ONE OF THE FIRST TIMES I went diving with my husband, I lost my temper with him, writes Farzi Bantin. It wasn’t actually his fault, but the wetsuit I was wearing was far too tight across the chest, and I found my breathing to be constricted the whole time I was under water.
It’s a problem I have with my build. I’m certainly not the same shape as a man, but wetsuit manufacturers always used to make women’s wetsuits like a man’s, only with a bigger bum, which I don’t have.
I was more than pleased when John offered me a BARE wetsuit that was exceptionally stretchy, and it proved much more comfortable.
Unfortunately, it was made of Neoprene only 3mm thick, and although I have used it often and joyfully in the tropics, I was off to Egypt at autumn half-term, and he felt I might get chilled doing three dives or more each day, when the water was starting to cool down. So he got me a 5mm version instead.
The BARE Velocity 5/4 semi-dry wetsuit has arms and legs made from 4mm-thick Neoprene, while the torso is of thicker 5mm material.
I found it exceptionally easy to climb into.
Having seals halfway along the calf and forearm proved very comfortable, and avoided water flushing into the spaces where the suit fitted me less well. The bust section was suitably shaped, but inevitably this meant that the hips part was going to be a little too large for me. That’s something with which I have to live.
As this was an off-the-peg size and I am not an off-the-peg person, to get a suit to fit my chest meant that the legs were always going to be a bit on the long side.
Dear hubby kindly pointed out that turn-ups were no longer in fashion, so I made do by zipping up the ankles over the tops of my wetsuit boots, and decided to settle for a double layer of neoprene at this point.
Water inevitably flushed around this area, and was kept from working its way up my legs only by the internal seals, level with the shin.
There are long knee-pads that a neutrally buoyant diver like me would have no need of, but they looked quite smart.
BARE suits are made in Malta by a Canadian company that uses such terms as “Automatic Torso Recoil”, “Diamond-Tuff nylon facings to the stretchy Neoprene”, “No-Stitch Technology“ and “Unparalleled Anatomical Fit”.
I certainly agree that the pre-bent arms were unrestricting, and the ankle zips made slipping my feet through easy, but I can’t say that this suit was a great step forward over my lighter and well-loved 3mm BARE suit.
However, it did the job and kept me warm, while being quick to get in and out of on that draughty back deck of a Red Sea liveaboard, and I had no problem with the rear zip because there was always a man handy to help me.

Waterproof W2, £219
Waterproof W1 (front entry), £240

PRICE £210
LADIES SIZES 6-18, with “tall” versions in 8, 10, 12 and “plus” sizes 10, 12, 14
COLOURS Black, black/blue, black/pink
MENS SIZES S, M, L, XL, XXL, XXXL, with “taller” and “shorter” versions in certain sizes
COLOURS Black, black/blue, black/red, black/green
JUNIOR SIZES 8-16 years (£137)
MATERIALS 4mm and 5mm Neoprene
ZIP At rear
DIVER GUIDE width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100%