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Drysuit lessons learned the hard way


jercrane
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Yesterday morning I learned a very important lesson the hard way. Certainly not the hardest way but ...

 

I busted out the drysuit this past weekend. Lake temp dipped below 60 but more importantly the air was mid to high 40s in the morning in N.H. I actually prefer the bag style suit. I find the freedom of movement better than even a regular 3/2 wetsuit. Nice comfy athletic wear underneath. My only issue has always been the neck. It feels like trying to give birth pulling your head through and then I feel like my eyes are popping out of my head for the first minute or so until I get used to it. So I decided to pull the neck on before I put my binding on this time. Give myself more time to acclimate before skiing.

 

Strapped on my gloves. Got the binding on. Locked into the ski. Grabbed the handle. Took a breath or two. Checked with my driver. Yup he’s good. He turns around. I step off the platform. Wait what’s that look in his eyes? What’s he about to say?

 

Wait? Somethings not right.

Woah that feels cold

And wet!

Wtf!

 

Crap crap zipper! Crap crap crap

 

Legs filling ... sinking ... wow this sucks!

 

Luckily I was still arms reach to the platform and dragged my soggy ass back into the boat.

 

Sonova!

 

Well let me tell you that made for a pretty damn cold and crappy set.

 

The lesson?

 

Always zip your drysuit back immediately after putting head through the neck!

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@keithh2oskier

oh man! LOL

We were joking about that the other day actually. How much it sucks if you forget to pee before pulling the suit up and then you have to get in the water and actively remind yourself not to pee. I can't believe someone actually forgot!

 

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  • Baller

I always use to put the suit on at the last possible second, then one day i had to do some hoist work in very cold and pretty deep water so i put on the bag. Dawned on me after 30 minutes or so that I was breathing normal, so ever sine then I'll put it on ahead of time and I really think I ski a lot better. Your driver's 2 jobs that day are the zipper before you go off the back, and again before he heads home.

 

 

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The other monster tip for me has been to fold the neck in. I have an O'Neil Boost with the tapered Neo neck. Unlike a latex neck folding makes for a more comfortable fit and a better seal in my experience. You just have to fold in not out ... out is even tighter on the neck. Hat tip to @LakeOneSkier and @Dirt for that tip.
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Here's two.

 

First

Spring. Time to float the course. Dry-suits on. Me and my buddy got in the kayak. There were lots of weeds, so we needed to pull the cable off the bottom first. He said "drop me off at the south anchor; then you paddle down and start at the other end... we'll meet in the middle." I ended up with the hook to find the cable. About half down, I looked back to see how he was doing. All I see are two feet sticking out of the water, kicking franticly with the bottom third of his dry-suit full of air. He had tried to dive down to grab the cable. Well, this was an actual Darwin moment. Could he right himself as I couldn't paddle back in time. Some how, he got his head above water. When I got to him the look of terror on his face... well, I remember it to this day.

 

Second

Spring again. Another buddy wanted to ski over lunch hour. So, I met him at his dock. We ski. I went first. He went second. His house is right behind the turn island. So, he said, "when I'm done... I'll just drop at my dock... I've got to get right back to work." OK. He waves as he let's go and skis up to his dock. Perfect. Except one thing, he has his dry-suit on, and no one is home. No way to unzip it. Turns out, if you can get the zipper strap caught on the door knob, you can turn just right to unzip. The keyword here being door knob... as there are two in this story.

 

 

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I've had to unzip my drysuit by myself more than once. On a Shorestation boat lift there is a locking tap that sticks through the wheel and extends out about 3 inches. For me it's a perfect height to hook the loop from the zipper and walk down the dock to unzip yourself!
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Theoretically I'm pretty sure that getting in the water with an unzipped drysuit he is super super super dangerous. Imagine if your boat crew is not there or you had to climb up on a dock or tread water

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  • Baller
A dry suit filling with water shouldn't be any more dangerous than fishing wadders filling with water. Water will seek it's own level and you should be fine (not drown). Getting out of the water would definitely be a challenge though.
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