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Echidna
01-06-2014, 08:30 PM
So, I might have the opportunity to swim/dive next summer, but the water will have around 50F, which is far below what I'm comfortable with.
I plan on getting a really warm suit, preferably 7mm, which usually counts as semi-dry.

My question to the divers out there; is it possible to dolphinkick in such a suit, or won't I be able to really move in that?
I found one 7mm freediving suit, but I'm not sure (maybe they think all freedivers sit on a sled, get back up with a balloon, and don't need to move at all).

I've really no idea, because I don't do scuba, and the thickest suit I've worn is 3mm.

AptaMer
01-10-2014, 04:31 PM
Hi Caltuna,

You might find some information in this thread helpful:

http://mernetwork.com/index/showthread.php?4117-Design-differences-between-Scuba-amp-Freediving-Wetsuits

I have worn a 7.5 mm scuba diving wetsuit, but it was make from high density neoprene, and had nylon lining too. I couldn't recommend that particular suit for freediving, or even for scuba for that matter. It was hard to get on and the suit felt like you had boards all over your body it was so stiff. It had an attached hood, but because of the thickness & stiffness of the neoprene, and the nylon covering, it was very difficult to pop your head into the hood.

50F is 10C. Among the freedivers around here, everybody I know has gone with 5mm suits, even in 10C water which we routinely get in the waters around here (4C in the middle of winter). I haven't actually seen a 7mm freediving suit yet.

For the reasons described in the other thread linked to above, a 5mm freediving suit with no nylon coating, i.e. smoothskin on the outside and either open cell or smoothskin on the inside, is way warmer than my old 7.5mm scuba diving suit.

These people are recommending a 7mm suit, though: http://www.pacificcoastfreediving.com/freedive/gear-recommendations/

If you're going with 7mm would recommend getting:

An attached hood. IME this provides more warmth than any other option
Soft, stretchy, low density neoprene
Smoothskin, i.e. no nylon coating
Open cell on the inside
The zipperless 2-piece design as described in the other thread.


I think if you go with all those features you should find the suit pretty easy to put on (using lubricant) and easy to swim in. After all, I was able to get into a 7.5 mm suit with everything the opposite of the above points, and swim in it (kind of :) ) so if you optimize everything you should do much better.

I'm going to include a link again to this video from Sweden of a woman diving in 3.8C water wearing a 5mm Elios smoothskin freediving suit. You'll see that she experiences a bit of a shock getting in the water, but she's just fine once she gets going, then is chill again by the end of the dive.


http://youtu.be/enPiV9tLBZw

IME a normal person can dive in 4C water for about 20 minutes wearing a 5mm, 2-piece, smoothskin freediving suit, and maybe an hour or so in 10C water, but that's Canadian divers who, IME, tend to be a little more cold hardy than divers from some other places (obviously, Swedish divers are pretty tough too-LOL) You said you get chilled easily, so maybe you do need to go with 7mm, even for10C water.

Echidna
01-10-2014, 04:51 PM
I read the other thread too.
Thanks!
Glad I didn't make a purchase yet (those things are expensive! pff).

Found a freediving 7mm suit on amazon, with attached hood.
Have to check the other details again.

I was skeptical about ordering online, because most stuff I order in clothes and suits doesn't fit
(it's either way too short, or if the length is right, you could hold a convention in the extra room around my upper body and arms, which is a no-no for a wetsuit), so I might end up having to custom-order one.

AptaMer
01-10-2014, 08:35 PM
Hi Caltuna,

If you're ordering a 7mm suit I think you have to go with made-to-measure rather than standard sizes. With neoprene that thick if you want fit & comfort, I don't think it's possible for a standard size to work, unless you're- exactly a standard size.

The 7.5 mm scuba suit I had was custom tailored, and I don't think I could have fit into it if it hadn't been made-to-measure.

I would recommend that you telephone or send an email to Elios Wetsuits http://www.eliossub.com/index.php/en/contacts and ask them about having a suit made. IME they actually give you a better price than the ones you see on Amazon, and they do custom measurements.

Echidna
01-11-2014, 07:51 AM
Thanks for the tip!

Already decided to not buy from amazon, looked at the size chart and wow, that would never fit.
That standard size is completely off, for my height they say I should weigh between 75 and 85kg.
(My mother is my height and quite big, but even she doesn't weigh that much, what the heck? :p)

Gonna try that italian business instead.

