When learning how to dive with a drysuit, and when conducting my helitrox decompression course, I dove with an old Bare drysuit. Though it worked (until it didn’t, but that’s another story), I felt like an astronaut every time I put it on. After the Bare suit flooded one too many times, I caved and bought my own drysuit: the Santi E.Motion+. Putting it on for the first time was an amazing experience: it felt like wearing a poncho instead of a winter coat!
Right—why a drysuit at all? First, not being cold. Second, getting wet is for chumps. Third, the convex combination of the first and second.
Suited up and ready to go!
I’ve used the Santi about a dozen times since, so this review is still fairly new. My opinion hasn’t changed since then: the suit is incredibly lightweight, and I’m yet to find something I don’t like.
Purchasing a Santi takes some effort. First, you need to be exhaustively measured. Second, all sorts of choices are offered—what kind of seals, what kind of feet, etc. Being a simple kind of guy, I only had one criterion (no flooding), so I let the fine folks at Divewise guide my choices.
In short, “I” chose latex seals for the wrists, neoprene for the neck, soft feet. I also accidentally included a pee valve, but haven’t had the chance to use it yet.
Santi outside of the water.
When using the latex-sealed wrists, be sure to lubricate before pulling on. I sometimes lubricate before taking off, too, although I’m yet to break the seals from pulling through without lubricant. (Which happens from time to time.) I use KY jelly available at any pharmacy. Some folks recommend talc, but I don’t like how it mixes with water. The jelly just washes away.
Also, don’t get your name on the side. In retrospect, I should have written “Trouble” or “Badass”, or something to signal how hardcore you are. Or if you have an overabundances of hardcoreness, perhaps “I love puppies”.
This deserves its own section.
You’ll almost certainly want a hood and gloves when diving with your Santi. To me, the make of either doesn’t matter—some people are particular. I prefer thinner gloves (2 or 3 mm vs 5) regardless the temperature, as otherwise I have difficulty operating clasps.
Using the dump valve.
I get cold easily. In water rather less than 20 degrees, I usually dive with Fourth Element’s Arctic Wear. Around 20 or more, Xerotherm. Even warmer, just baselayer.
Do keep in mind, changing your thermals will change your buoyancy. When I switch to full Arctic Wear, I need to add another kilo, and also move it more toward the tail of my twinset because of the additional buoyancy in the legs.