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What's with these super-stretchy, super-tight wetsuits?
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 18710

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2018 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GURGLETROUSERS wrote:
1. I have none of your problems. I adjust things before going in, and 4mm gloves do not prevent undoing ropes, and pulling on more downhaul (on the beach) if necessary.

Gaps appear with denser neoprene, especially in the small of the back as you twist and bend, letting pools of icy water in! ... used to get that in earlier days, with 'cardboard type, less flexible,earlier neoprenes.

But the problem with making lower density and super stretchy neoprene is, to my way of thinking, twofold.
1) By making it of lower density they compromise its insulating ability (thickness for thickness) as opposed to denser neoprene.
2) The very act of it stretching MUST 'squash' its thickness - i.e. it must be thinner where it is stretched. Both of those factors must, to my mind, make the suits less warm in icy conditions. There is NO substitute for insulation, to thicker denser neoprene. Ask any diver! (Where compression from water pressure demands denser less compressible material.)

The logical answer that I found (long since) was to use two different layers. 1) The inner thin tight fitting to body shape flexible neoprene with wool or thermal vest beneath, and thicker denser less tight outer wetsuit, as I explained before. That way, I get the best of both worlds at the slight inconvenience of a bit of restriction, which doesn't affect my 'contortions on the board at all.

It's worked for me all of those sometimes Arctic condition winters. Nothing will convince me to change my tune now! Laughing Laughing

We have Murphy's Law, you blokes have Finagle's Law. Its applicability and threat rise in inverse proportion to the water temperature, and Finagle adds a clause to Murphy's statute: " ... at the worst possible time". I've seen way too many expert WSers go into hypothermia when a problem that would have been but a faff in warmer water became life-threatening due to hypothermia or numb hands. Sad

You're very fortunate that you can enjoy all that bulky, often heavy, stuff and that your winter wind quality is worth the effort. I've laughed out loud in my warm den, looking at the wind plots on midwinter days when some of my buds were trying to WS. MAN, but they often pay a HUGE price (the LEAST of which is driving 150 miles, changing clothes ... twice ... sometimes in a near-freezing sideways drizzle, struggling in horrific ratios of gusts to lulls ... often for one or two reaches before the wind slams shut) and accept a LOT of risk (including serious hypothermia and a fatality) for an awfully small, sometimes zero payoff in sailing time.

I've sailed those conditions many times, and learned by experience to prefer even the damned gym. The one exception was the hot tub in New Mexico. Windy plateau, parking on grass 10 feet from a perfect launch, free camping, bigger than any Gorge venue, and ... oh, yes ... 75 to 95 degree water temp even in full blizzards. We WANTED cheap, worn-out, leaky WET suits for that. The price: crossing the Continental Divide at about 7,000 feet in that blizzard.

My bag dry suits, both neoprene and Goretex, have large volumes of trapped air. It lets my skin stay in contact with warm air, away from chilled Goretex or neoprene. It is the epitome of, "The only weather that counts is the weather next to your skin." and it adds buoyancy. However, this must be balanced with its drawbacks: drag when swimming and breathing challenges when all that trapped air migrates to our legs. Smile

Thicker supersuits are readily available to provide much more insulation with much less bulk and restriction. Sailors use them with great success among ice floes in the Great Lakes on the Canadian border. Their drawback, for me, is the attached hood. I don't use them for several reasons, including the fact that I no longer sail in really cold water.
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grantmac017



Joined: 04 Aug 2016
Posts: 569

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2018 6:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Iso,

You must be shocked to hear that your personal experiences do not represent even a moderate minority of windsurfers worldwide. Plenty of us see the coming cold season as some of the most reliable and enjoyable wave conditions. Likewise very few wave sailors will use a drysuit for safety reasons.
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 18710

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2018 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe not, but they represent the vast majority everywhere I've lived. As for the "cold season", it's all relative; the numbers matter. I've seen people wear full dry suits with hoods and booties on Maui and in the Gorge in midsummer (at 80 and 100 degrees, respectively), and I've seen guys wear board shorts when most sailors are still in full suits and many in booties. It's highly personal, yet I've also been criticized for not sailing in the winter. If we had otherwise good conditions in the winter, I'd push my season further, but ours peak with midsummer thermally powered wind. I know MANY people who, whether in New Mexico where booties are unnecessary some entire years or in the Columbia which some years allows no neoprene until October, will not sail before Memorial Day nor after Labor Day. I envy your good wintertime conditions, and well understand surfers' (loose) dry suit concerns. And if GT enjoys sailing in a centimeter of neoprene, only one word counts: "enjoys".

grantmac017 wrote:
Iso,
You must be shocked to hear that your personal experiences do not represent even a moderate minority of windsurfers worldwide. Plenty of us see the coming cold season as some of the most reliable and enjoyable wave conditions. Likewise very few wave sailors will use a drysuit for safety reasons.
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GURGLETROUSERS



Joined: 30 Dec 2009
Posts: 2206

PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2018 3:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To go off topic a little - I suppose we are quite lucky in our place in Northern Europe. Our severe Arctic freezing spells (from the continent) are interspersed with much milder Atlantic maritime windy weather systems, in which windsurfing can comfortably be enjoyed. Feeling cold under those maritime winter conditions I would consider a failure of the gear you are wearing.

But there is a lot to be said for variation in sea sport. Nowadays, in those more severe freezing spells I tend to turn back to the kayak. It's often calm and windless anyway during high pressure winter Arctic spells, and I find it fascinating just to happily plod away, fully kitted up and protected from the freeze up, and warm as toast. One severe day last winter, in a thick mid winters afternoon gloom, with lightly falling snow bouncy onto the sea and building a layer over the kayak deck (was trying not to wash it off) I felt insanely happy being totally insulated from the outside reality, and warm as toast. It was akin to being in my own seperate cocooned little existence. (Very thought provoking indeed!)

