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



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14312

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Norcom, getting the underlayment right takes experimentation and even notes. Too much and I melt down, not enough and I just gut it out because getting all the crap I wear including the ankle seals off and on again is a giant PITA. One of the great pleasures of a bag suit with a relief zip is leaving it on all day, and having to change fleece layers negates that.

Our legs are subject to spray and contribute less to overheating anyway, so I insulate them more than I think they'll need. I have a variety of high-end Polarfleece bottoms, with the thinner ones on the small side so they don't bunch up when worn under the normal size thicker ones. I'll use two layers only if the water is in the 40s. I don't do 30s because I don't do gloves or booties, even though the suit is fine for 30s.

Just the opposite, I underdress my torso. What seems cool on the first reach is fine within a few active reaches; if my first reach is toasty, I quickly become burnt toast, go insane because of the heat, go ashore, and waste half an hour changing fleece. My torso layer is more like a Lycra long-sleeved shirt with a cheap fleece vest over it for water in the 50s, maybe a higher quality Mystery or Promotion fleece T-shirt instead of the cheap vest for water in the upper 40s, or a long-sleeved fleece shirt instead of the Lycra if the air is also in the 40s. If I still did 30s, I'd be wearing two thick layers of fleece pants and long and short sleeved fleece tops.

I then adjust the suit's air content to fine-tune its insulation factor. If the water is chilling through the suit the way I'm dressed, I'll blow some air down the neck; too warm, I'll burp the suit to lessen the layer of air. A long swim really heats me up, but a sprint becomes almost impossible if the suit is inflated significantly. Within the bounds of safety, I much prefer to be cool than hot; folks who don't overheat so readily may prefer overdressing.

Is it all worth it? HELL, yes, IMO, once you get it right, compared to heavy, clammy, cold-on-shore, neoprene. More than one GoreTex owner, and maybe the newer Kokatat material is comparable, accurately calls it "sailing in dry pajamas".
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14312

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I should add that the cheap vest above is snug-fitting, probably a Small (my normal top size is L or XL) ... whatever it takes to fit closely without being actually tight. It's zippered for ease of doffing/donning. A shirt with sleeves, however, needs more freedom of motion at the shoulders.
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norcom



Joined: 16 Jun 2008
Posts: 133

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tested the suit this AM. Got to the beach and the car thermometer was reading 41. Wind was blowing 9-15mph so not exactly nuking or freezing. Rigged the 16m kite (yes yes I know). Embarassed

Layered cycling tights, track pants, long sleeve baselayer and a cycling jacket. Pumping the kite I felt I was starting to sweat a little but that also happens in my wetsuit. First thing I noticed that when I crouched I had to adjust the suit as it doesn't stretch. There's plenty of room but at 6'1" I had to pull it down a little or I was scared I would split my pants.

5mm booties, 1.5mm gloves, impact vest. Got on the water and felt quite warm. Felt somewhat weird riding without a wetsuit. First time I fell in, all the air rushed to the top and I felt like the kid from the Wonka factory who blew up. I burped the suit some more and kept going. Of course wind started dying after about 15min so I went back to shore to get a bigger board (should have rigged the 18m struttless). When I opened up the suit to get the car key, my baselayer (super thin) was feeling moist but I didn't feel it on the water. I opened up the bike jacket half way and went back out.

On the water my legs were feeling great, not cold, not hot, just perfect. But I noticed when I would get dunked that the cold water would stay behind the impact vest and give me chills. Once I started riding the water would drain and I would be warm again. Usually in the wetsuit the impact vest would keep me much warmer. Definitely will have to play around with the layering.

Got a little over an hour before the wind started dying even more. I could barely keep going. Got back and undressed. I was bone dry and even the baselayer was now dry! That was a surprise. But I was just mowing the lawn so I wasn't doing anything rigorous. Heck all the original sweat may have been from the kite pumping.

At the moment I have no complaints on the suit. I can't say I'm loving it but I definitely don't hate it; I'm still unsure of its potential. It does what it's supposed to do, keeps me dry. It seems to breathe but an hour long lawn service isn't exactly a test of that. The drysuit feels WEIRD to me. I didn't try swimming in it or body dragging. I was the only one out there so I was taking it safe and easy. I'm unsure on how it'll handle when I get slammed into the water at high speeds.

I do like that I've added it to the suit quiver. More than likely it'll be the suit I take out on the next session. There hasn't been any wind this winter to windsurf and that's usually way more taxing on the body than kiting (for me). So I'll need to try it then. Just need more wind and time to play in it. Smile



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johnl



Joined: 05 Jun 1994
Posts: 1182
Location: Hood River OR

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bericw wrote:

johnl, would you please comment further on the 303? I always feel like I end up having to apply more and more frequently as the gaskets age, but I attribute it to...age. Do you think the 303 use is itself an issue? Seems like I can recall Kokatat including 303 samples for awhile? Also, you have posted some nice vids (or one at least), thanks. Hope to see your skillz in person some time.


