Topic-icon Wetsuits cut for sitting in a surfski?..

1 month 3 days ago #30190 by DrA5
With cold weather surfski paddle season here, I relectantly pull out my 4/3 wetsuit when needed at times instead of my Level 6 dry suit. The thing is, I find most wetsuits are “cut” for sports where the body stays in line.....surfing....wind surfing.......scuba diving..... They are not cut for hip/torso flexion of 90+ degrees needed when sitting on a surfski. Now, add the fact that I carry a bit more weight up front above the belt, and I find wetsuits uncomfortable, restrictive in breathing, and trying to pull my upper body backwards. So entry of the feet or legs into the kayak/surfski find me having to lean backwards so much, balance is compromised.

Does anyone know of a brand that is cut for sitting? Do Farmer John type suits work better for sitting versus full wetsuits?

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1 month 2 days ago #30191 by LakeMan
I don't have a direct answer for you but you may want to look at drysuits since they are not from fitting..

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill

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1 month 2 days ago #30192 by kwolfe
I have an O'neil 3/2 that I use for cold days for that just in case dunk in the lake. They are more restrictive however today's suits are so flexible that I can't really complain too much.

NRS does make wetsuits specifically for paddlers which are cut with more room in the seat for your hips to flex. Another idea is to do neoprene pants and a neoprene separate top.

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1 month 2 days ago #30193 by Henning DK
I have used a Farmer John type 3 mm wetsuit from Hiko Sport in the wintertime for more than 10 years (the same suit, and still in good condition except for the main zipper), and I find it very convenient and not restricting.

Last winter I tried drysuit, but I like the tighter fit of a wetsuit for surfski paddling, and for easier remount.

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1 month 2 days ago #30194 by Fath2o
DrA5, your right about one piece full surf suits not being designed for paddling and the thicker the material the more restrictive. I have actually cut old full suits at the abdomen to have paddling pants. I then layer up with appropriate upper garments like rash guards, windbreaker, neoprene life vest, long sleeve synchilla etc. much more comfortable. I have also worn thin short johns that are comfortable but still slightly restrictive. Water temps here rarely get below 50'F. I have paddled an alpine lake with this arrangement and was overall comfortable except for my feet in thin surf booties. Toes got real cold. Wouldn't want to go for a swim though. Long sleeve synchilla rash guards are surprisingly comfortable and warm when wet combined with a with a wind breaker.
Good luck.

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1 month 2 days ago #30195 by wesley
If you paddle in temperatures of 40 degrees and below then a breathable drysuit is the way to go. I prefer Kokotat "paddling suits" since they have neoprene neck gasket vice the rubber so much more comfortable.

If paddling in 50 degree temps, neoprene pants(.5 to 1mil) and separate neoprene(.5) top is all you need with a paddling top. They make all thickness of neeoprene and different brands have more stretch and are for paddling.

If paddling in 60 degree temps then I go with my Vaikobi paddling pants either the light weight ones or the heavier ones along with a lightwight very breathable top(wind breaker for paddling).

If above 65 degrees, my light weight vakobie pants or neoprene shorts.
I am in a drysuit from November thru April here in New England, USA and paddling all year round in my surfski. I use pogies for my hands in 40 degree weather, hat, thick neoprene booties, most often drop down to an intermediate ski and look to stay in the lee as much as possible as the cold New England Temps drop along with the 30-40 degree water temps. I make sure my leashes secure and carry with me my waterproof phone, sometimes my GPS enable VHF, and sometimes my emergency personal beacon. I am most often never more than quarter mile off shore in temps below 40 degrees. I can remount most often in one try.
Hope this helps.

Wesley Echols
Former Stellar Kayaks and Surfskis, Performance Director, USA ,, #1 in Surfski Reviews.

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1 month 1 day ago #30199 by mckengmsurfski
Wesley knows way more about cold water wear than I do! I rarely wear anything other than my Nelo or Vaikobi neoprene pants with a mix of Nelo and Craft thermal tops/windbreakers. That said, I can count on one hand the number of times I needed booties to keep my feet warm last year or pogies for my hands!
I do keep a Zhik Microfleece Skiff Suit (Farmer John) for particularly cold days, though I think I've only worn it 3 times total. It is quite comfortable for surfski paddling, but again, I rarely use it around here.

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1 month 1 day ago #30201 by zachhandler
I live in Minnesota. Of the 7 months of the year that the lakes are not frozen, 4 of them are cold water paddling. All the downwind paddlers here have gone the wetsuit route. So you certainly can paddle the coldest conditions in wetsuits. Surfers riding storms on lake superior in the winter use wetsuits after all, an they spend most of the time just floating in the water.

High end super stretch neoprene is so much better than the old stuff. Some brands fit some bodies better in a kayak position. You really have to try before you buy, whether that is by going into a store or trying on online suits in your own home then sending them back if they aren't perfect.

It does require 2 or 3 wetsuits to cover all the whole temperature range. I have 4 of different thickness, so the cost of my wetsuit collection approaches that of a single drysuit.

There are pros and cons to each. Wetsuits are indeed cheaper, until you own 4 or 5 of them. Drysuits are less restrictive almost always. Wetsuits are nicer to swim in. Wetsuits still insulate if you get a rip in one whereas a hole in a dry suit can be a very dangerous situation.

