wetsuit mine field

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wetsuit mine field

Postby peteuk » Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:16 am

hi, it really is a mine field when it comes to buying a wetsuit , all suits are not equal,what i mean is if you buy a 5/3 winter suit you can end up with a small chest panel of 5mm and the majority of the suit is 3mm ,
most things you buy have to have the greatest ingrediant listed first so that suit would become a 3 /5 and you would think twice before buying it as a winter suit , some other suits do have more 5mm ,torso and only the arms in 3mm so they could be called 5/3

the other thing is the use of 3 mm in the arms , historically 3 mm was used just to give more flexability when the older neoprene was quite stiff but now the neoprene is that flexable that you might as well use 5 mm all over and always be warm ,
i have an older 5mm f bomb ,fire skin in the torso so really warm on the body but the tops of my shoulders are always cold when the wind has got a cold edge to it , its only 3 mm there so i don/t use this suit when the weather gets really cold ,
i have a couple of 654 suits just to get some extra thickness in the arms and shoulder area which are generally out of the water and exposed to the wind and evaporation so in reality should be thicker neoprene not thinner in this area ,
this is where the 654 suit feel warmer ,the chest panel is generally 6mm with the torso in 5mm and the arms in 4 mm , so its really a 5 mm suit with 4 mm arms and a small area of 6 mm on the chest ,

i have been looking about and have found some all over 5mm suits, really stretchy neoprene ,fluid welded seams and made by a well reputable company , i have got one on order so will report back when it arrives , pete
Last edited by peteuk on Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: wetrsuit mine field

Postby slipslide » Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:34 am

Im sure my xcel is 5/4/3 which even if its not in my mind is the best combination (or possibly 5/4 with all that fancy rubber thats out there). That said i generally wear in the south west 4/3 on all but the coldest days. Either Matuse or xcel 4/3 drylock hooded. East coast 5mm. Important to my warmth is decent boots and gloves.
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Re: wetrsuit mine field

Postby tynemouthmatt » Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:32 am

Hi Pete,

Currently on the search for new suit, usually go for a 654 in winter.

I'd be interested in a 5mm allover suit. What company are you ordering from?
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Re: wetrsuit mine field

Postby peteuk » Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:03 am

hi, matt . i have sent you a pm , i hav/nt got the suit yet so i want to make sure it is ok before i give any details out , pete
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Re: wetsuit mine field

Postby Chris F » Wed Nov 07, 2012 12:29 pm

Not sure where the point of that post is?

I've got a 5:4 XCEl O Zip and it works for me all winter. I think decent hood / gloves / boots make more of a difference in cold water than an extra mm here or there.
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Re: wetsuit mine field

Postby peteuk » Wed Nov 07, 2012 1:14 pm

hi chris, ""I've got a 5:4 XCEl O Zip"" that is my point , that extra 1mm on the arms does make a difference 33% thicker ,pete
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Re: wetsuit mine field

Postby Chris F » Wed Nov 07, 2012 2:36 pm

OK a noticeable difference then. And well done on doing the maths, but does the extra mm here and there make the suit noticeably warmer, heavier or more flexible? As you move away from zero the noticeable difference diminishes out of proportion to the % change.
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Re: wetsuit mine field

Postby peteuk » Sun Apr 07, 2013 2:02 pm

hi, i thought i should post up an update about the suit i bought , its here

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/ONeill-Sector ... 19d66a2773

it a really warm robust suit , i feel isolated or insulated from the cold useing it , there is no back flap like a bat wing but the zip is water tight urathane coated so is water tight , the suit uses oniel xflex neoprene and has fliud welds on the seams ,thermospan on the torso , it just looks like a surf suit although it is made for diving , only because of the 5 mm in the arms ,
it is a bit thicker and slightly more heavier than standard 5/3 winter suit but i wanted a warm suit for when the wind is cold like we have had these last couple of weeks and it has delivered exactly that , that much so that bought another one as well , one for the full price 99.95 pounds and the other one i bid on and got it a bit cheaper ,
i see that gul are thinking along similar lines are now producing an all over 6mm viper , a bargain price 159 from the wetsuit outlet if i had seen that first i might have gone for that one because the viper neoprene is quite soft and flexible

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Gul-Viper-6-6 ... 416e472513

so you don/t have to spend the earth or be cold when the water is at its lowest , stay warm ,pete
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Re: wetsuit mine field

Postby Leven » Sun Apr 07, 2013 3:26 pm

It's more of a minefield than that! Some manufacturers measure suits by the thickness of the rubber (Xcel for instance), where as others measure the finished product including any coating, nylon linings, poly linings etc.

So you could get 5mm of rubber + all the coatings/linings etc, or you could get 3.5mm of rubber + 1.5mm of linings/coatings. That'll have a huge impact on weight/flexibility etc. and most importantly warmth!!
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Re: wetsuit mine field

Postby zboy » Mon Apr 08, 2013 1:34 pm

cant understand why you need 5 m/m arms if its warmth you are looking for go to snugg and get them to make you up a vest with extra neoprene around the kidney area,sorted, a diving suit is for diving not surfing.or do what i did buy a psycho 3 job done 8) :-)
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Re: wetsuit mine field

Postby MarkyD » Mon Apr 08, 2013 3:06 pm

I have been using the
2013 Billabong SG5 7MM Fixed Hood Chest Zip Steamer if anyone wants a quick review.
water and air temp about the same today at 7 degrees C
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Re: wetsuit mine field

Postby wigsy » Mon Apr 08, 2013 4:51 pm

7mm?! Crumbs, how do you move in that thing?!
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Re: wetsuit mine field

