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Cousteau Wetsuit

Discussion in 'Vintage Equipment Diving' started by Tickler, Oct 29, 2013.

  1. BRT

    BRT not a soft touch ScubaBoard Supporter

    I had a couple of friends had the old style stuff. They used physohex soap to get into them. No way without it. I kind of like the stretchy stuff and suspect most people do.
  2. JohnN

    JohnN ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Oar--eee---gun
    Looks like a casting call for Planet of the Apes :)
  3. Tickler

    Tickler Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Florida
    I found that while looking for these suits. I might have to invest in a custom Cousteau suit soon.
  4. John C. Ratliff

    John C. Ratliff Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Beaverton, Oregon
    I grew up with these types of suits. The wet suit was pretty warm if it was thick enough. In Oregon we wore 1/4 inch thick neoprene. I liked the skin-one-side suits that I needed to use corn starch to get into. Phisohex soap is not good to use, as it has ingredients in it which probably are not good to keep on the skin--hexiclorophene. I used phisohex soap to clean wounds when in the U.S. Air Force, as it is a disinfectant; it was part of our medical kits. But with corn starch, you slide into these suits very easily, and because they were only stitched on one side, they were waterproof at the seals. The best for warmth had no zippers, and were pull-over suits. Some had a short upside-down zipper in the chest, which allowed easier entry and still stayed warm.

    The yellow stripes you see are actually seam tape, used to ensure that the seams did not part (before nylon lining and sewn seams). They also look pretty nice in the water too. Cousteau made a study and determined the yellow was the most visible color to use for his divers. They did use silver too, but I like the yellow strips better than the silver. I once had a silver suit, but it was so stiff I had to return it to the manufacturer after just a diver or two (one day of diving).

    Here is a photo of me in one of these suits in Clear Lake, Oregon in the 1970s.


    AfterDark, Tickler and rhwestfall like this.
  5. Carlos Danger

    Carlos Danger Manta Ray

    That's a pretty close fit compared to his dad's old-school Capri. Not sure if this was some early attempt at a dry suit:

    Attached Files:

  6. Nemrod

    Nemrod Solo Diver

    I am not really trying to sell a suit, I simply have a NIB vintage USD suit with texture neoprene out and yellow piping in what would have been a size medium in circa 1970. I am 5-11, 165 pounds, 31 waist and 42+ chest so try as I might, I need a large dang it :(. I was sold the suit with a bunch of gear from a shop going out of business. PM me for a price. It will be reasonable and the suit just might fit you. I just do not want it to go to waste. I sold one to another friend, he loves it.

  7. Akimbo

    Akimbo Lift to Freedom Volunteer Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    Companies sold colored Neoprene striping in the 1960s that you glued on yourself. I remember spending hours with a can of Black Magic and a roll of blue tape. You could probably get the same effect with 1-3mm Nylon one-side material cut in strips. Contact a custom suit maker and you can probably buy scraps in most any color.

    If you have trouble finding Nylon on one side only you can get Nylon-2 and remove the Nylon on one side by soaking it in solvent. Lacquer thinner works but carburetor cleaner is the fastest I have found.

    To me, the most interesting part of the Cousteau photo is the breathing rig. That is the surface-based closed circuit HeO2 recirculating rig or Push-Pull used on the Conshelf III experiments in 370'/113 M in 1965. That is the forerunner of today’s systems used by saturation divers all over the world.
    8dust and John C. Ratliff like this.
  8. DaleC

    DaleC Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Leftcoast of Canada
    That looks like an early 50's Buechat/Tarzan isothermic wetsuit - one of the first wetsuits made. Note the Churchill fins, wrist gauge and tank stems. Wrist, leg and face seals would reduce water migration to a minimum. He's probably diving in the Med.
  9. J.DANI

    J.DANI Angel Fish

    I have an original silver wetsuit of the Cousteau Team. Unfortunately, the silver coating is in very bad conditions...
    I would like to restore it. Is there any company able to restore it????
    Than you very much!!!

    20160419_180239.jpg 20160419_180252.jpg 20160419_180304.jpg
  10. David Wilson

    David Wilson Loggerhead Turtle

    Dale is perfectly correct when he identifies the above as an early 1950s wetsuit developed by Georges Beuchat in the southern French city and Mediterranean port of Marseilles. Here are some colour photographs of the suit, which was made from sponge rubber, not neoprene:
    Plenty more Cousteau memorabilia at C O U S T E A U: PRIMEROS EQUIPOS y PROTOTIPOS

    As for the use of yellow for safety purposes, here's a 1959 ad for US Divers equipment:

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