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



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 19264

PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2018 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My new suits outer skins FEEL like a fabric of some sort ... i.e., they feel tougher than bare neoprene. Time will tell whether they actually are any tougher. Either way, the slippery lycra/spandex suit beneath it significantly reduces the need for pulling the material over my skin, so should help it last a lot longer.

But I notice everyone keeps typing, "wetsuit". It makes me wonder how many people have worn an actual DRY neoprene suit. MAN, what a difference! Maybe I'm just spoiled, as I've had DRY suits in my quiver since 1982.

However, I really appreciate the superior flexibility and 50% weight reduction of the super-stretchy suits.
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dllee



Joined: 03 Jul 2009
Posts: 4593
Location: East Bay

PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2018 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Had 3 Supersuits, tossed out the last one on perfect condition 5 years ago..size M. Worthless in 48 water and air temps.
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GURGLETROUSERS



Joined: 30 Dec 2009
Posts: 2326

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2018 4:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just to clarify a point - Lest it gets forgotten, the principle on which a wet suit works is that a film of water pressed against the skin warms to body temperature (like being in a warm bath) and insulates against any further gushing in of water. (A well sealed semi-dry wetsuit.)

I've always found that, in extreme conditions the inner lining of the wetsuit, however they spin it, has never felt warm enough when wet, so I've always used the layering principle of some warmer material against the skin. Thin wool jumpers, or fluffy thermal vests with a thin neo shorty to keep them pressed against the skin, with the looser fitting wetsuit on top.

Recently, I've switched to to full length thin fleece under suit with the shorty and the wet suit over that. It works just as well in the coldest conditions.

Modern semi-dry wetsuits still work on the body heated water insulation next to the skin principle (the fleece is always wet after a session) so the layoring principle, as in many other extreme winter pursuits, works just as well, and an added bonus of the full length fleece is on stripping off outside the car in freezing biting winds is that you can leave the 'warm' fleece till last before diving into the windproof car and kitting up! Toasty indeed!

The winter gear is aided by wearing double boots (i.e. 5 mm neo boots over 3mm neo socks - an old surfing trick of preventing the cold from seeping up your legs from your feet) and 4mm smoothskin neo gloves. (The grip secret is to have then with tightish fitting palms so that they can't slip as you grip the boom.) It certainly isn't me who stands shivering at the water's edge after just ten minutes, or so!! (The proof of the pudding, etc.)
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U2U2U2



Joined: 06 Jul 2001
Posts: 5065
Location: Shipsterns Bluff, Tasmania. Colorado

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2018 9:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Translation: jumper is a sweater.
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 19264

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

GURGLETROUSERS wrote:
the principle on which a wet suit works is that a film of water pressed against the skin warms to body temperature (like being in a warm bath) and insulates against any further gushing in of water. (A well sealed semi-dry wetsuit.)

I've always found that, in extreme conditions the inner lining of the wetsuit, however they spin it, has never felt warm enough when wet, so I've always used the layering principle of some warmer material against the skin.

Modern semi-dry wetsuits still work on the body heated water insulation next to the skin principle (the fleece is always wet after a session)

The winter gear is aided by wearing double boots (i.e. 5 mm neo boots over 3mm neo socks - an old surfing trick of preventing the cold from seeping up your legs from your feet) and 4mm smoothskin neo gloves. (The grip secret is to have then with tightish fitting palms

I agree on the wetsuit insulation principle, but when cold (anything below 50F) hits my spine, it shivers me timbers from head to toe. I want to prevent that icy spinal tap, and that's where DRY suits excel for me. They rely first on keeping the cold water where it belongs ... the hell away from me. I thus have body-warmed AIR next to my skin, plus fleece when necessary. A good dry suit, whether Goretex or neoprene, keeps my fleece dry. (Goretex has the bonus of feeling weightless and ... well ... just not there. It's like sailing in pajamas even with lots of fleece under it.) Second in that sensation is the supersuits ... once I get the damned things on.

As for gloves ... If the water's too cold for me to fix or adjust something barehanded, I'm not sailing. I've had to abandon a full rig to get my butt to shore because my hands got numb (at about 46F) when the gloves came off, and the subsequent pain during warming was much worse than that of major surgery or passing kidney stones.

And when am I most likely to need to remove gloves and adjust the straps? When wearing booties. I consider even 3mm unsafe for me, for reasons I've discussed many times. But I'll use them for a few weeks, in certain conditions, for medical reasons, despite the risk.
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grantmac017



Joined: 04 Aug 2016
Posts: 830

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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
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GURGLETROUSERS



Joined: 30 Dec 2009
Posts: 2326

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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.

Just to add a further thought of my own (though I may have got it wrong). The modern 'craze' for super stretchy less dense neoprene suits MAY be to overcome the problem of keeping them a close fit on a normal body shape, as the person writhes and twists and bends on the water. (Gaps appear with denser neoprene, especially in the small of the back as you twist and bend, letting pools of icy water in! (Been there surfing, and 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


Last edited by GURGLETROUSERS on Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:54 am; edited 1 time in total
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GURGLETROUSERS



Joined: 30 Dec 2009
Posts: 2326

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, the fleece works. Just returned from a session on my new 'toy' J.P. freerace board today. (Not a very cold day but who's grumbling about that fact)

The fleece (full length) I now use is quite thin and of the type often used under dry suits. At least, that was what it meant for when I bought it, and it really does add an extra layer of comfort beneath my latest Winter wet suit.

(Sorry for all the alterations and edits but computer problems yet again!!)
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grantmac017



Joined: 04 Aug 2016
Posts: 830

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2018 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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.
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GURGLETROUSERS



Joined: 30 Dec 2009
Posts: 2326

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2018 4:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I suppose it depends on the fit of your wetsuit Grant. I always get suits big enough to fit comfortably over the under layers I use.

The suit used today was my latest, a C Skins 6mm winter suit with hood attached, and I didn't feel or notice any problem anywhere while sailing. That suit is made with the latest fairly stretchy neoprene, but the thickness and the less tight fit prevents a feel of any tight spots.

Whatever, the fleece always feel comfortably toasty even though wet, as a wetsuit is meant to be inside.
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