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Anywhere to get "new" vintage wetsuits?

Discussion in 'Vintage Equipment Diving' started by MattCrunk, May 28, 2010.

  1. Thalassamania

    Thalassamania Diving Polymath ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: On a large pile of smokin' A'a, the most isolated
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    I made it, getting the pattern right was a bit of a problem, but I had a lot of help from an old friend that used to do a lot of the custom suits for Jack O'Neill in Santa Cruz back in the day. For the first suit you've gotta be willing to make it a major hobby.:D
     
  2. Akimbo

    Akimbo Lift to Freedom Volunteer Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

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    I agree about flexibility, but tender is relative. How about two tenders stripping you down for a SurD run!

    Note:
    My comment may a little too "inside", but I knew Thalassamania would get. For those unfamiliar with SurD (Surface Decompression) and commercial diving it is common practice to yank a diver to the surface, strip them down to a bathing suit or less, shove them in a decompression chamber, and pressurize them to their last in-water deco depth or deeper to complete decompression; usually on pure Oxygen. All this must take place in five minutes or less, and often much less. Tenders are the people who "tend" the umbilical and dress & undress the diver. Needless to say, these folks are in a hurry and tend not to be gentle by nature.
     
  3. Thalassamania

    Thalassamania Diving Polymath ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: On a large pile of smokin' A'a, the most isolated
    22,171
    2,770
    113
    If I have the luxury of SurD and two tenders ... then I'd use a hot water suit.:D
     
  4. 1969ivan1

    1969ivan1 Barracuda

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    Try Diveskin - Neoprene Creations in Greece. Thye are very inexpensive, but you must be very specific about what you want. He will not put in twist locks but u can order it "blank" and put them in later. Tell him you want a suit like Rob and Barb order and he may know what you are looking for.
     
  5. Akimbo

    Akimbo Lift to Freedom Volunteer Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

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    I just received a custom 7mm freediving suit from Spiros at Oceanos Wetsuits/Diveskin and am happy with the fit, quality, and service. I don’t believe he offers Rubatex though; all Heiwa I think. Be careful to specify a Scuba suit so they will use a different grade that has a better memory — less likely to remain compressed on longer exposures at depth.

    Having him make an inexpensive suit that you can cut apart and use as a pattern may be the least expensive way of getting one that fits perfect. This would be for the old-school purists that want to make their own from no-Nylon/skin 2-side Rubatex. All you would have to do is find someone to sew in the zipper.
     
  6. Thalassamania

    Thalassamania Diving Polymath ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: On a large pile of smokin' A'a, the most isolated
    22,171
    2,770
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    With skin two sides most people don't need a zipper.
     
  7. Scott L

    Scott L Solo Diver

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    Location: North Palm Beach, FL
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  8. hongrace

    hongrace ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    I have contacted Elios asking if they have skin/skin Rubatex for making vintage suits. This is what they replied: Smoothskin Black outside / Open cell inside Neoprene Rubatex G-231 High density. Does this mean skin/skin? Is smoothskin a rubber coating? What does open cell look like and how does it do in keeping warm?
     
  9. Akimbo

    Akimbo Lift to Freedom Volunteer Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

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    Open cell is a poor choice of words, since it describes man-made sponges. It is really split cells of closed cell Neoprene and looks like the raw end of any closed cell foam Neoprene that has been cut along the edge -- over the entire inside surface. I estimate it has at least 4x more friction when putting on. Soapy water is mandatory. Basically, all those little cells on the surface where the smooth skin has been removed act as tiny suction cups, thus hindering water circulation. Rubatex does not make any open/split cell material, unless it was recently announced.

    As mentioned, I have been wearing custom skin-in suits most of my life. Last year I had to get new Scuba suits and tried the new synthetic blended Neoprene that has virtually taken over the market. The design is a 7mm, skin-in, Nylon out, farmer-john, no-zip, pull over beaver tail jacket, with a neck dam. I also recently received a 7mm split-cell custom freediving suit from Oceanos. The design is virtually identical to my other suits except the hood is attached. You will read a lot of posts that say split-cell suits are 2x as warm or that a 5mm split cell is as warm as a 7mm Scuba suit. I think the statements are misleading.

    My case is as close to an apples-to-apples evaluation on the effect of split-cells alone as I can imagine. All the materials used in freediving suits tend to be more flexible and stretchy than Nylon-2 Scuba suits. As a result, they are more accommodating of imperfect fits. I contend that a good fit, and the water circulation that it inhibits, is the greatest source of heat retention. This factor is a constant since both suits are custom. In my unscientific estimation, I can’t tell any difference between the warmth of the new split cell suit compared to my Skin-in Scuba suit of the same design. I can move my limbs actively in both suits and can't detect any water circulation, commonly called "pumping".

    To be fair, the Freediving suit is probably a little thinner because I need about 4 Lbs less lead than the Scuba suit. Also, most Scuba suits do not hinder water circulation by the suit design as effectively as a 2-piece freediving suit.

    Here are some photos that illustrate the design:
    MAKO Spearguns - 2-Piece Green Aquatic Open Cell Wetsuit (5.0 mm)

    If I were to prioritize factors that make a warm suit it would probably be:
    1. Fit: Custom if necessary
    2. Design: Close to a 2-piece freediving suit, which often requires custom
    3. Skin-in
    4. Split-cell
    As always, your mileage may vary. My conclusions are based on perceptions rather than instrumented engineering analysis.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2010
  10. robert marble

    robert marble Garibaldi

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