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The wetsuit/drysuit debate

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North_Wind
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My wetsuit works fine ...

Postby North_Wind » Fri Mar 09, 2007 4:44 pm

I have been out throughout the UK winter togged up as follows

- rash vest
- 5/3 wetsuit (Neilpryde)
- North impact vest
- GUL sailing splashtop over the impact vest (great at cutting the wind)
- booties
- neoprene hat under my helmet
- no gloves

I have no problems at all with the cold - 3 hour sessions no problem in 10 degree C air and 9 degree C water

And I have a couple of voids/folds in the wetsuit, so it could be better still.

Never tried a dry suit tho.

North Wind

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Tom183
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Re: Stop the pimping. Listen to Reason.

Postby Tom183 » Fri Mar 09, 2007 5:13 pm

gideonlow wrote:Several folks from CT responded to this post. You had a rider in your community pass-away last winter after being caught on the sound for several hours. The reports said that he likely died when the seals around his wrists/ankles/neck inevitably failed and the 38 degree water filled his drysuit. Since this issue is close-to-home for you guys, what do you think of that incident in the context of this thread?


You need to research that incident, and see it in context - there were several factors at play, and the suit he wore was only one. Looking at everything that happened, it is doubtful that a wetsuit would have changed the outcome.

And the moral of the story is that no suit, wet OR dry, makes you invulnerable to that kind of cold - in those extremes, you can't take the risk of an extended stay in the water, you have to take extra precautions to avoid that situation.

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Re: Stop the pimping. Listen to Reason.

Postby gideonlow » Fri Mar 09, 2007 5:44 pm

Tom183 wrote:you have to take extra precautions to avoid that situation.


Tom,

I know all of the details, and I know (as is usually the case) many errors in judgment contributed to the tragedy. I also realize it is unlikely he would have survived an entire night even with a winter wetsuit. It is also possible, on the other hand, that he might have.

My main point is exactly the one you make above. To me, an extra precaution is to use equipment that doesn't have the potential to fail in such a way that you perish within minutes. I torn wetsuit will keep you alive much longer than a torn drysuit--and will not interfere as severely with your ability to swim.

Cheers,

Gideon

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Postby KJX » Fri Mar 09, 2007 5:53 pm

I also use the Bare Polar Dry and it's pretty nice. I did use a 7/5 mm suit until this year but when the air and water temp is really cold and although the 7mm suits are very warm, in very cold water conditons, it's just a matter of time before you start to get cold no matter what. And still there is nothing like the chill you get when peeling that thing off in freezing conditions. I am ususally steaming when pulling off the dry suit.


It's just so much more fun when you are warm and comfortable vs. cold and miserable and for that, I love the dry suit, however safty is always something in the back of my mind in cold water.

The nice thing about the Bare is that the lower is a 7mm sealed wetsuit type while the top is baggy style dry. It would lead you to think that if you did get water in the suit, at least 1/2 of your body is in a wet suit. Not sure if the lower would give me a few more minutes of swim time, however.

For me, I find the Bare is a bit of weird fitting suit, seems like the legs are a bit too short for the top relative to the size (i've tried 2 sizes) and am thinking of trying the baggy style like an OR for more flexibility.

For those of you that wear a 3mm wetsuit under your baggy dry suit: That is an interesting idea, never really thought about it, especially one of the very flexible hybid wetsuits. Do you wear fleece as well or just the 3mm wetsuit underneath?
I agree, if you were to get a tear in the suit, it probably wouldn't be the weight of the suit that kills you but just the cold water, hypothermia. In very cold water, you just don't have much time at all before hypothermia sets in, generally not enough to swim in unless you happen to be pretty close to the beach.

I suppose this is a pretty good idea for saftey but I would think with the combination of the wet suit the drysuit seals end up super tight at the wrists and ankles and uncomfortable.
What do you do about this? Wear a slightly larger size dry suit? Stretch out the seals?

Also, a question for OR sales:
What is the weight difference between the PYRO surf and PYRO Pro?
Also, which suit has more flexibility? I would think it's the Pyro because it's baggy and assume the streamline of the Surf was designed primarily for for efficient swimming when surfing.

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Postby gideonlow » Fri Mar 09, 2007 6:21 pm

BTW, this thread has a few more opinions:

http://www.ikitesurf.com/threadForum.iw ... rent=40431

I used the Bare drysuit twice. The first time I loved it, the second time it sprung a pinhole leak when a gust pulled me over in shallow water. I realized right then that if such little force could cause a small leak, I wasn't going to trust my life to the suit. It's still sitting in my closet, used only twice, if anybody wants to buy it! However, I somehow don't feel right selling it to a kitesurfer that would use it in extreme cold water conditions, so it will probably gather dust.

Cheers,

Gideon

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Re: Stop the pimping. Listen to Reason.

Postby ORSales » Fri Mar 09, 2007 8:09 pm

gideonlow wrote:To me, an extra precaution is to use equipment that doesn't have the potential to fail in such a way that you perish within minutes.


