Well it is that time of the year again, the air temperature is dropping, and the ocean temperature off Mooloolaba will hit 19C by mid-July. A lot of divers are likely deciding, do I put up with my 5mm and be cold and therefore have shorter dives, or do I invest in a thicker suit, so I am comfortable and have longer dives. We all know winter diving on the Sunshine Coast generally consists of flat seas and clearer water, so why not make the most of it. Don’t forgot our awesome 3 dives days to Moreton Bay Marine Park: https://scubaworld.com.au/flinders-reef-2/ https://scubaworld.com.au/cherubs-cave/ which we run during the winter months.

I received my new Aqualung Fusion Bullet Drysuit (with the patented air core technology) recently, and I couldn’t wait to take it for a dive to see what all the fuss was about.

Aircore technology

I have been diving a Whites drysuit for the last 3 years, and I must say from my very first dive I found it extremely easy to operate. The main feature of a whites dryuit (now branded Aqualung) is the dual layer technology. A super-stretch neoprene outer layer skin allows ultimate flexibility and streamlining with strategically placed GatorTech™ Armor and reinforced seams ensuring maximum durability.  When diving, it provides the sensation of a wetsuit. There is minimal drag and there is less chance of ripping the suit, as the outer neoprene will slide on the inner shell if it catches a bit of coral. In in the unlikely event your suit does tear, they are easily patched.

I’ve only had to change my SLT silicon wrist and neck seals once in last 3 years, and I do about 50 dives each season. The wrist seal can be changed in approx 3min with no tools required, and the neck seal takes about 10mins with the use of a tool (included). Wrist seals cost $49 each and a neck seal is $69. Which is much more affordable than other brands.

The conditions on the ex-HMAS Brisbane for my upcoming dive were beautiful. 25 metres vis, 21C water temp and flat seas. I put on my Aqualung MK2 undergarment and donned my new Aqualung fusion bullet drysuit. It was an absolute dream to put on. The new air core inner layer not only reduces sweat, but it has a silky-smooth texture which makes it very easy to put on. Your feet and legs just slide in effortlessly. It’s definitely easier than putting on an 8mm suit.

As I descended the mooring line, I added a little air to my suit to relieve the squeeze and trimmed out. The suit was so comfortable! There is minimal drag due to the super stretch outer layer, and the top of the line dump valve on right arm, makes dumping air hassle free.

At a price tag of AUD2749 plus AUD249 for the undergarment, it is definitely a large investment, however a drysuit will last much longer than a neoprene wetsuit. Neoprene compresses and expands on every dive, so after 100-200 dives a wetsuit will provide significantly less warmth compared to a new suit. The inner layer of the fusion bullet does not compress or expand. If you own an 8mm, you need to wear extra weight to get you off the surface, however once you reach your desired depth, your wetsuit will compress, and you will be over weighted. Which means you need to add extra air to your BC to compensate. What happens when you ascend a few meters, your suit expands, and the air in your BC expands, so you let it out again. This becomes a constant battle during a multi level dive.

A drysuit also expands your diving opportunities. New South Wales, Victoria, Adelaide, Perth, 3 dive days, caves, deep wrecks, Antarctica, etc.

The number one benefit I find a drysuit has is the fact that when you exit the water you are dry, so you warm up easily. There is nothing worse than exiting the water wet and cold, with a cool breeze blowing over the ocean.

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I know most wetsuit divers will pull their suit down to their waist during a surface interval, dry off and put a dry, warm jacket on. That’s a great plan, but I bet you are dreading the task of putting a wet and cold suit back on for dive two.

If you are deciding between a really think wetsuit (7 or 8mm) or a drysuit, I would dive dry any day of the week. We also have an awesome deal for platinum members too.

Fusion Bullet Drysuit- $2000 (SAVE $749), FREE MK2 undergarment (SAVE $249), FREE drysuit workshop with a Scuba World instructor (SAVE $200), AND 3 MONTHS of FREE DIVING (on a stand-by basis).

Ask any of our team who dives dry how good they are, Chris, Ray, Rach, Brianna, myself… there are also a few platinum members who have made the switch too. You’ll see them on the surface interval nice and warm.

Cost comparison:

A drysuit will last around 1000 dives, add in wrist seals and neck seals along the way, your drysuit will cost you $2.5/dive. A 7mm wetsuit (if they last 250 dives), will cost you $2.4/dive. A drysuit can be worn in temps between 0C and 25C, a 7mm will be suitable for the average person between 18C and 24C.

This does not take into account the ‘dive time’ value for money you receive. If a single dive costs on average $100 and you last 50 minutes that’s $2/min. If you are cold and ascend after 35mins then you just paid $2.85/min for the same dive. Imagine if a humpback whale swam past in that last 15mins and you missed it, priceless!!

There is also the nitrogen elimination argument too. If you are cold, your body will reduce the flow of blood to your extremities and focus on keeping your vital organs at the optimum temperature. This is not good for nitrogen elimination (off gassing).

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Youtube video: https://youtu.be/5XKdgaeHdSY

Mike McKinnon

SSI Instructor Certifier
Diving since 1997