Photo: Byron Conroy
With COVID-19 upending much of the world’s diving plans for the year, many of us are looking for ways to get in the water closer to home. For a lot of us, this means we need to think about drysuits!
Unfortunately, drysuits are often seen as cumbersome, restrictive and uncomfortable and a tool to be used for diving in undesirable locations. What many divers, whether new or seriously salty, don't realize however is that there is more to drysuit diving than just being able to dive locally year round!
Why dive dry?
When you hear the term drysuit the most obvious benefit is apparent. You are dry! At least if your seals are functional and you are fully zipped up. The benefits of drysuit diving go far beyond just staying dry however.
The drysuit gives you the ability to essentially dress for the specific conditions you are going to be diving in. This means if you are diving in near freezing temperatures, you can bundle up in technical undergarments like the Fourth Element X-Core and a pair of sealed dry gloves. Or if you are diving in a local quarry and just would prefer to stay dry, a pair of athletic tights and a wicking t-shirt will be all you need to wear. You essentially get to dive in your pajamas!
The ability to stay warm and dry on dives, regardless of water and air temperatures, means you will ultimately feel better after them! Particularly if you are doing repetitive or strenuous dives.
An added benefit is that you will be warm and protected from the elements in between dives! Every diver I know has a story about a surface interval spent bundled up in towels and jackets trying to stay warm or using their buddy as a shield from the wind in an effort to stay ward off the inevitable chill of a damp wetsuit. With the drysuit, you are prepared for whatever weather conditions you face at the dive site both on the surface and underwater.
Where your drysuit can take you
For those of us landlocked divers, a drysuit is the key to being able to dive year round. However, drysuits should not be relegated to the status of something you begrudgingly have to wear in your local quarry. Some of the most spectacular diving around the world can be made more accessible and comfortable with a drysuit, and some sites even require them!
Cold water corals, whales, kelp forests and the clearest water imaginable are just some of the truly breathtaking sights you can expect to see where a drysuit is required. Here are some of the spectacular places you can dive where your drysuit will be a welcome addition:
While we may not be able to visit these places right now is the perfect time to get in as much experience as possible by starting your drysuit training here at home!
Why drysuit training is essential
A drysuit is truly a door to a whole new world of diving. When you complete your drysuit course, you will relearn how to distribute your weight, buoyancy will likely take some practice to master, and you might accidentally blow yourself up like a marshmallow on the surface a few times, but the benefits are truly endless. Afterall, if you have ever had to put on a 7mm wetsuit then a drysuit will be like slipping into a favorite pair of pajamas.