Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Lava Core Wetsuit Review

How I lost 6 pounds overnight @ Kohala Divers Ltd.

My Henderson Gold Core lasted me 8 years before the zipper broke in the middle of our trip here on the Big Island. The folks at Kohala Divers had told me about their new Lava Core neutrally buoyant suits that seemed more like a liner for a dry suit than a wet suit. I tried two sizes the XL and L, I'm 6' 2" 185 pounds give or take, at first I thought the XL was the right size due to the way it felt on me in the shop, the Large felt to snug initially but after looking at the sizing chart I decided that would be the correct one for me. Now the next step, how much weight can I shed using an Aluminum 80,,,,, after talking with the always helpful folks at the shop I decided to go from the 14 pounds I had been using to 10,,,,,, no problem with the 10, the next dive I went down to 8 again no problem and was able to have better buoyancy control from 10 ft to the surface than I ever had before and that was with the Aluminum 80 with under 500 pounds. So I decided to go one step further, 6 pounds, I can honestly say I've never felt so in control of my buoyancy in the water before, just loving it, same thing on the shallow diving, great control under 500 pounds of air between 10 ft and the surface . Ok I did try to go to 4 pounds and I can say that was fine until I got down to about 700 pounds and I was pretty much turned into a snorkeler. It's a lot lighter than the neoprene, the inside is a soft comfy fleece material. I don't know what the outside material is, I have knelt down a couple of times in the rock and sand on a couple of shore dive exits and it doesn't seem to have left a mark on it. The only thing I could think of and maybe there is a reason they didn't do it would be to put some type of rubber on the knee area. I've got about 6 dives with the Lava Core now and am very impressed. One other thing that is different is the zipper is in front, going on it's sooooooooooooooo easy,taking it off seems a little difficult pulling it off my shoulders, but it's very doable without assistance. You can't just let it hang down like most traditional suits, but if you sort of loop the arms of the suit around each other in front it stays like that just fine.... Did I mention how comfortable it feels compared to a traditional suit, well it's very comfy. It's also a lot warmer than I thought it would be, my Henderson Gold Core 3mm was pretty warm, this if it's not as warm it's within 85 to 95 percent as warm. The one word of caution I would have is to make sure you get the right size, if it doesn't feel to tight in the shop, it's to big for you. Another thing is it's a lot more flexible and your movement is NOT restricted near as much as with a traditional neoprene suit.

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