Contact   Imprint   Advertising   Guidelines

Drysuits - A Guide

forum for kitesurfers


User avatar
ORSales
Very Frequent Poster
Posts: 812
Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2005 6:29 pm

Drysuits - A Guide

Postby ORSales » Sat Sep 26, 2015 12:47 am

With fall officially here, I thought a drysuit primer might be in order. First things first, I sell drysuits so I'll get that out of the way. That being said, I've sold them for 14 years so here's a break down if you're considering a suit this fall.

Air / Water Temps
It used to be that drysuits were only useful in the depth of winter as they were PU lined nylon that didn't breath and offered very little in the way of thermal regulation. Some suits are still just rubber bags but the vast majority are now made with breathable materials.

The result is that you layer up or down under the suit to match the day's weather and water temps and can comfortably ride in a modern drysuit for 3+ seasons of the year.

Breathability
This is a key aspect of new suits. Ours uses a proprietary PU breathable we call Ventor that works incredibly well in a salt water environment but there are other options too, including the ever recognizable Goretex.

The key question is if the material has a proven track record of salt water use as some breathable materials suffer when exposed to the crystals that form with repeated salt water use and drying cycles.

Breathability is also closely tied to waterproofness. As your DWR coating on the suit breaks down, pours in the suit will clog with water making the suit less breathable and allowing dampness in. We've assembled a good resource listing various products that will help preserve the life of your suit here but, suffice to say, you want to be sure you're buying a suit that can easily be reconditioned with a DWR conditioner such as Nikwax's TX Direct.

Self Entry
Gone are the days of the heavy, stiff brass zipper. Today's zippers are softer, lighter, easier to maintain and use. However, that doesn't mean all suit entry systems are equal!

Common zipper formations are the self entry across the chest design or the assisted entry across the shoulders design.

Only Ocean Rodeo suits feature our patented Captive Zip design which allows for an easy self entry combined with our unique "standby mode" wherein you can leave the neck seal off and zip the jacket up to protect from the elements when rigging up or packing up.

Regardless of your choice, you are going to want to carefully consider the entry system used on your suit as it will affect not only your time taken to get ready but also could impact on your pre/post session comfort.

Zipper
I mentioned how far zipper technology has come and the development continues to this day. However, even with the lighter, smoother zippers, zipper maintenance and care will be an important part of your suit experience.

Your suit should ship with a silicone based lube to keep the zipper running smooth. If you get beach debris in the zip be sure to clear it out and don't torque on the zipper pull if you snag some material, back the zipper up to clear the obstruction.

When you travel with your suit - don't fold the zipper, keep it flat and smooth. Kinks will cause leaks!

Seals
Lots to cover here. 1st of all, seal choice. Currently, Ocean Rodeo uses latex seals for all of our consumer suits. This is because we feel they offer the best balance of water protection, low profile feel, adaptability to user size and repairability.

However, some brands will use neoprene seals which are slightly harder to repair and do tend to let some water in but can be perceived to be more comfortable by some users.

Bottom line, you should research seals a bit before you buy and should likely try to try a suit on to see what suits you best.

Seals don't need to be tight to be dry. This is a huge point. If a seal is tight, it is uncomfortable and can cause your hands or feet to get cold for lack of circulation.

Seals simply need to be smooth and flush against your skin and only moderately 'snap' tight. They make their seal by having a slight layer of water build up between your skin and your seal. To ensure you stay dry pull the seal up to the smooth part of your wrist or ankle and ensure it is flat and flush with no trapped under garments allowing water to wick in.

Seals can be cut back too to open the diameter of the opening but you are best to 1st stretch your seal overnight over a wine bottle (wrist / ankle) or kitchen pot (neck) to let the rubber relax before you cut it.

Fit & Finish
One of the single biggest reasons to buy a drysuit is not for the warmth, it's for the flexibility and range of motion. Face it, a 4 or 5mm (or 6 or 7!) wetsuit sucks for mobility and range of motion.

