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XCEL TDC Wetsuit Review

Even though the XCEL TDC wetsuits have stopped diving, I would like to talk about my first experience with the 5mm TDC wetsuit I just bought.

First of all, let me talk about this; For the last 10 years, my dive suit preference has been changing between a 3mm wet suit and a dry suit. If the water temperature was above 18 centigrade degrees, I would wear 3mm wet clothes, and if it was below, I would switch to drysuit. As a matter of fact, in seasons when the water is below 18 centigrade degrees, the air temperatures are often low and windy. This is of course a generalization. Drysuits are very logical choice in such weather, even if the water is relatively, not very cold (between 18-15 degrees), because the weather will be cold and windy after diving... At the same time, a 3mm suit is thin neoprene so you can easily wear it.

Let's just say that I had a feeling that it was not right to use drysuits so intensely. I think the reason is the economy and the difficulty of reaching the product. Not only in Turkey, but also all around the world, the problems experienced in production and supply chains after the pandemic have apparently hit the diving industry as well, and we cannot access diving equipment as easily as before. On top of that, we know that the strict import control applied to textile products in Turkey also affects the diving suit industry. In short, I started to think that I should not use my drysuit as often as before and not wear them out. On the other hand, drysuits really have a lot of "fancy" to-do's like needing more weight, using large fins (because of the feet of my dry suit), etc. I said, let's go back to cold water diving with a wet suit.

I started looking into models called a thick wet suit or semi-dry suit for use in cold waters. After a short research on the internet, I started to browse the shops selling diving equipment. I tried on a 5mm thick suit from XCEL when I stopped by the Deepstore (local store). Of course, it was a choice that did not fit my starting point, I wanted a suit with at least 6.5 mm thickness so that I could use it comfortably in cold waters. Let's see that the human brain works very differently, sometimes you like it or not. I think I liked the type the most, and then it's very comfortable to wear and take off.

I knew a little bit about XCEL wetsuits, I saw one or two people using them on dive boats. Of course, that wasn't enough and I started researching what XCEL was when there were diving brands like Cressi, Beuchat, Mares, Scubapro etc. that we know...

XCEL is basically a surf suit brand and started to produce diving suits as well. However, I look at websites selling global diving equipment, blogs and forums. There is neither a place that sells XCEL nor any detailed information about it. Usually the information is more on surf suits. Moreover, I couldn't find any information about the technology they call TDC, which they claim to use in the inner lining of the suit by pulverizing 12 kinds of minerals at a micron level and increasing the thermal insulation. What happened is also on surf suits, and none of them has a technical explanation. Rather, this method was used for various thermal insulation purposes in industry, and it was expected to be effective in diving suits. This is the summary of the company's staff. There is no information that it provides how much thermal insulation in a scuba dive and how much extends the diving time compared to other suits. Let me tell you the information I learned right after; XCEL stops producing diving wetsuits. After learning this, everything became clearer. It seems that XCEL took one look at the diving industry and gave up. Despite all these negative indicators, I said that I should keep it in my closet instead of staying in my mind. Actually, I just went and bought the suit because I loved it, and I bought a suit that neither fits my starting point nor can I find technically exact information. Typical example of decision mechanism, I was going to decide first and then make excuses somehow...

As soon as I got the dress, in the first weeks of March, I wanted to go diving and try on the XCEL suit. Due to its proximity to Istanbul, we made a one-day plan with friends to Saros and hit the road. The air temperature is 11 centigrade degrees, and the wind speed is around 21-23 km / h. In other words, there was a sweet harsh weather conditions. Anyone who knows Saros knows that we were expecting very cold water in this season, so that it was around 14 centigrade degrees. With some trepidation, I still decided to take my XCEL TDC 5mm wet suit with me. I wondered if I would be comfortable with a Lavacore underwear inside as well.

When we first arrived at the diving spot, there were heavy winds blowing, we said we came here and got ready quickly. I was able to wear the suit very comfortably, similar to my experience in the Deepstore store. My first impression on this subject is very positive, it is a very flexible and comfortable suit. The zipper on the back is also very easy to reach and close on your own. Since two of the other friends entered in drysuits we two people in wet suits waited for them to enter the water and get ready. I also took my underwater camera with me. If I get too cold, I hope that maybe I will worry about shooting and forget. When the friends were ready, I entered the water (from the shore), and for a long time the water almost never touched my body. Without the feeling of water seeping into me, of course, water entered between the suit and my body slowly, but I can say that it is quite a small amount.

Dalış, elbise, ıslak elbise, sualtı, kuru elbise, XCEL, TDC
Lucky diver diving hot in drysuit.

It gave a rather relaxed feeling than I expected at the beginning of the dive. I really liked its underwater mobility. It didn't bother me in any way while accessing the valve of my air cylinders, and I was able to sit next to the rocks under the rocks so that I could comfortably take my frame while shooting underwater video. The water temperature was 14 degrees when I checked it on my dive computer. Of course, being comfortable in thermal sense at the beginning of the dive didn't make much sense. It was necessary to see both its deep and long-term effects. As a matter of fact, even at the end of the 57-minute dive towards 28 meters, I was not yet in a state to say that I was cold. It will be assertive, but maybe my thermal comfort would compete with a dry suit dive without wearing a very good underwear. In short, I don't know if it's a sign of its TDC feature or because it wraps the body very well due to its flexibility, but its thermal insulation ability also got full marks from me. Of course, being able to take off the suit quickly after going out helped, of course, I got into my dry clothes without the wind.

In short, I liked the dress very much, XCEL's 5mm TDC suit made me very happy both in terms of cosmetics, flexibility and thermal insulation. If we say what I didn't like, the protective pads on the knee section were preferred as a thick additional neoprene fabric instead of plastic material. Both cosmetically this bothers me a little, and in terms of durability, it leaves question marks in my mind in long-term use. Similarly, we will see how long it will retain its flexibility in long-term use. My expectation from a diving suit is that it can last at least 7 years. I will try to add my thoughts here again over time. Thanks again to the Deepstore family and Derin Sevinçli for their objective guidance in the selection of diving equipment.

The only bad news is, as I said at the beginning, we will no longer be able to see XCEL's scuba diving suits on the market...



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