Custom Wetsuits

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Custom Wetsuits

Postby chris oak » June 25th, 2014, 9:50 pm

I had originally written this under Bobs Catalina vacation but figured it might be nice to have it under the gear section where people can search for it a bit easier. There are two wetsuit companies that are known for making freediver suits locally, m&b in long beach and JMJ in torrance.

I've had both the m&b and jmj suits. With the m&b you can get yamamoto rubber, very stretchy but it compresses a lot at depth. The bummer is we've had multiple suits done by them and have had to take them back to get them refit, fit quality is just okay but the suits are very nice once you get them dialed in. The last one I had made by them had a ghetto bootie, the butt was cut so large everytime I kicked cold water shot in there, there was a good 1" of space between the material and my skin on the butt. Because I dive mainly scuba for work the suit only worked about one season and then compressed tremendously (our dives are somewhat shallow but can be to a max of 80 feet). If you are doing a drop and are at depth for a short time your suit won't compress as fast as if you are on scuba and are maxing your tables at depth.

JMJ will not use yamamoto nor will they order it, it has to do with their warranty. They also would not do an open cell suit in the type of rubber I requested, most of their suits are lined with nylon and nylon lined (on the inside) aren't as warm and they do not stretch as much as an unlined or opencell suit. I know in the past they used to order camo open cell but they didn't have it in this time and also said they could not order it. I did not like my first suit from them as the rubber became very hard after a year of diving. This time I had them order a softer type of sheico rubber for my lastest suit which I just picked up today (it's a work suit). It is much softer than my original suit, but not as soft as yamamoto. There is a huge amount of information on sheico, yamamoto and heiwa rubber online if you search it. There are different grades which is what makes it confusing because some grades are softer than others. My latest spetton fishman 7mm is made of sheico and if you felt it you would swear its yamamoto. I've also had a yamamoto 39 grade suit in 5mm that was soft but the 7mm of the same grade was so stiff I swore it was heiwa.

If you have a body that doesn't fit off the rack either custom shop will set you up. The JMJ is a bargain and will hold up longer (stiffer neoprene isn't as delicate as softer stuff) but it's not as soft as the m&b. There is a shop somewhere in santa barbara that will do custom suits in yamamoto rubber and the urchin divers say they prefer them over any of the local ones.
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Re: Custom Wetsuits

Postby Bill McIntyre » June 26th, 2014, 8:08 am

Thanks Chris.

I've heard the same thing about fit of M&B suits.

Of course it seems that no one gets it right every time. I've been getting JMJ suits for about 15 years with good results, and then the last one was so tight in the neck and head that I could hardly get it on and off. It took two tries but they finally replaced the entire hood and neck.

A couple of weeks ago I drove up and got re measured, and the suit is out for UPS delivery today. I'll let you know how it fits.

There are a lot of off-the-rack suits out there now and I wish I could try them, but my body is just too odd.
Last edited by Bill McIntyre on June 26th, 2014, 8:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Custom Wetsuits

Postby Turtle » June 26th, 2014, 8:18 am

I'm lucky JBL caters to tall guys with girlish figures. Their off the rack suits fit me like a glove. I wonder if anyone still orders the Oceanos or Elios suits that are shipped out of Butt F*cking Egypt? I've always wanted to try them out but never pulled the trigger.
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Re: Custom Wetsuits

Postby Westbury » June 26th, 2014, 10:10 am

Dont forget Deep Thought Wetsuits in Port Hueneme.
Antonio does a great job for a reasonable price.
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Re: Custom Wetsuits

Postby chris oak » June 26th, 2014, 11:18 am

Joe that might be the place I was thinking of, for some reason I thought it was santa barbara. Do you know if they use yamamoto rubber?

Keith I bought one of those oceanos suits, it was pretty stiff and fell apart easily. I didn't like it.
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Re: Custom Wetsuits

Postby Bill McIntyre » June 26th, 2014, 12:18 pm

My suit from JMJ arrived, and they got it just right this time. The rubber seems softer too, but maybe its just because the old one is older.

