IT IS TRUE TO SAY that we all display national characteristics. This is not to imply that one is better than the other, just that we’re different.
When a dive guide on a liveaboard tells passengers that the next morning’s dive will be at 6am, the British passengers will grumble but be there more or less on time, while the Germans will bark “Jawohl!” and be there spot-on. The Japanese will arrive half-an-hour early, equipped ready to dive, and the Italians will stay in bed.
O’Three is run by Sean and Marcus, who make those exceedingly good drysuits favoured by people diving in Antarctica. When the company tries to make a tropical diving suit, I feel it probably has difficulty coming to terms with the fact that seawater can be as warm as 28°C or more. They just try to make the suit that much warmer than might be necessary.
That’s why I found myself in the Maldives, sweating profusely and trying to fight my way into a new O’Three suit that professed to use material that was only 3mm thick, yet seemed appreciably heavier than the other 3mm suits I had taken with me.

They call this suit the GBS 3x3. It reminded me of the days when divers getting dressed to dive were always enveloped in a dense cloud of talcum powder.
It’s a beautifully constructed suit, and it looks tough enough to take a lot of punishment.
For example, it uses kneepads that would have met with approval from cricketers like WG Grace himself, and would certainly be able to fend off the best attacks from the balls of James Anderson.
I’m not sure that they are quite so necessary for scuba-diving, yet I suppose many diving instructors spend a lot of time on their knees, and not just when they’re applying for the job.
These pads are strong enough to take the worst of kneeling on a stony seabed while watching trainees go through their underwater skills, and if you’re an instructor working somewhere like Bali, where the seabed can be less than soft, you won’t find the knees of one of these suits turning to holes before you’ve finished with it.
GBS stands for “glued and blind stitched”. The stitched seams are covered on the inside with a melted material that gives them the appearance of being welded.
This means that when you take the suit off you don’t resemble the product of some clumsy plastic surgeon, with the stitching marks embossed on your skin where you and the suit were pressed together.
A zip is placed along the spine. It’s not a very long zip, so the aperture it makes into which to climb is less than generous. A wide comfort flap stops your skin getting accidentally pinched when you pull the zip closed.
The collar around the throat is a soft piece of neoprene that turns in on itself. It’s neatly closed up with a decent helping of Velcro, and covers the top of the zip at the back.
The torso area is of a different texture to the rest of the suit. It’s more rubbery, in the style of an old-time wetsuit.
Overall, the GBS 3x3 is a nicely made item. Sean and Marcus just need to get the sizing right. The size XL suit submitted was almost impossible for me to get into, and I had to get someone smaller to wear it for me for the photograph. I would think it was really only a size L at the most.

Cressi Spring 3.5, £135
Fourth Element Proteus 3, £180
O’Neill Explore 3, £110

PRICE £150
SIZES 8 M, 5 F
DIVER GUIDE width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100%