DUI INNOVATIONS: How the Self-Don Drysuit Design Was Born
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One of the first drysuits zipped from back to front.[/caption]
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Shoulder zippers and oral inflators were a standard industry design.[/caption]
Necessity is the Mother of Invention. How the Self-Don Drysuit Design Was Born
Written by Susan Long, President & CEO DUI
Thirty years ago, drysuits were used mostly by commercial divers, and a few intrepid wreck divers. That’s because drysuit designs back then were bulky, stiff, hard to get into and just miserable to wear.
In the late 70’s, Diving Unlimited International (DUI) began designing drysuits as most wetsuit manufacturing was moving overseas. But these designs needed to offer divers something new and different – a drysuit that was lighter, better fitting and most importantly, one that a diver could put on and take off without assistance.
Original drysuit designs had a zipper across the back of the shoulders. This made it impossible to zip yourself unless you were a circus acrobat. So DUI research and development designers tried a design with a zipper in the front that started on the upper left shoulder and ended at the right hip.
It was a bit of a struggle to get on, but it worked. However, getting it off was nearly impossible. In complete frustration, the designers decided to CUT the suit. Starting at the hips, they made a complete circle. As they started to pull the suit over the top of their head, a new idea was born – by adding another 9” in torso length, about the length of the average head, the drysuit could be easily removed without help!
And that’s how it happened. DUI was the first to manufacture self-don drysuits, patenting the design in 1984. The patent lasted 17 years and upon expiration, it was immediately copied by other drysuit manufacturers. DUI’s self-don telescoping torso is one of the most copied designs in diving to this day.
DUI continually innovates drysuit systems to improve the diving experience, with 24 patents awarded in the last 50 years.
Originally published in North American Dive News
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Drysuits have come a long way. Divers today can pick models, sizing, fabrics, colors, boots, pockets and more.[/caption]