My dive buddies will be relieved. One of them has had to wait in the boat to zip that cross-chest zipper for me, and now I can do it myself with the new suit. Of course this means that I'll always be last one in the water.

This one, like the last few, is a 7/5 one-piece. The water was up to 70 degrees when I went two days ago, so I just called JMJ and told them to make me a 5 mm from the same pattern. It will be nice to wear less weight, and I'll have two suits for little more than the price of an M&B.

Now all I need is dive buddies to try it out. It seems that all my regulars have other rides or some other excuse. Now that I can zip my own suit, maybe it will be easier to find crew. :)
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Re: Custom Wetsuits

Postby Jeff B » June 26th, 2014, 2:03 pm

I had a Deep Thought that lasted me over 6 years of heavy use (hundreds of scientific research scuba dives plus lots of spearfishing and bug diving). Would have gotten another in a heart beat but couldn't afford it on my grad school budget. They didn't have Yamamoto rubber when I got mine; not sure if they do now.

A few of the other UCSB divers that got them around the same time as I did had to get them re-fitted, mostly to eliminate shoulder pooch and to widen the neck slightly. I think Alex Ray needed to get his altered and probably knows more. Mine fit just fine, though.

Chris, they are made in Oxnard/Hueneme area but retail through Blue Water Hunter in Santa Barbara.
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Re: Custom Wetsuits

Postby Marko » June 26th, 2014, 2:09 pm

A note on the materials:

YAMAMOTO has large air bubbles which makes it very warm and ideal for cold waters, as well as stretchy. However, it is easy to rip.

HEIWA has smaller air bubbles, still stretchy (not as much as YAMAMOTO), and more durable. A bit cheaper too.

DAIWABO is the the toughest material but pretty stiff and not as warm. Also cheaper.

There is also NAMLIONG (and other cheaper neoprenes) which is closest to YAMAMOTO and I think its what some of the high end companies like Elios and Polo Sub offer as one of their options.

The air bubbles in the neoprene make the whole difference. I would go with YAMAMOTO for a 5mm+ and HEIWA for anything under 5mm.
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Re: Custom Wetsuits

Postby AJP » June 26th, 2014, 4:53 pm

Deep Thought is dominant amongst the veteran freedivers and commercial divers in Santa Barbara and Ventura.
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Re: Custom Wetsuits

Postby Namor » June 26th, 2014, 7:55 pm

One of my dive buds is a gal who does not come close to fitting off the rack suits. We went to Deepthought and he measured her and ended up making a suit that had several gussets, darts, and panels that made it really fit her well. When we went back to pick it up (like 5 or 6 weeks later) she tried it on and there was a loose area. he marked it and we went next door for a beer, came back 30 minutes later tried it on again, and it fit perfectly. Bring a towel and some thing to change on, he doesnt have a dressing room.

He normally has only a option for a velcro beaver tail. My friend bought some yazbeck clips and traced a pattern from my suit and had n=him make a custom beaver tail on hers.

At the time he did not have Yamamoto, but the NamLam that was used is nice stuff too. He might have yamamoto now, I think my buddy who just got a suit from him got it in yamamoto. The quality is really good, and I recommend going to his shop for the measuring and pick up/ try on if possible.

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Re: Custom Wetsuits

Postby Bill McIntyre » June 26th, 2014, 9:10 pm

Namor wrote:One of my dive buds is a gal who does not come close to fitting off the rack suits.


Could you post pictures? :)
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Re: Custom Wetsuits

Postby Namor » June 27th, 2014, 6:48 am

Aww Bill you should know by now that not every gal is May West

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Re: Custom Wetsuits

Postby shafe » June 27th, 2014, 7:01 am

I have a custom 7mm Elios open cell.

