Waterproof’s D1 Hybrid concept Drysuit is now a reality
A year after the concept D1 Hybrid Drysuit was launched at DEMA 2009, Waterproof (the renowned Swedish neoprene protection manufacturer) is proud to announce that the suit is now in full production.
“It’s taken us two years of research, development and test diving to solve some common drysuit issues”, stated Christer Falkeborn, Waterproof CEO. “We decided in 2008 that the most sensible thing to do was to start with a blank sheet and simply watch how a traditional drysuit behaved in the water during a dive. We quickly identified two concerns that had been overlooked – bad suit climate and the cold spot problem.
Most divers know that when it comes to warmth, what your suit is made from and what you wear underneath significantly impacts on a diver’s body temperature – get it wrong and you freeze. There is no doubt that in the last five years modern fabrics from the space race has certainly revolutionised thermal protection. However there is still potential for you to overheat and the body regulates this by sweating. On some dives, especially long ones in colder waters it can be possible to sweat up to a litre of water. Although the majority of thermal underwear is now designed to efficiently wick away moisture, it has to go somewhere, and it tends to end up on the inside of the drysuit. The result is a bad climate within the drysuit and potentially soggy or damp underwear. So we identified that there was a need to physically keep the wicked water completely away from the diver’s underwear.
We also noted that divers tend to suffer from cold spots as a result of water and equipment pressure. One reason that trilaminate suits are popular is the behaviour of the suit material. Divers like that fact that what ever depth you dive to there is no change in buoyancy characteristics, ie the behaviour of the material remains the same, despite external water pressure increasing significantly with depth. However when it comes to the air inside the suit, it’s a different story. In traditional drysuits, be they neoprene or membrane, the pressure differential in the water column causes the air in the suit to be driven to the top of the suit, which ever orientation you are in. The effect can be quite subtle from a diver’s perspective, but there is no doubt that undergarments can get compressed in certain areas and the diver will suffer from cold spots.
Physical pressure from equipment can also produce cold spots. For example, a neoprene suit is excellent at initially protecting the body from a weight belt. However as soon as you go to depth, the closed air cell in the neoprene is compressed, hence it’s known as a variable volume insulation suit, and cold lead is effectively pressed against the divers body. So we wanted to take the benefits from both neoprene and shell drysuits and create a membrane suit in a material that would always have a constant volume of at least 4mm, regardless of the pressure caused by water or equipment.
The Waterproof D1 Hybrid Drysuit not only successfully solves these two problems; we’ve also created a cosy, warm yet sleek fitting suit. So what’s our secret? The DI Hybrid benefits from our patented built-in 3-D high tech Mesh Spacing Material that fully lines the inside of the suit. It evenly distributes the pressure created by the water and diving equipment, whilst maintaining a constant distance to the outer shell. This constant distance ensures total body insulation as the flow of air within the suit is unrestricted, which means for the diver, no more cold spots. In addition the diver is physically protected from bumps and grazes from wrecks, and damp underwear, as wicked water is trapped against the suits inner shell away from the divers under garments.
You will also note that the D1 Hybrid benefits from shaped silicone seals. Without a doubt silicone is a superlative material for seals. It has more elasticity than latex so there is no more need to tussle, fight and wrestle your arm out of your suit when you’ve accidentally left your dive computer on. Just simply lift the seal over it in seconds with no struggle. In addition the glide coating on the inside of the seal gives the diver a sensual feeling of silk and makes donning and doffing the seals a wonderfully quick and easy experience. Silicone is also far more resilient to Ozone, UV and certain chemicals (diving off RHIBS and fuel contamination) that can cause latex seals to crack age so that they eventually fail and rip.
Inevitability seals do eventually fail, and they tend to do so just before you jump into the water. We understand how frustrating it can be to bail on a dive just because your seal has gone; hence we have worked in partnership with SI TECH to develop the Neck Tite and Quick Cuff Oval Systems. These ergonomic ring systems allow the diver to rapidly and securely change their neck or wrist seal in the field without glue – a real boon! With so many exciting revolutionary features Waterproof D1 Hybrid divers will be able to face reality warmer, happier and safer”.