A few months ago, I was carrying out a recreational dive at Wraysbury, the inland dive-centre. At the water’s edge, I pulled on one glove, cinched up the Velcro strap, then tried to don the other. I was having a bad glove day. Yvonne finally wrestled it onto my hand and strapped me in. I stood there looking silly while she did it.
I was never a fan of gloves. When I taught professionally in the UK, a lot of my diving was inland, in temperatures that hung around 6°, dipping to 1 or 2° in winter. There’s no option but to wear gloves. Eventually the cold numbs your fingers, even in 5mm wet gloves, and I struggled with dry gloves, because while they kept one hand warmer, one of them always leaked.
So, until the water drops below 12°, I normally don’t use them. I’ve done a lot of diving in that temperature band, so maybe that’s why, now that I’m older, my hands cramp in winter as I type.
O’Three Full Flex Gloves are just 2mm thick, so are really designed for warmish to temperate conditions. There are no straps to do up. Just slide your hand in through the cuff and you’re done.
Testing in Gibraltar, lows were around 14°. It was only when I pulled off one glove during a deco-stop, after an hour-long dive, that I appreciated how cold 14° is, and how much warmer the O’Threes kept my hands.
Gloves are a trade-off between warmth and dexterity. I found that I could set the menus on my amphibious digital compact camera easily, even though they are small and closely grouped.
The thin, supple neoprene means that you can also clench your fist – to hold a torch or camera, for instance – and not feel that the glove is forcefully trying to unroll your fingers.
Wearing gloves in tropical waters is often frowned upon, and I agree with that view. The concern is that divers who trust that their hands are protected will handle coral and marine life to its detriment.
The O’Three gloves have light reinforcing to the palm and undersides of fingers and thumbs, and are double-lined but (and I didn’t test this – health & safety) high-five a sea-urchin and you’ll know it. What the gloves will provide is abrasion-resistance when climbing shotlines, and sting protection against jellyfish.
Simple and effective. Highly recommended.
TESTER> Steve Warren
MATERIAL> 2mm neoprene, double-lined, polyurethane palm
SIZES> S, M, L
DIVER GUIDE> 10/10