Took two months for it to arrive and it cost $475 with shipping but it is a fantastic suit. the seamwork and stitching is really first class although I chose the namliong neoprene which is super soft but fingernail tears really easily if you aren't careful. next time i will get a more durable neoprene.
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Re: Custom Wetsuits

Postby AJP » June 27th, 2014, 9:09 am

Has anyone had an experience with Polosub?
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Re: Custom Wetsuits

Postby Spear America » June 27th, 2014, 11:17 am

I have been custom making suits for people since i started and the fit has been amazing. The company that makes them for me is in Greece and they are one of the better known companies in the region. They do not use Yamamoto because it compresses fast.
Marko: Daiwabo is actually the most expensive neoprene out there and competitive freedivers in Greece swear by it.
Yamamoto is overrated and it has always been. It compresses like no other suit and deteriorates fast and gets stiff. The Yamomoto we have here from certain companies that over advertise it (you know who i am talking about) is actually Yamamoto foam (raw material) that is laminated in China so it is essentially chinese neoprene and that is the reason it starts delaminating. this is also the reason those certain companies sell the suits so cheap. Original Yamamoto has the Yamamoto stamp on the material.

Chris: I do custom make suits with Yamamoto as well but only in black. What the company told me is that actually Yamamoto does not make camo but only black lycra unless it is a special contract with a big company like Esclapez.
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Re: Custom Wetsuits

Postby Marko » June 27th, 2014, 11:56 am

Thats weird about the Daiwabo, I got quote for it that was 50$ cheaper than the yamamoto. Petro have you used Daiwabo? Im curious, it might worth it seeing as its meant to last longer. Especially for a custom suit that you don't always need the super stretchiness to accommodate different body types off the rack.
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Re: Custom Wetsuits

Postby VangysWay » June 27th, 2014, 2:52 pm

Theoretically does a compressed 5 mm turn in to a 4 or 3 mm?
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Re: Custom Wetsuits

Postby jhip808 » June 27th, 2014, 5:32 pm

AJP wrote:Has anyone had an experience with Polosub?


I have a custom tailored Polosub suit. Materials seem pretty durable and measurements worked out well.

I'd consider Elios too although Polosub was easier to send payment to as I didn't have to convert to Euro dollar.
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Re: Custom Wetsuits

Postby AJP » June 27th, 2014, 5:57 pm

jhip808 wrote:
AJP wrote:Has anyone had an experience with Polosub?


I have a custom tailored Polosub suit. Materials seem pretty durable and measurements worked out well.

I'd consider Elios too although Polosub was easier to send payment to as I didn't have to convert to Euro dollar.


Polosub's website and measuring system is awesome. They are a good option for those, even anywhere in the world, who are not close to other wetsuit makers.

I'll have to check out Elios as well, just for the hell of it.
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Re: Custom Wetsuits

Postby Bill McIntyre » June 28th, 2014, 10:33 am

I tried out my new JMJ 7/5 one piece yesterday afternoon and I was burning up in the 70 degree water. I hope they hurry with the 5 mil.
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Re: Custom Wetsuits

Postby chris oak » June 29th, 2014, 9:28 pm

VangysWay wrote:Theoretically does a compressed 5 mm turn in to a 4 or 3 mm?


I'm not exactly sure, except that it will lose elasticity underwater and it will be noticeably colder, ie it will feel like a 3mm at depth but I'm not sure if you measured it if it would still be 5mm.

I bought a nautilus 5mm a few seasons ago and just noticed I had to drop 2 pounds off my weightbelt. I'd love to be like a chick and claim that it's because I lost weight but real world says it's because it has compressed quite a bit :rofl: .
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Re: Custom Wetsuits

Postby Bill McIntyre » June 30th, 2014, 7:05 am

Here is another example of compression. With my old suit, about three years old, I was neutral at about 20 feet. Friday I wore my new suit, exactly the same model and thickness, and I was neutral at around 24 feet with the same weights. I'll need to add weight if I want to be neutral at 20 feet.
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Re: Custom Wetsuits

Postby Jeff B » June 30th, 2014, 7:41 am

VangysWay wrote:Theoretically does a compressed 5 mm turn in to a 4 or 3 mm?


