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WETSUIT Beuchat Focea Comfort
I TRAVELLED TO MARSEILLES to visit the factory of Beuchat, a long-established French manufacturer that fell on hard times and is now being restructured as part of its new owners rescue plan.
I was interested to discover that the company still makes many of its own products and does not simply outsource its production to less expensive parts of the world, as many other manufacturers now do.
That said, the Focea Comfort suit is made in the Far East to a Beuchat design. Focea is the ancient name for the Greek settlement that stood at the mouth of the River Rhone, but theres nothing old-fashioned about this suit.
Its made from a singularly stretchy type of 5mm neoprene called Elaskin, which means that one size fits a wide range of people, and an inner 3mm vest is attached.
I thought that it would be ideal for a wintry trip aboard Blue Waves in the Red Sea, and I was right.
It fitted me like a glove and had very long inner smooth-skin seals at both wrists and ankles. Those at the ankles were sufficiently long to integrate perfectly with the Focea Boots I was given to go with the suit. These have their own inner smooth-skin seal, and by interleaving boot-seal, then suit-seal, then boot-outer followed by the leg-outer layer, I was able to provide a join that was not prone to flushing.

Leapt from the platform
It was the same story with the rest of the suit. I climbed into the attached inner vest through its neck-hole, and once the rear zip was zipped up over the lower part of the neck of the hood, there was no risk of flushing when I leapt from the boats rear platform into the water.
The Focea Comfort is zipped up at the back. A long tag attached to the zip made fastening and unfastening it fairly easy. An interesting touch is the fixed loop at the upper thigh, said to be ideal for hanging your hood on after diving. No more of that Where did I put my hood feeling.
The hood itself comes with a hook to pair with the fixed loop. It also has a neck long enough to integrate with the suit and be zipped up over, and it is ventilated, so there is no pointy head effect from exhaled air trapped inside it.
The suit has knee-pads made from a very stretchy man-made fibre material, and there are matching elbow pads too. It is subtly finished in blue and dark grey neoprene, which has a certain slimming effect.
I really enjoyed wearing this suit and I was not reluctant to climb back into it after what seemed only minutes since a previous dive. Its smooth inner lining helped make this an equally smooth operation.
The only problem I had was untangling it from its inner vest after I had stepped out of it, when I turned it right-side-out. However, I persevered and finally worked it out.
The Beuchat Focea Comfort semi-dry suit costs£229 with separate hood. It comes in sizes XS, S, M, L, XL and XXL. The 5mm semi-dry boots are available in a wide range of sizes and cost£39.95.
  • Alpha Distribution 01709 515157, www.beuchatuk.com


  • Divernet
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    + Very warm
    + Comfortable


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    - Can be a puzzle to put right side out