There is one very important difference between dry and wetsuits that is very under-appreciated: The surface of a wetsuit stays wet in the air, while that of a dry suit does not. That means that a wetsuit suffers (or benefits I would argue) from evaporative cooling when in the air. Once in the water, the insulative properties of the two suits reverse. In the water, the insulating clothes and air spaces inside a dry suit compress, yielding a garment that insulates less well in the water than it does in air. The end result is that if you dress to be comfortable while paddling in drysuit, there is I think a slightly greater potential that you will be underdressed if you end up in the water. That is by no means a reason not to use a dry suit, but it is just something to be aware of.

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1 month 14 hours ago #30206 by Fath2o
Zach your right about proper fit of a one piece surf suit. I will set aside a couple hours when going to the local surf shop to buy a new suit, for surfing. I will try on several different brands and styles. I am quite difficult to fit. I also have several different styles and thicknesses of suits to suit conditions. As a suit wears and deteriorates I will often start cutting the arms and legs shorter basically turning a winter suit into a spring or summer suit.
The less expensive suits use a less flexible neoprene but last longer.
The most expensive high end super stretch suits are quite short lived but much more flexible and comfortable.

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1 month 10 hours ago #30207 by Newbflat
I paddle in Puget Sound and unless the air temp is below 35°/2°c I find a Drysuit too hot. You are wearing it for immersion and if I have a minimum of insulation on under it I still fry and it’s not really enough to be effective as immersion protection. I wear a full 3-2mm wetsuit most of the time and a 4-3mm when the air is 42°/5°c or lower. Zack is exactly right about the new suits out there. Mine are O’nell Psycho 1's with "tecnobutter" neoprene and it’s super soft and stretchy. In the 3-2mm I have zero restriction (less than my kokatat drysuit) with sitting or paddling and it’s very warm and surprisingly dry. It is an order of magnitude warmer than a Farmer John type suit which I feel is just not worth it. Way, way too much flush when in the water. The 4-3 is somewhat more restrictive but still fine and loosens up a bit when you sweat some in it. In the 3-2 I would be cold but still likely functional enough to remount after an 45 min of immersion in the 52°/11°c water. I would be alive 3 or more hours later. In the 4-3 double that at least. In a farmer John i doubt I could remount in conditions after 10 min if that.
I prefer suits that do NOT have a skin side on the torso. It’s tackiness binds on a PFD somewhat. I totally agree with Zack about having an all fabric side on the outside let’s you get it wet and use a little evaporative cooling to help you not over heat on days that are bordering on too warm for the suit. If it’s kinda cool, adding a paddle jacket adds 5° or warmth, add a thin fuzzy under the paddle jacket and you have 5° more warmth or more.
I also find swimming MUCH faster in a wetsuit than a Drysuit and remounting is easer as well. All the folds and fabric bring a LOT of water with it when you remount making the whole motion feel slow and heavy. I also keep a 2mm neoprene cap that covers my ears in the front pocket of my PFD. It help immensely if you are chilled and would add significantly to survival time if you had lost your ski or couldn’t remount for some reason.
O’Neill among others offer a wide range of sizes and girths to suit your shape, look at there sizing chart closely and remember the new super stretchy neoprene stretches a lot!

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1 month 7 hours ago #30208 by nwsurfskier
Completely agree with Newbflat. I also paddle year around in Puget Sound. For downwind days where there is a chance of falling in I prefer the O'Neil Psycho 3/2. I've had most of the options from drysuit to various wetsuits and can say without a doubt this the best for the conditions we have. The suit is so well sealed that it rarely gets water inside even when in water for several minutes. They also have an awesome warranty that covers the whole suit for a year. I sent my original suit back because some of the seams were cracking (it gets a lot of use). Not only did they re seal all of the seams, they also replaced worn panels and returned it in less than 3 weeks free of any charge.

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4 weeks 2 days ago #30215 by Fath2o
All good info on wetsuits. But, as mentioned before, different makes of wetsuits fit differently. O'neils are great suits and are very popular, but, they don't fit me with a 48" chest. I, personally, have had the most success with Quicksilver suits. Excel's are also great suits.
I still don't find one piece full suits comfortable to paddle a surfski in though. I think we all have to experiment a bit till we figure out what works for each of us.

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4 weeks 1 day ago #30219 by kwolfe
One thing to mention when trying on wet suits. If you can, wear and rash guard and lycra shorts. I know it sounds weird, but the first time I tried on my 3/2 I thought it was too small. I was in my house sweating my ass off trying to get in it. However once I had it in the water and started to sweat, it really loosened up. I would also carry a bottle of water to pour a little in to get it moving around.

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4 weeks 9 hours ago - 3 weeks 5 days ago #30220 by davgdavg
Make sure you get to a surf shop and try on some suits. (Bring a speedo or something to wear underneath.)

Personally Excel L suits fit me like a glove, whereas I've found the other brands don't fit as well (and don't last nearly as long).

If you are active in the water, even a good 3/2 and booties with gloves will keep you warm for a long time in 50-55 degree water (temps where you would normally wear a 4/3 with booties and maybe a hood surfing). The thing with surfing is that 75-90% of the time you are just sitting there up to your armpits in the water, so the suits need to be designed for that.

Also, Excel makes a neoprene hoodie which might be a good option.

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