"Over the next 11 days diving I could not once have any complaint about ‘Waterproof's' new ‘Lynx' , other than the name – They should have called it the ‘Revelation' because to me that is what this suit is! "

"Three Months and twenty five dives later:- From the Red Sea to the Caribbean , the Mediterranean to the Atlantic I abused my Lynx suit."
Rating – 9 out of 10 - Excellent
TRAVEL
takes us to Taba Heights in Egypt, a little oasis of some five-luxury hotels
The ‘Lynx' from ‘Waterproof'
At LIDS earlier this year I looked over ‘Waterproof''s' latest offering, that wasn't then available – the ‘Lynx' (which supersedes the ‘Aquazor' ). I liked the look of it, and although I didn't take too much notice at the time, the material was more flexible. I mentioned my problems in getting my other suits on and was told ‘The ‘Lynx' comes in additional sizes to more than suit the British diver, even you!' Well, we are not all tall thin things like our Swedish counterparts.

Test on Pinnacle semi-dry suit

supplied by Oceanic (SW) Ltd
 

In forty plus years of diving and twenty-six as an underwater photojournalist I have witnessed much technical improvement on some items of dive equipment and little on many items. The main area where only average improvement has taken place is the wet-suit, that is – until now!

 
Copyright © 2010 www.holiday-diver.com Web design by Chris Punton

Holiday Diver – Kit Review

Text and photography by David Oldale

I bought my first ‘Waterproof' semi-dry suit just over two years ago on the advice of a friend/dive centre owner – the model-type in this instance was the 5mm ‘ Aquazor '. I loved the suit, it kept me warm in winter, was superbly made and lasted, in fact it still to this day looks like new! But and there is always a but – boy did I struggle to get in to and out of it! I had two problems; firstly the material seemed slightly stiff and secondly whilst it fitted well around the body it seemed over tight and inflexible with regards to getting my legs and arms in it! I always needed help and it took up to 15 minutes just to get it on, which was not so much fun in 30 to 50°C of air temperature. So for the summer months I purchased another ‘Waterproof' suit – the 3mm ‘Zubzor', I struggled less but still I struggled. I should point out that ‘Waterproof' suits (made in Sweden ) are only available ‘off-the-peg'. Dare I mention, my son who also has the ‘Aquazor' slips into his suit easily!

 

At LIDS earlier this year I looked over ‘Waterproof''s' latest offering, that wasn't then available – the ‘Lynx' (which supersedes the ‘Aquazor' ). I liked the look of it, and although I didn't take too much notice at the time, the material was more flexible. I mentioned my problems in getting my other suits on and was told ‘The ‘Lynx' comes in additional sizes to more than suit the British diver, even you!' Well, we are not all tall thin things like our Swedish counterparts.

Was it my birthday? Because out of the blue a package arrived, the first suit from a consignment of the ‘Lynx' to arrive in this country.

The most striking thing was the suppleness and flexibility of the material (Aquatex 5mm Hi-Density CR Neoprene). But they say ‘the proof of the pudding…'

I set my stopwatch, zips undone, trunks on and went for it! It was as if I had been coated in oil – just less than 25 seconds and it was on and a perfect fit, with me also being able to zip up the back zipper – on my own. I left it on, turned up the central heating and sweated profusely for the next two hours – how quick could I get it off? Precisely 8 seconds, I could not believe it and all without the addition of French chalk/Talc. This suit would certainly ‘do me' winter and summer, and I would not have to dive in future ‘half exhausted' before I had even entered the water!

The ‘Lynx' from ‘Waterproof'

Was it my birthday? Because out of the blue a package arrived, the first suit from a consignment of the ‘Lynx' to arrive in this country.

The most striking thing was the suppleness and flexibility of the material (Aquatex 5mm Hi-Density CR Neoprene). But they say ‘the proof of the pudding…'

I set my stopwatch, zips undone, trunks on and went for it! It was as if I had been coated in oil – just less than 25 seconds and it was on and a perfect fit, with me also being able to zip up the back zipper – on my own. I left it on, turned up the central heating and sweated profusely for the next two hours – how quick could I get it off? Precisely 8 seconds, I could not believe it and all without the addition of French chalk/Talc. This suit would certainly ‘do me' winter and summer, and I would not have to dive in future ‘half exhausted' before I had even entered the water!

