The fourth wetsuit of the Winter Wetsuits Dossier, and the first one made with open cell interior and smooth exterior neoprene, is the Picasso Thermal Skin. To follow: Cressi Tracina, Salvimar Nebula, Sporasub J55 and Mares Squadra.
The Portoguese company Picasso has chosen the Thermal Skin to participate to the dossier and test of Winter wetsuits; an open cell interior and smooth exterior wetsuit definitely focused on thermal insulation and comfort, but less adapt to protection against abrasion and shocks.
The Picasso Thermal Skin received by AP is in the 7 mm thick jacket and trousers version. The open cell interior and smooth exterior neoprene version, together with reduced external protections, has the main aim of achieving maximum softness and reduction to the minimum quantity of fabric parts, that could reduce thermal insulation and remain wet during transfers out of water, such as with the dinghy.
Materials and protections
The open cell interior and smooth exterior neoprene of the Picasso Thermal Skin is made in Japan, an aspect that should guarantee a very high quality. Such material, for sure soft, does not result in a too delicate compound, and touching and extending it, it seems to offer sufficient resistance.
The external smooth surface is made camouflage thanks to hand painting, that has a brownbase on the wetsuit of the test, but is also available with red and green bases.
External protections are limited to the knees, and even these (made of Supratex) are quite small, demonstrating the will of Picasso to reduce to the minimum the parts with external (but also internal) lining, that make the wetsuit heavier and soak with water that dries up slowly when in open air. This, evidently, strongly improves thermal insulation out of water, where the almost 100% smooth external surface of the Thermal Skin dries up very quickly.
On the other hand, the reduced dimension protections of the knees and none on elbows determine that the ambush technique, especially in shallow water with some waves, and spearfishing in the burrow, can wear the wetsuit and even, in extreme situations, tear it, especially in those unprotected areas like the elbows often used as supports for the stakeout. Still, as said, the neoprene of the Picasso Thermal Skin is not excessively delicate, so such potentially critical aspect is actually most likely to be turn up in the longer term. It is true, finally, that the wetsuit from Picasso is quite an extreme product for experienced spearos.
The sternal protection is made with an additional layer of neoprene, whose maximum dimensions are equal to 16 cm in width and 21 cm in height, positioned internally to better adhere to the chest and, maintaining the same philosophy of avoiding linings, no external additional cover is present.
Finishes and cuts
Finishes of the Picasso Thermal Skin are of very good quality and show no areas with inaccurate bondings. The smooth folded neoprene on every edge of the wetsuit is surely a good solution, even though it must be said that this is quite mandatory with such kind of neoprene, else it would easily tear in such areas. No differentiated thickness neoprene areas are present, but it is also true that with open cell interior and smooth exterior neoprene comfort is already at high levels. Face contour band is preformed.
Excellent is the absence of seams on the chin, as on all the Thermal Skin wetsuit in fact, with the exception of the lower edge of the jacket, which is actually reinforced with fabric neoprene and an additional lining to obtain a stronger area on the castor tail and the inferior part of the jacket. An additional (and last) seam is present on the fabric neoprene of the stressed area of the inseams of the trousers.
Legs and arms are strongly preformed, and also in the area of the jacket just under the arms, two long cloves of neoprene are present to give shape to the jacket and optimize adherence to the body for best thermal insulation.
The lower part of the jacket has internal lining only in the area of the two buttons and the castor tail, with the aim, once again, of having the warmest wetsuit possible, sealing at best the closing of the jacket on the trousers. The waist is among the highest of the wetsuits analyzed in the dossier, with the measure inseams-waist edge equal to 46 cm frontally and 48.5 cm on the rear.
It is not innovative, but surely the solution with the big (4 cm) neoprene “buttons” covering the triple joint bondings frontally and at the back of the underarms is something we like a lot. Such solution in fact strengthens those areas that usually tend to be weaker.
To read and print the Picasso Thermal Skin 7 mm wetsuit chart click here.
Plus and minus
– For a use in Winter (cold water) the solution with open cell interior and smooth exterior neoprene and reduction to the minimum of linings is very valid
– Good reinforcements of triple joint bondings with neoprene “buttons”
– Soft but resistant neoprene
– The absence of any protection on the elbows can be a little bit critical in the ambush technique in shallow water and wavy sea
– No elastic bands to hang trousers
Price on the web
The possibility to buy separately one or both between jacket and trousers, giving the chance to choose different sizes and thicknesses for the two parts is excellent.