Wetsuit Advice

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Wetsuit Advice

Postby chris oak » December 20th, 2017, 10:38 pm

Some of my buddies were discussing wetsuits and I know this is an area everyone thinks about.

The best wetsuit is the one that fits you and keeps you warm. Fit is incredibly important and if you are lucky, you'll fit off the rack and can go check out suits at your local dive shop. If you are unlucky you will have to go custom, in so cal there are two places that come to mind and one of them might have retired. The two that I know of are M and B in long beach and JMJ in torrance, you can google it for the numbers.

Wetsuits vary because divers vary, I rock a 7mm as soon as the water temp goes below 62, but I have buddies that dive in 5mm all year round including in 58 degree water. Age, hunting style, weight etc all play a part but a key is, you want a wetsuit that is made well. There are a lot of new neoprene out there, before Yamamoto rubber was the only supple stuff but heiwa and sheico also have grades that come really close. A good suit is going to reflect the cost, if you get a cheap suit you will know it when the cold comes around. Keep in mind the softer the suit, the easier it will compress (as you go deeper the water pressure compresses the suit and after doing this for a year your suit won't be as thick or as warm). The soft suits also tear easier when you are taking them off and you will probably have to use some sort of lube to slip in them. I use dawn antibacterial dishwash soap that is watered down but a lot of guys were using cure care when it was still available.

Most guys will agree that farmer johns are warmer than a high waist suit if you are going beavertail. You want a suit that has knee and elbow protection if you are doing any shore dives or are working the reef. You definitely want a load pad on the chest. A knife pocket is handy if you can get it because it's always nice to carry a second knife even if you have one on your weight belt or your leg/arm.

I've owned a lot of different suits and I am lucky that I fit off the rack, my current favorites are spettons because they fit me well, but I've also had other makes that fit too. One of my 5mm is a HECS and that suit is really well made and fits perfect as well. Euro suits often have irregular size charts so make sure you ask which will fit your size ie I wear a medium in a spetton, a large in a JBL and once I ordered a jakboeno that was xxl because the size chart was so messed up as I'm 5'11 165 lbs. I just got a 7.5mm Yazbec for work because I was tired of getting custom scuba suits that were stiff and ill fitting, and went with a large, as soon as the temp drops I'll let you guys know how it works out.

I take good care of my suits because they are expensive to me, that means after every single dive I soak them in dawn dishwasing soap in cold water for a hour or two and then hang dry them on my suit dry rack out of the sun, inside out. You don't want to store a suit folded because if you do it will make creases and those creases are thinner than the rest of the suit and water will get in easier that way. Most of my suits last about 2-3 seasons if I'm lucky (keep in mind I'm probably diving maybe 75 days a year and doing 100-200 drops a day and much of it beach diving), but I am also constantly repairing them with seal cement because I tear the shidt out of them on the rocks during beach entries/exits.
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chris oak
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