Re: Wetsuits: Who was/is M&B?

Scuba Diving on the Great Escape Southern California Live-Aboard Dive Boat

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Posted by Andy S on October 18, 2009 at 23:03:05:

In Reply to: Wetsuits posted by TDB on October 16, 2009 at 21:17:36:

M&B were Merle and Bess - two ladies who were old when I was young in the early 70’s. They were delightful and sadly they are long gone. They used to make custom made wet suits in their garage. I think it was in S. Paramount. They measured you, they cut the material and put it together right there with the help of family members. Meryl and Bess made the very best suits in their day and made most of the custom suits for the commercial ab divers in their day - there was no significant urchin diving business at that time. They were legendary as the best suit makers at the time - a bit of diving lore. My favorite M&B story is when a friend wanted a crotch zipper put in (to this day he won’t take a leak in his suit) and one of these grandmother’s looked at him and said: “Oh, you want a sissy zipper”.

Don Hall, a grandson, and his dog, are now “M&B”. The business is in a small store in Long Beach @ 4414 Village Road, Long Beach 90808. Don measures you, orders the material, cuts it and puts the suit together. He uses Yamamoto rubber and will make what ever you want. Even though there is no middleman to mark up the price, his suits are not cheap. Many of us have used M&B suits for years and swear by them. Don is a “free spirit” and if the surf is up, you won’t find him in his shop. Sometimes he will turn out a suit right away and at other times, if the surf is good, it is going to take longer. If you use Don, I strongly recommend you call to be sure what day/time he’ll be in the shop and have him take your measurements rather than taking your own.

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