Try on your prospective suit. Bend over, touch your toes, walk through some of your favourite moves, make sure the suit does not have any binding or pinch points and that it will enhance your riding, not hinder it!

Many brands offer suits that will meet your needs. For our Soul line of drysuits we spent close to 2 years working with our designers to refine the fit and finish of the suit so the result was a clean technical look that offered excellent range of motion.

The result is a suit that - we think? - is the only suit on the market with a flat crotch seam, allowing you to do the splits if you're able and an unparalleled range of motion. In fact, the innovative Captive Zip design was 1st conceived of as a way of moving the zipper off your shoulders or chest in order to ensure an easier range of motion in your shoulder pockets.

Again, every suit has their merits but range of motion is key - try your prospective suit on before you buy or find a brand that supports returns if you're unhappy with the fit when you get it home.

The Wrap Up
Drysuits have come a long way and are now a legit option for 3+ seasons a year with the breathable materials and simple maintenance.

Consumers should consider price point when buying and what various price points get you. Key features to consider and to try before you buy are the fit / feel of the suit, relief zipper and if that is important to you, the entry / zipper system and how it affects your fit and if it is self entry and the materials used in construction, what are their track record and how do they hold up in the environment you'll be using them?

Post questions here, happy to help answer and - absolutely - welcome to seeing other brand managers from the other suit companies jump in on here too.

John Z ~ OR

User avatar
Starsky
Very Frequent Poster
Posts: 3554
Joined: Mon Apr 19, 2004 12:12 pm
Kiting since: 0
Brand Affiliation: None
Location: Ontario

Re: Drysuits - A Guide

Postby Starsky » Sat Sep 26, 2015 1:36 am

Whatever , I want a surf dry 3.0 !

User avatar
ORSales
Very Frequent Poster
Posts: 812
Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2005 6:29 pm

Re: Drysuits - A Guide

Postby ORSales » Sat Sep 26, 2015 2:15 am

Starsky wrote:Whatever , I want a surf dry 3.0 !


That's so rad. Ha ha ha. We've had some recent break throughs with materials and zippers that may well revive that suit line!

JZ

User avatar
shawn13
Very Frequent Poster
Posts: 746
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2012 3:21 pm
Kiting since: 2011
Local Beach: Cherry Beach, Toronto
Sherkston, Lake Erie
Wasaga, Lake Huron
Favorite Beaches: In Order:
Mauritius, Boracay, Philippines/ Soma Bay, Egypt/ Cape Town, SA/ Cayo Guillermo, Cuba/ Sherkston, Canada/ El Gouna, Egypt/ Oliphant, Canada/ Kalpitya, Sri Lanka/ Wasaga Beach, Canada
Style: Freeride/Race
Gear: Cabrinha
Location: GLOBAL
Contact:

Re: Drysuits - A Guide

Postby shawn13 » Sat Sep 26, 2015 9:38 am

Very informative John, thanks!

Dirk
Frequent Poster
Posts: 489
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2003 7:28 am
Kiting since: 2001
Local Beach: St. Peter Ording
Favorite Beaches: St. Peter Ording, Tarifa, Guincho, Sylt
Style: Big air, waves
Gear: Naish Pivot, Global, Monarch
Location: Hamburg

Re: Drysuits - A Guide

Postby Dirk » Sat Sep 26, 2015 10:41 am

+1 for the SurfDry. I like that non baggy, low drag design and still enjoy mine (V 2.0) a lot. Although I must say that the Soul looks quite lean and nice as well.
Dry suit season probably starts in month. I really like that time of the year as the beaches get empty. The only thing which takes a little bit away from the experience are the gloves (to a much lesser extent the thicker boots). The suit and body warmth are never the issue.
For gloves I use 3mm Xcel Infinity since last winter which work pretty good for me. I need precurved gloves otherwise my forearms cramp really quickly.

