View Full Version : Low Air and Water Temp Equipment

11th October 2010, 09:29 AM
Hi all,

I'm sailing/studying in Vancouver at the moment and winter is starting to come along. As far as insulation goes, I currently own a NP 5000 4.3mm short arms wetsuit, though it has lost a lot of its original heat retention due to various holes. The air temperature here is at lowest around 13c for the moment, and as most of my sessions are on formula it's rare that I fall in the water.

However, I want to windsurf as much as possible through winter. How low (in air temp) would I be able to go with say, an additional neoprene 1.5mm top (longsleeve) under my wetsuit, neoprene gloves, boots and hood? (What I've noticed is that not having sleeves on my wetsuit is leading my forearms to get really cold, and as a result of vasoconstriction not much blood circulates to my hands).

Ideally I would get a drysuit but man are those things expensive!

I'd be grateful for anyone who sails/has sailed in low temperatures to give me some advice.



12th October 2010, 09:21 PM
O'neill makes a great dry suit for about $350 US.


Bottom is like a wet suit (but no water) and top is like a dry suit. You layer underneath for whatever conditions you are in. The big thing is that there is no constriction on the arms, hands or upper body. You should get them a little large to allow layering under the bottom half too.

One of the guys in our area got one and within a year, 8-10 of us are now using them. We are in Dallas, Texas, but sail all year long. Generally, if it is sunny and the air is in the 40's F (7 c) or above, we have no problem. The lake water at its coldest is usually in the 40's F (7 c). Most of us have booties, hoods and gloves, but the hands are usually the problem. Warm gloves are bulky and have no feel on the boom, while the thinner gloves with good feel are cold.

I should also add that I have been using semi-dry wet suits for the last 20+ years, usually 4/3 mm. They are fine, but generally too tight on the arms. The last one was a Neil Pryde with a pullover head flap that made the short zipper pretty much waterproof. The O'neill is MUCH more comfortable. I have had a little leakage around the neck and a little at the leg, but there is more sweat than leaking water in the O'neill.

13th October 2010, 02:07 AM
Hi Ken,

Thanks for the reply. I had my eye set on that drysuit until I did a bit of research yesterday. What I found out was that neoprene loses it's qualities over time. If I get some serious low temperature kit, I want it to last longer than my current wetsuit, which after just about 3 seasons is starting to give up on me.

What sort of seals does the Assault have? Are they latex?

My problem with that suit is that if I chip the legs I'm worried I won't be able to fix it up well.

Have you seen the Ocean Rodeo predator??? That thing is insane! Due to the way it's built, that thing should go strong for at least 4-5 years, so I'm debating whether it is a worthwhile investment or if I should settle with the Oneil which prices much nicer...

13th October 2010, 12:33 PM
A 1.5 mm longsleve under the shortarm will be dramatically warmer! And boots will make life more comfortable as well. If you sail formula and don't swim much then hood and gloves really come into play in sub 10 C conditions.

For wetsuit durability you should focus on double lined suits, with a fabric also on the outside (surfing style suits). Single lined suits, and especially NP, are prone to get nicks. You could have a look at http://www.wetsuit.com, they make particularly durable single lined suits (different neopren quality).

14th October 2010, 12:06 AM
The arms, neck and leg seals/gaskets are neoprene about 2mm? with smooth skin inside and nylon on the outside, not the thin stretchy rubber on most dry suits. I suspect that they will last a few years at least. Probably more durable than my wet suits. I guess there is the possibility of being too tight or too lose at the wrists, neck and legs, but the only complaint I have heard from one of my buddies is that the neck was a little tight on him.

17th October 2010, 05:08 AM
Agrelon congrats with your school and location choice! It's a great town...

On your Q, given that I am windsurfing and SUPing in Denmark, I am typically using a 5/6 mm for winter and 4/3 for summer. Now, the best suit for COLD conditions that I plan to buy to replace my old Winter wetsuit is an ION FUSION Neopren Drysuit! This is a full dry suit, designed to work with a set of thermals underneath! I have a friend that bought last yeats model and he said that, the suit kept him dry and warm in zero conditions. The Fuse is actually combines all the best traits of a baggy drysuit and a neoprene wetsuit without any of the weaknesses. Check it out at IONs Fusion (http://www.ion-essentials.com/content/products/neoprene/wetsuits/series/fuse/wetsuit_products/drysuit_4_3_dl/)Site. Buy some good shoes and Dakine mittens and you are SAFE rather than cold....


17th October 2010, 09:06 PM
FYI I've had an "old" style drysuit in the past, and from what I am reading from the Norwegian testers, this is a totally new concept drysuit! It costs around 650-700 BUT it's worth it!

See the ION Fusion (2010) PDF FAQ (now branded as FUSE) for further information...

