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phxazcraig

Custom-fitted wetsuits

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Looking for feedback and recommendations for a custom wetsuit manufacturer in the US.    I'm tired of wet suits that don't fit and pump water!

I'm 6'2", with a long torso and shorter-ish legs. (33 inch inseam).    I've only seen two kinds of wet suits in the 6-7 I've owned so far.   Those that are set up for 6'4" people, where I generally have two inches of leg to fold back into a cuff.  Or those that fit my legs, but are tight through the torso.  The tight-torso fits (most of my wetsuits) leave a gap at the lower back that gets water pumped through.

After a week of diving in 85F water, I'm freezing in my 4/3 wetsuit with full hood.  Wetsuits must be better than this.

It dawned on my to get a custom-fitted wetsuit, but I had never heard of them.  Figured them to be very expensive too.   But when I looked, the prices were reasonable, and there were a bunch of companies making them.

So - recommendations?    My next dive trip probably isn't until at least April, so plenty of time.   I just want something like a 4/3 - something easy to get into and suitable for water temps in the mid- to low-eighties.

 

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Hmm, you are in Phoenix... If you have a trip to Monterey soon you could stop by Otter Bay Wetsuits:

http://www.otterbaysuits.com/Otter_Bay_Wetsuits/Welcome.html

They're really good.

You could also give some of the new stock wetsuits a try, like Henderson's, with the new stretchy neoprene you may find something that you like. One caveat, though, is that a couple of years ago when I tried one of these for one of my trips, the soft neoprene was very comfortable, but not too durable, and because it's so soft it may compress at depth, reducing the insulation.

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I use and recommend custom suits by M&B Wetsuits in Long Beach, California. Contact the owner Don Hall. He’s only in the shop Tuesday-Thursday.

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You will need to go to the custom shop to get fitted.These tend to be on the coasts not inland like Phoenix

Custom shops make a suit for your body.

The other option is do what I do that is order direct from Excel.com and have them ship you several sizes (you buy them) and try them on until you find the right fit and send the rest back for your refund. Done this alot and it works for me. In fact two are in transit now to me-I will send one back for credit as I only want one.The best fitting one.Ill then send it to otterbay wetsuits in Montery so they can add a relief zipper

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You could try Waterproof suits - they are not very stretchy neoprene so have a wide range of sizes - more so than other manufacturers that rely on stretch to get a fit.  But they don't fit everyone.  They have instructions for measuring on their website.  You can enter your data on this page to get an estimate of how well it fits:  https://waterproofsizing.com/

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Have you taken a look at Pinnacle wetsuits?  They have a huge number of sizes and maybe one would fit you - would definitely be less expensive than a custom suit.  I struggled to find wetsuits that fit me until I discovered them and one of their sizes fits me perfectly.  Now I'm on my 4th wetsuit of theirs and still really like them.

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Also try a hooded vest. I used to use one when I dove wet and it kept the water from going down my back.

THEN my suit shrank! Imagine that! 

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On 1/14/2020 at 7:51 PM, anenomefish2001 said:

Also try a hooded vest. I used to use one when I dove wet and it kept the water from going down my back.

THEN my suit shrank! Imagine that! 

Must have been the dry suit after the vest that shrank the suit right?

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Thanks to all for the suggestions so far.   Let me address some points:

1. I have had several Henderson hyperstretch wet suits.  I like them because they are easy to get on.   I've also worn them out, lost them, and generally found myself getting cold in the 3 mil versions.  (I get cold easily).

2. I almost always wear a full hood when I dive.

3. I am not concerned about the price of a custom wetsuit.    I've had cheap wetsuits before, including Pinnacle, and I generally don't like them.   (Took me over 20 minutes once in a dive shop to struggle into a 5 mil Pinnacle that had no zippers on arms or legs.

4. I am surprised in this day and age that there isn't a cell phone app to do measurements for a custom wetsuit, but if I have to drive to the LA area to get fitted, it's not impossible.

