After diving in the Azores some weeks ago with a rental wetsuit, I decided life was too short not to have a good one! The one I had rented was letting the water get in, its zippers damaged my skin on the ankles leaving scars until today, and it was a real hassle to put on and off.
There must be better than that! After doing some research, my eyes got caught by Fourth Element , and particularly their Xenos 7 mm wetsuit.
I can’t wait to go diving to our next destination - the Galápagos, and putting a wetsuit on and off four times a day is something I had been dreading using rental wetsuits.
Before going on, let me specify that this is a genuine review. We’re publishing this article because we think the diving experience could improve thanks to this wetsuit!
The first impression is excellent. I especially love the Xenos cut-away ankles, which were inspired by the fast transition features of triathlon suits. It’s super easy to slide the foot into. No zipper means it’s easier to close your boots on top of it, and it’s also much faster to put on.
The neoprene is super flexible, and it’s hands down the best 7 mm wetsuit I’ve tried so far. Overall, I like it even better than my 3 mm wetsuit from another brand.
Alright.. I might still need my dive buddy to close the back zipper after all! However, this is the most pleasant experience I’ve had putting on a 7 mm wetsuit so far, and as you could see, it did not take long to put it on.
One thing that did not work well when I first received it was the neck which was too tight for me. I almost sent it back because of this reason, and I am so glad I didn’t. After doing a bit of research online, it seems to be a common thing, and the good news is that you can fix it by stretching it.
The best way to stretch it for me was to put a small ball into it and leave it for about 36 hours. I made sure to try it on every 12 hours, as I didn’t want to over-stretch it which would have resulted in water getting in and feeling cold. This technique worked perfectly. Some people use a tank neck or a pudding bowl. Just look around your house with a measuring tape and be conservative.
Internal ankle seals, wrists, and neck seals are designed to minimize water ingress. I haven’t tried it yet in the water, however it seems it will work well as it sticks well to my skin. The thermal lining looks promising for thermoclines.
Many will love this: the wetsuit comes in 15 different sizes, from XX-Small to XXX-Large, including Short and Tall versions. You can buy it online and feel confident you won’t have to return it. Just grab your measuring tape, and you’ll find the perfect one for your shape. We’re getting as close as possible to tailor-made!
Another excellent point for the Fourth Element is that they reduce their environmental impact as much as possible. For instance, they use limestone instead of petrochemicals to form the rubber chips used in the neoprene. The wetsuit was sent within a recycled carton. As founder of a dive travel company that promotes reef-friendliness behavior, this was definitively a plus.
What is the best time of the year to dive in the Galápagos? Is diving in the Galápagos difficult? How strong are the currents?
Where can you scuba dive at the end of 2021? Indonesia has reopened since mid-October to fully vaccinated travelers from 19 countries.