Well if you remember Armorall it makes old rubber look like new. BUT if you ever stop using it then it cracks fast. I remember buying a used car that had nice shinny tires. Well one of the tires blew out because it had cracks in the sidewalls that I never saw. When I took it in to get replaced it was discovered that ALL the tires had cracks in the sidewalls and all had to be replaced. Obviously the use of Armorall IMHO.

Well 303 SEEMS similar to me. But on the other hand Kokatat issues a free sample when you get your seals replaced, so they obviously believe in it. I did use it on my suit that had the seals dry out. On the other hand, my suits that I haven't used it on, the seals seem to last a long time. Now I admit that this is far from a scientific method, it just makes me nervous. My suits are never in the sun unless I'm wearing them. I'm not going to use 303 on my new seals and we'll see how long they last. But 303 is very similar to Armorall in look and feel......

If you ever come to the Gorge (or SPI this April) look me up Smile


Last edited by johnl on Thu Feb 27, 2014 6:33 pm; edited 1 time in total
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johnl



Joined: 05 Jun 1994
Posts: 1182
Location: Hood River OR

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Norcom, don't expect it to breath 100%. If you are exercising then you are perspiring and some will not pass. That is when having the right kind of layers is important. Something that wicks the moisture to the outside. Then the fleece may "feel damp" on the outside, but you should be dry inside.

Personally I don't play with the "air factor" and just burp all the air out of my suit (squat down, squeeze your arms and legs together, THEN burp the neck). But then again I used it more for kayaking and any floatation (air) in the suit messes up your roll when upside down, and for swimming. BUT that being said, air in the suit is warmer than not having air in the suit....
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norcom



Joined: 16 Jun 2008
Posts: 133

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

johnl wrote:
Norcom, don't expect it to breath 100%. If you are exercising then you are perspiring and some will not pass. That is when having the right kind of layers is important. Something that wicks the moisture to the outside. Then the fleece may "feel damp" on the outside, but you should be dry inside.

Personally I don't play with the "air factor" and just burp all the air out of my suit (squat down, squeeze your arms and legs together, THEN burp the neck). But then again I used it more for kayaking and any floatation (air) in the suit messes up your roll when upside down, and for swimming. BUT that being said, air in the suit is warmer than not having air in the suit....


I dont expect it to breathe 100%. The suit felt VERY comfortable. Just need to get more types of layers. The cycling clothing worked but I want more options.

I did squat down and squeeze all the air out of the suit after I first put it on. Still, I couldn't get ALL of it out until the water squeezed it all out. I think I would prefer to have it completely out to make swimming easier.

I've got nothing against drysuits, I really liked it. It's just such a different feeling and such a short amount of time in it that I'm still processing the experience. Smile
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norcom



Joined: 16 Jun 2008
Posts: 133

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm, regarding the 303, I just ordered some the other day. A guy who kayaks recommended it but he also mentioned to never stop using it.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000XBCURW/ref=oh_details_o01_s00_i01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I wash/clean my suits after every session. I prefer to have a clean, fresh suit for my next session. It also gives me time to inspect if there's anything wrong with it.

No 303 free sample came with the suit, just zipper lube. Confused

EDIT: any thoughts on talcum powder on the seals?
EDIT2:
I'm guessing I'll just use the 303 as per Kokatat's instructions:
http://kokatat.com/general-care-instructions/
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bericw



Joined: 07 Mar 2006
Posts: 43

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 9:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your reply, johnl. I'll be interested to hear your eventual conclusions. In the meantime, maybe see you at the 7/7 - 7/11/14 Hood River abk camp?
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johnl



Joined: 05 Jun 1994
Posts: 1182
Location: Hood River OR

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bericw wrote:
Thanks for your reply, johnl. I'll be interested to hear your eventual conclusions. In the meantime, maybe see you at the 7/7 - 7/11/14 Hood River abk camp?


If Andy teaches it at the Hook, stop by the Big Winds center. I'll be out teaching (unless it is a weekend). If Andy teaches it by the Marina, I probably won't be over there Smile And if it is on a weekend, I'll be out somewhere. But either way get in touch. Smile

Andy and gang are great. I've done at least 5 of their camps (2 regular and 3 freestyle)... I used to be easy to find. White Sprinter van with Northwave logo on the back windows (looks like some Aztec symbol). But there are a lot of copycats out there these days Evil or Very Mad
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johnl



Joined: 05 Jun 1994
Posts: 1182
Location: Hood River OR

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 11:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

norcom wrote:
Hmm, regarding the 303, I just ordered some the other day. A guy who kayaks recommended it but he also mentioned to never stop using it.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000XBCURW/ref=oh_details_o01_s00_i01?ie=UTF8&psc=1


Funny they said the SAME thing about Armorall. You can never stop. It would be interesting to check to see if they are made at the same lab and in fact are the same stuff Smile
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