Main Menu
Join Undercurrent on Facebook

The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975 | |
For Divers since 1975
The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
"Best of the Web: scuba tips no other
source dares to publish" -- Forbes
April 2016    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 42, No. 4   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
What's this?

More about Wetsuits

from the April, 2016 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Last month we ran the story 'Time to Replace that Old Wetsuit?' and Chris Summers, the manufacturer of Terrapin Wetsuits, had some comments about our article so we thought what he has to say should be shared.

* * * * *

You quote one retailer as saying, "A chemical blown wetsuit feels softer, but will not be as durable." However, I discussed this with the Japanese manufacturer of the highest quality neoprene available in the U.S., who says that the bubbles in chemical blown wet suits are smaller and the material is less permeable, but neither the chemical blown nor gas blown process affects the durability.

The softness of the neoprene, along with its compressibility, stretch, and rebound, can all be controlled during manufacturing. Most off-the-rack, mass-produced wetsuits are made of soft neoprene because the more it stretches, the wider the range of people a suit will fit. However, it's the overstretching -- not the softness -- that primarily reduces durability. So, in buying a suit, a diver should go up a size or two to find a size that is actually a bit too loose, then go down to the next size. Buy a suit that fits your torso length, and the rest can be tailored out or in, to make sure it fits without overstretching.

Knit and plush linings are designed to reduce the flow of water between you and your suit. Neither nylon nor wool absorbs water, but Merino wool and other plush linings trap water in place, and that can make the suit very heavy when wet. Ionic coatings -- titanium, silver and zircon-infused linings -- offer easier entry and reduce the buildup of skin cells and their attendant bacteria, so the wetsuit lining stays fresher.

Dry your wetsuit inside out first, then reverse it after the inside surface is dry. This is especially important for suits with ionic coatings because the coatings can get stuck together and tear, rather than peel apart if the suit is pressed flat when they are damp.

The most common point of failure is at the base of the back zipper. A diver should hold or pull down on the base of the zipper with one hand, while pulling up the pull cord with the other hand. This allows the zipper teeth to stay in straighter alignment and reduces the chance of the slider getting snagged.

If your old wetsuit is still in good shape, but it doesn't fit you, it can be altered by having your retailer send it to a reputable wetsuit repairer. If it still fits but has compressed, it may be converted into a layering piece, such as a vest or sleeveless shorty to wear under another suit or a short-sleeved shorty for warm water.

I want to get all the stories! Tell me how I can become an Undercurrent Online Member and get online access to all the articles of Undercurrent as well as thousands of first hand reports on dive operations world-wide

Find in  

| Home | Online Members Area | My Account | Login | Join |
| Travel Index | Dive Resort & Liveaboard Reviews | Featured Reports | Recent Issues | Back Issues |
| Dive Gear Index | Health/Safety Index | Environment & Misc. Index | Seasonal Planner | Blogs | Free Articles | Book Picks | News |
| Special Offers | RSS | FAQ | About Us | Contact Us | Links |

Copyright © 1996-2023 Undercurrent (
3020 Bridgeway, Ste 102, Sausalito, Ca 94965
All rights reserved.