YOU MUST BE GETTING FED UP with reading about wetsuits in these pages, and especially of seeing pictures of me wearing them.
Most of you, Im sure, will simply buy what the shop has in stock when the moment comes to choose one.
Daunted as I am by the prospect of writing about yet another wetsuit - and Ive tried quite a few recently - I have to say that this Xcel is probably the most comfortable I've ever worn.
Most diving suits are made in China, but the story behind the Hawaiian company Xcel Wetsuits, which has been making these suits since 1982, is one of green initiatives.
Ultra-stretchy limestone neoprene and bonding glue is the base component of the suit. The limestone conversion process is powered by clean hydro-electricity, and the waste heat from the process is said to be re-used in aqua farming.
The Ultra Stretch Bamboo lining is made from recycled fibres obtained from first flaking waste plastic bottles, making filament yarn and finally the fibre material. All of which should make conservationists happy.

Appearance
Having said all this, the final result looks very ordinary. The colour is muted. The body is black, with ash-coloured panels under the arms and down the flanks. Its for the diver who wants to look understated.
The Thermoflex 54 zips up the back in a conventional way, and there are minimal seals at the wrists. Fabric knee-pads are stitched in, and the ankles have zips over ankle flaps that are prevented from opening under the duress of heavy finning by substantial Velcro-
covered tags.
The seams are quadruple-glued and blind-stitched, and stress areas are reinforced. All in all, its a very nicely made suit.
The lining is a natural shade of green, reminiscent of the livery on those vans that deliver Innocent drinks around London.
This led to a slight mistake on my part. Having got used to a black suit, I took it off and left it inside-out, hanging over a rail to dry.
Once dry, it looked really very green. So green, in fact, that I didnt recognise it, and nearly left it behind at the dive site.

Comfort
The Thermoflex 54 felt very comfortable, thanks to its stretchiness combined with the velour effect of the bamboo lining. The upper body of the suit is lined with a material with a higher pile for added core heat retention, while the lower body uses a lower pile for pure flexibility.
It proved exceptionally easy to slide into, and I could have worn it all day without angst.
The suit is available in a wide range of shapes and sizes (I counted 16), so you should be able to get the right fit off-the-peg.

Efficacy
The Thermoflex suit I tried was made from a combination of 5, 4 and 3mm neoprene. Similar suits are available in 7/6/5mm and 3/2mm respectively, so you can choose one to match the thermal efficiency you need. The heavier suit has ankle-seals, while the lighter-weight suits have only under-sleeves called ankle flaps.
I took the suit to Florida, expecting some warmwater diving. These expectations were dashed by unusually high winds, and water that was colder than usual for the time of year.
Blown out for sea dives at first, my initial dives were in inlets with water greener than that of a British inland site. However, I found that I was still comfortably warm in this 5/4/3mm suit, despite my disappointment at the prevailing water temperature. You could be forgiven for thinking that the Thermoflex excels!

Comparable wetsuits to consider:
ONeill Sector 5, £180
Fourth Element Proteus 5, £200
Bare Elastik, £223