Mark Evans tries out the Santi E.Motion Plus Standard.
Santi E.Motion Plus Standard (SRP: £1,500) / Made to measure (SRP: £1,750)
Mark Evans: Polish-brand Santi Diving are rapidly building a name for themselves for drysuits – and associated accessories, such as undersuits and heating systems – that exude quality, toughness and well-thought-out designs. The E.Motion PLUS drysuit on test here is designed to be the ultimate combination of the flexibility and lightness of the E.Motion Ripstop quality, but with the durability and comfort of the E.Lite. It is immediately recognisable in the Santi line-up as it comes in a unique colour combination of black, grey and silver.
The E.Motion PLUS design and innovative use of different fabrics in different areas is what enables the suit to effectively gain the best of both worlds. The upper part and top front of the legs are made of flexible and lightweight 235 g/m2 Ripstop trilaminate fabric, while the back of the legs, at the belly and lower back area, elbows, crotch pad and lower part of the front legs utilise the exclusive E.Lite trilaminated fabric of 535 g/m2 for maximum protection where needed.
The drysuit is equipped as standard with the innovative and comfortable Santi Smart Seals system – soft rings that allow fast and easy seal exchange for any seal you like, or have to hand, so no more cancelled dives due to ripping a seal right at an inopportune moment. Just keep a couple of spare seals in your kit bag and you are sorted.
The suit is also fitted with a YKK Aquaseal plastic zipper, which is durable but also light and flexible. It is highly resistant to dirt and needs only minimal care of the docking area. Best of all, if you are a bit old school and still slightly dubious about plastic zippers, Santi offers a two-year warranty on the zipper.
And unusually, but for good reason – for better and most convenient outlet valve placement on the arm – the zipper is installed in this model from the right shoulder to the left hip. If you are used to the normal routing from the left shoulder to the right hip, it does take a bit of getting used to – a couple of times, I instinctively reached up to my left shoulder to pull down the zip! – but you soon get familiar with it. Inside the suit, at the base of the braces, is a handy zippered pocket, which is ideal for stashing car keys and money for post-dive snacks. It is ideally positioned so that when you want to get into it, you can just pull up the main drysuit zip by 30cm or so and then pop your hand through access the pocket. No more faffing around having to completely get out of your drysuit when you remember you need to get something out of your vehicle, but have already locked it and put your keys into an undersuit pocket.
The same as any other drysuit in the Santi family, the E.Motion PLUS is equipped with two big cargo pockets with bungee strings to mount any slates, etc. In this model, both pockets have a useful additional zipper-fastened pocket in the main flap, which is a handy size for a back-up torch.
Down at the business end, the drysuit is equipped as standard with Santi’s comfortable but robust Flexisole boots, which allow plenty of freedom of movement in the ankles for minor fin movements underwater, but are durable enough to handle the roughest terrain.
The suit has a hood collar made from 7/9mm soft neoprene, which paired well with the supplied 9mm hood. This felt very thick at first, but it is made from super-soft neoprene and is exceptionally warm – just the ticket when temperatures get into low single digits.
As with a previously tested E.Lite, the E.Motion PLUS is exceedingly comfortable, offering little resistance to movement, but it still feels like it could put up with whatever you can throw at it. Another superb suit from the Polish drysuit masters.
NB: The E.Motion PLUS comes in 16 mens sizes in standard and 12 ladies sizes in standard, with MTM/Custom and an additional choice of options available. It is also possible to customise any standard size with up to four slight amendments.