ONCE A YEAR THERE COMES that balmy day of tropical weather when I think it makes sense for me to dive in Wraysbury lake in nothing more than a thick wetsuit or semi-dry.
During the rest of the year, you might see other divers using semi-dry wetsuits, but in my book they are simply barmy.
This said, these new suits from Body Glove are beautifully stitched and finished, and might accommodate anyone likely to dive in the Mediterranean, Sea of Cortez or northern Red Sea in winter.
Now I know that some of you will be shaking your heads at this. I know that, for some, a 3mm shortie will suffice anywhere the sun shines, but if you are built of steel and whipcord, as I obviously am, you are more likely to suffer the cold than if you enjoy a greater degree of natural insulation.
Let’s get our definitions sorted, too. Both wetsuits and semi-dry suits are wet inside. Seals at wrist and ankles of old semi-dry suits made up for their lack of flexibility and fit.
Modern materials and anatomical cuts mean that these Body Glove suits cling to your contours, and it’s irrelevant whether you call them wetsuits or semi-drys.
They let in precious little water, and what does enter is soon warmed by your body heat. That’s the secret of staying warm.
The EX7 in black and grey uses 7mm-thick material. It has flexible panels and comes in a wide range of sizes, so unless you feature in the record books there is bound to be one to fit you.
I rather liked the look of the unusual camel-pattern Free Five 5mm suit, with its chest-pad and interior compression pad.
It fitted me like the proverbial glove, and luckily the one in size L was perfect for my form. It fitted me snugly under the arms, and its anatomical cut curved nicely around those precious details so dear to us men.
I loved the ribbed finish of the material. It makes a change to wear a suit that isn’t black too, nowadays. The Free Five is more suitable for the height of summer in the Med than its thicker, more expensive, stablemate, but I found it just the job for use in the Bahamas in its winter. You may be surprised that I should need anything so thick, but I assure you that the Gulf Stream can make the northern Bahamas or the Florida coastline chilly at times.
In the days when a gentleman’s suit was tailored in Savile Row, it wasn’t just the material but the quality of the stitching for which you paid your money.
These suits may be made in Thailand, but the stitching looks immaculate. Too often I have seen suits come unravelled because of poor finishing, but I rather doubt whether that will happen here.
The extended knee-pads took the wear and tear and, all-round, I found this Free Five suit more than comfortable. I guess from its name that it’s intended for use by freedivers. Anyone who knows me will be aware that I always insist on diving for free, so that’s me well sorted!

Cressi Comfort, £184
Fourth Element Proteus, £215
Waterproof W1, £244

PRICE £300

PRICE £180
CONTACT www.typhoon-int.co.uk
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