AptaMer
01-12-2014, 05:34 AM
Hmm, just had a look at Elios' page on their Hi-Performance wetsuits ( http://www.eliossub.com/index.php/en/free-diving/hi-perform-2 ). They have photo of a thin person with the best fit I've ever seen.



17180
For a thin person- it's very hard to get wetsuits to fit thin people smoothly enough to not have leakage.

AptaMer
01-12-2014, 07:28 AM
And there was another thing I thought of, Caltuna. There is a very nice freediving forum called DeeperBlue, and if you were to go there & join you might be able to get some good wetsuit advice. They even have a wetsuit discussion section.

http://forums.deeperblue.com/

Echidna
01-12-2014, 08:02 AM
I've been on deeperblue forums longer than on MN ;)
Even though I'm mostly a lurker there lol.

And true about the leakage.
Two of my old suits had so much room I was as cold in it as without one, so I gave them to people who have a better fit.

Echidna
03-06-2014, 08:20 PM
so today my Elios suit arrived.
It's 7mm and fits okay considering it's not custom sized.

However, it's my first open cell product, and while the trousers and the arms were put on smoothly enough with a bit of soap, I couldn't get my head through into the hood.
The material kinda stuck on my hair (the soaped bathing cap I had put on before came loose inside the suit), and with my head somewhere halfway the suit didn't move forward or back.

It looked so easy on videos. How not to get stuck with the head?
Luckily I could run for help, and even with help from outside we nearly couldn't get the suit back down without dislocating my neck :p
maybe I should just cut off the hood...

AptaMer
03-08-2014, 01:42 PM
so today my Elios suit arrived.
It's 7mm and fits okay considering it's not custom sized.

However, it's my first open cell product, and while the trousers and the arms were put on smoothly enough with a bit of soap, I couldn't get my head through into the hood.
The material kinda stuck on my hair (the soaped bathing cap I had put on before came loose inside the suit), and with my head somewhere halfway the suit didn't move forward or back.

It looked so easy on videos. How not to get stuck with the head?
Luckily I could run for help, and even with help from outside we nearly couldn't get the suit back down without dislocating my neck :p
maybe I should just cut off the hood...

Aaack - don't cut your hood off Caltuna!

Getting your head into an attached hood always throws people for a loop the first few times. It's funny, after some practice you'll find you can pop your head in quite easily, it just takes practice and "figuring it out".

Also, wearing a cap under an attached hood never works IME.

Here's how to make it easier, though:

find a really slippery brand of hair conditioner and
slather it onto your hair really thickly, and leave it there (don't rinse it off- it helps prevent saltwater & pool chlorine damage to your hair)
Also, you can find slathering conditioner around the inside of the hood, especially before you put it on, can really help too.
you'll find you can pop into the hood like a greased pig with slippery conditioner on your hair, once you get the right angle for your head and the way to move your arms & shoulders- just keep practicing
Some people find sliding their fingers down into the neck from the face opening and stretching out the neck a bit can help in popping into the hood.
Just make sure your fingernails don't stick into the rubber
one conditioner people swear by (I've tried it, it's pretty good) is Unicure ( http://www.unicure.com/unicure2/conditioner.htm )


When it comes time to take the jacket off, one nice way to remove the hood is to pull the jacket over your head inverting the suit, then pull your arms out, inverting the arms so that the whole jacket is inside out, but is still on your head. Once you have the whole jacket off except for the hood, slide your hands up the neck of the hood, and you'll find you can stretch the neck out and slide the hood right off your head sliding your hands upward and also under your chin.

Keep on experimenting. After a while you'll be popping into your jacket & hood like an old pro 19192- and you're going to love your freediving jacket once you've got it on in the water

Echidna
03-08-2014, 07:14 PM
thanks for the advice!

my hair being dry certainly didn't make it easier (my neck muscles still hurt :p ).
I know I need to practice, but I'm really scared to put my whole head where I can't breathe and hope I can get the suit on correctly before I suffocate :cry:

I'll keep trying though. This suit might be my only recourse to swim/dive in our local cold waters.
(I don't plan on using a suit this expensive in a chlorinated pool btw.)

