Working as a diving instructor is not always fun in the sun; sometimes you face challenges regarding dive logistics, weather conditions and equipment selection. Going cheap is never an option for an instructor, especially where you are diving all the time. Going for the best is, in the long run the smart decision. In the past year, I have had the comfort and the pleasure to dive mainly with ScubaPro gear.
I have to be honest, I always liked the brand, but in the old times of being a poor divemaster working in the Red Sea and S.E Asia, going for the top of the range, or buying brand new ScubaPro equipment was out of my budget options.
Now I dive with and recommend ScubaPro. This year, ScubaPro brought to the market their new 6.5 semidry suit called NovaScotia replacing the old Scotia model.
In Celtic mythology Scotia comes from the Ancient Latin Name for Scotland and it seems like a perfect name for this semidry suit. The old Scotia creates a serious protection for divers aiming to dive in mild to cool waters.
My old Scotia (that now rests in my wardrobe) performed amazingly over the past 14 months. I did over 300 dives from the daily open water courses, to wreck specialties where my old Scotia survived the abuse of my many penetrations via engine rooms of the wreck. The main reason I was considering the Scotia to be the best semidry suit out there is for the simple fact that it survived the most critical variable of destruction: me. In the last year the proper care of my wetsuit was the last of my worries, after becoming a new father and while trying to deal with the constant flow of students. I’m the first to admit I didn’t take proper care of my ScubaPro Semi-dry. That’s why it is so remarkable that after a year of abusive use the Scotia survived in one piece.
That’s why when I got the new NovaScotia, I wasn’t really pleased.
Don’t get me wrong. The new Nova Scotia looks stylish; more than a wetsuit it’s like a superhero suit. The red and black reminds me a bit of a Spiderman suit and once you put it on, your diving ego increases dramatically. So why wasn’t I please initially? My love for the Scotia, because, if is not broken, why fix it?
I believe that some things in life don’t need to be modified, like a Lamborghini Murcielago, for me the Scotia was just simply perfect. It did the job and I was happy with it.
Well, I was wrong. The Nova Scotia resulted in an even better semi-dry than the Scotia. How? Well, I really don’t know. I’m not a lab nerd to be able to tell you the technology behind the neoprene or the materials, but so far the NovaScotia is a more comfortable Semi-Dry than the Scotia. How?
To start with the NovaScotia comes with a much better dry zipper across the back shoulder. Same as the Scotia but this time the zipper seems more resistant and easier to zip up after each dive (this is key when I have new divers to “zip me up”.)
Once you have the wetsuit on, the wrist and ankles seal perfectly and you can feel a more flexible semidry than previously.
In the water during the first dives, the NovaScotia didn’t feel bulky and I discovered how the low profile of the suit in fact reduced the drag along the dive. So how does it feel to wear the Nova Scotia in the water? Well, it feels a bit like diving in warm and cozy pyjamas…. (In my case a fancy Red and Black pyjama).
My first 2 dives, with a total of total 80 minutes in chilly water I was still feeling warm and comfortable. Unless you are an ice-diver this could be an absolute drysuit replacement!
So it seems that I was wrong and ScubaPro was right and now the NovaScotia has changed my conception of what a semidry should be. The NovaScotia not only offers brilliant technology and smart design, it also looks dam good and it will keep you warm and as we know if we are warm, we dive more, we stay longer underwater, and that’s the idea of diving isn’t it? Trying to delay our return to boring dry land….