Yes, the neoprene actually does compress. After 5 and a half years, I had to patch up the shoulder of my 5 mm Deep Thought. When I brought it in the repair folks asked if it was a 3 mm! They put a 5 mm patch in anyway and it's noticeably thicker than the rest of the suit. No wonder I got so cold on those 60 ft, 51 degree research dives!
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Re: Custom Wetsuits

Postby ErnieGorham » June 30th, 2014, 8:56 am

Turtle wrote:I'm lucky JBL caters to tall guys with girlish figures. Their off the rack suits fit me like a glove. I wonder if anyone still orders the Oceanos or Elios suits that are shipped out of Butt F*cking Egypt? I've always wanted to try them out but never pulled the trigger.


Turtle, how tall are you, what do you weigh, and what size JBL do you use? I'm 6'3" and usually around 160-170lbs and wondering if any off the rack suits will work for me. I got a cheap mako now that works fine but my ankles are always exposed and want to get a better fitting one next.
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Re: Custom Wetsuits

Postby Turtle » June 30th, 2014, 9:07 am

ErnieGorham wrote:
Turtle wrote:I'm lucky JBL caters to tall guys with girlish figures. Their off the rack suits fit me like a glove. I wonder if anyone still orders the Oceanos or Elios suits that are shipped out of Butt F*cking Egypt? I've always wanted to try them out but never pulled the trigger.


Turtle, how tall are you, what do you weigh, and what size JBL do you use? I'm 6'3" and usually around 160-170lbs and wondering if any off the rack suits will work for me. I got a cheap mako now that works fine but my ankles are always exposed and want to get a better fitting one next.


Well I've been trying to bulk for the past year so I put on a bit of weight and I guess I'm normal now instead of Dam skinny. I'm 6'1 185lbs right now and I think I'm wearing a size 56. I think I wore a 54 before when I was a bit thinner.
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Re: Custom Wetsuits

Postby dustyyoungblood » July 1st, 2014, 6:58 pm

I have the most expensive Custom 7mm Polosub suit in the world. Full bad ass. Feels like wearing a warm apple pie. Fit was perfect. Was it worth it??? Who knows. A few details I do not like (Elbow and knee pads are just glued on patches. and the velcro closure is kinda not perfect location) The Forza tre rubber is the bees knees

I might try a greek custom from Petros next time

I was speaking to a supplier in Japan with factories in China. The owner was adamant that there is NO YAMAMOTO IN CHINA!!!!! too expensive for them to import. He said anyone bringing suits out of china and claiming Yamamoto is misinformed or lying.
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Re: Custom Wetsuits

Postby castronova » July 2nd, 2014, 11:02 am

I bought a Polosub last year and it's pretty incredible. It's unreal comfy and could not fit any better. I didn't get the F3 because I would probably spontaneously combust. The 3.5mm I have sucks as it is because its so warm I can only wear in the coldest of months here and I wish I could wear it year round.

I have the smooth skin outside with lining inside. The smooth skin is surprisingly durable and I have only put a couple tiny tears in it after one winters use.

(PS the water here right now is 86* suckkas!!!! :rofl: )
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Re: Custom Wetsuits

Postby Bill McIntyre » July 2nd, 2014, 11:40 am

castronova wrote:(PS the water here right now is 86* suckkas!!!! :rofl: )


Asshole!
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Re: Custom Wetsuits

Postby jimikinz » July 9th, 2014, 12:54 am

what are the ballpark costs for a two piece custon suit? I am not happy with the nautilus suit that I have now. I think my head got fat, cuz that thing is a killer on the old noggin.
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Re: Custom Wetsuits

Postby Infidel » July 9th, 2014, 3:27 pm

Last time I was in deep thoughts he was making 1/2" neoprene two piece suits. I was sweating just looking at it


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Re: Custom Wetsuits

Postby John Hughes » July 10th, 2014, 6:39 am

Bill McIntyre wrote:
castronova wrote:(PS the water here right now is 86* suckkas!!!! :rofl: )


Asshole!


agreed!! hahaha
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Re: Custom Wetsuits

Postby coreyf » July 14th, 2014, 9:05 am

I have been wearing a M&B 7mm suit for the past year and a half. It is by far the warmest and most comfortable/flexible suit I have owned. I had a JMJ made from taiwanese rubber and I felt like a robot. Zero flexibility. Also, the cement they use to glue their seams did not stick … I was constantly bringing it in fro repairs.

