Recently finding myself in the company of some 100 of the world's diving journalists and underwater photographers, I was surprised to find that I was the only one wearing a brightly coloured wetsuit. When it comes to neoprene, it really seems that this year's 'black' really is black. So I was relieved to see that the Scubapro Pacific Pro semi-dry suit had some coloured panels within its design. Careful use of colour can make you appear slimmer, and surely nobody would object to that? I was heading off to a point in the Pacific where cold Arctic currents upwell under the warmer tropical surface water. I thought the Pacific Pro steamer would be ideal and chose the 5mm version over a 7mm option. Latex seals at wrists and ankles go some way to stop water flushing through, and are hidden under zipped cuffs. More importantly, a zip in the front spared me the trouble of finding someone else to 'do me up'. The only problem with this arrangement is that, as one swims forward, chilling water is forced through the zip. Scubapro overcomes this with a skin of lightweight neoprene which acts like a vest-front under the zip. You squeeze in behind the inner layer and then pull the neck opening over your head. It does make getting into the suit that bit more difficult, and I got quite fractious when I initially found myself trapped in a suit a size too small for me. I had to move to an XXL. Skinny me? Well, I recently discovered that my weight is ideal for my height. This Scubapro suit is primarily for the US market, where kids grow up on high-protein diets, so it was no surprise that it allowed for a far less nipped-in waist than mine. A weightbelt solved that problem. Heading from warmer surface water into chilling thermoclines at Malpelo, I thought what a good suit this was. The vest front allowed me to momentarily unzip and stow the neoprene cover from my camera's dome-port inside without suffering a near heart-attack from the cold shock. The Scubapro Pacific Pro Steamer as a monosuit costs £165 in 5mm or £190 in 7mm.
Scubapro UK 01256 812636, www.scubapro.co.uk
+ Uses colour + Clever ideas to keep divers warm
- It helps if you have a waist the same size as your chest