5. I have an Xcel 5 mil - it's 6'2", or so, for my 6'2" body, but it fits badly.   The torso is too short, the legs a bit long, and it gaps over the small of my back, pumping cold water.  I am more like 6'4" from the waist up, 6'0" from the waist down.  Custom sounds pretty good to me.

 

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We bought our first M&B wet suits 38 years ago! Now 3 rd generation making them!

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Don from M&B will send a chart for measurements. Many of his customers never actually come into his shop.

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I have had 4 custom wetsuits made by https://wetwear.com over the last 16 years.

Had over 800 dives on my original 3 mm before deciding to get a new one made.

I like their ez on feature with zippers on arms, legs and that they use very warm nitrogen cell neoprene.

Being custom, I have had a relief zipper added to allow me to pee without partially taking the suit off.

I also have a 5 mm and 2 mm, the 3 mm is to warm for 80+degree water.

Wet Wear has a booth at the Beneath the Sea Dive Show in March and I believe they are at other shows too.

Elmer

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On 1/16/2020 at 11:43 PM, phxazcraig said:

Thanks to all for the suggestions so far.   Let me address some points:

1. I have had several Henderson hyperstretch wet suits.  I like them because they are easy to get on.   I've also worn them out, lost them, and generally found myself getting cold in the 3 mil versions.  (I get cold easily).

2. I almost always wear a full hood when I dive.

3. I am not concerned about the price of a custom wetsuit.    I've had cheap wetsuits before, including Pinnacle, and I generally don't like them.   (Took me over 20 minutes once in a dive shop to struggle into a 5 mil Pinnacle that had no zippers on arms or legs.

4. I am surprised in this day and age that there isn't a cell phone app to do measurements for a custom wetsuit, but if I have to drive to the LA area to get fitted, it's not impossible.

5. I have an Xcel 5 mil - it's 6'2", or so, for my 6'2" body, but it fits badly.   The torso is too short, the legs a bit long, and it gaps over the small of my back, pumping cold water.  I am more like 6'4" from the waist up, 6'0" from the waist down.  Custom sounds pretty good to me.

 

Go to a custom shop and get one made-thats the del to get one thats fits like a glove.No way around it. 

My xcels just came yesterday and I sent back one of two suits as one really fit great-no hood only a 3 mill for warm water diving. If I need a hood I wear a thin hooded vest under it.

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I just spoke with otterbay wetsuits(a custom suit shop in Montery) they have a how to measure  on Utube on measuring for your custom suit without going to shop. Check them out if you want a mail order custom suit and stay in AZ.Its on the web site under FAQs

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If you are stuck with doing your own measurements and sending them to a shop, it may also help to send some indicative pictures of your body type so they know what they're aiming for. Worked well for me with a semi-dry made in Sydney while I was in Melbourne.

I highly recommend a custom wetsuit and I fit relatively well into standard ones. The difference in the custom semi-dry was amazing. It fit so well that the water didn't start to get into the thing until 5 minutes into the dive yet I could move through the cave easily (and roll over rocks without damaging the suit, which was the main goal).

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I suggest stronly that someone else measures you. I have done this measuring many times for others as I once was in the suit business.. It's not something you can do yourself well.

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My girlfriend knows how to measure, so if I go that route it's now a matter of choosing a manufacturer.

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OK, so far between this website and dpreview, I have several custom wetsuit manufacturer suggestions, all of which seem to be in So. Cal.   It's at most a 6-hour drive to say Long Beach from Phoenix, and I may find a way to go to a shop and have myself measured there.   My girlfriend is adamant she can do the measuring though, so I'm also pretty comfortable using that approach.

I have recommendations for M&B, Otter Bay, Wet Wear, and when looking into M&B I found complaints and recommendations for New Wave Wetsuits.  From dpreview I heard of JMJ and 7till8.   Both of those were custom, but limited to 3, 5 or 7 mil.  (I want a 4/3).