The M&B I have is mde out of the high end Yamamoto neoprene. It has compressed some and lost a little flexibility, but remains superior in comparison to other suits I've owned. The rubber has an ultra stretch Lycra fabric. I just ordered a 5mm and plan to use it up until the coldest of months. The only drawback is the fragile nature of the stuff. You have to be cautious. Watch those finger nails.
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Re: Custom Wetsuits

Postby chris oak » July 14th, 2014, 10:32 am

jimikinz wrote:what are the ballpark costs for a two piece custon suit? I am not happy with the nautilus suit that I have now. I think my head got fat, cuz that thing is a killer on the old noggin.


The nautilus suits are cut funny, the neck is tight as well as the head. The two piece 7mm from jmj ran about 350ish I believe. I haven't bought one from m and b in a while so maybe someone else will chime in
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Re: Custom Wetsuits

Postby Bill McIntyre » July 14th, 2014, 10:42 am

I just paid $350 for a one piece Predator model 7/5 from JMJ. It sure feels soft and flexible to me, but maybe I'm not sufficiently sensitive. Unfortunately, the water temp was 73 the only day I used it and I damn near got heat stroke, so I called JMJ and ordered a 5 mm. They quoted me $340 for that one.

Of course I've been buying suits from them for over 15 years, so I get the good customer discount.
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Re: Custom Wetsuits

Postby coreyf » July 14th, 2014, 2:00 pm

jimikinz wrote:what are the ballpark costs for a two piece custon suit? I am not happy with the nautilus suit that I have now. I think my head got fat, cuz that thing is a killer on the old noggin.


500 at M&B. not cheap.
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Re: Custom Wetsuits

Postby Bill McIntyre » July 14th, 2014, 2:25 pm

It occurs to me that I gave a price for a one-piece like I wear, but you asked about a two-piece. JMJ web site lists a two piece 5 mm farmer John with attached hood at $450. You could probably get a cash discount.
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Re: Custom Wetsuits

Postby jimikinz » July 14th, 2014, 4:24 pm

Thanks guys, those proces don't sound bad at all.
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Re: Custom Wetsuits

Postby Ikan Hunter » July 18th, 2014, 6:45 pm

Has anyone had an experience with Polosub?

I just had my Polosub 5.5mm Forza Tre arrive a couple of days ago,it took about 5 to 6 weeks from ordering the suit to receiving it here in NZ.
Great communication with the guys at Polosub and the suit is extremely well made and fits great though it's only got wet in the shower,will have a better idea on how it feels once the weather finally clears up over here and I can get out and kill some fish.
Looked at getting a suit through Elios as well and they too were very helpful with info on there suits.
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Re: Custom Wetsuits

Postby Adam Sachs » July 31st, 2014, 5:47 am

A couple months ago I got a 7mm suit from Polosub. It's my first custom so i dont have a lot to compare it to but so far i couldn't be happier. The fit is excellent in all the critical places and the neoprene is soft and comfortable. I cant speak to durability since I've only been able to use it a handful of times- damn 68 degree water- but my friends have had theirs for several years of rough NorCal shorediving and they've held up well.

I also found their customer service to be very good. They contacted me to make sure of a couple measurments, emailed me to let me know when they shipped the suit, and followed up with me afterwards to solicit feedback on their product.

I'd certainly recommend them.
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Re: Custom Wetsuits

Postby Rob102 » September 11th, 2014, 6:21 am

I'm on my second PS Forza Tre. Both have had issues with the beaver tail cutting through the crotch of the trousers. The first suit is still useable after two years. The second wore completely through in about 10-15 sessions. After some stonewalling followed by a rather pointed email, they sent new trousers free of charge. After a handful of dives the beaver tail is wearing through the crotch again. Although the fit is great the wear is unacceptable. Unless PS corrects this problem I'll never purchase or recommend PS products again.
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Re: Custom Wetsuits

Postby dustyyoungblood » September 12th, 2014, 7:24 am

Rob102 wrote:I'm on my second PS Forza Tre. Both have had issues with the beaver tail cutting through the crotch of the trousers. The first suit is still useable after two years. The second wore completely through in about 10-15 sessions. After some stonewalling followed by a rather pointed email, they sent new trousers free of charge. After a handful of dives the beaver tail is wearing through the crotch again. Although the fit is great the wear is unacceptable. Unless PS corrects this problem I'll never purchase or recommend PS products again.