Nicko
Rare Poster
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2015 8:28 am
Kiting since: 2000
Gear: all brands
Brand Affiliation: None

Re: Drysuits - A Guide

Postby Nicko » Sat Sep 26, 2015 5:32 pm

Drysuit - A Guide: Buy an OR Soul, sorted :thumb:



--- amazing piece of kit, love mine

Frank82
Frequent Poster
Posts: 335
Joined: Wed Oct 01, 2014 5:19 pm
Kiting since: 2009
Local Beach: Wijk aan Zee, IJburg, Schellinkhout, Medemblik - Netherlands
Style: freestyle / wakestyle / freeride / wave
Gear: Best GP 2015 13m + 11m - Cabo 7m +5m - Cab Chaos 2016 7m + 9m - Axis Billy 139x42 - Slingshot Tyrant 2013 5'11
Brand Affiliation: None

Re: Drysuits - A Guide

Postby Frank82 » Sat Sep 26, 2015 5:51 pm

Surf dry 3.0 please, just sold my 2.0 because I bought a used one that was oversized (L/XL). Still used it for 2 seasons because it's such an awesome suit. The dude I sold mine too was around 1.95m and it fit perfectly for him while i'm 1.80m. Now I bought a 7/6 hooded wetsuit again, very warm and still quite comfortable but not as sleek as the surf dry.

juandesooka
Frequent Poster
Posts: 406
Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2012 8:05 pm
Kiting since: 2011
Local Beach: Sooke, BC, Canada
Gear: BWS / Ocean Rodeo / Stringy Foil
Brand Affiliation: None

Re: Drysuits - A Guide

Postby juandesooka » Sat Sep 26, 2015 8:28 pm

I have a surf dry, but it's kind of fallen to the 'once in a while' box. I find with the neoprene over the drysuit, it doesn't breathe well, so you end up a little damp from sweat. It also is a bit more fiddly to put on than a wetsuit, and it's 3 pieces of gear to keep track of vs a single suit. However, it is nice on cold, wet winter days, where I can suit up at home and arrive the beach ready to go. Or great second session suit.

I suspect the age of the surf dry may be over simply because of how much regular wetsuits have improved. My first 5mm suit 20 years ago was super stiff and quite leaky. Paddling a surfboard was like resistance training. Today's rubber is so much more flexible, like having what used to be a 2mm. And the seams are sealed, making it almost a semi dry (and there's a big difference these days....no more peeing in the suit, as it doesn't flush out enough....ewww) The point being, a surf dry had some advantages 10 years ago, but not so much any more.

The Soul has lots of plusses going for it. The kiter crowd around here seems about half and half, wetsuit and Soul. Still haven't seen one in the surf crew yet though.....maybe a SUP now and then. 8)

User avatar
ORSales
Very Frequent Poster
Posts: 812
Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2005 6:29 pm

Re: Drysuits - A Guide

Postby ORSales » Mon Sep 28, 2015 7:13 pm

I love seeing the love for the Surf Dry here...

Yes, the Soul and its related Heat and Ignite suits are doing incredibly well for us right now but the Surf Dry and Pyro had their place in time.

Further to Juan de Sooka's thoughts, I'd agree that wetsuit technology is getting better, many suits are almost a semi dry suit as they are tape welded, etc but you still suffer the lack of mobility and the chilling factor when damp / wet at the end of a session.

The Surf Dry's skin was a 1mm neoprene which - at the time - was the best we could do to keep the somewhat bulkier inner bladder smooth and streamlined for duck dives, etc. I agree though and if / when we revitalize that line up the key for us will be less bulky materials and likely a new skin material to cut down on the drawbacks of neoprene... all that being said, no promises as nothing is in development beyond random 'concept' pieces...

JZ

User avatar
Starsky
Very Frequent Poster
Posts: 3554
Joined: Mon Apr 19, 2004 12:12 pm
Kiting since: 0
Brand Affiliation: None
Location: Ontario

Re: Drysuits - A Guide

Postby Starsky » Mon Sep 28, 2015 7:55 pm

Give me a call when have something you want field tested.


Return to “Kitesurfing”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], Yahoo [Bot], zig zag and 18 guests