Azure Passion is a company located in sunny Greece that makes wetsuits, spearguns and fins and ship all over the world. This is a review of an 8 mm custon smooth/cell wetsuit. The Azure Passion custom wetsuit is a very good suit with attention to detail that is not painful on the wallet.
Azure Passion custom fit
The fit of the azure passion custom wetsuit is perfect. The sizing chart of the wetsuit has over 25 entries, so you will be measuring for a while, but the result is great. The perfect fit will assure that you are kept cozy warm and will keep water from sloshing through your wetsuit. The legs and arms are sized according to the thickness of your upper and lower arms and legs, and the circumference of your knees and elbows. This means that the suits limbs stay where they are supposed to and you will keep the sleeves to where they need to be: one centimeter past your wrist and ankle. This is not trivial with a wetsuit designed for cold water, because you need to make sure that you do not get cold water sloshing into your neoprene socks and gloves. (Note: I recommend you go to a tailor with the measurement sheet and a photo of a wetsuit so that you can get your sizes taken professionally. An excellent fit starts with excellent measurements).
Azure Passion Wetsuit Material and insulation
Azure Passion custom wetsuits are made out of quality Heiwa AWS (accompany with skin) neoprene, which is elastic, tear resistant, and keeps its elasticity for a long time. This particular smooth/cell (smoothskin on the outside, open cell on the inside) has no fabric lining the outside or inside. I was surprised at the elasticity of the material, even though 8 mm is a lot of neoprene.
I am a wimp in cold water. My apnea ability goes down and frankly, I don’t like being cold. There are some divers here along the Pacific Northwest that dive in a 5 mm suit in the winter, and a 3 mm in the summer. Commonly they last less than 45 minutes in the water in winter before having to get out and warm up. I’d rather be warm during the entire dive. The first time I dove with this suit I stayed in water of about 9 degrees C for well over an hour, and I was warm when I came out. For maybe the first time ever I did not get out of the Pacific because I was cold, but because I was done diving.
Attention to detail
When I get new gear, I always inspect the fragile parts of the material. In wetsuits, those are the edges and the seams (especially where three pieces of neoprene meet). I was happy to see that Azure Passion puts an extra patch of thin neoprene over the most fragile parts of their wetsuits, the triple connections in the armpit (see the photos below). This extra patch helps to prevent the common pinholes in the armpit that will get water into your suit when you stretch your arms overhead. Along the lower edge of the upper part of the wetsuit, and in the crotch and on the beavertail is a glued fabric. This avoids the wearer ripping their wetsuit apart when they try to take it off.
Price and comparison to other wetsuits
This custom wetsuit retails for 250 EUR + shipping costs from Greece. Considering the quality of the wetsuit and the excellent fit this is a competitive price. It compares very well to my unfitted 3 mm wetsuit (240 USD) which was cheaper, but allows a lot of water to come in along my back, and doesn’t keep me warm as well. I have a 5 mm custom wetsuit that does not fit as well and I think was fabricated with a cheaper neoprene and within 2 years has dwindled down to 3 mm (250 USD). In short, Azure Passion holds up very well compared to the wetsuits I have used and seen so far and is great value.
The person I was in touch with about my wetsuit was responsive and helpful (we communicated by e-mail). The suit was shipped approximately 2 weeks after ordering, and arrived another 10 days or so later (shipping within Europe).
Find them online: www.azurepassion.com