there is a wetsuit/drysuit manufacturer on the Portland Harbour causeway, at the end near Chesil Cove, on the left hand side. Perhaps they might help? Perhaps there is a surfsuit maker closer to your home?

At a push, I wonder if you might be able to do it yourself, or find someone who'd try to do it for you - obviously that is risky. An accomplished seamstress/dressmaker/pattern-cutter/clothes designer might be able to figure out a way to pull it in (my wife says, for normal clothes, you'd pull it in at the side-seams). I think a wetsuit could probably just be glued BUT wetsuits are normally sewn and glued during manufacture. You'd need to use proper neoprene wetsuit glue, e.g. Spetton or Picasso black witch. I believe manufacturers use a special sewing machine which hides the stitch inside the seam - not sure if a regular sewing machine can do that but probably not. There is information, diagrams and even videos on the web showing details. It even might be possible to sew something similar by hand - but you'd likely need to do further research that if you want to do a good job? Sewing alone would not, I think, be enough, would need to glue it for strength and to seal it.

Sell it? For example on DeeperBlues marketplace area - no charge either ;) Plenty of fat bellied XL spearos around :D Swap it? Donate it?
 

Fishstab

Member
Jun 16, 2020
86
44
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33
How much too big? Could you just live with it? I've both gained weight and then lost weight since having my made-to-measure Eliossub suit made, it has remained a pretty good fit despite that. Eat more pies? Wear a neoprene vest underneath (for some reason neoprene vests are often more expense than a shortie wetsuit, odd, should be about £12 but more often £22-£45)? I'm sure your wetsuit could be adjusted but finding somebody willing and able to and at reasonable cost might take a little effort. I believe there is a wetsuit/drysuit manufacturer on the Portland Harbour causeway, at the end near Chesil Cove, on the left hand side. Perhaps they might help? Perhaps there is a surfsuit maker closer to your home?

At a push, I wonder if you might be able to do it yourself, or find someone who'd try to do it for you - obviously that is risky. An accomplished seamstress/dressmaker/pattern-cutter/clothes designer might be able to figure out a way to pull it in (my wife says, for normal clothes, you'd pull it in at the side-seams). I think a wetsuit could probably just be glued BUT wetsuits are normally sewn and glued during manufacture. You'd need to use proper neoprene wetsuit glue, e.g. Spetton or Picasso black witch. I believe manufacturers use a special sewing machine which hides the stitch inside the seam - not sure if a regular sewing machine can do that but probably not. There is information, diagrams and even videos on the web showing details. It even might be possible to sew something similar by hand - but you'd likely need to do further research that if you want to do a good job? Sewing alone would not, I think, be enough, would need to glue it for strength and to seal it.

Sell it? For example on DeeperBlues marketplace area - no charge either ;) Plenty of fat bellied XL spearos around :D Swap it? Donate it?

Thanks for the thoughtful reply. Around the lower back there is an airgap which would probably be a bit chilly in the water. I am particularly light at the moment I’m usually around 2-3kgs heavier (about 91-92kg) than I am now but I intend to stay a bit leaner for the remainder of summer.

I have messaged some wetsuit manufacturers and most only do surf wetsuits but I was referred to O Three in Portland (I assume this is who you’re on about) but not yet had a response. The more I’ve looked into this the more I’m actually turned off the idea as A. It’s not a free dive wetsuit so the end result may only be mediocre functionality wise and B. it turns out that 2 piece free dive wetsuits aren’t as expensive as I thought so it may well just be cheaper to buy one and potentially offload the one I’ve got!

scubastore have a seemingly good selection of open cell 2 piece spear fishing/freedive wetsuits with a Mares explorer sport 5mm suit for £127, Omer master team or black sea bifo 5mm suits under £130, Seac black shark 5mm for £131, a salvimar ‘natural advanced texture’ 5.5mm suit for £132, cressi apnea 5mm for £139. These are probably all close to what i expect it to cost to get an existing suit tailored (although would be pleased of this is not the case!). For a little bit more (around the £150 mark) there are a couple of camouflage options from Mares and Picasso.

Do any of these stand out as particularly decent suits or do any of these manufacturers have reputations for their wetsuits having a certain fit?
 

Mr. X

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Yes, I think O3 is likely the Portland, UK company. Probably closed for Corona

Is the suit loose with your weightbelt and weight-vest on and hood up? Do you get cold? If not, maybe it's good enough for now?

I have the impression that Omer wetsuits are quite slim fitting, suited to adolescents and Italians perhaps? You should check their size charts. I think Beuchat are more normal fitting for many older adult British men. I got a Mares camo suit on sale for about £120-£130 which just about fits my stocky frame in theory but actually fits surprisingly well in actuality. The 5.5mm neoprene is quite stretchy, so quite accomodating for different shapes and sizes. But stretch means the neoprene is thinner than 5.5mm when you put it on. But it's fine, more warm enough for me even in March - although I don't feel the cold as much as some. It was made in Cambodia.

