SEXY! THAT’S WHAT MY WIFE, her sisters and her girlfriends called Umberto Pelizzari when I brought home a book that explained his breath-hold diving techniques, lavishly illustrated in sumptuous colour, with plenty of photographs of that tall blonde muscled hunk of manhood.
At one time Umberto almost owned the record for the No Limits sector of freediving, and was always zipping off to unfathomable depths in defence of his record.
That seems a long time ago now, and he has bowed since to younger people who go even deeper. But as he told me when he gave up the pursuit of greater depth records, he decided that he wanted to stay alive. He knew when he’d reached his limit.
Sexy! That’s what my wife called me when I tried on the latest lightweight suit from Cressi. It’s called the Cressi Spring, and is made of the most supple, stretchy Neoprene (they call it Ultraspan) that I’ve come across.
The inner surfaces felt so slippery that the Spring simply glided on to my knobbly body.
It seemed no coincidence that the suit bore Umberto Pelizzari’s signature. It’s the sort of thing a stylish Italian like him would wear.
Heaven is where all the policemen are British, the engineers German, the chefs French, everything is organised by the Swiss and the lovers are Italian. I’ll leave it to you to decide what constitutes Hell. Suffice to say, the Italians know how to dress sexily, and they don’t draw the line at wetsuits.
I told David, export boss at Cressi, that I was heading to eastern Indonesia. He suggested that I took the latest Cressi lightweight travel BC with me, and I didn’t object. I was surprised when the suit turned up in lieu of the BC (that new product wasn’t quite ready yet) but I didn’t baulk at that prospect either, especially after I tried it for fit.
In hot countries, you need to be able to get in and out of your suit in a moment. Any sort of struggle results in sweat and frayed tempers – not good before a serene diving experience.
The water might feel warm at first but it’s unlikely to be hotter than your skin temperature and you will get chilled eventually.
It’s also easy to forget, while enduring a cold British winter at home, the discomfort that can come of standing on the upper deck of a rolling pinisi-rigged schooner and enduring the privations and loss of body fluids of a model while waiting for somebody else to photograph you under the searing heat of a 0° latitude tropical sun.
It’s equally difficult to remember the comfort of a suit that is such a pleasure to wear against your bare skin when you’re swathed in the layers of clothing needed to endure a bicycle ride up to the DIVER offices.
I can tell you that, while diving wearing the Cressi Spring, I slipped through the water as easily as a slippery thing. Also, before and after diving, I found that I could jump into and out of this suit as and when I needed to, such was the slipperiness of its interior.
It was as if I had given myself a good coating of goose grease first, like those early cross-Channel swimmers.
There were no separate seals at the cuffs or ankles. This is not a semi-dry but a true wetsuit. However, the suppleness of its material allows it to stretch and mould to the contours of the wearer, keeping the water at bay.
Nor was I left with my body embossed with the imprint of the seams after a couple of hours’ wear. That’s because the suit is so beautifully finished on the inside too.
As fashion buffs might say about a sexy dress, it clings where it touches, and this suit touches everywhere. I love it, although I have certainly resisted requests that I wear it at home in the evenings. I’m not that sort of guy.

Waterproof W3, £177
Scubapro Everflex 3/2, £180
Bare Velocity 3, £136

PRICE £149
SIZES M 2-6, F 1-5
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