All wetsuits, semidry suits – and some drysuits – have one thing in common: the basic material, EXPANDED CELLULAR NEOPRENE, a synthetic rubber of exceptional chemical-physical characteristics:
- elastic and insulating
- resistant to salt, ozone and ultraviolet rays.
Its quality is the chief factor in determining the quality of a suit.
Neoprene is produced in slabs or sheets of different thicknesses, generally from 1mm to 10mm, and it is the thickness, together with a few other additional elements (coatings, special linings, making-up etc.), that defines the depth at which the suit can be used.
Unlined, smooth-cell neoprene
The neoprene sheets can be used just as they are to make a suit. Generally they are sheets with a smooth or grained surface on one side (exterior) and a porous cell neoprene surface on the other (interior). In this case the suit is called unlined, smooth-cell neoprene.
If the material is good this wetsuit will be extremely soft, elastic and comfortable, but suitable for specialists and experts (mainly competition skin divers) because it presents two problems:
- it is difficult to put on
- it is extremely fragile
Since you can’t put it on as it is because it absolutely does not slide on the skin, there are three ways to do it:
- Put in on in the water or at least cover yourself or fill the wetsuit with plenty of water;
- Sprinkle the inside of the suit with plenty of talcum powder
- Cover the suit or the body with water and shampoo.
All three systems have disadvantages.
The first is fine in summer, but in winter if there is no hot water available (shower, thermos etc.) it’s a bit masochistic…
The second presumes that the suit is dry and there is always talcum available.
The third (the most widespread) is the fastest way but it makes the suit unstable on the body, causing small bubbles which distance the suit from the body and reduce its warmth. Moreover, prolonged use of this system can cause serious dermatitis.
Technology came to the diver’s aid to obviate all this by applying, to the interior of the “neoprene”, a coating of very slippery metallic compound which eliminates the difficulty and increases insulation.
A suit made in this way is called smooth-cell neoprene-coated.
Single-lined and Double-lined
Up to now we’ve been talking about suits made with sheets of plain neoprene; soft, warm and comfortable but extremely fragile and suitable only for expert competition skin-divers.
Fortunately, one or two linings are used to reinforce the neoprene sheets: in the first case they are called single-lined and in the second double-lined.
The single-lined may be one of two types:
- single-lined-cell neoprene if the “lining” is external and the porous neoprene internal,
- single-lined-smooth if the lining is internal and the smooth neoprene external.
Double-lined, as the name suggests, is lined on both sides. In lined neoprene the difference is made by the linings themselves because they are of different kinds.
TYPES OF LINING
The most widely used by all wetsuit producers, an all-round lining suitable for both internal and external use, is nylon jersey which is fairly tough, economical and available in a wide range of colours.
Then there are externals in Lycra, polyester, kanoko, Super Elastic material, water-repellent,etc....
There are the various plushes, more or less metallic, for the interior, ceramic linings and the superelastic pile, a lining with exceptional features of elasticity and slide for putting the suit on and much used by us here at Elios Sub.
Another aspect of wetsuit knowledge is the SuperSmooth (FREEDOWN), the pride and joy of our production. This is practically a special smooth-cell neoprene, perfect for deep performance apnea:
- SUPER SMOOTH OUTSIDE: + 20% more sliding in the water than classic smoothskin + resistance against rips and abrasions + easy to get out.
- OPEN SLIDE CELL: + 50% more slide for get into than classic open cell.
- MEDIUM DENSITY RUBBER: + More warm in deep divings + Keep trim in deep.
Neoprene is formulated in different ways depending on the conditions in which it is to be used:
- Super Soft for skin-diving and shallow water diving
- Medium for medium depths
- H.D. (High Density) for deep-sea diving
At Elios we use all three types of neoprene, producing all kinds of diving suits, so we are able to satisfy all your requirements. And if you need neoprene directly for any use whatsoever you can buy sheets from us.
Elios Sub , unlike all the other companies, has organised its production on two lines:
- PROFESSIONAL Line
- ECOLINE Line
For the PROFESSIONAL line materials are sought among the best top level producers in the world (Japan and USA). This line is suited and recommended for professional use (deep-sea or medium-depth), high-level competition sport, competition skin-diving etc.
Equally for the ECOLINE line, the best materials are chosen from companies with a more economical production (Japan and Taiwan). The second line is recommended for normal sports use (shallow and medium depth) but also for professional use depending on the specificity of the materials.
Whatever your needs or requirements you can be sure that with an ELIOS SUIT you have chosen the best material (for your specific use) and the best making-up (ELIOS’ is almost legendary) at the best price.
The following are needed to best unite these three qualities:
1 - A very vast range of materials such as only ELIOS Sub can offer;
2 - Constant control of production and a wholly craftsmanlike work process (all phases are carried out by hand) without automation;
3 - A great passion for the job and for diving in general, a passion shared to the utmost by the proprietors.
but even they haven’t succeeded
ELIOS wetsuits are really inimitable!