I expect most brands are now made in SE Asia, so much of a muchness perhaps. I like the look if Polo sub semi-camo designs and they are made in Rome. I like the Omersub Camos. I like the Beuchat wetsuit designs, mainly black, the quality looks better than average and they have some novel innovations. There was an antipodean company that produced what looked like it might be the best/fanciest wetsuit. Rob Allen wetsuits might be a good, robust option for "manly men". I wouldn't touch Picasso stuff with a barge pole, some of their sizes are/were way off, perhaps sized for Asian market. Bad/odd size issues with Seacsub wetsuit too, despite carefully checking their model-specific chart.

The Turkish Apnea brand wetsuits from spearfishingstore.co.uk might be worth a look, if on sale. The guy in the store insisted my son was a small so, against my better judgement, he tried to get into a small but it was way too tight and we didn't have time to try the next size up. :( They were charging camo prices for plain black wetsuits at the time but, in their recent 30% off on-line sales, probably a much better deal available now/soon. The quality looked good enough. The owner is trying to sell the business now though and is not currently selling in the shop, just on-line.

Refer to model-specific size charts, these tend to be more accurate but they don't tell the whole story e.g. cuff sizes and thigh width/length.

A made to measure suit e.g. by eliossub, polosub or the cheaper Greek company some use now is worth considering.
 
Last edited:

Fishstab

Member
Jun 16, 2020
86
44
23
33
Yes, I think O3 is likely the Portland, UK company. Probably closed for Corona

Is the suit loose with your weightbelt and weight-vest on and hood up? Do you get cold? If not, maybe it's good enough for now?

I have the impression that Omer wetsuits are quite slim fitting, suited to adolescents and Italians perhaps? You should check their size charts. I think Beuchat are more normal fitting for many older adult British men. I got a Mares camo suit on sale for about £120-£130 which just about fits my stocky frame in theory but actually fits surprisingly well in actuality. The 5.5mm neoprene is quite stretchy, so quite accomodating for different shapes and sizes. But stretch means the neoprene is thinner than 5.5mm when you put it on. But it's fine, more warm enough for me even in March - although I don't feel the cold as much as some. It was made in Cambodia.

I expect most brands are now made in SE Asia, so much of a muchness perhaps. I like the look if Polo sub semi-camo designs and they are made in Rome. I like the Omersub Camos. I like the Beuchat wetsuit designs, mainly black, the quality looks better than average and they have some novel innovations. There was an antipodean company that produced what looked like it might be the best/fanciest wetsuit. Rob Allen wetsuits might be a good, robust option for "manly men". I wouldn't touch Picasso stuff with a barge pole, some of their sizes are/were way off, perhaps sized for Asian market. Bad/odd size issues with Seacsub wetsuit too, despite carefully checking their model-specific chart.

The Turkish Apnea brand wetsuits from spearfishingstore.co.uk might be worth a look, if on sale. The guy in the store insisted my son was a small so, against my better judgement, he tried to get into a small but it was way too tight and we didn't have time to try the next size up. :( They were charging camo prices for plain black wetsuits at the time but, in their recent 30% off on-line sales, probably a much better deal available now/soon. The quality looked good enough. The owner is trying to sell the business now though and is not currently selling in the shop, just on-line.

Refer to model-specific size charts, these tend to be more accurate but they don't tell the whole story e.g. cuff sizes and thigh width/length.

A made to measure suit e.g. by eliossub, polosub or the cheaper Greek company some use now is worth considering.

not had a chance to run the current one out but hopefully will next week. It hasn’t got a hoot but I do have a separate hood I’ll also try.

i had looked at the apnea brand ones but spearfishingstore.co.uk is winding down online as well and Anything that’s out of stock (most things) wont be restocked so unless you’re an xxxl or an xxxs you’re out of luck.

i was hoping to keep the spend under £130 but if it’s too much of a shot in the dark ordering online (size wise) I’ll probably just wait until stores start reopening and try some on in the flesh.
 
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It is not that difficult to alter a wetsuit, especially if your intent is to remove material. You could cut out a portion of the material along a seam and then glue the suit back together. Sewing it afterwards is best, but you can also use some iron on seam tape which works quite well.


 
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Mr. X

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I have the impression that not many stores sell spearfishing/freediving wetsuits but perhaps that is changing. Also, you are in the south-west so there may be places nearby(e.g. spearfishing.co.uk recently announced they are opening a store in Cornwall, St. Austell I think). The fact that your suit doesn't have a hood makes me think it is possibly not a spearfishing/freediving suit but perhaps intended for something else (e.g. SCUBA, surfing,...). Doesn't mean you can't freedive in it of course. Like many others, I started out with a cheap (Shortie) wetsuit, which really wasn't up to the task but it got me started.

You should be able to get something decent for £100-140. You might need to shop around and look for the sales/deals. Google is quite good for finding deals, the big webstores can be clumsy by comparison. It didn't take long for me to find my off-the-shelf wetsuit, after several queries over a few weeks Google popped it up, I got mine from Denny's Diving up north I think but it was a deal at the time, their prices are not always that keen. Find a deal, then check the size charts carefully. On the plus side, with everyone locked down, the stores will probably be motivated to sell the stock they have. On the downside, stores may not have placed much in the way of new orders with manufacturers (I think some stores place one big order with their favoured/main supplier for the start of each season, to get best prices) and likely many manufacturers will not be manufacturing at normal levels, if at all.
 
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