The Design
To me at least the W4 is something special to behold in the looks department. It sports a black and silver colour scheme with contrast-stitched panels that accentuate its styling.
It’s not “all show and no go”, however, because this is a well thought-out and put-together back-zip wetsuit with some pretty nifty features.
It’s made from 100% Microcell CR, a high-end neoprene that’s said to have excellent durability and insulation properties. All the seams are glued and blind-stitched, and the interior has a plush lining that aids the suit’s insulation properties and adds to the comfort.
On the outside the suit features 3D kneepads moulded from vulcanised rubber; these have been shaped to enable unrestricted leg movement.
The knee and elbow joints are pre-bent, with the hollows having corrugated Wave Flex panels that allow the joint to be compressed without creasing, and an abrasion-resistant ToughTex-coated neoprene on the outer faces to armour those areas that see the most wear and tear.
The suit has polyurethane embossing on the shoulders and back, and this creates a non-slip surface where it’s most needed, and also aids abrasion resistance.

The short front comfort neck-zip with a lightweight neoprene gusset, and the long back zip with a 10mm spine-pad, are top-quality YKK versions with brass sliders. The wrists and ankles have double seals made from smooth-skin neoprene, again with YKK zips but this time sporting ABS sliders with anti-slip grips.
On each wrist a computer-strap anchor holds the instrument in place when your gloves are removed or the suit is compressed at depth.
Unique to the manufacturer is the Waterproof personal accessory dock (WPAD), a Velcro fastening docking station located at the right thigh which takes removable accessories such as the WP Xpand or Tech pockets.
Last but not least, the suit is finished with stylish sewn-on badges sporting the Waterproof Walrus logo and screen-printed livery.

Sizing & Fit
During my Fire Service career I gained lots of different nicknames, two of which were “Low Bum” and “Nigel Wide”, obviously awarded to me thanks to my leg-to-torso-length ratio and stocky build.
Most off-the-peg-sized exposure suits are designed for taller or slimmer divers, so in the past I’ve been limited to purchasing suits that are too long in the leg and arms but fit around the shoulders and waist, or sourced models made from ultra-stretchy elastic types of neoprene.
So I was pleasantly surprised to find a size that fits me perfectly in Waterproof’s W range of suits – it’s M/+ which, translated, means “short fat bloke”.
All joking aside, the W range has no fewer than 16 sizes for the male, including those that are either long or broad.
The W4 is available in both male and female gender-specific styles and sizes. A 7mm version is also available.

In the Water
I just can’t seem to get my insulation needs right. A few years ago I dived in Gozo in a 5mm wetsuit when everyone else was wearing drysuits, and earlier this year I dived in the Red Sea in a drysuit when everyone else was either in 3mm or shorty wetsuits.
I got it totally wrong again when I took the W4 to Egypt to test, only to find that water temperature at the beach entry point was a whopping 32°C.
Undaunted, I took it for a couple of dives and cooked myself before getting under the thermocline to find some cooler water.
The suit was a doddle to get in and out of, because the long back zip gives a large opening and provides plenty of room. The double wrist- and ankle-seals did a great job of limiting water exchange.
The comfort zip at the neck is a really neat feature that took the pressure off my throat at the surface but aided the neck-seal when zipped up.
It also helped when I needed to flush the suit to cool off a little, and it looks pretty cool too.
The W4’s neoprene has limited stretch but the anatomical design made movement feel very unrestricted, especially at the knee and elbow joints. Under water I could do everything I needed to do with ease.
Back in the UK, I took the suit to London’s house reef at Wraysbury for a photo-shoot. The water temperature was around the 20° mark, and in these conditions I found the suit toasty-warm. This is obviously the water temperature range for which this suit is designed.

This is a wonderful suit (I wonder if that’s what the “W” stands for?). Beautifully made with some great features, the fit was excellent, even for the “short fat bloke” doing the testing.
In the right temperature range its thermal properties were outstanding, and it’s an eye-catcher too. The build quality and attention to detail make it ooze class.
This W4 5mm wetsuit is definitely at the top of the tree in the world of exposure suits, and might just be worthy of a place in that short but distinguished list of Swedish icons.

PRICE £225
MATERIALS 100% Microcell CR 5mm neoprene
COLOURS Black/silver
ACCESSORIES WPAD Xpand pockets at extra cost
SEALS Double-seal smoothskin, zipped
GENDER Male- and female-specific
SIZES 16 sizes XS-3XL for men, 12 sizes XS-XXL for women.
DIVER GUIDE width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100%