Friday, September 10, 2010

Suits in Sweden

Loose thoughts by Bjorn Landfeldt

Since I am visiting the country of the Polar Bear, I thought I'd have a look at cold water diving equipment and pricing compared with Sydney. So far, it is looking good.

I am considering buying a new wet suit or dry suit since 1) My old crap Mares trilastic completely fell apart the last dive I did before leaving to go to Europe and 2) My Pinnacle Dry suit Cordura is just far too stiff and captures a lot of air so I need far too much led to break the surface. There are quite a few dive shops in Stockholm but similar to Sydney, the vast majority do not disclose any prices on their web sites. There are some different options available of course, but where I can see some interesting alternatives are basically in two different shops.

First, we have Alpin & Dyksport in Stockholm. The sell the Northern Diver Vortex dry suit for kr 7500, about AUD 1136 and the Waterproof W1 wet suit for kr 2600 (AUD 400). Then we have Dykmagasinet in Karlstad that stocks a wider range of options:

  • Waterproof W1 kr 3000 (AUD 455)
  • Waterproof Taurus Semidry kr 4500 (AUD 682)
  • Waterproof Sedna Drysuit kr 8900 (AUD 1350)
  • Waterproof Drako Drysuit kr 9500 (AUD 1439) and
  • Ursuk Heavy Light Drysuit kr 7800 (AUD 1180)

All prizes include 25% sales tax.

The Waterproof suits are really top of the line quality with lots of features and an aura of quality. There is a funky looking Australian Waterproof web site that lists some retailers, but the websites have all but no information / little visibility and no pricing. I found one company in Victoria that retails the Taurus for AUD 1000.

The Diveoz forum has had some threads on these suits but there is little information available apart from everyone complaining about the pricing.

I am going to Karlstad next weekend to have a look at the suits and hopefully to try them on. Right now, I am leaning towards the W1 and Ursuk suits, but a Taurus would be a very good alternative in Sydney too.

The W1 has some nice features, extra strength around shoulders, elbows, knees and bottom. Ankle and wrist seals and zips, the shape of the suit looks much better thought through than the competition, neck comfort seal, front zipper (not dry) with flap inside, warm lining etc. (7 mm). The Ursuk seems in description very similar to the DUI TLS350 with an added hood with latex front. I would be very interested in a drysuit made of soft Nylon material with unrestricted movement and little trapped air. Sydney does not get cold enough to warrant really heavy undergarments and this suit can give similar buoyancy characteristics as a thicker wet suit.

I'll also have a look at the neoprene drysuits, it seems they are a much snugger fit on the body than trilam and a thin undergarment would be enough in Sydney. I might enjoy diving with this all year round, who knows.