The Salvimar Wet Drop Cell 7mm
I wanted to find a suit that would keep the Slimmest of Freedivers warm in the water for longer periods of time. Staying warm for some is a problem, there is a misconception that if you aren’t in a drysuit in the water then you will be cold. You just need to dress correctly for conditions and your body type. I wanted a suit that could be used for multiple uses and then trial it for an entire diving season with heavy school and Instructor use before coming to any conclusions.
The Salvimar Wet Drop Cell 7mm suit is a two-piece wet suit, external nylon outer which lends to a long-lasting durable suit. Internally it has Open Cell material which is ideal for warmth and comfort and flexibility. It has reinforced ‘puff gum’ material on the knees and chest and after a season of clambering over rocks and kneeling whilst adjusting fins in car parks etc they were completely undamaged. The chest pad is of course for Spearos to place the butt of the gun against the chest for comfortable loading.
Freediving suit features
Ideally it has high waist pants which stop just below the ribcage, as opposed to long johns which go over the shoulders. I have started to prefer this type of two-piece suit. You have added flexibility when raising the arms above the head, which is better than the long john design, it fits a wider range of students as the suit becomes ‘telescopic’, going to the loo is a much easier proposition! The only down side really is you lose the warmth over the chest area, and this can easily be achieved by purchasing a separate neoprene vest.
A key feature of this suit, and many pure Freediving / Spearfishing suits is the integrated hood design. This will stop flushing from that area completely and is more streamlined and hydrodynamic as the water flushes over it not into it. The difference between this and a classic separate hood / hood with zip up to the chin design is massive, the integrated hood always wins hands down.
It has a beavertail adjustable single clip, arguably Velcro is more comfortable depending on fit, and more adjustable, but once the Velcro wears out you have a problem, so I prefer the clip designs and frog designs for the longevity of the suit.
The suit is ideal for all year-round use. I have done a continuous five-and-a-half-hour session (not even out for a toilet break) in October and still been okay to dive. I would say in the middle of summer if anything it is too warm for two months for those who don’t feel the cold, but for those who do, perfect. It is ideal for UK spearfishing conditions on the England and Welsh coasts, and I would even say good enough for Scottish lochs and the sea having used it up there for groups.
The freediving suits biggest benefit
The biggest benefit I found was for students in training who I know for a fact were wearing a 5mm suit, or a 7mm from a lesser manufacturer then their day would have ended much earlier. Being comfortable and not shivering is a massive consideration for the breath hold disciplines.
We trialed it on SCUBA a few times too, and here is a quote from Rebecca Westley who is a full time SCUBA industry professional who wore it in Capernwray and had a comfortable day and took it on holiday to trial it over a longer period. She always feels the cold so was good to hear her opinion.
‘After comfortably diving in my dry suit for 6 months of the year for 4 years in the Red Sea I knew I’d be cold in the more temperate waters of the Galapagos. I was also conscious of the possibility of surge and strong currents. So, I needed a robust and warm suit for this special trip. The Salvimar Wet Drop Cell 7mm suit was quick easy to Don and Doff. The two-piece design gave me a double layer around my core that meant I was comfortable in the temperatures. I had no issues with comfort and movement. I believe the sizing is great and it even suited my shorter frame. I didn’t experience one of usual challenges of having too much extra length on the legs and arms’
Tips and advice about using the Freediving suit
A few points to help the user get the best out of the suit. The Open cell on the inside of the suit rips easily with nails, and rough handling so lubricate the suit ideally to put it on. Veterinary lube, K-Y Jelly or some form of mild conditioner (or other environmentally conscious fluid) work well with a litre of water swilling around it.
Do not use the two loops on the high waist pants to pull up the suit or you will tear them, lube the suit, and use the balls of the fingers, and fold over and pull the nylon outer side of the suit to get it on safely.
Cost of the freediving suit
Prices at the time of releasing this article are anywhere between £142 – £184
In summary this is an exceptional wetsuit suitable for cold water freediving, spearfishing and SCUBA diving. It is long lasting and rugged, it is very flexible for the thickness and well worth the price tag