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 Post subject: The wetsuit/drysuit debate
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 10:30 pm 
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Done a lot of reading on this, but still some unanswered questions:

1) any wetsuit guys ever tried a windbreaker over your suit? No seals, so it shouldn't fill up, and it might address the wind chill problem. Or would it be better to get a thicker wetsuit and just use the windbreaker on the beach?

2) any tips for changing into a wetsuit in really cold temps (windchills below freezing)? In colder temps I usually wear a warm jacket until the lower half is on, but there's still some exposure time.

3) How many guys using the hybrid suits with the neoprene bottoms and drysuit upper? Any comparisons with full bag drysuits?

4) any drysuit users using impact vests / chest harnesses? Wondering if that is a problem with the zipper - or if it can cause problems with the zip.

5) how hard to get into a drysuit? Any special tricks there?

6) just how tight does the neck seal have to be?

I'm looking at a new suit for mainly 40-55F windchills and 45-55F water temps, which I used to cover with 4/3 wetsuit/hood/gloves/booties, staying fairly close to shore and riding conservatively - I'd like to ride less conservatively a little farther out, with possible rides in 30-40F windchills and water temps closer to 40F. Inclined to go wetsuit ($, and it's what I'm used to), but drysuit is appealing due to better wind protection and the fact that you can keep a thermal layer on when putting on the suit.


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 Post subject: Re: The wetsuit/drysuit debate
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 11:11 pm 
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Quote:
2) any tips for changing into a wetsuit in really cold temps (windchills below freezing)? In colder temps I usually wear a warm jacket until the lower half is on, but there's still some exposure time.



Just put the suit on in the car or put it on at home ahead of time. Use bubble bath or soap if you have a hard time getting booties on. If its below freezing put vaseline on your face but dont get the vaseline on the rubber since its not good for the neopreme.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 11:26 pm 
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Location: Columbus, OH, Kiteboarder
I previously rode a 7/6/5 down to 35 degrees water and 30 degrees wind chill.
However with my SLE kites I find my Arms ache and my elbows give out after an hour or two of riding due to the resistance from the suit.

I am now the proud owner of a OR Pyro Pro, although I have not yet worn it on the water. I like the flexibility it provides, but I have questions regarding layering under the suit.

For the lower layer I have two pairs thermal underwear (1 silk weight 1 heavyweight) and a pair of Polartec 200 fleece pants.
For the top layers I have 5 layers of varying degrees thickness (silk weight to fleece).

After putting all of this on I went outside in 25 degree wind chill and could feel the cold on the outside of the suit. I was not cold, but my concern was once in the water I might get cold.

How many layers do people wear under their drysuit and what weights for 35 degree water and 35 degree air?

I have always been toasty warm in and out of the water in my 7/6/5, but due to the sheeting needed for SLEs I need to make the drysuit work. Thanks.
Good winds,
Ken


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 12:19 am 
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Location: Santa Barbara/SF bay
Good thread,

I want to believe that the drysuits are the next level, I have put off getting one since I use my wetsuits for surfing as well. I have a pyro surf on preorder and so hopefully i'll have something to report in a week or two. I am also concerned about the layering issues and choking with the neck seals. But if the claims are true i'll have more than enough flexability and decrease in weight to make up for those inconveniences. One drawback of the traditional drysuits is poor body dragging performance due to the extra material. THe pyro surf seems to have that problem fixed, but I don't know how much water the seals let in under body dragging conditions. Anyway, i'll guss i'll see soon.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 1:49 am 
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Tom183 wrote:
Done a lot of reading on this, but still some unanswered questions:

4) any drysuit users using impact vests / chest harnesses? Wondering if that is a problem with the zipper - or if it can cause problems with the zip.

5) how hard to get into a drysuit? Any special tricks there?

6) just how tight does the neck seal have to be?


Tom,

4) No problem with most manufacturer's impact vests. If you are concerned I would post a question on our company's forum as we have a very helpful Crew of riders there who almost all are on Pyros and would likely be able to give you specific brands of impact vests they ride with.