The Otter Bay seems a little odd in that they have a special custom wetsuit they call a Remote Suit, because you don't come into the shop and have them measure you.  Seems odd to have a special version here, so maybe I need to research this more, but the gist is that you don't get the perfect fit unless you come in to be measured.

New Wave Wetsuits has a few strong recommendations by some customers, so I will look at them next.

 

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There are a number of wetsuit guys in California. We use JMJ in Torrance. Great fits on all our suits so far (6 between my wife and me). They have a form for fitting on line but you should go to a hemster.com and get them to measure you. We have heard really good things about 7till8 custom suits from CA as well. The other thing to look at is SeaGods in Bali. They make awesome suits and are not so expensive even with shipping. They have a video on how to  measure yourself but you should have someone else do the  measuring.

Bill

 

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On 1/31/2020 at 4:13 PM, bvanant said:

There are a number of wetsuit guys in California. We use JMJ in Torrance. Great fits on all our suits so far (6 between my wife and me). They have a form for fitting on line but you should go to a hemster.com and get them to measure you. We have heard really good things about 7till8 custom suits from CA as well. The other thing to look at is SeaGods in Bali. They make awesome suits and are not so expensive even with shipping. They have a video on how to  measure yourself but you should have someone else do the  measuring.

Bill

 

Can you speak to your experience with going from a suit off-the-shelf to a custom fitted one?   In particular I'd like to confirm my believe that a properly-fitted 3mil may be warmer than an improperly-fitted 5 mil.   I was looking for a 4/3, but I don't see a lot of options like that in the custom shops.

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Just looked at your original posts you say you were freezing in 85F water - 30° I dive that water temperature maybe down to 28°C (82 F)in 0.5mm frogskins.  and many people I dive with in those waters are in shorties or boardshorts.  _ goes to show that people vary widely in their cold tolerance and taking people's advice on what exposure protection to use should be taken with a good sized grain of salt.

When you say 4/3mm suit I assume you mean 4mm body/3mm arms/legs?  Certainly a suit that fits well will help a lot - less exchange of water - but things like leg/wrist/neck seals - dry zippers etc are probably equally important.  You may want to look at 5/3mm suits or as you seem to feel the cold a full 5mm suit??

Edited by ChrisRoss

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My problem is partly I get cold easily (3 dives/day for 2 weeks leads to it) but I've never had a well-fitted suit.  Last year I rented a 5mm when my 3mm was worn out and too cold.  And I got cold in the 5mm too, but not as bad.   After that trip I bought an Xcel 4/3, but it gaps in the small of the back...

Yes, 4 mil body for extra warmth, 3 mil arms and legs to lessen the struggle of getting the suit on.

 

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I’ve always found zips at the ankles and wrists a huge help in the putting a suit on struggle. Although they usually seem available on 5mm suits, much less so on 3mm - although it often seems dictated by the latest suit fashion rather than practically. 

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15 hours ago, phxazcraig said:

My problem is partly I get cold easily (3 dives/day for 2 weeks leads to it) but I've never had a well-fitted suit.  Last year I rented a 5mm when my 3mm was worn out and too cold.  And I got cold in the 5mm too, but not as bad.   After that trip I bought an Xcel 4/3, but it gaps in the small of the back...

Yes, 4 mil body for extra warmth, 3 mil arms and legs to lessen the struggle of getting the suit on.

 

If that xcell fits you well except for the back gaps-just have a custom suit shop make it fit you with a few alterations. Thats an easy job.

Alterations are what they do well. I just bought an xcel (4/3)and shipped it off to Otter Bay shop in Monterey about 6 hours south of here to add a relief zipper .I have been told that Cricket does good work.

 

Edited by onokai

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Properly fitted suits are indeed warmer, it is you generating the heat, the suit's goal is to keep the heat in. Semi-dry type suits are even better but a bit more pain to put on. 

We also like Otter Bay, Cricket is a hoot. Good to know she will put in a pee zipper. Will have to send my old Waterproof up and get it modified.

BVA

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