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agrelon 11th October 2010 09:29 AM

Low Air and Water Temp Equipment
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.



Ken 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.

agrelon 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...

PG 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, they make particularly durable single lined suits (different neopren quality).

Ken 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.

ChrisN 17th October 2010 05:08 AM

Best All whether suit
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 Site. Buy some good shoes and Dakine mittens and you are SAFE rather than cold....

ChrisN 17th October 2010 09:06 PM

FAQ for ION Fusion - The BEST Cold Wheather suit!
1 Attachment(s)
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...

ChrisN 18th October 2010 02:33 AM

Another Drysuit that is warmly recommended by our Nordic friends is Ocean Rodeo's SurfDry Predator, which is a 2 piece suit for places like Vancouver Island.
You will find this suit among dealers in the town e.g.

agrelon 18th October 2010 11:20 PM


Originally Posted by ChrisN (Post 44150)
Another Drysuit that is warmly recommended by our Nordic friends is Ocean Rodeo's SurfDry Predator, which is a 2 piece suit for places like Vancouver Island.
You will find this suit among dealers in the town e.g.

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.

PG 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).

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