5) Donning and Doffing the drysuit is simple. The new Pyro Surf requires a bit more finess than the other Pyros but is still far easier than a wet and sticky wetsuit. The zipper on both the Pyro Pro and the Pyro Surf are on the front which makes self entry a snap. The Pyro Lite and the Pyro Classic have their zippers on the back and do require the help of a friend to close, or the ability to hook the zipper pull on a rope or roof rack to roll your back to close it...

6) All of the seals should be "snap" tight. That is, they should never be so tight as to be uncomfortable or in any way limit your circulation. There are other threads that deal with this question too. Specifically though I address that very question here and make mention of how important it is that the seals are laid flat against your skin for fit, comfort and adequate protection from leaks. You can also click here and here for other threads that relate to this question.

Tom183 wrote:
I'm looking at a new suit for mainly 40-55F windchills and 45-55F water temps, with possible rides in 30-40F windchills and water temps closer to 40F... better wind protection and the fact that you can keep a thermal layer on when putting on the suit.


Drysuit. Drysuit. Drysuit.

Sorry to hammer that home but you need to be in a drysuit if you are considering riding in those conditions.

1) Longer sessions
2) Warmer feet and hands due to better core body warmth
3) Warm donning and doffing of the suit
4) Second sessions never suck, no wet and cold suit to put on
...

KiteSurfingKen wrote:
I am now the proud owner of a OR Pyro Pro


Stoked Ken! Welcome to the Crew!

KiteSurfingKen wrote:
How many layers do people wear under their drysuit and what weights for 35 degree water and 35 degree air?


This question is kind of open. If you are a novice to intermediate rider and will be spending a lot of time in the water you should layer up accordingly. However, if you are an intermediate to advanced rider and spend most of your time on the water actually riding you should wear just enough underlayers to prevent you from getting a chill as you rig and get on the water. Once moving you will generate your own heat and will be loving life.

My advice would be to start out with slightly more than you think you will need and adjust accordingly until you dial in what works best for you in each situation. Because you stay dry your body core will keep you warm longer and you will find you won't need as many underlayers.

Hope this helps!

John Z - OR


Last edited by ORSales on Tue Mar 06, 2007 1:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 1:50 am 
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Location: Oahu
The only thing I've heard to consider if you're in a dry suit, is that you better not rip it. If you're out and the dry suits rip, you better not have your kite in the water. Whatever you wear underneath might make you a cold sinking thing.

On this note, can anyone recommend a good 5/3 wetsuit?

A.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 2:00 am 
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tautologies wrote:
If you're out and the dry suits rip, you better not have your kite in the water. Whatever you wear underneath might make you a cold sinking thing.


This is not true.

1) water is neutrally bouyant and so you will not sink even if your suit totally flooded
2) With the outside pressure of water pressing in on the suit it is natural to burp the excess air out of your suit. This actually helps in the event of a tear in the suit as the suit will be pressed against your body and will only allow small amounts of liquid to be wicked in, you would need to pull the suit away from your body and hold the hole open to start to flood the suit.
3) The material we make our suits from is very durable. It is highly unlikely you would ever tear it when you are on the water...if you did manage to do so the rip would very likely never get bigger than an inch, which would let in only minor amounts of water as you made your way to the shore. (See above)

Seriously, read the referenced threads above, visit our forum on our site and discuss this with other riders not paid to promote the suit, do your homework and you will find Ocean Rodeo's Pyros are the best made, most respected suits on the market and whip the snot out of a wetsuit in any but the most ideal water conditions when it really is nice to get the occasional flush to cool you down.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 2:17 am 
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Location: California, US Sales Ocean Rodeo Kiteboarding/Hyperflex Wetsuits
tautologies wrote:
The only thing I've heard to consider if you're in a dry suit, is that you better not rip it. If you're out and the dry suits rip, you better not have your kite in the water. Whatever you wear underneath might make you a cold sinking thing.

On this note, can anyone recommend a good 5/3 wetsuit?

A.