The wetsuit smiley is hilarious!

AptaMer
03-09-2014, 05:02 PM
thanks for the advice!

my hair being dry certainly didn't make it easier (my neck muscles still hurt :p ).
I know I need to practice, but I'm really scared to put my whole head where I can't breathe and hope I can get the suit on correctly before I suffocate :cry:


Hi Caltuna, You'll also find that wetting your hair along with adding the conditioner can make it easier to pop the hood on.

Also, if you're a bit slow getting your head through the neck and want to take a breath, stick your fingers into the hood from above through the face opening, reach down into the front of the neck with all eight of your fingers and pull the front of the neck out away from your face and you'll find you can take a breath.

BTW- once you're getting into the suit easily, it would be great if you could get a picture and show us the suit, esp. how it fits, and maybe you could let us know how it is in the water- whether you get a good seal or significant leakage, etc.. It's be interesting to know how good a job Elios does.

Echidna
03-10-2014, 12:24 AM
it would be great if you could get a picture and show us the suit, esp. how it fits, and maybe you could let us know how it is in the water- whether you get a good seal or significant leakage, etc.. It's be interesting to know how good a job Elios does.

sure.
I'm very curious myself how it will do in the water, and how warm it'll be down where it's really cold.

To the fit of the trousers I can say, they're ok except in the butt area, I could put in a big cushion there and still have room :p
That's what you get for going with a standard size I guess.

As it is, I'll have to see whether the air pockets inside the suit will fill with water or not.
I'll post here once I've tried it out.

Echidna
06-24-2014, 06:06 PM
Right!
I haven't forgotten about this thread, so here's my elios sub wetsuit experience :phew:

After another unsuccessful try-on, a visit to a neoprene specialist (who measured me and the suit and declared it was a production error, nobody could possibly fit in, and I should try to give it back or sell it) and several e-mails with the seller, who gave me more donning tips, today we tried again.

Me and 2 helpers lol.
I got it on quite smoothly, which was a bit embarrassing after getting helpers to, well help.
(I couldn't have done it alone either, but it was much easier than imagined).

The fit was rather off, unsurprisingly so since it's not done to measure but a stock size.
Apparently, the average diver woman has thrice my chest width, and five or six times my buttocks size.
That looked a bit ridiculous, but otherwise the fit was ok if not for the neck.
It's so narrow I had trouble breathing.
I couldn't move all that well either (the suit is 6-7mm thick), I felt like someone had stuffed me into a very narrow, tight plastic sack that barely allowed movement or breathing.

So that was meh, maybe it gets better with time.
In the water, the superfluous bulges on chest and behind filled quickly with water, but afterward no more seemed to flush in.
It was very warm. I didn't feel the cold at all.
I could imagine diving in this in a cold lake and not feel the cold, however!

Due to the restricted movement and the squeezing neck part, I couldn't relax, breath-up, or swim very well.
The buoyancy of the suit is incredible.
Without a weight belt of at least 10 pounds, don't think about it.

I didn't have a belt, because I wasn't sure whether I'd be able to put the suit on at all, so my dive experience with it was rather short.
The insulation underwater is about the same as on the surface though.

I got out soon after because I couldn't quite breathe.
Getting out of the suit was easy as well once I knew how to do it.

So all in all, I think an Elios suit is really good if you need a warm and well-constructed suit, but one should really, really invest in a custom measured one, because otherwise, you might get unlucky as I did and have it be too narrow (or wide) in a vital place.

As it was, I had about an hour pain in my throat afterward.
I can't see myself using this suit successfully swimming or diving anywhere unless I find a manufacturer able to widen the neck area, and this will cost me quite a bit, in the end it will be more as if I had gone with a custom suit anyway.

I'm not able to return it, as the specialist recommended; I was told they "do not sell trial products", so I'm stuck with the thing even though I purchased it only 3 months ago, and it's not a custom suit either.

(because of all the hassle and trepidation before and after, we forgot to take pictures sadly.
if I ever put it on again, I'll take some.)

Mermaid Melanie
06-25-2014, 12:24 PM
Oh interesting I just ordered my elios suit - it is a custom one however and my friends rave about theirs ! I'm so excited to get it - got the metallic green - plus the warmer weather here means I only got like a 2mm one so hope the flex is good in it !


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