I feel like I am beating a dead horse here.

Gideon, please read this:

If you get a tear in your suit it will not suddenly flood with water and you certainly won't die.

You can test this yourself with nothing more than a hockey puck and a zip lock bag. Stick the puck in the bag and "burp" most but not all of the air out of the bag (....kind of like what every single Pyro Drysuit user does every time they go on the water.) Submerge the bagged puck in water and poke a hole in the bag. Notice anything? The external pressure of the water actually squeezes the remaining air out of the bag and presses the bag up against the puck. Very little water gets into the bag.

Further, why do you think wetsuit manufacturers are bragging all the time about "glued and blind stiched" seams and etc? They know that the best way to keep you warm is to prevent you getting wet in the first place. Then, once you are wet they want to prevent further flushing of water because as soon as you are wet you are wasting energy heating the water.

Survival all night in a "winter" wetsuit? not likely at all. Survival in anything other than a survival drysuit is, quite frankly, unlikely, Pyros included.

John Z

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Postby LDT » Fri Mar 09, 2007 10:36 pm

@Ocean Rodeo: Come on guys, who do you think you are fooling by hanging on to that "if you are in a wetsuit more than 3mm, you need a drysuit - and that is the truth"-thing??
Here in Denmark, a majority of kiters use drysuits in winter, but for the warmer part of the year the standard seems to be a 5/3mm wetsuit (that most would call a wintersuit).
What I am saying is: I look around, and the reality is that people here own drysuits AND warm wetsuits. If your statement about what is "THE TRUTH" was to rise above the level of marketing hype, it would imply that everybody here used their drysuits all year. Guess what: They don´t.
As soon as we are comfortable doing so, we put on our comfy closed-seam 5/3 suits, and we love them.

Don´t get me wrong OceanRodeo, I think you make a great product, but that is exactly why I am put off by your stubborn claim about "more than 3mm". It just seems plain silly, and in my eyes it lowers the value of what else you communicate about your products.

(I use a Pyro in winter and a Oneill Psycho2 5/3 wintersuit in summer. And if summer goes crazy I even have a shorty 8) )

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Postby ORSales » Sat Mar 10, 2007 12:25 am

LDT / Gideon,

Because of the position I represent and the obvious aliance that I have with Ocean Rodeo I actually make a concerted effort in all my postings to ensure that what I say is fair and objective. This objectivity can fall victim to my own enthusiasm for our products though and as such I am sorry if either of you felt I stepped over the line and presented hype and not plain facts.

The problem is that the question I was responding to asked me to present an opinion and not a fact. There is no way for us to objectivly say that at this exact temperature you should be riding in a Pyro and not in your wetsuit. As such, we simply say that if you are wearing a 3mm wetsuit you should be in a drysuit.

Obviously some people will disagree with this and they are welcome to do so. In fact, during the summer months here the air temperature hovers between 25 and 30 degrees and I too switch over to a 5mm wetsuit simply because at that air temperature it is kind of nice to get flushed once in a while! Conversly, I have instructors in warm water who use our suits when they would normally be in a shorty simply to avoid getting a chill while they are out with students.

Anyway, there you go. Mea Culpa. Riders can take a hybrid of LDT's posting and my previous posting and use that as direction when considering a drysuit. Gideon is rightly concerned with people's safety but it needs to be stated that there is no way that a wetsuit or a drysuit would have saved that man's life. He would need to be in a proper marine survival suit in order to make it. (It should also be noted that the world's best marine survival suits are all drysuits and almost all feature latex seals for the wrists and neck while having built in boots for the feet)

All of that being said, how's this for a better responce to the temperature question: If you are considering a drysuit for its warmth, perhaps it is time you switched to one.

Have a great weekend all! Really was just trying to be helpful.

JZ

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Postby mmiles3305 » Sat Mar 10, 2007 2:21 am

i'm in northern Florida and have been using a drysuit from http://www.wakezone.biz. it runs about $250 but cheaper on ebay and comes with a 3 year warranty. water temps about 58 here right now. works fine for me. neck seal isn't too tight. only time the water gets in is if i went the water hard around one of the seals. i never get cold though because i'm always so pumped up on the water. i think i'm about to store it for the summer now thank God. it has been mid 70s here lately and the water is warming up.

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Postby Tom183 » Sat Mar 10, 2007 3:50 am

Some reality:

I'll switch to a 3:2 wetsuit when conditions are appropriate - it's a little easier to deal with, and I'd probably be overheating in the drysuit due to the lack of breathability (Pyro Pro has a few panels, but not enough). I think the line is at 4mm - if you need more than that, a drysuit is going to be more comfortable.

Odds are you won't lose your kite AND get a big tear at the same time - if you think you will, then you seriously need to re-evaluate your skills and the nasty shit on your beach (and maybe stick with a wettie). The material on the Pyro Pro is tougher than your skin, so you won't get a tear unless you step on / bump something that will draw blood...


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