My buddies and I have completed many, many drysuit dives, but time and again I’ve noticed a shortcoming in the market: well-fitting drysuits for women. Typically, my best advice for female divers asking about a drysuit is to advise them to try on the smallest sizes of various models until they find one that fits them.
But this is hardly an ideal solution. Often, even the smallest sizes don’t fit, and even if they do, the cut is not made with the female form in mind, meaning that the suits are merely too big in some sections and much too large in others. And while there are plenty of wetsuits, BCDs, and even regulators made specifically for women, the industry assumption seems to be that women only dive in tropical waters, so they have no need for drysuits. This is inaccurate, of course, and now there’s an option aside from custom-made drysuits.
Whites Manufacturing, a producer based in Canada, and part of the Aqua Lung family, has created the Fusion Essence, a drysuit created specifically for women. Ultimately, what sets this drysuit apart is the fit; the Fusion series has always been known for quite a snug fit and adding a number of industry firsts to their range in an attempt to make a drysuit that is warm, flexible and streamlined. Featuring all the benefits of the Fusion series, such as the multi-layer DryCORE design, but tailored with the female form in mind, this drysuit also features increased stretch compared to other drysuits, allowing for a much snugger fit without sacrificing mobility. This body hugging fit also means less air trapped inside the suit, which decreases the buoyancy that a drysuit typically ads. This, in turn, means less additional weight is needed for the dive.
The other features of the Fusion Essence are fairly standard for drysuit designs. The suit has a back zip, leaving the front uncluttered. It has a basic suspender system, allowing the diver to peel the suit’s top off before and after dives. All valves are Apeks Twilight. Less standard, but Fusion staples, are the zippers in the neoprene covers that runs along the wrists, making it easier to don gloves and secure them between the waterproof cuff and neoprene cover. This in turn ensures less water flow in the gloves (if you’re using a wetsuit glove), which will keep your hands warmer.
The features of the drysuit, the quality of the material, and the design all combine with a very reasonable price to make this a strong addition to the drysuit market.
Of course the human body is not uniform, so while a number of adjustments have been made to gear this suit towards women, there’s no guarantee that it will fit every woman out there. I’ve known female divers who have been able to find drysuits made for male divers that fit perfectly, just as I’m sure there’ll be female divers for whom the Fusion Essence is just not the right fit. But, if you are one of the many female divers who struggle to find a properly fitting drysuit, the Whites Fusion Essence is definitely a good place to start looking.