Appeared in DIVER August 2008

John John Bantin has been a full-time professional diving writer and underwater photographer since 1990. He makes around 300 dives each year testing diving equipment.


WHAT MAKES THE SCUBAPRO EVERFLEX 5/4 UNIQUE Scubapro would say a lot, but in fact it is simply a very well-made semi-dry suit that has slippery seals at both wrist, ankle and neck, plus a layer of extra-warm absorbent material (called Heliospan) around the torso area, similar to what we have been seeing in some US brands for a year or more.
The Everflex neoprene used is super-stretchy, and this one-piece steamer uses a mixture of 4 and 5mm material to help with flexibility.
Its part of a whole range of suits, which encompasses thicker 7mm versions as well as hooded jackets that can be worn over them.
For those lucky enough to dive in really warm water, there are 3mm versions too. They are all contour-fitted from several mated sections of neoprene to be as comfortable as possible.

I went to Cape Verde, and was diving with Colin Mac Andrias. He has a perfectly proportioned body. He must have - he requires exactly the same suit as I do, so he was able to wear the Everflex suit while I wore another.
He was quite taken with it. It has a metal zip at the back with a large comfort flap, a small spine pad and, remarkably, what seems to be a very inaccessible key pocket. Heavy-duty Tatex knee-pads take care of longevity.

Ankle zippers help those of us with bigger feet, and also enable boots to be worn over the ankle-seals, but under the outer layer of the suit, thereby integrating perfectly. Colin seemed able to get in and out of the Everflex 5/4 in a flash, and he commented that it was supremely comfortable.

Im sorry to say that the water around Cape Verde in January was a lot colder than we expected, so Colin had to resort to wearing what he calls a chicken vest under the suit. He also wore a hood after the first dive.
This was not a criticism of the suit, more of where we took it to try it.
He really needed the 7/5mm steamer with the 5mm hooded jacket over it.
However, Colin confirmed that he enjoyed using the 5/4, even if it meant keeping the dives in the cool Atlantic water to around 40 minutes duration. In fact he had nothing bad to say about it: It was a very good suit and probably represents the next 5mm suit I will buy.

Fourth Element Proteus, £199
Cressi Lontra, £216
Mares Origin, £100

SIZES Full range of sizes for men and women.
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