Advertised as an ‘entry level’ triathlon wetsuit, the Sleeveless Aqua Sphere Pursuit SL Universal Triathlon Wetsuit seems to have receive an overwhelming thumbs-up by online customers for its durability, quality, fit, comfort and price. So, will it lend itself just as well to freediving?
As with all my other pool suits I like to try to arrive at a happy equilibrium . . .
1. Fit – no flushing, yet enough room to breathe (or breathe-up)
2. Flexibility – especially around chest and shoulders
4. Efficiency – glide properties though water
5. Price (the stage at which equilibrium always seems to be compromised!)
So, for anyone that knows me, height is not my strong point and means that buying ‘off-the-peg’ can be a challenge. However I’m using a size ‘X-Small’ instead of the ‘Small’ (hedging my bets on the ‘Sleeveless’) which should guarantee no flushing and good glide properties. First thing I noticed once on is it’s very comfortable. Even as a slightly tighter suit there was enough give to fit my proportions comfortably and allow unrestricted movement. I usually struggle with a long-sleeved suit with my breathe-up. Often it feels restricted by the suit’s tight fit around the chest, but this was not the case with the Sleeveless Aqua Sphere. The openings for the arms are comfortably large so allowing ample free movement for chest and shoulders. What I particularly like is the soft rubber lip around the opening and on the neck collar that creates a comfortable seal to the skin.
After 1 ½ hours in the pool I was still comfortable – the soft rubber seals evidently doing a good job.
With a 3.5mm one piece, full frontal neoprene panel that covers the chest down to the legs and on the back also a 3.5mm panel but surrounded by a 1mm neoprene V shape running all the way from the lower back, up and over the shoulders, the design has great flexibility in all the right places. With a nylon inner but smooth outer, this suit glides well through water and with no flushing. On breath up if the suit does stick a little across the chest, I lightly lift the rubber seal around the arms just enough to let the water free the material from my skin.
An added bonus is that the suit works very well as a second thermal layer to the 5mm open-cell freediving wetsuit that I use for open water. The smooth outer skin of the Aqua Sphere slides easily into the wetsuit (with lubrication of course) and as in the pool the wide openings of those sleeveless arms gives me greater flexibility for a large inhale. If you’re concerned about the zip damaging the inside of a fragile custom suit, this is nicely tucked away under a collar with only the toggle hanging out.
On pricing this suit compares favourably with similar suits in this price range, but on quality, warmth, efficiency, durability… and for me the sleeveless arms, I have a suit that balances well with my ‘equilibrium’.
Photo: Frogfish Photography
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