Description – The ‘Lynx' is made up from a number of 5mm panels of differing material finishes, all of which perform a specific function with an interior of all over ‘plush lining'.

Neck – Velcro adjustable, interior smooth-skin neck seal with short comfort zip at the front that is smooth-skin sealed behind.

Shoulders – Textured and rubberised coated panels over the nylon covered neoprene – to protect the outer nylon fabric from abrasion received from BCD.

Back area – Rear heavy-duty zip and bronze slider with 6mm smooth-skin backing flap with an additional cell neoprene-sealing strip and pull strap for easy self-use.

Arms - Contoured sleeves with a corrugated section on the inside of the elbows. An elasticised and sculpted hi-stretch section is inserted to the outer elbows – both allowing flexibility and preventing cramp. Heavy-duty plastic zips to both wrists backed by a slippery-silver-coated extra long smooth-skin wrist seal. A high-viz reflective ‘logo' is affixed to the upper left arm. It should be noted that the seals in both wrist and ankle have a glued curved seam that is taped at the end to prevent being pulled apart.

Bum area – To prevent abrasion damage, a section of patterned-textured coating has been applied to the nylon-covered neoprene that extends from the waist over the backside to down the rear of both legs to the upper knee joint

The ‘Lynx' from ‘Waterproof' RRP £169-00p

Available (as an extra) with a co-ordinated 5mm vest with/without an attached vented hood

RRP's £69-50p; and £87-00p respectively.

For your nearest ‘Waterproof' supplier contact:- CPS Partnership Ltd.

Tel: 0044 (0)1424 442663

or email: sales@cpspartnership.com

Legs – Contoured legs with a corrugated section to the rear of the knee joints. An elasticised hi-stretch section extends over both knee joints to down the front of the lower legs to the ankle. Both knees have the protection of heavy-duty rubber kneepads. As in the wrists there are heavy-duty plastic zips to both ankles backed by a slippery-silver-coated extra long smooth-skin ankle seal.

Colour – The suit for Men/Women is mainly in black with dark grey on the arm and leg sections. There is a difference on the highlight colour around the neck/shoulders and outer sections of both the upper and lower arm; the Men's suits are blue with the Women's being red.

Overall – All suit sections are cup-stitched both internally and externally for a strong and waterproof seam. All neoprene edges have a light grey material tape finish which is also cup-stitched. The ‘Waterproof' logo appears on both outer thigh sections from knee level to the waistline. The ‘Lynx' logo appears just on the right shoulder with a rubberised ‘Waterproof' logo just below the front comfort-zip. In all the suit looks smart, very well made and extremely functional, but how did it perform in the water and did it keep me warm? It was time to go diving – with the Sharks, Whales and Bottlenose dolphins of Tenerife …

Under the surface – The air temperature climbed up to 30° Celsius, for the first time that I can remember I would no longer have to sweat and struggle into a congealing mass of sticky hot rubber. So confident was I that I held back until everyone had half donned their suits before my ‘Lynx' was taken out of the divebag. From remarks like ‘its about time you got into your suit' and ‘if you're not ready we'll leave you behind' to ‘bloody hell, Dave's ready and sitting on the RIB waiting for us!' I was in my element and actually enjoyed getting rigged!

Over the side and into the water – not cold but the water temperature was 19°; below it would drop to 13 or lower! As with my earlier ‘Waterproof' suits I experienced no flushing, just comfort and continued warmth. We hit 55 metres as five Pilot whales cruised past and ever downward, temperature 9° - did I feel cold – only my ears but then I won't wear a hood!

Over the next 11 days diving I could not once have any complaint about ‘Waterproof's' new ‘Lynx' , other than the name – They should have called it the ‘Revelation' because to me that is what this suit is!

Footnote – Whilst diving with one particular dive centre, I noticed that one of their Instructors was wearing a ‘Waterproof Aquazor' suit. Being curious I happened to ask what she thought of the suit. Her reply, ‘this suit has lasted me for two and a half years which in all is about 2000 dives. The only problem – its colour is starting to fade. Every other make of suit I've had in the past has lasted around 3 months before starting to fall apart, when eventually I have to replace this suit it will only be with another ‘Waterproof' .' Is there no better recommendation than that?

