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Drysuits/wetsuits.I know, we have this discussion every year
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morwind4me



Joined: 30 Apr 2002
Posts: 270

PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 9:13 am    Post subject: Drysuits/wetsuits.I know, we have this discussion every year Reply with quote

I'm probably the one who brings this up, but in my defense, the game changes!

Currently in an Ion 5/4/3 that is mostly warm enough...have to wear a .5mm jacket or a vest when it's really cold. I do not look forward to water seeping through the zipper.

My worst conditions: 50* air, 33* water...maybe some rain thrown in. Water doesn't get much above 60 here ever.

My drysuit history:
- Baggy Barefoot International drysuit (00'-03')....had issues keeping seals in tact...hated dampness of suit

- Promotion drysuit (03'-06'). Eventually rotted and dried out. Liked this suit except its mobility, but materials have come a long way since then.

- Neil Pryde dry (06'-09')....had zipper and fit issues.

- Ion 5-4-3(09-current)....nice suit, a little chili in the coldest water..hated having to wear that extra layer. Put my heel through the leg, which is partly my fault...but I was surprised it gave like that. Suit is quite nicked from fins and pulling it on, probably time to replace it.


Biggest question:
I hear the baggies are getting better. Breathable, pee zips, looking a lot more trendy, front zips. I believe in the materials, but can anyone comment on the seals? I hated having to send my old barefoot international suit back for repair. They are significantly more money than neoprene drysuits.

I like the idea of the oneill assault, and am still thinking about trying a promotion or neil pryde again. But something like a kokatat or Ocean Rodeo Soul or Pyro is getting enticing. That said, I don't want to pay $700 for a suit who's seals are going to give every other year. Those suits are worthless without the seals, at least the neoprene ones still are warm ish without the seal issue. But they last 5 years max in my experience.

Thoughts or opinions, throw em out. If I'm going to pull the trigger on anything over $500, I really want it to last a long time.
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14181

PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Properly treated and handled, Kokatat seals are darn near permanent. You can also replace them at home in minutes.

Kokatat GORETEX suits -- unlike any non-breathing material and many or maybe all other suits that claim to breathe -- are airy, not clammy, on land and water. You will not believe the difference. Even if a little water sneaks in, it will disperse out of the suit before long. (If it floods, you die. Think that one through in just about ANY clothing failure in ice water.)

Next time REI has a 20% off on one item sale, get a Kokatat from them.

Goretex may leak a bit beneath the harness after a few years, but A) spraying or washing in Goretex conditioner will help a great deal, B) you've loved it so much you're still way ahead of the game, and C) Kokatat will often replace or recondition the suit if it's only a few years old.
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techno900



Joined: 28 Mar 2001
Posts: 1479

PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have had an O'neill Assault Hybrid for 4 years. I love it, but the only down side I have found is that it can leak through the neck in a crash. The arm, leg and neck seals are all neoprene so they are durable, but don't seal as well as the typical softer seals you find on dry suits. However, the water that has leaked has never been an issue other than additional dampness with my under layers. How well the neck seals depends on how big your neck is and the size of the suit. Mine is a little loose around the neck. I have a 16 neck, weigh 170 and am 6'. My suit is a large.

The bottom is typical wet suit and the top is typical dry suit. I usually wear a thin pair if long johns under the bottom to absorb sweat, and the top may be anything from a cotton long sleeve, or a Lycra long sleeve with a fleece over the Lycra. The colder it is, the more layers on top.

The zipper is across the shoulders in back. It can be zipped by yourself, but I have to tie a line on the pull and attach it to a head high part of my van and do a body rotation to zip or un-zip. The price is great compared to many dry suits. I typically tuck my booties under the legs to minimize the water in my booties, but if you are on a board with straps on the rails (slalom or formula), you can inject water into the leg sometimes. The suit comes with Velcro straps around the legs to help keep the water out.