18th October 2010, 02:33 AM
Another Drysuit that is warmly recommended by our Nordic friends is Ocean Rodeo's SurfDry Predator (http://oceanrodeo.com/drysuits/surfdry#tprod_overview), which is a 2 piece suit for places like Vancouver Island.
You will find this suit among dealers in the town e.g. http://www.airtimeboardsports.com/

18th October 2010, 11:20 PM
Another Drysuit that is warmly recommended by our Nordic friends is Ocean Rodeo's SurfDry Predator (http://oceanrodeo.com/drysuits/surfdry#tprod_overview), which is a 2 piece suit for places like Vancouver Island.
You will find this suit among dealers in the town e.g. http://www.airtimeboardsports.com/

I'm currently looking at this one. I think is a great concept as it solves 2 problems with its design: no baggy material and protection for the drycore.

I'll probably get this one around christmas... I'm going to start by getting some neoprene booties and gloves! Couldn't feel my feet or hands after my last formula session.

19th October 2010, 12:20 PM
When sailing formula, or similar, where swimming is a rare occation a windbreaker jacket is actually a possible enhancement. It will get wet if you swim, but it will protect you from the wind and be a lot warmer (than no jacket).

22nd October 2010, 09:04 AM
Adrian, did some research on User Testimonials on IONs FUSION; There are many [lunatic] Kiters especially in Northern Europe that go for it in the winter; They are probably some of the best testers, as they crash a lot, get dragged in freezing water and are exposed to the elements more than we are. The point is whether the dry suit will allow you to move on a waveboard, rather than leisurely sailing a Formula <10 knots..

See my collection of Google translated testimonials below, and if you find anything similar on the Ocean Rodeo Predator please share...


ION Fusion tested in the Norwegian waters 9 April 2010

We now receive nice feedback from customers who have been in the water with the new ION Fusion dry suit. This is without doubt a product for water lovers who enjoy themselves in Norwegian conditions!Here is some feedback we received from a customer on the west coast [REALLY COLD]

"I've finally got tested Ion dry suit. Have had a freestyle session and a jump session with it. The suit is the new big. Best drysuit I've ever had.

It is easy to take off. A little difficult to operate the zipper alone, but it goes. When the suit is on the exceptionally comfortable and soft. I notice nothing that weighs. On the water it is ingenious. Freedom of movement is as if I was in my pajamas.

The hood is also ingenious. Do you have the form of the well and is warm, provides protection to the neck. The heat is, as expected, so good you just want to.

There have been freezing cold in the water, but falling into the water is like on a summer day. It is brilliant for active push sailing in the winter when people totally do not have to be afraid of falling and can push as much as you want. I have been sailing for several years with HellyHansen Drys. Ion suit is much better. "

German BLOG http://surfforum.oase.com/showthread.php?t=84865

Hi got to me the ION FUSION and was on weekend throughout the first and so far only time off.

Had 2 degrees is air and water now I think at 7. Feels outside temperature was below zero in any case, given windchill and clouds.

I spent 3h in the water, of which 50/50 on board and then in water. Had unfortunately only too small kite (NEN 10) and was fully in the low end, so it was in between times too little wind and I had to "run" much higher. I often had a couple of extended body drags.

Why am I telling you all: there was water in the suit, some droplets given the violent drags and a bit on the legs. But not much and the suit was NOT cold. Could stand up to 3 hrs then my hands were really in the bucket--

I had no long underwear only a T-shirt. Space would also be more, next time I guess maybe with even jogging pants and sweaters.Freedom of movement was ok, have no comparison to other Drysuits, but unlike my 5mm Neo's it enjoyable.

What is stupid is the collar of the suit! When the top and has done time short dive is really cold in the neck and the water stays there ne time standing, although they have front and rear holes drain off cleansed, this can be but too small to quickly dissipate the water. I have not used the hood as it limits my point of view, too.

Oh yes I can pull it yet not be so good, but maybe that comes with time. The latex seals pretty doll-like on the skin when wet. (To compare with on and off at the store).

2nd Tester::::::::::

So I was at the WE at -5 degrees and about 12-17 knots kite. Water just thawed!
I threw almost too warm. The FUSION is probably best only when it is really cold though!
For 10 degree plus you take better ION Strike in five mm

Oh the FUSION has great freedom of movement. The warmest suit I was wearing before.

If you get into something slightly more ambitious Kiting, water may enter the suit. It is no longer dry, but it is not yet cold! Quite the contrary! I totally flew at -5 degrees Celsius, almost fluffy warm

The only thing that bugs me is the hood! Restricts the view to me too! I then went and always without habs done just depends wenns jump to the cold water comes to me not the spoon abfriert

3rd Tester::::

Was out today with the ION. Was about an hour encouraging water at -2 degrees and 22 knots.
Before and after running around with the suit for an hour on the beach.
The temperature was super ..... if there were not only the hands


Ps: when I was on water and I had gloves on

Emerald Shop - Italian BLOG ================================

We start from the beginning ... about six months ago, I met my importer, we started to discuss how to winter kite, in our northern latitudes, become anything but fun and above all cool. Boring, because it is sooo long and cold, because in those rare windy days almost all the winds are northerly and consequently ice.

