You can see our original article on the suit that we gave a best in show – DEMA 2008 here: “Redefining the Dry Suit” according to Whites.
I’ve got to admit, it dives like a dream.
But when I first got it, I took one look at it and thought, you have got to be kidding! This thing is a black trash bad sewn together into a shell, and then some spandex-looking thing around it that looks like the same stuff they make panty hose out of. Looks like if you just sneeze on it, the thing will unravel.
Getting into the suit is bad comedy. Do you know of any other drysuit that has its own, How to Get Into It videos on YouTube? Speaking of comedy, my buddies sure thought something was amusing when they saw me in it today. One of them said, “Your crotch sure does look funny.”
Ha, ha. I said, “Dude. You are looking way too close.”
Then I dived the super-hero-looking costume, with my Whites MK3 underneath. The dive was to 170’ with deco up the anchor line. I had on double 100’s and carried an 80 and a 40 for deco. We were on a big inflatable, and usually getting into the doubles on the boat is like Gumby art. With the Fusion, it was a breeze. I tumbled in and clipped on my deco bottles. Even clipping the deco bottles was easier with the superior mobility of the suit. It was like I could see everything (my D rings and such) easier.
We descended down the line. It seemed to take very little suit gas to relieve the squeeze. On the way back up the line, the suit really seemed to vent itself. I have this habit, from my last suit, of lifting my left shoulder way up, and sometimes even dropping my feet, to get a good vent. After the dive, my buddy observed that, with hardly even a shoulder lift, “That thing vents like a banshee .” And he also said, “Your trim was perfect.”
Like everyone else has who has this suit has observed, doing a valve drill was so easy it felt like cheating. Just for fun, I tried to reach my left post valve with my right hand. I couldn’t… but it was close.
After we surface, we have to get out of our doubles in the water to get back into the boat, and this takes some contorting effort. But slipping out of my kit in the water was tons easier in the Fusion.
Yes, without a doubt, the suit is amazingly comfortable. It’s lightweight and easily rolls up into the little drysuit bag when you’re done.
Yes, the neoprene pockets lack the firmness or beefiness I am used to. Still, maneuvering is so easy with the suit on that getting my bag n’ spool out of my left pocket from around the stages was a lot easier than I thought it would be. Nothing to it. Replacing it back into the pocket and closing the pocket it was easy, too.
Yes, it was slightly saggy out of the water, and I found myself pulling the outer material up a couple of times while unloading the boat.
The other negative is the area around the ankles is too tight, so I have to work my feet through and I worry about the stress that will put on the seams over time.
My biggest worry is, will the suit really hold up? What will the outside look like after a year of hard diving?
Next Friday I leave for a one week deep wreck class in the St. Lawrence River, NY. We’ll be penetrating wrecks 2 times a day for a week at depths from 70’ to 230’, including (if all goes well) a final dive into the engine room of the Jodrey. It will be interesting to see if the suit keeps me smiling like it did today, and how it holds up.
And, oh yeah. I really like Tyler. Tyler is the Whites Marketing Manager. The suit has a zipper flaw, so I called him. Of course, he is going to replace it. But his focus was on making sure I had the suit for my upcoming class. Actually the one I have will work until I get back from the trip, and we’ll exchange it then. But I was really impressed with his concern in making sure I had a workable Fusion for my trip. Good on you, Tyler! That goes a long way with me.
So, yes, the suit dives like a dream, and worked outstandingly for me on today’s technical dive. I can state absolutely that it was the most comfortable drysuit dive I have ever had.