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The wetsuit/drysuit debate

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Tom183
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Postby Tom183 » Tue Oct 09, 2007 12:01 am

It takes some time to figure out the layers, there's no quick and dirty rules (except: NO COTTON!) but it's definitely better to have a little extra rather than not enough, just in case you have to swim in - if you need to cool off, a little dunking now and then should do it. A mix of tops/bottoms can be useful to cover a wider range of conditions and still be "just right". And if you're not breaking a little sweat setting up, you're probably under-dressed for the water unless your hood isn't on yet.

For me, if the wind chill factor is roughly the same as the water temp, then I tend to wear about the same layers under the suit that I would wear under my jeans / windbreaker if I was just walking around - although with a good hood, I'll actually be a bit warmer in the drysuit.

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Postby cram » Mon Oct 15, 2007 6:15 pm

dpca10 wrote: After surfing in Santa Cruz last weekend i'm reconsidering the Surf. Although I did try the new top of the line Xcel wetsuit and was sweating my ass off in the changing room. Too much good technology and no way to really try it out.


I just started using the Ocean Rodeo Pyro Surf. It is surreal at first, but so comfortable and warm. So far I have stayed dry in some fairly decent wipe-outs, managed to duck-dive no problem, and stayed warm. Paddling is easy. I'm really stoked I chose this suit for winter surfing in BC.

There is no debate for me during the winter in BC--Drysuit and comfort wins hands down.

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Postby gonewiththewind » Mon Oct 15, 2007 6:40 pm

Had a Pyro and used it in the coldest winter water in North Carolina. Didn't really like it in the end. Colder temperatures - maybe. But not in my situation. Would much rather have the freedom of movement and warmth of a well-fitting 3/2 wetsuit (yes, you read that right) than the baggy restrictiveness of a drysuit. Do you really want to feel like a snowboarder when you're kiteboarding? Baggy ankles catch water when kiting. Simply walking around eventually wore a hole between the knees which leaked water and would fill up the leg. Plus, it sucks having to wash multiple layers of clothes after every session. The special clothing layers add to the overall hassle of getting in and out of the suit also. Wetsuit is much simpler. Not getting into a wet wetsuit if you're going back on the water on the same day is a nice counterpoint though.

All that said, worrying about safety in cold water because of a ripped drysuit is kind of like worrying about being seatbelted into a car in case of a fire. It sort of misses the point.

cram
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Postby cram » Mon Oct 15, 2007 7:35 pm

I wouldn't use a drysuit if my thickest suit was a 3.2mm. I actually like getting wet, but hate going numb.

I am comparing to 5/4 & /6/4mm suits with attached hoods in regions where you do go numb. Warmth becomes a an issue in these conditions.

Staying warm around these parts is a neccessity as it is unpleasant to have a mild case of hyperthermia everytime you have a winter session.

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Tom183
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Postby Tom183 » Mon Oct 15, 2007 11:51 pm

I agree with the guys who say a wetsuit is better in 3:2 conditions - I still have one and use it, until conditions are too cold for it. Then the drysuit really shows its advantages.

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Postby DirtyDish » Tue Oct 16, 2007 12:00 pm

Does anyone ever wear a thin wetsuit under their drysuit?

I wonder if it is too restrictive to move?

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Postby cram » Tue Oct 16, 2007 2:44 pm

Just wondering----why would you wear something that was designed to keep a thin layer of warm water over your skin under a suit that is designed to stay dry?

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Postby DirtyDish » Tue Oct 16, 2007 3:20 pm

I was thinking that the sweat that is given off will warm under the wetsuit and keep you warmer.

Sweat for insulation, ew kinda, but warmth is what we are after.

Seems that if you layer too thick you sweat, might as well use it????

Just a thought.

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KiteSmurfer
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Postby KiteSmurfer » Tue Oct 16, 2007 3:51 pm

Just wondering----why would you wear something that was designed to keep a thin layer of warm water over your skin under a suit that is designed to stay dry?


A wetsuit will keep you warmer when you are dry underneath than when there is water inside.

Air is a better insulator than water. Also, any water that gets in the suit has to be warmed up by your body, thereby losing heat.

I have an oneil fluid semi-dry (drysuit ziper on back) this keeps out most of the water from the torso area and keeps me warmer than my thicker wetsuit did.

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Postby zfennell » Tue Oct 16, 2007 4:43 pm

....
A wetsuit will keep you warmer when you are dry underneath than when there is water inside.

Air is a better insulator than water. Also, any water that gets in the suit has to be warmed up by your body, thereby losing heat.

....


i agree.
any fluid that is heated by your body is a net heat loss.

sweating, pissing, even breathing is heating something to 98F then expelling it into the environment.

-bill


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