After about 20 minutes under water I lost feeling in all 10 digits, followed by extreme pain in the joints as the immersion continued.
On ascent I couldn’t feel anything, which made locating and operating dump-valves challenging at best, and compromised my safety.
Annoyingly, I own a set of dry-gloves with battery-powered heated undergloves. These were agonisingly difficult to combine with my trilaminate drysuit, so I simply left them at home and suffered as a consequence.
The problem I’ve found with integrated-seal dry-gloves is mating their latex seal with the latex wrist-seals on the suit. Polish exposure-protection specialist Santi must have read my mind, because it has come up with a simple solution to this dilemma in the form of the Magic Ring system for dry-glove connection. I’ve been putting it to the test this winter.

The Design
The Magic Ring system comprises two sets of five large O-rings of differing diameter and thickness. These are used in conjunction with two hard plastic oval rings and a protective rubber ring.
The smaller of the two plastic rings has three grooves to take the various O-rings, and the other has a tapered profile with a single groove.
The latest O-rings are colour-coded to prevent any misunderstanding, although the set featured here was a prototype, with all-black O-rings that initially confused the hell out of me. The Magic Ring set comes in a small mesh bag with a pull-cord closure.
Magic Rings have been cleverly designed with six specific functions. The first is to use the large tapered hard plastic ring as an aid to don and doff integrated-seal latex gloves. The second is to create a quick, self-donning glove system. Third is to semi-permanently fit the dry gloves to drysuit cuffs.
Fourth is to create a removable dry-glove ring system. Fifth is for the assembly of a separate seal into non-sealing gloves and, sixth, Magic Rings can be used for the temporary repair of a damaged wrist-seal.

In Use
This winter I revisited the cold and uninviting waters around the Dorset coast. My intention was to collect a few scallops for the freezer, but to be warm and comfortable in the process.
I kitted up with my old but much-loved trilaminate drysuit, with an infra-red vest and heated under-glove system. Using the Magic Rings, I initially used just the tapered hard plastic ring to assist in the task of putting my tight-fitting pair of integrated-seal gloves on.
Simply pulling the gloves tight, stretching the seal through the inside of the ring, then folding it over the outside left a nice big aperture through which to put my hand, before collapsing the seal over my wrist and sliding the oval ring off.
This worked like a charm, making the process quick and easy, and without the need to bother my buddy for assistance.
For the next dive, I decided to transform my suit wrist-seals into a removable glove-and-ring system using everything (with the exception of a pair of O-rings) supplied with the Magic Rings.
This was the best solution for me; I could easily slide the glove over the wrist-seal and create a watertight closure against one O-ring while maintaining a solid seal at my wrist.
The set-up performed well in the harsh and unforgiving winter waters. The wires supplying battery power to the heated undergloves formed a break in the wrist-seals, allowing air to migrate and equalise the sealed gloves as the pressure changed with depth.
I haven’t found the need to use the other functions of this versatile system in real-world applications, but I have experimented with those functions at home in the warm confines of my workshop, and can declare that they’re all simple to assemble.
I have never yet had to abort a dive because of a split latex wrist-seal but I’m sure it’s a case of when, not if, this will eventually happen. So I’ll put a spare conical seal in my “save-a-dive” kit with the Magic Rings, to be on the safe side.

Conclusion
Santi has produced excellent instructional videos and posted them on its website. These made the learning process painless and demonstrated how easy the system is to use in theory.
In reality, I found the thicker O-rings very stiff, so they required a fair bit of force to stretch over the hard plastic rings – even more so to splay them enough to fit over a folded latex seal and plastic ring. The effort was well worth it, however, as the result is a tight, secure fit.
Once done, the semi-permanent drysuit seal and glove-ring system can be left in place until the seasons move from winter through spring, and water temperatures rise enough to require those super-comfy, super-easy-to-put-on 5mm neoprene gloves that caused me such a problem last year.
Or, of course, I could continue to use this simple but brilliant dry-glove system from those clever Santi guys. Now I have the choice and can bring the dry-glove system into play at any time.

SPECS
PRICE: £75
COMPONENTS: 10 O-rings, four oval plastic rings, two rubber rings (gloves not included).
SIZES: One size fits all
CONTACT: www.santidiving.com
DIVER GUIDE 10/10

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