The first Aqua Flex I bought was a 3mm. I enjoyed the suit so much I decided to purchase a 7mm Aqua Flex Jumpsuit for diving in the chilly waters of San Diego. Overall, I love the suit but there are several drawbacks.
Aqualung Aqua Flex Jumpsuit
Flexible. That’s the best way to describe the Aqua Flex Jumpsuit. According the Aqualung’s website, the wetsuit is made of “4-way high stretch neoprene” and I must it is the most pliable/stretchy that I’ve ever used.
There are several benefits to having an utra-stretchy wetsuit. First, it makes suiting up incredibly easy. Whereas it takes most people a few minutes to get their wetsuit on, it takes me about 20-30 seconds (yes, it’s true) to get into my Aqua Flex Jumpsuit. I’ve seen fellow divers practically overheat just trying to get their wetsuits on during the hotter months here in Okinawa, and I’m always thankful that mine is so easy to slip on. After fighting with my wetsuit when learning to scuba dive many ages ago (haha), I decided I wanted no nonsense equipment so suiting up would be as easy as possible – the Aqua Flex Jumpsuit definitely fits the bill for this. The next benefit with having a flexible suit mean that you’ll have more maneuverability. Simply said, maneuverability = comfort. The knees are also pre-bent to help the suit conform with your every movement. Lastly, stretchy neoprene accommodates for different body types. If you’ve had problems in the past with finding a well fitting wetsuit, definitely go check out the Aqua Flex because it’ll probably allow for some “extra give” wherever might be needed.
Heavy Duty Knee Pads
The Aqua Flex Jumpsuit also features “ultra stretch” seals at the wrists and ankles. This can be both positive and negative. For the pro: the wetsuit can expand but give a snug fit around any gloves or booties being worn. For the con: the seals eventually become loose and they won’t maintain a snug fit. However, it takes quiet a bit of diving for this to happen…I’d say about 50-60 dives. My 3mm Jumpsuit is losing shape around the wrists and ankles so I’m thinking about getting it repaired if possible.
Extremely Comfortable Neck Seals – But Sometimes Too Loose
The material found around the neck seal is extremely comfortable – very smooth so there is no chaffing. Also, the neck seal is stretchy, just like the rest of the suit, so there isn’t too much pressure around the throat area. The velcro-tab also helps give a personalized fit for each diver using the suit. Even though Aqualung’s website claims the special “skin” seals out water, I have found that whenever I look straight down or turn my head to the side a rush a cold water will come into the suit. When the water isn’t very cold it’s not a big deal, but I experienced some uncomfortable moments when diving in San Diego with 52º F water. BBBRRR!
Blind Stitching on the Aqua Flex Jumpsuit
The seams in the Aqua Flex Jumpsuit are blind stitched and glued. For all you non-sewers out there, a blind stitch simply means there is minimal stitching on the visible side of the material. Also a blind stitch is prominently featured when working with stretchy material (like neoprene). From my experience using the Aqua Flex Jumpsuit, I’ve found the seams in the wetsuit to allow for significant water movement. Because of this, other wetsuits with the same thickness of neoprene can actually be warmer than my Jumpsuit. Personally, the ease of donning and doffing makes up for “less” exposure protection.
Wrist and Ankle Seal Design
The last thing that Aqualung has going for it is their warranty policy and customer service. After diving with my 7mm wetsuit for almost a year in California (about 40 dives), the stitching started to come undone. To say the least, I was pretty disappointed so I took the suit back to my local dive shop and asked if there was anything they could do to help me out. They called up Aqualung and managed to get a brand-new replacement 7mm suit for me within a week. It was awesome! Aqualung has a great warranty policy (http://www.aqualung.com/us/content/view/165/278/), and their speediness and great customer service put aside my grievances about the suit’s durability. To date my new 7mm is doing great and my 3mm is also holding up nicely. Aqualung makes quality products and they are quick to correct any defects that may arise. They’ve help kept me diving and I appreciate their commitment to providing excellent customer service.
The Aqua Flex is a great suit for those that don’t want to fight with their wetsuit when donning and doffing; however, be prepared for greater water movement inside the suit (less exposure protection) than would be experienced with other wetsuits of the same thickness.