 

David Oldale – Three Months and twenty five dives later:- From the Red Sea to the Caribbean , the Mediterranean to the Atlantic I abused my Lynx suit. It was crushed into a dive bag and spent a great deal of its time in aircraft holds' whilst damp! I crawled through, over and in wrecks and took it deep (to 65 metres) – It still looked like new and the colour showed no apparent fading even though it was subjected to bright sunlight and the extremes of temperature (from –10 to +50 ° C). However I did notice very early on that the neoprene had started to stiffen making the suit once again a struggle to get into, especially trying to get the suit to slide up my arms and legs – I had to resort to using talc on many occasions and even plastic bags. Could it be that I shouldn't have put the suit on a 40 ° wash cycle in the washing machine on returning from trips?

I also noticed some separation between the outer nylon and neoprene in certain areas particularly in the sculptured/convoluted sections of material. In two or three areas the outer stitching has come undone – remedy, the ends were tied together and a blob of glue applied. The suit did not come apart as the seams were well glued before stitching in manufacture.

18 Months down the line:- The suit still looks good and has retained its thermal properties (the neoprene has not crushed to any significant amount). Overall – A very good suit although as I said I do struggle to get it on particularly over the (arms and legs)!

Paul Marley – From receipt to 18 Months:- After the first dive I noticed that one section of stitching had come undone. This was subsequently tied off – it did the trick! I have had no problems regarding donning – the suit continues to just slide on perhaps it's because my suit has never ventured to see the inside of a washing machine! Overall – I love everything about this suit; it keeps me warm, and looks the business!

Sheila Widdrington – From receipt to 18 Months:- No problems at all. The suit fits well and continues to look as new. As I do seem to feel the cold more than most I also purchased the vest with attached hood. I feel comfortable even when the water temperature at depth drops to around 13 ° C. Overall – A very good looking functional suit.

All the testers commented on the design of neck, wrist and ankle seals – no flushing problems.

Rating – 9 out of 10 - Excellent
Back to Top of Page
Test on Pinnacle semi-dry suit as supplied by Oceanic (SW) Ltd
by David Oldale
In forty plus years of diving and twenty-six as an underwater photojournalist I have witnessed much technical improvement on some items of dive equipment and little on many items. The main area where only average improvement has taken place is the wet-suit, that is – until now!

In the early to middle 60's one would have to purchase sheet (smooth on one side) neoprene and working from a brown paper self-measured pattern, cut out a suit and glue it all together. For those most dextrose, more strength could be obtained by the addition of stitching and the application of rubberised tape on the seams!

Within a short space of time neoprene could be purchased as being smooth on both sides (for easier donning); to be followed by a sharks-skin or pattern on the outside neoprene (for abrasion resistance). Then a nylon lining (which aided donning) was applied to the material to be quickly superseded by the application of nylon on both sides – perhaps for better wear resistance but more to bring colour into diving. In a short space of time divers did not have to resort to making suits themselves but could buy suits supplied from a number of manufacturers.

Over the intervening years the linings improved to further aid donning with seals being added at the neck, wrists and ankles – giving rise to the so-called semi-dry suit. Suits also got thicker to give better insulation properties but with that the suit became less stretchy and hence more difficult to get on. In a hot climate one could become exhausted just getting the thing on and before getting anywhere near the water! Whilst a number of manufacturers went down the road of including additives into the lining material ie; Titanium etc., which as far as I could see had little effect – there was no getting away from the fact that the neoprene itself would have to change if any improvement was to be gained in getting the thing on and off with the least amount of effort. Another prime consideration, should the elastic properties of the neoprene be improved then it follows that one size would fit a range physiques; hence – the dive shop retailer or dive school would need to keep fewer suits of differing sizes in stock.

 

The ‘Elastiprene' from ‘Pinnacle' RRP £195-00p

For your nearest ‘Pinnacle' supplier contact -

Oceanic (SW) Ltd.

Tel: 0044 (0)1404 891819

Website: www.oceanicuk.com

Early in 2006 I heard a rumour from old friends at Kent Diving and Watersports that a new neoprene material was due to make its debut in wet-suit manufacture. The Pinnacle Suit distributed by Oceanic (SW) Ltd; would be the first (in the UK ) to use this material (elastiprene) in the manufacture of their suits. Its properties – larger bubbles within the neoprene would give greater stretch and flexibility. A phone call to Oceanic and within a day I was in possession of a trial suit for test! Two day's later I would be in Tenerife to put it through its paces. But first I had to see if I could get the thing on and off easily.