I have never been cold in it, but have had issues with cold hands. My typical bottom line is sunny in the 40's or cloudy in the 50's. Water doesn't matter too much, but most commonly it's in the 50's.
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cgoudie1



Joined: 10 Apr 2006
Posts: 1253
Location: Killer Sturgeon Cove

PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a Kokatat gortex Drysuit, and a Promition Neoprene Drysuit.

The Kokatat is warmer in cold water (if layered underneath), and I use
it in Utah when water temps might dip down near 40. The Promotion
I use in the Gorge, and I've never sailed there in water colder than probably 50 degrees.

If I were stuck for many hours in a cold environment, I'd want
the Kokatat, but I'd much rather sprint swim in the Promotion.

Pick yer poison.

-Craig

p.s. neither of these suits allow me to just peel off dry like James Bond's
tuxedo after a swim through sharks.
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14181

PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I emerge from a fairly new Kokatat completely dry. After a couple of years or a whole day in it (Yeah, relief zip!), my ankles may be moist or even wet. FAR more noticeable is the unique Kokatat Goretex sensation of WSing in dry pajamas.
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skyking1231



Joined: 10 Jul 2000
Posts: 72

PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have the oneil assualt. Was out yesterday. Air 29F water ? Not sure...but there was ice starting to form in the water. I was super warm, with two fleece layers on.

So when you say worst case 50degs air....i thinking you are going to be sweating.....i know i do when it is that warm.
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14181

PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Naah. Under-layered properly, Goretex is comfy from near freezing to 60s, but I wouldn't put wear and tear on a $900 suit in the latter range.
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johnl



Joined: 05 Jun 1994
Posts: 1171
Location: Hood River OR

PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay I own 3 Kokatat drysuits. 2 for whitewater kayaking and one for windsurfing. ONE is a goretex the other two are the "wantabe" goretex materials. They both breath about the same. Seriously, I actually prefer using my newer Toprol 3L or whatever it is called over the GoreTex. So don't think you have to pay for a GoreTex suit unless you want to.

As to the seals, no they are NOT indestructible. I've replaced the neck and wrists on my 3 year old kayaking suit (it get used 100+ times a year) and just had to replace the ones on my drytop. Personally I just send it to Kokatat and have them test the suit for water tightness (probably more a kayaking thing than a windsurfing thing) and replace the seals. Costs about $125 to replace the neck and wrists. You can do it cheaper by yourself (after getting the "kit" it gets a lot cheaper) but I'm lazy.

Windsurfing is harder on the seals than kayaking since there is more impact involved, but kayaking is harder on the suit itself. If you can find some way to be happy with the sock attachment on the drysuit that will make your life really nice since I find the ankle seals are the biggest pain to get on and off. But that means wearing some kind of bootie with round toes...

But seriously if your water is in the 30's and you break down in the water, you are going to DIE in a wetsuit. It can't handle water in those temps.

As to manufactures, I'm obviously a Kokatat fan. They make a great product, many have lifetime warranties, and they have really good customer service. I can't speak for the others. But in kayaking probably 80% are in Kokatats....
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morwind4me



Joined: 30 Apr 2002
Posts: 270

PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

great discussion. So, would the Kokatat lovers say that the material could last forever with some seal replacement/love every few years?

I guess if I'm in this for the long haul, replacing seals every few years is a lot cheaper than replacing a $350-$400 drysuit made of neoprene. In the end, I'm gathering it may actually be cheaper to drop the coin up front.

Skyking...how old is your Assualt?

Mike...when you say properly treated and handled (re: seals), what does that entail?
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techno900



Joined: 28 Mar 2001
Posts: 1479

PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 9:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

skyking1231 said:
Quote:
So when you say worst case 50degs air....i thinking you are going to be sweating.....i know i do when it is that warm.


This is because of hands, not the suit. I have thin neoprene gloves and hate the thick mittens, so I don't go when it's real cold, plus I would be sailing alone, which I don't think is a good idea.
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