Diving Unlimited International is one of the leading drysuit manufacturers for both recreational and professional diving. Dick Long, the founder of DUI, used to struggle to stay warm during his younger years and started constructing custom wetsuits. His search for comfort continued as divers explored further and deeper, and as recreational diving became more popular. Starting as a wetsuit retailer, DUI has grown into a family-owned drysuit enterprise orchestrated by a team of divers, engineers, technicians, and specialists. They have been fabricating innovative ways to keep divers warm and confident underwater for over fifty years. Susan Long, president of DUI, invited me to meet their team and see what goes into making and repairing suits!
Fortunately, their office and factory are based in San Diego, and only 25 minutes away from my favorite dive sites! This makes it convenient to randomly stop by with questions, rush an order for pick up, drop off a repair, or take a manufacturer tour with my buddies. The DUI team has always welcomed me with a smile and are personable with each customer they work with. Their goal is to keep us diving … year round!
After seeing the entire process of a single suit being made, I have a new outlook on DUI drysuits and understand why they come with a higher price tag. Much of the detailed work that goes into a quality drysuit is done by an expert who has been at DUI for over 10 years. Throughout the tour, Susan introduced me to the specialists who cut, glue, sew, inspect, and repair the sealed products we take underwater. She also pointed out where they upgraded technology and factory layout over the years. She is always looking for avenues where she may be able to lower costs for customers but not degrade the product.
DUI sets a high standard for the fabrics used, and then select the colors and patterns based off of testing and quality management over the last 30 years. Prior to even making a suit, DUI technicians test the impact of natural elements and diver wear n’ tear on the materials. They do this by laying several strips of fabrics out in the sun, tumbling boots in a cement mixer, and even have their own zipper tester. After each suit is made or repaired, they are sealed tight and submerged in the Test Tanks for leak checks. Since DUI has implemented their zip seals, there is less of a need for seal replacements on strictly DUI drysuits. Susan thought it would be a great idea to offer their quality repair and seals for all drysuit divers.
I want to thank Diving Unlimited International for letting me behind the factory doors. It was an awesome experience getting to know DUI even better and having the opportunity to share it with others. I am excited to see what innovative ideas they have in store for us in the future.