Appeared in DIVER August 2006

WETSUIT  Scubapro Profile 5mm Steamer


SEVERAL OF US STARTED TO GET MYSTERIOUS CUTS along the tops of our feet during a trip to the Red Sea way back in the mid-80s. We couldnt think what was causing it, until we realised that we were all suffering from the same injury.
We all lived in London, and had each treated ourselves to new wetsuit boots before the trip, buying them at the same shop. The uppers were made in two halves, and stitched together along the top.
They were fine when you walked about in them, but once under water and finning, putting all the load on the top of the foot instead of the sole, the strongly-stitched seam that ran along the inside of the upper rubbed on the top of the foot. The skin was already softened by being wet, and the result was a painful split.
We solved the problem by wearing our M&S socks under our boots - all of us except for one woman who decided to wear a pair of sheer nylon tights, and very fetching she looked too!
Thats the problem with buying rubber-wear. It may fit well and feel fine while strolling about in front of a cheval mirror, but everything changes once youre submerged. That is when possible snags rear their ugly heads.
So when I received yet another semi-dry suit to review, my heart sank. It fitted me perfectly (thats where the cheval mirror comes in) and, at 5mm thick, it was ideal for my next trip. But what was I going to write about it, unless I was unfortunate enough to find some snag that would ruin all my time under water with unnecessary discomfort while I was away
The Scubapro Profile Steamer suit comes in either 3mm, 5mm or 7mm thicknesses, with a zip either at the front or back, and a choice of hooded over-jackets with or without short sleeves. There is also a 2.5mm shortie and even a 0.5mm full-length suit, which does little for thermal protection but a lot to separate the wearer from man-eating plankton.
The brochure said it was elegantly cut and styled. Ill leave you to judge that, but I suggest, in the tradition of those classic shirt ads, that it looks even better on a man!
The 5mm Profile has extra-flexible material inside the arms and lower legs to help in dressing and undressing, and flat seams throughout, which should spare anyone from having to wear sheer nylon tights!
No injuries for me then. I hate returning home with a body that looks as if it has suffered interrogation by the rendition programme operated by the CIA in third-world countries!

Really embarrassing
There are zippers at wrists and ankles, and I found that I could zip my computer-watch out of harms way under the cuff.
What a pity I always forgot to take my watch off when hopping quickly out of the suit! Its really embarrassing to find yourself standing there almost naked yet still firmly attached by the wrist to a soaking wetsuit, with the only way back to somehow get your arm inside it again to undo the strap.
Intending to dive with sharks that were being fed deep on a reef, I chose to take a full-length suit, hood and gloves. The idea was to cover up entirely so that no over-enthusiastic shark mistook a flash of white skin for a tasty morsel of tuna steak. Thats how accidents happen, so I took the Scubapro Profile 5.
You may think I would have been too hot in Fijis tropical waters, but I have never called a dive for being too hot, and yet have often been too cold.
The suit was easy to slip into. Once I had worn it under water, the film of wetness left inside helped develop my own micro-climate, and I wasnt too hot at the surface between dives. I am tall and skinny but pleased to discover that my dimensions are at last becoming quite fashionable.
I mention this because the suit sent for me to use was size XL, yet I found it a slight squeeze getting into it. I dont know what a man who has worked for a living would make of it.
The important secret of any suit, for land or under water, is that if it fits you perfectly, you feel good in it.
Despite Scubapros claims for the comfort of this suit, I could distinguish nothing exceptional, unless you expect to have to wear womens underwear to stop getting sore patches.
The neoprene seemed less stretchy than on some other suits Scubapro offers. But it fitted, and I was pleased that after several weeks of hard use and abuse in tropical conditions, none of the stitching had started to come unravelled.
So the Scubapro Profile 5 is a tough 5mm suit that is cut to fit those who have not enjoyed a lifetime diet of beer and crisps - but then, all divers are super-fit, arent they
The 5mm Scubapro Profile 5mm costs£135.
  • Scubapro,

  • Divernet
    + Well made
    + Hard-wearing

    - Not unique
    - Slim-fitting