By John Moorcroft, UK DNF champion and UK record holder – 167m no fins
I was very exited and intrigued when I was asked to review Aqualung’s new freedive suit. I had heard one was in production and that Miguel Lozano the Spanish and World freediving champion had been involved with the design.
The suit is definitely designed with the competitive freediver in mind, constructed from 1.5 mm high density neoprene to a triathlon / swimming wetsuit design which many freedivers (myself included) prefer for performances both in the pool and for depth in warm tropical temperature waters.
That said, I think the robustness of the high density neoprene also makes it a good choice for tropical water recreational freediving where there is more wear and tear from rocks etc entering and exiting the water.
Having chosen the correct size, (I recommend you err on going slightly smaller rather than larger when choosing) I met with my coach Steve Millard at the pool to give it a spin. I noticed putting the suit on that the construction was very good being blind stitched and glued to give entirely waterproof seams and to provide additional streamlining. The neck seal is quite high and very robust to prevent flushing of the suit, something essential for reducing drag and maintaining warmth. For an off the peg suit I thought the fit was very good. Once on, the suit felt comfortable and in stretching out before getting in the pool I had a good unimpaired range of movement for swimming.
Having readjusted my buoyancy to be completely neutral in the pool, I did a couple of lengths no fins. The first thing I noticed was in pushing off the wall hard there was absolutely no flushing of the suit. The glide phase of the stroke cycle felt superb in this suit. I found I could easily maintain a hydrodynamic position and there was no flushing of the suit at any point of the stroke cycle.
Next I put on a monofin and did a couple of fast lengths to see if the neck seal would hold up to some real pressure, again there was absolutely no flushing of the suit and the glides between the fin strokes felt amazing in this suit.
I think the density of neoprene used in the construction of this suit in this suit helps with streamlining the body and will also help when using the suit for depth as there will be less buoyancy to overcome on the initial phase of the descent. I am looking forward to giving the suit a good workout when I compete at Vertical Blue (widely held to be the most prestigious depth competition in the free diving calendar) held at Deans Blue Hole, Long Island, Bahamas in November.