He looked at me and said, "You know that ION will release a dry revolutionary of its kind and very hot?" And I said, "the usual mute Seeeee waxed waterproof corny ones like the Ocean Rodeo that you have to dress to stay warm with under the suit and that if unfortunately the cuts you risk your life! "and he replied:" No, no, here have completely reversed that concept and replaced with a simple nylon neoprene all masterfully welded so that water does not penetrate inside the suit itself, "Me:"WOW, fantastic !!!".
Here is how did my interest in this new suit.

The prerogative to test this suit is so COOL- I waited for the return on our first North Lake (Lake Maggiore) and I wore the Fusion.
The outside temperature was about 4 degrees and the water temperature is around 6 / 8 degrees. Fresh breeze from the north, gusts from 18 to 35 knots.

The first thing you notice is the size of FUSION - it's much larger than a typical wet suit, also has a large zipper that runs the entire length of the shoulders. The cuffs and ankles are arranged differently than a Classic suit.

I can dress in entered quickly and easily. In the blink of an eye I'm ready! I take off my kite and I approach the lake, the temperature outside is really exciting!

Equipped course of at least 4mm thick socks, I put the first foot in the water and in amazement the first feeling I do not feel completely immersing myself in any way in cold water, contrary to how you feel in a Classic Neopren suit.

Start a tack and after about 10 minutes sail, to my amazement I'm hot and I realize that I'm finally wearing the great miracle that I had been highly praised.

Speaking of mobility, I must say that despite the size of the suit does not feel much clutter, I would have expected more trouble! In some operations where some arching their backs, perhaps a small disturbance may give the zipper but it is something quite bearable. Clearly we are talking about a dry suit and not a shorty ....

I wore the suit completely "natural" and I did not put any type of underwear, but maybe a little lycra there would have been bad, I would have certainly helped to draw to the wet and the sweat inside.

The FUSION is undoubtedly an innovative product, good for the winter season.
It ranks as a high-end product and that is why it is clearly one of those purchases that are made only once, but it's worth doing.

It is worn with ease
E 'extremely hot
It has a superbly crafted
Packed with innovative materials

Price a bit 'too
Weight a bit 'too
Hood a bit 'out of the way

22nd October 2010, 04:47 PM
you mention the hands
in a separate post i discuss gloves
what have you found works best for your hands ?
for me now it seems the "new" Dakine mittens are doing the job

22nd October 2010, 11:05 PM
Hi Chris, thanks for your detailed reply. I've read some really good things about the predator drysuit online, and seen a couple of surfing videos with it used in extreme conditions. Do you know how the Ion prices?

One big plus for me getting an ocean rodeo is that the company is based really close to vancouver, so it's easy for me to get customer service.

22nd October 2010, 11:06 PM

I just got a pair of gloves from Ocean Rodeo, but they were too small. When I get them changed for the size up I'll let you know how they go... though I have nothing to compare with as I've never used gloves before.

24th October 2010, 01:00 AM
Most windsurfers swear by the DaKine "Cold Water Neo Mitt" here in Denmark. Even in Holland,most agree; I met a couple of people that said the same, while they demonized neopren gloves and especially O'Neill's Psycho gloves!

Actually any mitt is warmer than a glove because your fingers keep each other warm. Any form of insulation between the palm of your hands and the boom results in fingers and arms getting fatigued by squeezing the insulation.


Couple of downsides, if you swim a lot then you will go purple in the open-palmed mittens, while the back is typical soft neoprene and so they last only a season or two. Now DaKine's new Mitts have a new this material for your palm, thus it should help. Yet I've not tried them yet...

24th October 2010, 01:13 AM
Adrian, I've also heard a LOT of good things about the OR Predator, so if you can grab it reasonable price go for it and then POST a review please!

The ION Fuse (as it is called in 2011) is around 6-700 $ (same as the NPX Lucifer - another suit getting great reviews). My only concern with the OR Predator is that it takes 10 mins to take it on and probably 5 mins to take it off! What about if you really need to pee???

25th October 2010, 02:09 AM
Adrian, I've also heard a LOT of good things about the OR Predator, so if you can grab it reasonable price go for it and then POST a review please!

The ION Fuse (as it is called in 2011) is around 6-700 $ (same as the NPX Lucifer - another suit getting great reviews). My only concern with the OR Predator is that it takes 10 mins to take it on and probably 5 mins to take it off! What about if you really need to pee???

Hi Chris,

In the official donning video, the "experienced user" can suit up in less than 3 minutes. I can tell you that putting my wetsuit on is at least that long as well.

In the long run, even if I buy my drysuit for the official price, the cost per annum of owning the suit is going to be same or less than my wetsuit. My wetsuit was about 300 CAD and has served me for 2 full winters and the start of this one. Now, after one professional repair job for the holes, it's starting to reach it's end. I could probably still use it as a summer wetsuit in Brittany this coming summer. That's about 100CAD per year.

If the drysuit's seals can be repaired, as OR claim, then there's no reason why a drysuit shouldn't last me a minimum of 5 years. That's about 120CAD per year, which is a small price to pay if I can windsurf year round.

I might just get my money back for OR gloves and get some mits as everyone recommends. I guess once on the water, there's no real advantage of having fingers.