AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT! The Fusion suit from Whites in Canada feels very strange at first. The interior layer is only loosely attached to the outer nylon shell, and feels as if it is made from the same material as a very heavy-duty black bin liner.
Its the sort of thing used to dispose of the dismembered body parts of murder victims in Epping Forest. The outer layer is akin to the sort of Lycra suit worn by overweight Mr Potato Men at certain Caribbean dive resorts. Doesnt sound very attractive so far, does it
Lets get into more detail. The inner layer is a loose-fitting shell with latex seals, a dry zip, and inflation and exhaust valves. The second, outer layer is an oversuit made from durable stretch fabrics attached to the inner core at the wrists, ankles and dry zipper.
Unusually, the dry zip passes across the chest. Internal braces hold the lower part up while
you struggle into the arms and pull the bodice and neck seal over your head.
You simply choose your thermal layer underneath to suit the prevailing conditions.
Its so flexible, I found that I could easily squeeze in a full Weezle for the coldest water, or simply wear the Fusion over a Merino wool base-layer for diving in the warmish waters of the Red Sea in winter, but where the cold winds blow unrelentingly off the desert. I might even consider wearing it in the tropics!
What about the chore of travelling with a drysuit Well, this one weighs in at about 2.5kg, and thats to suit a diver nearly 2m tall, so packing it is no imposition.

The Fusion gives the diver the appearance of someone recently emerged from a space-shuttle. Thats because the zip is arranged in an across-the-front-of-the-chest manner.
A second zip, the zip of the outer layer, covers it. Im sure Buzz Aldrin would approve.
The outer, stretchy part of the suit clings to every contour, which with the over-size dry-core suit below, was not entirely flattering in my book. It could look as if I had an old newspaper stuffed up my jumper.
Nevertheless, if I was careful to take the twists and turns out of the dry-core layer as I got dressed in it, it could look very fetching.
In fact, with the base-layer only underneath, I felt very streamlined in the water.
The tough outer layer of the double-layer construction offers the promise of a very hard-wearing suit despite its light weight, and I felt unrestricted in my ability to get to my valves, or any other part of my equipment.
What about the feet
Dry sock-ends are fitted, so you wear the suit with submersible walking boots - sometimes called rock boots. Its a very effective way of keeping the effects of wear to a minimum.
If you arent struggling about in car parks and on rocky shorelines, you can use ordinary wetsuit boots where conditions suit.

Ease of Use
The oversized inner layer allows for unrestricted movement in both arms and legs, and torso too. Its ability to keep you warm is entirely down to the thermal efficiency of the chosen undergarment, and it is conceivable that you could use the Fusion in a range of prevailing water temperatures, for example when diving in the tropics and the more frigid areas of the world.
Whites says that the outer stretchy layer puts an even external pressure on the suit that will help the diver maintain a perfect volume of air within the suit. I say that water pressure takes care of that, but because the inner waterproof layer is so thin, no air gets trapped anywhere.
This gives the double pay-off of less air in the suit and less weight on the weightbelt
to compensate.The front zip is intended to make the suit self-donning. The day I get a suit with which I dont need help with zipping up, Ill be a very happy man!
All said and done, the Fusion is extremely comfortable to wear. You soon forget about
the crackly effect of the waterproof membrane and ignore the remarks from other jealous divers about looking a little lumpy. It really gets away from that Standard Dress diving-
suit feeling.

Efficacy of Valves
This suit comes fitted with valves bearing the Whites badge but I recognise them as being from the Lysekil factory of that wonderful old Swedish diver Stig, of Si Tech.
The inflation valve employs a hose with a standard international connection, the same as most BCs, so there should be no I forgot my drysuit hose problem, and the BC and suit inflation hoses are interchangeable.
Si Tech valves always seem to work efficiently, and I have never been left with a big wet patch on my chest after a dive when using one.
The exhaust valve is of the constant-volume type, although the wrist of the suit is supplied bearing a reinforced patch ready for alternative installation of a cuff-dump.

Efficacy of Seals
The seals are of in a latex that is heavier-duty than usual, and the wrist seals are conical. For this reason I avoided experiencing that uncomfortable creeping damp feeling, even with my sinuous wrists.
You need to use a little more care in pulling the neck seal on and off the head than you would with a more robust neoprene seal, but it certainly kept the water out.

If you feel that the outer layer is too skimpy, or not robust enough for your particular application, Whites tells me that there is now the option to add a Tech Skin with 1mm neoprene with Lycra panels instead.
This can be supplied to existing owners at an extra cost of around US $300, but if you specify it at the time of ordering, it will set you back only an extra £50 or so.


PRICE £695
MATERIAL Internal dry-core bladder in 200 denier bilaminate covered in stretch fabric
EXTRA COST OPTION Heavy-duty boots. 1mm neoprene-mix outer covering
ZIP POSITION Across the chest
SIZES Four basic
DIVER GUIDE width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100%