(DiverWire) It’s not a dive skin and it’s not a wetsuit — the Lavacore line of exposure suits has the characteristics of both, and actually a bit more. Brought to you by the manufacturers of Oceanic, AERIS and Hollis Scuba Gear, Lavacore is designed to give scuba divers “the best of both worlds”.
Lavacore changes the status quo and adds some “heat” to the wetsuit and drysuit world – literally. Lavacore is designed to be lightweight like a traditional dive skin, but the soft, fleece lining inside provides an extra level of comfort. In essence, it works like a wetsuit to let water in, but unlike a skin, the water is retained adding warmth and comfort. For those wearing a Lavacore suit, it was not only warm, but comfortable without all the “bulk” and added buoyancy of a traditional wetsuit.
Designed by water sports professionals who know the demands and challenges of delivering consistent exposure protection, the Lavacore line can easily be worn as a primary exposure suit in warmer waters or as a supplemental undergarment (underneath a wetsuit or a base layer for a drysuit) in colder waters. Lavacore suits are made from an exclusive POLYTHERM™ material. This tri-laminate material retains water next to the body, allows the fabric to breathe, and yet resists the wind and other natural forces that lead to heat loss.
Divers we spoke to also liked the flexible designs and combinations that Lavacore has made available. The many different styles include full suits, tops, shorts, long-sleeve and short-sleeve options and even matching vests, hoods, and socks. “Female divers like the two-piece Lavacore option which enables them to relax in between dives without having to deal with heavy wetsuits,” said Mark Moran, Academy of Scuba Master Instructor.
During some recent test dives at the Bonne Terre Mines (just outside of St. Louis, MO), the Academy of Scuba staff discovered what everyone is talking about first-hand. The water temperatures in the mine are a stable 56 to 58 degrees. Dives can last upwards of an hour, and generally, you do your surface at the water’s edge (60 degree air temperature) in lieu of walking up and down the many stairs to the surface. With this much cold weather, even the heartiest cold water diver will feel some chill doing multiple dives. For Academy of Scuba, the Bonne Terre Mines is an annual trek. However, this most recent year, many of the divers were wearing Lavacore for the first time. The results: Staggering!
This year, people who felt chilled or mildly cold doing repetitive dives last year were more than comfortable wearing a Lavacore full suit underneath their wetsuit this year. Several of the drysuit divers were wearing it as their sole base layer and actually had to wear their drysuits around their waist to “cool down” during surface intervals. One diver, who the year previous got so cold had to cancel a couple of dives, was not only able to complete all the dives this year, they also came out of a 60 minute dive stating they weren’t cold at all.
Conclusion: Whether you wear it under your wetsuit or drysuit as a base layer to help stay warmer, or you are using it as a sole layer of protection in warmer water, Lavacore will help you stay warmer … longer! Diving is more enjoyable and safer with Lavacore.