There was no doubting its increased flexibility and stretchiness (I was sure it was alive as it pulled on so easily – there would be no yanking and tugging with this suit) but would it still be as stretchy and flexible after 50 plus dives?

That first dive:- I rolled backwards from the RIB into water 16 ° C, I felt no chill as the water did not penetrate at all! The dive over 65 minutes later, I still felt no chill and had experienced no flushing whatsoever even though an Angel Shark had taken a severe dislike or like depending upon which way you look at it to my right leg and yes blood does appear green at 20 metres. On the RIB I was lost for words (a rare occurrence – so I am told and it wasn't because I had just taken a shark hit!), the suit – I was just so warm and comfortable unlike my buddies who were starting to shiver!

Later that day I wanted to test the suit's flexibility. Would my suit that was designed for my let's say well proportioned 5 foot 8inch frame fit my slim 6 foot 1 inch buddy – he doubted it, I was in two minds. We swapped clothing. His trousers and shirt stretched around me nearly with the trousers flowing beyond the ends of my feet! My Pinnacle Suit fitted him like a made-to-measure glove.

A year and 64 dives later:- The suit has retained fully its flexibility and is just as easy to don, but I must admit I have followed the wash/rinse instructions to the letter and the suit has yet to experience the 40 ° wash cycle. Two problems that did materialise after dive twelve. 1/. A glued section at the neck seal (smooth-skin to smooth skin) did become unglued – I restuck it! 2/. A taped section at the front of the suit just below the neck seal also became unstuck – I must reglue it before my next trip! A combination of both allowed the slight ingress of water into the suit. On contacting the distributors I was informed that this was a fault that has since been addressed.

 

DescriptionThe suit is constructed 7/5mm Elastiprene (7mm across the body with 5mm material for the arms and legs). The suit is only available in black with the interior being with a nylon lining. Like the Lynx entry into the suit is via a back zip with long cord attached; unlike the Lynx the end of this is secured by means of Velcro, meaning – in a breeze it wont fly around to continually hit the wearer in the face – a nice useful touch! Although there are zips at both ankles the suit could have benefited from zips at both cuffs.

Neck – An effective Velcro adjustable, interior tuck-inside smooth-skin neck seal.

Overall – All suit sections are glued then cup-stitched both internally and externally for a strong and waterproof seam. All elastiprene edges are also cup-stitched with most having the addition of tape. To protect the suit from BCD strap abrasion – rubberised shoulder protectors are glued in place. Kneepads are glued and stitched into place but I would have preferred a similar kneepad of the type used on the Waterproof Suit (for greater protection).

In Addition – The Elastiprene from Pinnacle is my ‘bread and butter' suit. No matter where I go be it the Red Sea in August (sea temp around 29 ° C) or the Mediterranean in February (sea temp around 13 ° C); this suit is always picked for the trip. When the water is warm I do not get too hot and when it is cool – it keeps me very comfortably nice and warm – and it's a dream to slip on!

Rating – 9.5 out of 10 - Excellent

 

Comparing both suits:- There is no doubt in my mind that aesthetically the Lynx from Waterproof looks the more pleasing (to the eye) of the two suits. Firstly, it has colour and secondly the finish is just that more refined and dare I say it – pretty!

However both are sturdily constructed and will stand up to some harsh treatment with the Pinnacle having the edge on warmth (7mm as opposed to 5mm) and comfort. There was also no doubt that although manufactured in a thicker material the Pinnacle was a dream to don and doff. Another advantage, from the retailer and dive centres' point of view – far fewer sizes are needed to be kept in stock due to the flexibility of the material. Both suits provided excellent value for money and even though the Pinnacle retails some £26-00p dearer than Waterproof's Lynx , in my opinion the ease of donning is well worth the slight extra expense!

Top Tip - If you struggle to get your suit to slide easily up your legs and arms try this – Put a plastic bag over your foot and leg before inserting into the suit – it will then slide on so easy you won't believe! When leg is inserted pull off the bag and repeat with your other leg and then arms. It works a dream!

Dave Oldale

Back to Top of Page