Speardiver vs. Mako wetsuit

  • Hello,

    I am new to freediving and may start spearfishing later on down the road once I become proficient. I recently moved to San Diego, CA which is what spurred on my interest in novice freediving in order to enjoy the ocean wildlife here. As the water got colder through the winter I was no longer able to bear the low to sub 60 degree water without a wetsuit. I would like to be able to dive all year round and am interested in getting my first wetsuit. So far I have narrowed my needs to:


    open cell

    two-piece (jacket + high waist bottoms)

    Other than that, I of course need it to fit well. I am 5' 9.5" and 150lbs, athletic/thin build, size 30 waist. I have keyed in on two highly recommended wetsuits in the $200-$250 range:

    For $220

    The Speardiver Pacific 5mm - Medium


    (Size medium: 5'6" - 5'8", 150lbs - 180lbs)


    For $250



    (Size medium: 5'4" - 5'9", 145lbs - 160lbs)


    I fit squarely in the medium size range for the Mako, but am a little tall and almost thin for the speardiver. However, Dan promptly responded to my concern and said I was a medium. SO, assuming both fit well (anyone with similar measurements chime in!), I am left with the performance and durability comparison between these similarly priced wetsuits.


    Mako proudly touts the use of Yamamoto 39, whereas Speardiver implies they choose another material for more durability/less compression.

    - I do not have the knowledge or experience to know which of these I would benefit most from.


    Mako does have a few seeming benefits over the Speardiver, namely the ankle, wrist, and face cuffs/seals as well as the integrated knife pouch.

    - I defer to people who have used both to tell me if the added seals on the Mako are a noticeable improvement.

    I'm sure that either would fit my needs very well, but they seemed different enough that I would like to get the advice of experienced divers who may have used both and could give me some pros/cons or an outright recommendation.

    Thanks for your time,


  • Welcome to the forum Ben.

    The ankle, wrist, and face seal you mentioned, I'm assuming you got this idea from "the best/the worst " marketing image from the Mako link you posted. That shit made me laugh. Anyone who uses open cell suits can tell you the sealing effect comes from the interior open cell neoprene that's properly fitted. And the "seal" happens throughout the wetsuit not just at the openings.

    Further, If the exterior black parts of the mako suit in those high contact areas is smooth skin, then that's bad because smooth skin is very sensitive to tears. It's a must to have durable Lycra material on the exterior protecting those areas. If the black exterior parts are Lycra lined neoprene (which I doubt, mako probably uses cheaper less stretchy nylon) then it's marketing ploy, implying it's proof of a better seal. I don't like those mind games (typical mako/Dano), and I don't like the aesthetic of black termination on the sleeves, ankles and hood. A camo suit is a camo suit.

    To me personally the knife pocket on the mako suit is a bad feature. First it assumes placement for the knife on the thigh. Most divers put the knife on the belt or calf (always inner calf to prevent entanglement). Second, there's no way it will correctly accommodate the variety of knives/sizes divers are using, and the different ways the knives are secured in the sheath (think accessibility in moments of emergency) . Third, taking out and replacing the knife puts repetitive stress on the stitching of the knife pocket and the open cell neoprene in that area, it will cause it to fail prematurely. Fourth, I'm pretty sure you'll poke the suit at some point replacing the knife in the suit.

    On the surface these are added value features but in reality it's just a mess. Like snorkels with purge valves and dry systems. I had to comment on the obvious, I'll let others speak to the real world usability of the Mako suits.

    Here's a link to Speardiver wetsuit reviews if you haven't seen it already.

  • Thanks for the response Dan, your points seem intuitive. It hadnt really clicked with me that the seals dont add much other than a wear point. The pocket may be nice for other things as well (dive light etc.) But you are right that it will cause the internal fabric to wear out faster with repeated holstering of items directly in the pocket. All good input!


  • I bought a 3mm Mako yamamoto suit because of the price. First time switching from scuba suits. After one summer of diving every weekend a seam stitching started to unravel and then the seam opened. I repaired it with a patch. After 3-4 weeks another seam opened in a different spot. I repaired that too. Now the mako suit has a few patches and still holding but it's thin now. It must have compressed, even though I don't go deeper than 45-50ft. I'm just trying to get use out of it this winter and then I'll keep it as a summer suit because it's not warm any more. For next winter I'll probably buy a speardiver suit. My dive buddy has one, he told me for 4 years already and it looks like new.

    Edited 2 times, last by brandon28 ().

  • Thanks Brandon! Very insightful. I think I will pull the trigger on a Speardiver tonight, if anything for the 15% price difference. Will report my first time wetsuit experience!

  • I've used Speardiver wetsuits and they are very comfortable and durable: I had one for almost 5 years using it twice a week and it held very well. The Mako seal thing is pure marketing. As Dan said, the open cell itself does the sealing.

    Last but not least, Yamamoto 39 is the cheap version of Yamamoto. It compresses quite fast. My recommendation between those two would be a Speardiver Wetsuit.

    Keep in mind that you'll need some lube to put on your open cell wetsuit. But that's not a problem. You'll get used to it and it must be done just once, because the wetsuit is so comfortable that you don't need to take it off until you are done diving.

    Marco Melis

    A bad day fishing is ALWAYS better than a good day at work.

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