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Wetsuits for Thermal Protection: Apnea Suits

Discussion in 'Advanced Scuba Discussions' started by MAKO Spearguns, Jan 9, 2019.

  1. MAKO Spearguns

    MAKO Spearguns ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

    I recently came across this video discussion of thermal protection options for scuba divers. MAKO has no affiliation with the video or speaker however, I found it quite encouraging that a strong recommendation was being made for the use of apnea (or freediving) wetsuits, which is what I call them.

    Obviously, dry suits are best for extreme exposures of scuba divers in really cold waters.

    An apnea suit can be worn for breathhold diving and scuba. We offer these suits in 3, 5 and 7 mm thicknesses and have suits specifically cut for men, women and children.

    A freedive suit will generally have a separate top and a bottom, with an attached hood, no zippers and a smooth rubber interior which seals very well. Perhaps others will find the attached discussion interesting.

    Dive Warm


    CuzzA likes this.
  2. CLoP

    CLoP Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Los Angeles
    That's my next wetsuit. I've seen people in dive boats wearing Mako wetsuits and have yet to hear anything other than positive feedback. Thanks, Dano!
    MAKO Spearguns likes this.
  3. Akimbo

    Akimbo Lift to Freedom Volunteer Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    I have used the "freediving style" cut on my custom suits for over 40 years -- farmer john and no-zip pullover jacket with a beaver tail; unlined interior and Nylon exterior. The only significant differences were the material and my work required a neck seal instead of an attached hood.

    The new material is a LOT more stretchy and flexible. In addition, the interior is "split cell", commonly and incorrectly called "open cell". Sponges are open cell while wetsuit material is closed-cell. The advantage of spit cell surfaces are all those tiny "suction cups" against the skin dramatically reduce water circulation. All that said, all materials that are currently available are much less compression resistant. As a result, the insulation value is much lower at depth than the old Nitrogen-blown Rubatex G231n that dominated the wetsuit market until the 1990s.

    Dano (@MAKO Spearguns), have you seen any compression tests on the Yamamoto material? Diving would be revolutionized if an incompressible version of the Yamamoto material could be developed.

    At first, people mistakenly see requiring spray suit lube to put the suit on as a disadvantage. The advantage is suits slip on ultra easy and you don't care if the suit dries between dives or not. They are the only way to go on liveaboards in the tropics where suits can't air dry during an hour long surface interval. Highly recommended.
    uncfnp likes this.
  4. MAKO Spearguns

    MAKO Spearguns ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

    Thanks, an in-compressible material that retained flexibility and thermal characteristics would be ideal, especially for freediving, where suit compression causes buoyancy swings that are not easily offset by a buoyancy compensator.

    A freedive "type" suit is definitely not a new idea, the basic design is so robust and effective that it has not changed much, however most modern scuba divers have not yet been exposed to these suits or are aware of the potential advantages.

    I found this data on Yamamoto Neoprene from a quick search:


    Japan Premium YAMAMOTO Material LineUp : YAMAMOTO CORPORATION
    Akimbo likes this.
  5. kelemvor

    kelemvor Big Fleshy Monster ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Largo, FL USA
  6. Akimbo

    Akimbo Lift to Freedom Volunteer Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    Rubatex was never very interested in the diving market. As I understand, the manufacturers that add fabric lining are no longer operating in the US. I seem to recall that @Eric Sedletzky made a "skin 2-sided" suit with Rubatex G231, which was the norm when I learned to dive.

    Some of the special purpose compilation apneia suits are skin-out and split-cell inside to minimize hydrodynamic drag. They are relatively delicate but very flexible. You can't blind-stitch seams on suits with no fabric lining.

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