I am going to keep an eye on mine. I don't dive as much as you so hopefully no issue. I think I might not get Velcro and avoid the entire issue next time. But damn the fit and construction is amazing!!!! Only thing I do not like is the chest pad and knew pads. Just glued on neoprene.
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Re: Custom Wetsuits

Postby Mlopez2391 » September 12th, 2014, 11:29 am

I have a custom polosub as well and love the suit but feel the fit may be a bit off. I got the double frog snaps and would probably only go with a single if I had to do it again. I also have a pissete which sometimes is the greatest thing in the world and other days a real problem.

I have a little wear in the crotch of mine, it is probably a year and a half old, but a ton of wear under both armpits. I have sent pics in of the suit but am still waiting to hear back from them. Wear is super bad and can feel water in suit....luckily it has been a warm year.

Switched to the Bleutec Breathless from Petros so we will see how it does. I love the smoothskin and don't think I can ever go back to a suit without it again. The bleutec suit seems super light compared so hopefully I'll be able to drop some more weights!

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Re: Custom Wetsuits

Postby ApneaAddict » September 12th, 2014, 1:57 pm

Interesting to learn I'm not the only one with the problem of the beaver tail cutting into the crotch area. It took it 3 years of moderate use but mine finally broke through on my last dive. I just glued it up last night. Rob, is there a reason why your efforts at repair have failed? Mine cut a nice clean slice through so it glued right up. I haven't taken it in the water yet, but i intend to reinforce the crotchal region with extra glue before I do. My brother's suit hasn't had this issue much at all (very minor chaffing) and he's had it the same amount of time as me.

Overall I like the polosub alright. I don't think I would do the Forza Tre again or recommend it to others, but I would recommend a normal nylon-exterior suit from Polosub. I just don't think the smooth exterior is worth the extra $ and I've had a few issues related to it. The custom fit is pretty great, though. Ordering was easy enough. Price wasn't too bad. I think I'll get another year or so out of my suit before it kicks the can. 4 years is about what I expect from a 7mm, so I'm satisfied. On the previous 2 7mms I've used, after 3-4 years they got too compressed and stopped being warm enough for the winter up here. For the Polosub that has been less of an issue. The neoprene they use is pretty great stuff. It might be a bit delicate, but mine is still super fluffy-warm. When I get in the water each dive I can actually hear air getting smooshed out of it for the first half hour or so and my suit is still relatively warm 3 years in. I think it will be wear and tear that will do the suit in in the not-too-distant future. Besides the crotch issue, I've got wear under the armpits (mostly just the slick coating is rubbing off the outside of the neoprene), the suit is COVERED in scratches and holes from RF spines and the bottom, and the neoprene is splitting around the knee and elbow pads (stiff patch on soft neoprene followed by lots of flexing= ripping). Thanks to the nylon "sandwich" technology of the Forza Tre these issues have not meant a loss of warmth at all year, but as I said, I think the suit has another year or so of life left.
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Re: Custom Wetsuits

Postby Rob102 » September 13th, 2014, 10:19 am

Carter,
The second suit didn't appear to have the sandwiched material. I could have repaired it myself but I was pretty disgusted. It wore through so fast I couldn't believe it. The last dive I went over the side of the boat backwards without a belt and thought I had flooded the suit. When I didn't warm up I started checking what was wrong. That's when I noticed there was a big hole in the crotch. I lasted 20 drops before I got out, dive ruined and $100 in fuel wasted. I figured they should replace the pants.

Iaon tried to help but they didn't respond to him so I sent a couple emails with screen shots of their "guarantee" from their website. Iaon called me and said they would send me new pants. I am going to glue the old ones and maybe put a little Kevlar on the crotch. It's either that or quit using the beavertail altogether.
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