Key points in case you don't have time to go through the old threads:

We have cut a 6" gash in the leg of our suits and jumped in the water. Remember that before riding the user of a drysuit will "burp" excess air out of the suit. This is not something you need to remember to do, it is a natural instinct as otherwise you feel like the Michelin Man! With a properly burped suit the water pushes the suit against your body when you are submurged. It is actually a very weird feeling initially, kind of like being shrunk wrapped! Given that the suit is tight up against your body in the event of a large cut to the suit you will end up with only minor seeping of water in around the cut and not a rush of water. In fact, in order to fill even partially one leg of a torn suit you need to do a lot of work to hold the cut open and pull the suit (now sucked up against your leg) away from you and allow the water to come in.

Our Pyro Lite, Classic and Pro model suits are made with a super tough 200 denier PU coated nylon. This material is very tough and is unlikely to gash in the event of contact with the suit. The Pyro Surf suit uses different materials, including an ultra durable Lycra outer layer and a very flexible and accommodating under layer. The most likely time you will tear your suit is on the beach if you snag it on a sharp point of some sort or another (stick, nail, sharp corner of your vehicle, tarp tie down, etc). For example, a fin impact is too spread out to be of much concern.

Ocean Rodeo

The wetsuit has been canceled...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 2:32 am 
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I live in Connecticut. Those who go kiting during the winter around here use either dry-suits or thick wetsuits. Both seem to work well. I got a dry-suit (Bare Polar Heat) last winter; it is neoprene below the waist and loose fitting above. Here are some thoughts on the suit I have:

When I got the suit, the neck seal was very tight. I cut off about two inches, and it's fine now. I might do the same at the wrist seals.

Getting in the dry-suit was a pain at first. Now, with some practice, I don't mind at all. It is next to impossible to close or open the zipper on the back without help. (There are suits with a front zipper.)

The suit is not restricting at all. Okay, it is more restricting than a rashguard, but I can move well with it.

Swimming with the dry-suit is a pain, mostly because it is so buoyant. Getting your limbs into the water is hard (even after pushing out all the air). On a long swim, I feel like a frog on ice.

The seals work really well. Even when body dragging for a couple of minutes, no water enters at the neck or at the wrists. Some water does enter through the legs, but it is no more than a sprinkle and it only comes at most half way up to the knee.

Apart from the suit itself, I always wear a tight long sleeve shirt underneath that is supposed to transport sweat away from the body. If it gets cold, I also wear a kind of fleece top that came with the suit.

The suit is hot, really hot. When temperatures are in the 40's, I am always soaking wet after a session because of the sweat. On today's afternoon session, it was snowing occasionally with temperatures around 35 and a wind-chill around 25. It was the first time I was actually dry when I got out of my dry-suit.

The fabric of the Bare Polar Heat is not breath-able. That may explain the sweating. However, a friend recently got an OR Pyro (breathable), and he has the same complaints. There's another guy with a (breathable) Gill who does not complain about sweating, but that may be because he tends to sweat less anyhow.

Overall, I'm happy with my suit. When I have to replace it, I'll get another drysuit, maybe a breathable one. If I had money to spend, I'd also get a thick wetsuit for the not-really-cold days.

Other thoughts: If it is really cold, gloves, booties and a hood are a must. For me, the hardest part was to find good gloves. The first pair I bought fit well but it turned out to be too tight; after a few minutes of riding, I could not flex my fingers anymore against the resistance of the neoprene. I then got a larger, slightly oversized, pair, and they work well. The trick with thick neoprene gloves is to fill them up with water. If I do not do that, I stay dry inside and get really cold fast. Once the water is warm, I'm comfy.

Cheers,
Hannes


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 4:45 am 
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Location: California
The enemy of the kiter is the wind, that is if you want to stay warm. In the water, the wetsuit does a fine job, but we spend most of our time in a wet wetsuit with the wind making us into an evaporative cooler.

My solution- I wear a tight fitting kayak top over my wetsuit. Its the Rio @ $45 from nrsweb.com. My friend wears a Ronny dry top. We both are now warm for the first time. Kayak tops have room for undergarments and paddling motion so you'll have to consider choosing a smaller than normal size. This prevents a safety problem of trapping water in your top. I even wear it over a shorty or board shorts, just to avoid putting on a full length suit.

I think its time the wetsuit manufacturers made kite / windsurf specific gear that is 100% windproof. Or do you know who does?


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