Postby Black » Mon Apr 08, 2013 7:26 pm

zboy wrote:cant understand why you need 5 m/m arms if its warmth you are looking for go to snugg and get them to make you up a vest with extra neoprene around the kidney area,sorted, a diving suit is for diving not surfing.or do what i did buy a psycho 3 job done 8) :-)

Pretty much all the features are the same between the psycho and the "diving" suit except for technobutter. Maybe the "diving" suit uses last years surf tech but for half the price it has got to be worth a look if you don't really bother with fashion? With the current baltic winds an extra thickness of neoprene around the shoulders would be welcome tbh.
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Re: wetsuit mine field

Postby peteuk » Tue Apr 09, 2013 9:14 am

hi,zboy,its not my torso thats cold , i have a few 5mm suits and its always the arms where its 3 mm that is cold as i explained in the first post,
the fbomb i have is 3 mm on the backs of the sholders and arms and is just freezing in these conditions ,
who wears 3 mm boots at this time of year , even 5 mm ones are only just warm enough ,

markyd, i read that billabong were doing a 7mm suit ,if the neoprene is soft and flexible like it must be then it must be a really warm and comfortable suit ,i would like to hear your thoughts on it if you could ,

like i said in the first post i bought the suit for when the water and air is at its coldest , the suit cost 99.95 with free delivery , a bargain in my eyes , i am warm without spending 3 or 4 times that amount on a suit i will use for 2-3 months ,
upto january and after the middle of april i have other suits to wear , thinner boots etc, pete
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Re: wetsuit mine field

Postby MarkyD » Tue Apr 09, 2013 3:19 pm

The 7mm option has turned out quite well this year with the greater prevalence of longer period swells and the resulting sitting about waiting for set waves. In past years it would be more continous paddling in onshore conditions.
First off I don't wear gloves. I have a 4mm suit for when I am not wearing the winter one and I don't bother with a 3/2 for surf but sometimes swim in one. I buy a new winter and a new 4/3 every year. Astonished that anyone gets more that a proper season out of a suit before its warmth drops markedly.
For me too many suits have long bodies and short legs and I dislike that roll of excess neoprene when sitting on the board. I also have a small head and skinny neck for my size so most neck openings with chest zip leak through the back of the neck. Back zips don't work for me.
Usually I wear Quiksilver suits because they fit. They are comparitively thin and cold and have taken a turn for the worse with thin arms and thin underarm panels (3mm in their 'warmest' suit ha ha) and have always been in short supply and expensive. Not so this last year wiht more available .
A winter suit should have a built in hood in my opinion but even these could be designed better.
Quick review of the 7mm suit.
Sensible distribution of neoprene thickness. I am happy to have thick neoprene on the legs and torso. The Quiksilver Fuseflex for example has decided their warmest suit is OK with 3mm underarm panels and 4 mm calf thickness, madness.
Not much in the way of wicking polypro lining that is prevelent in for example the Ripcurl Flashbomb but from experience with the 7mm I would rather have the extra thickness in neoprene that polypro etc lining. I expected the suit to be horrible to get on wet/damp ( which it is almost all its life over winter) but in reality its OK as little water stay on the inside surface. I think maybe the touted wicking/warmth properties of the various lining is way overrated.
The hood is one of the nicest for comfort and warmth. Cant see the point in the Xcel type chin guard and the Oniel Mutant hood has a stiff peak which allows a gap at the temples for water trickless.
The suposed warming in the sun neoprene really does seem to work as a very little sun does feel noticeably warmer although in general not a fan of slick/glide skin chest and back panels a suit doesn't hug the body so well.

WARNING. Before buying turn inside out and check the liquid seam around the limited polypo lining (pink) as some suits this isn't smoothed down and is a potential rubbing place with peaks of liquid seam.

Fits me well in a size small as it has decent length legs but it is really an inch too short in the arms. I have long legs and arms but short body.

I did weigh the suits when I first got them to compare with the Quiks and will look out the results. I also weighed them wet.

Yes I have noticed an increased level of fatigue this year but that may be due to being a year older. Paddling is perhaps a little slower /not so explosive but this would be less in comparison to slowing of the muscles due to cold so I'm Ok with that.
Suit is about par for the chest zips for ease of getting in and out of probably better than the Quiks because it is a zip that comes apart rather than being one piece. Not explained well but with the one piece there is a lot of strain on the zip when it is open ie you're getting in and out. I like the Billabong way but its fiddlier with cold fingers.

BAD points. For all its warmth this is one of the worst for flushing I have had for a while. Despite being a tight fit there is much more that the Quik up the arms and legs and a very bad area throught the zip and the shoulder area where the elastic cinch is poor ( like Ripcurl ones of old with the same toggle and weak elastic). Maybe the thicker more rigid neoprene in arms and legs promotes this flushing more.

Its now the method of joining seams that is holding back the flexability and the Quiks narrow 'Fuzeflex' is a move in the right direction. The Billabong in comparison has decent flexability in the neoprene but poor in the wide double sided liquid seam.

Really think winter suits could be so much better than they are with a few sensible design changes. Any company want to sponsor me 2 suits a year to improve your products? I have loads of ideas. You will get more useful feedback from me than the local rippers.
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Re: wetsuit mine field

Postby roberdy » Wed Apr 10, 2013 6:27 pm

bloody hell, I wear a hooded Xcel 5/4 all winter, the only variable is boots and gloves thickness and when it is on it is not unheard of me to be in the water for three or four hours if it is possible. That's in Scotland where it is significantly colder than doon sooth! Oh and I am a Cornishman so not exactly bred for it!
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