On a recent trip to the Sea of Cortez and Guadalupe Island to dive with great whites, I tested out some new Cressi gear. Of everything I tested, I was most anxious to try out the Bahia Lady, Cressi’s new 2.5mm wetsuit. While it wasn’t warm enough for Guadalupe Island, where water temperatures topped out at 67 degrees F (19 C), it was absolutely suitable for the warm waters of the Sea of Cortez — and I run very, very cold when I dive. After a few days in the Bahia, my only wish is that it also came in a 5mm so I would never have to wear another wetsuit.
Cressi used double-lined, UV-protected neoprene when creating the Bahia, and while I’m not entirely sure what the means in terms of construction, I do know it makes the suit incredibly strong, soft and easy on the skin. Double-lined neoprene also resists compression at depth.
“Aquastop” cuff seals on the wrists and ankles also do a great job of keeping water exchange to a minimum and help you slide the suit on and off easily. There’s durable rubber padding on the knees and all the way down the shins as well for added protection in high-wear areas. Finally, the front-entry zipper makes for a nice change from traditional back-zip suits.
What I love about the Bahia
The first thing you’ll notice about the Bahia is the front zip. Back zips tend to be longer and thus are meant to make the suit easier to get into and out of because they’re longer. And while this is true, the front-zip on the Bahia was my favorite feature of the suit. I was able to easily and quickly put the suit on and take it off between dives, and the zipper did not interfere with any of my other gear.
The neoprene itself was another highlight of the Bahia. I can’t remember if I’ve ever had a suit with such a soft, flexible feel, but the double-lined neoprene here made the wetsuit fit snugly yet comfortably, and it slid on with no red-faced struggling yanking or fingernail breaking. The light, breathable neoprene also dried quite a bit between dives, making it far more pleasant to put on a damp suit for the second dive of the day. The suit fit perfectly, other than being a tad long, sliding on like a glove.
Finally, the wrist and ankle ‘Aquastop’ cuffs kept the water exchange inside the suit to a minimum. My biggest concern with the Bahia was the thickness — at only 2.5mm it’s only half as thick as my usual 5mmm, which I wear even in warm water. I credit the wrist and ankle seals for keeping me plenty warm though, along with the double-lined neoprene. The only time I was chilled at all in the Bahia is when we remained stationary underwater for a lengthy time — when finning along, I was perfectly toasty.
Cressi Bahia Wetsuit
- I love the front-zip on this suit. It does not interfere with your BCD and you won’t even notice it when diving. The front-zip also makes it incredibly easy to don and doff.
- The wrist and ankle seals really do work to keep water exchange to a minimum. I credit these seals for keeping me much warmer than I’d usually be in a 2.5 mm wetsuit.
- The anatomical cut of the women’s suit means that it fit me perfectly, aside from being a little long. It was so easy to glide in and out of the Bahia that I didn’t even dread putting on the damp suit for dive No. 2.
- The double-lined neoprene was soft against my skin and, again, made the suit very easy to put on.
- Finally, the lightweight Bahia packs up easily and is great for travel.
- My only real complaint with this suit is that it doesn’t also (yet?) come in a 5mm version. The Bahia only 2.5mm. I chill very easily and, unless the water is bathtub warm, I’ll get cold just wearing the Bahia. It’s almost worth it though in terms of suit flexibility and comfort.
- I’d also love if women’s wetsuit manufacturers began producing suits in different lengths. I’m quite petite and this suit — and every other wetsuit — I’ve ever worn tends to bunch up behind my knees.
In short, if you usually dive in a 3mm or are looking for a light wetsuit for warm water, you can’t go wrong with the Bahia. The comfort, ease of donning and doffing, and great packability make it an exceptional choice for this winter’s tropical vacation.