It was all the more enjoyable in that I was next to the main shipping channel in our nearby very large industrial complex and river estuary docks. (Take 100,000tonners, (Ore ships, oil tankers, container ships continental ferries and everything besides.) From low down in a kayak, amid all that activity (though NOT in their way!!) it really does put things into perspective.

I do, more often than not, count my blessings, and the sea is a fundamental part of it all. I shall miss it, when I go!
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U2U2U2



Joined: 06 Jul 2001
Posts: 4848
Location: Shipsterns Bluff, Tasmania. Colorado

PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

grantmac017 wrote:
Gurgle,

You find that synthetic fleece works under a wetsuit? I'm trying to come up with a base layer to reduce friction behind my knees and was looking at lycra but it offers little warmth.

Thanks,
Grant

Grant:
Their are no vital organs in the legs.
Not Grant but :

Some have no vital organs anywhere

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grantmac017



Joined: 04 Aug 2016
Posts: 569

PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

U2U2U2 wrote:
grantmac017 wrote:
Gurgle,

You find that synthetic fleece works under a wetsuit? I'm trying to come up with a base layer to reduce friction behind my knees and was looking at lycra but it offers little warmth.

Thanks,
Grant

Grant:
Their are no vital organs in the legs.
Not Grant but :

Some have no vital organs anywhere


It kills the stoke when you chafe deep enough to draw blood. And if I can't feel my feet I don't sail well.
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U2U2U2



Joined: 06 Jul 2001
Posts: 4848
Location: Shipsterns Bluff, Tasmania. Colorado

PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2018 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

grantmac017 wrote:
U2U2U2 wrote:
grantmac017 wrote:
Gurgle,

You find that synthetic fleece works under a wetsuit? I'm trying to come up with a base layer to reduce friction behind my knees and was looking at lycra but it offers little warmth.

Thanks,
Grant

Grant:
Their are no vital organs in the legs.
Not Grant but :

Some have no vital organs anywhere


It kills the stoke when you chafe deep enough to draw blood. And if I can't feel my feet I don't sail well.

Hope you find the solutions

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http://www.k4fins.com/fins.html
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dmilovich



Joined: 19 Jul 2009
Posts: 80

PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2018 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@grantmac017: Take a look at ProMotion Wetsuit's poly liner clothing. Don't know if they have something that goes below the knees, but it works great as a second layer under a 5/4 or 4/3 suit of theirs to extend the temperature range. Have worn the long sleeve top numerous times and had no chafing problems. It might be polypro, but I'm not sure.

@iso: Very entertaining summary of your cold water experience. Particularly the digression on Murphy and Finagle. Never knew where that word came from! And BTW, I totally second your comments on the value of dry suits. Don't wear one any more since I avoid that cold water stuff for all the good reasons you listed, but I loved being out there warm and toasty with a wool sweater my mom knitted me (you know, with WAAAAyy too-long arms) under the suit and dry upon my return to shore.

Sail on!
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 18710

PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2018 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

grantmac017 wrote:
It doesn't bunch up at the joints? I'm looking at lycra base layers used for diving, which would make getting into the suit very easy and reduce chafing (big issue). I'm not sure it would add much, if any, warmth.

Walmart and most of the online waterwear outlets carry a wide variety of one-piece, tops, and bottoms of such suits from $12 to $150. I buy 'em small -- literally a size Small in some brands -- to avoid bunching, because their stretch factor makes size pretty irrelevant on that end of their range. Their advantages include significantly easier wetsuit doffing* and donning, chafe protection, letting the wetsuit slide and self-adjust as you move around in it, preventing a pair of shorts from coming off with your wetsuit when you change outdoors, clothes-changing speed in multisport events such as sprint triathlons, and more. Many of the one-piece suits have heel straps that let you jam your feet and legs into the wetsuit effortlessly, yet are unnoticeable in footstraps or booties.

* It's a real bummer when the last chore of an otherwise great day is fighting for five minutes with all your strength, on the very edge of dislocating your thumbs and hoping you remembered to trim your thumbnails to the quick, swearing like some piece-of-garbage rapper, just to get that last piece of wetsuit off your ankles. I have gotten out a knife and cut more than one suit off, and that alone is a major advantage of super-stretchy suits.

I wanna repeat one issue about 'em, though. Depending on the brand, do NOT buy one -- especially an O'Neill -- based on sizing charts unless returns are very convenient and free. And even if it goes on within 10-15 minutes over dry skin, try it on over even slightly damp skin before buying it. That shouldn't be difficult to arrange; by the time I get one on even on a cool day, I am dripping in sweat. When I tried on an O'Neill the chart said would be too big for me, I and the suit were completely soaked before I gave up trying to get it on. I had to buy a suit with 6" more leg length than I have if I wanted to get it over the rest of my body. I'd cut that much off the legs if the cuffs weren't integrated into the material.
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 18710

PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GURGLETROUSERS wrote:
1. I find it fascinating just to happily plod away, fully kitted up and protected from the freeze up, and warm as toast. ... I felt insanely happy being totally insulated from the outside reality, and warm as toast.

2. the sea is a fundamental part of it all. I shall miss it, when I go!


1. Plodding excepted (so far), I agree 100%, and have done so in temps down to 20-30 below zero F in a variety of sports. The weather next to our skin rules again.

2. OH, MY GOD! That never occurred to me. Are you sure Heaven isn't just waves, swell, speed flats, and 25.000-knot wind?
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