Girls that Scuba started for many reasons, but one of our strongest values comes from trying to improve the scuba dive industry for women, so it's not surprising that it's wetsuits we talk about first! When was the last time you found a wetsuit that fits you perfectly first time? Yup, us never too. We come in all shapes and sizes and it's naive of us as customers as well as the manufactures that it's ok to group every woman into the standard XS, S, M, L, XL size categories. But you know us, we are not going to complain about it, we are going to try and CHANGE it. So, we have been reviewing wetsuits that go beyond the standard sizes to give you all more information and more choices. We start with The Xcel Hydroflex 7/6mm in size UK16/US 14
"After 19 years I finally found the perfect wetsuit. My name is Jacqui I’m a scuba diving instructor, a dive centre owner and a mum."
I’ve always had curves but in my 30s those curves got a bit too curvy, if you know what I mean!! I am 163cm tall and a UK size 18. I struggled every day with a wetsuit that was not at all easy to put on. I tried so many but was never happy. I normally end up trying to squeeze into a Ladies X Large suit (often with a lycra rash guard on to help my arms slide in). If there are no ladies suits available, I have had to dive in a Men’s Large, problem with that is that it is far too long in the arm and leg.
I used to watch the guys and the slimmer ladies sliding into their wetsuits with ease. How jealous was I?! You see the problem with being a bigger girl was that the wetsuits never quite fit. The material was never quite stretchy enough! In order for me to get a suit to fit round my butt, I had to get one that was about 15cm too long!! Or pay a fortune to have one made to measure.
I chose the Hyrdoflex 7/6mm, I have never ever worn a 7mm before! The thought was quite daunting! Would I manage to get a 7mm suit over my thighs and bottom when I normally struggle with a 5mm.
When I took it out the box I could not believe how stretchy the material was, the inside of the suit was so soft and smooth. The inside chest area has heat retaining ThermoBamboo, Inner GlideSkin lining in the adjustable Velcro wrap collar, and wrists seals, I could not wait to try it on!
I first ordered the US18, as the size charts online matched my measurements. When it arrived however it was too big. It was also a bit on the long side as I am not the tallest of ladies!
So, I reordered a smaller size - which made me smile. I went for the US16s (s for short). It was the perfect fit!
I have never in my 19yrs of diving had a wetsuit that was so easy to put on! And it was not loose! It was a perfect snug but comfortable fit! It has ankle zips so getting your feet through it is very easy, the zips are then secured with a very strong Velcro tab! Feeling really happy with the ease of donning I was really looking forward to diving into it!
The water temperature here in Malta is currently 15 degrees. I normally feel the cold and dive in a drysuit at this time of year. Not anymore! I was so toasty warm and comfortable. I had a great range of movement and flexibility.
As an instructor, my kit gets used regularly and goes through the ringer a lot. This week I did a wreck course, a deep course, a rescue course and some Discover Scuba Diving, So far, the suit has done 20 dives And still looks like the day it came out of its box.
I can honestly say I am in love with this suit! When I wear it I feel great, confident and happy. Not frumpy like I used too. Being told by other divers that it looked fantastic really made my day! It is very stylish with a good cut. I have decided that I want to buy a 5mm and a 3mm so I have one that I can wear in all different temperatures!
If like me you are struggling to find a suit that fits well, then I highly recommend Xcel Suits! The comfort, the fit and the style are everything I ever wanted in a wetsuit. Now I too slide into my wetsuit with ease!