ITS VERY HOT AND HUMID in Raja Ampat, a place that some would call the ultimate diving destination in Indonesia, and this is because its located exactly on the Equator.
The water there is full of nutrients and the things that form the basis of life, which equates to a lot of ways to get stung. Its the worlds capital for man-eating plankton, and thats not to mention all the stinging stuff like hydroids against which you might accidentally brush.
Off to enjoy a visit to the epicentre of the tropical worlds marine life, I wanted a suit that would provide me with a full protective covering of neoprene, yet would be easy to get into and would not leave me a gibbering over-heated wreck while waiting to enter the water.
The Scubapro Hybrid wetsuit was the ideal solution, because it is made from Neoprene only 1mm thick, combined with two panels of water-repelling Lycra.

The appearance of a thin wetsuit when worn depends on the person who is filling it. I often have to explain that such is the nature and cost of scuba-diving holidays to far off places that the participants who can afford it often look more like candidates for a Saga holiday than the super-fit super-heroes we would like to think of as archetypal divers.
Nice abs and pecs turn to man-boobs, and women suffer the after-effects of child-bearing. Few people escape the rigours of time.
I apologise once again for revealing myself yet again in my declining years while modelling a wetsuit for the pages of this magazine, but I was the best option available at the time - really!
Because the suit is made from the minimum number of panels, thus keeping the number of potentially water-leaking seams to a minimum, it tends to wrinkle a little where it is not stretched by the filling.
Regrettably, this results in a Nora Battys tights effect. It is the last of the summer wine.

The suit has few surprises in its design.
It zips up the back, and has no seals at wrist or ankle.
It does have a smooth chest and back area of Lycra, rather like one of those plastic chill-cheating layers that make another option for the conditions in which I was diving. This sheds water droplets in a hydrophobic fashion, so you dont get very chilled on long waits in the pick-up boat for those who make their 12-litre tanks last 80 minutes, which is certainly not me.
The Hybrid was totally unrestricting in the water, and the kneepads proved useful, though they would not have helped had I stupidly knelt on the spines of an Inimicus.
Id say it proved as comfortable to wear as wearing no suit at all, while still protecting me from the slings and arrows of misfortune, and the invasion of the micro aliens found in the sea.

I didnt get cold, but then I dont think I would have got cold had I dived in the nude. The Indonesian and Ambon seas were like bathwater, even if it was the used bathwater of someone who was really in need of the wash.
I did notice a couple of stings during 10 days of diving, from things I brushed up against, but that must have been because the little blighters had managed to work their way through the weave of the material. There was no lasting damage to the suit or me.
In summary, the Hybrid proved to be exactly the right suit for the job in hand. The only observation I would make is that if you plan to wear one of these suits, it might be as well to spend six months working hard in the gym first.

Comparable wetsuits to consider
Bare Sport Thermal Skin, £90

PRICE £109
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