Wet or drysuit in New Zealand?

Discussion in 'New Zealand' started by Haiko, Apr 10, 2005.

  1. Haiko

    Haiko Divemaster

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: The Netherlands
    173
    0
    0
    High!

    Maybe this question and/or answer is somewhere posted in this forum, but I couldn't find it. So here it's (again?).

    What kind of divesuit is recommended for diving in New Zealand (summer and wintertime).
    Can a thick (when does a suit catagorize as "thick?", in mm i.e.) wetsuit be used, without getting frozen, or is it adviced to use a dry one? I have no idea (yet) what the watertemperatures will be, I expect they are not as tropical as in Australia? But it can't be that bad on the North Island, can it?

    Cheers anyway,
    Haiko
     
  2. alijtaylor

    alijtaylor Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Wellington NZ
    781
    4
    0
    HAiko
    Where are you planning to dive and what are you used to? I dive in a 7mm farmer john and jacket with hood and gloves all year around but at 10 Celcius in mid winter in Wellington it is cool.

    In the Poor Knights - probably the premier NZ site some of the locals were getting ready to shift into dry suits last weekend when I was there but to me the water was a relatively balmy 18 Celsius. Around Auckland and North of Auckland it is wetsuit in summer and about 16 - 18 degrees in winter, so it depends how you want to insulate for that.

    Further South in the North Island some people dive dry all year and some switch and some are wet suit all year around. In Wellington the temperatures are about 10 Celsius in mid winter to 16 degrees in mid summer.

    Come and enjoy it.

    Alison
     
  3. Azza

    Azza Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives:
    Location: New Zealand
    1,697
    2
    0
    As Alison said, it all depends on where you want to dive.

    I started diving in Auckland and Northland and had no problem diving all year round in a semi-dry. I actually learned in a Farmer John type two piece wetsuit and found that, apart from having to throw masses of lead around my waist to actually sink, I was cold. However in saying that I know plenty of people who swear by them so that comes down to personal preference.

    The temperatures range from 24 degrees celcius in summer down to a low of about 15 degrees in winter. The Poor Knights are typically 2 degrees warmer than the mainland due to the East Auckland Current that flows down from the tropics. (BTW the Poor Knights are the best diving in the world)

    I now live in Wellington and wear my drysuit exclusively, even in summer. Some people call me a wimp and they are right. Warm Intelligent Marine Person.
    My partner on the other hand dives all year round in Wellington in a semi-dry and only really feels the cold in the middle of winter, when temperatures can drop to as low as 10 degrees. Then she turns green with envy as she strips out of her dripping wetsuit and towels herself dry in the cranking southerly that comes from Antarctica, whilst some of us WIMPs merely step out of our drysuits and are ready to go.

    The South Island, particularly the southern reaches, will demand a Drysuit all year round, all though there might be some tough people on here that manage to dive some of the year in a wetsuit.

    The coldest I have dived in here was in Lake Taupo during "The Melt" where the temperature hit 5 degrees at 30 metres. I was in my semi-dry at the time and didnt feel too cold at all, but then I was younger and tougher in those days.

    Im now a WIMP.

    Summery

    Northern North Island - Wetsuit/Semi-dry
    Southern North Island - Wetsuit/Semi-dry/ Drysuit
    Northern South Island - Wetsuit/Semi-dry/Drysuit
    Southern South Island - Drysuit
     
  4. Mike Veitch

    Mike Veitch Dive Resort

    12,149
    138
    63
    I dove the Rainbow Warrior (north of north island) in December 03 and froze me little butt off!
    was 16 C and took me 45 minutes to warm up, was wearing a farmer john and jacket 5mm, not nearly enough!!!!!!!!!! Needless to say i didn't do the second dive...

    The DMs working the boat, 1 had Dry the other 2 had 7mm Farmer johns and jacket.

    Personally, i would go dry, just gets colder the further south you go
     
  5. aquakiwi

    aquakiwi Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives:
    Location: New Zealand
    123
    0
    0
    Haiko
    I've been living and diving Northern NZ for the last 23 years (before that was a Wellington area diver) Winter I now dive in a drysuit, given that last winter it was
    15-16 degrees c and one of our coolest (sea temps) for quite some time I would
    recomend a drysuit between June - Oct/Nov.The rest of the time a 5mm wetsuit
    is adequate. I dived the Warrior last Oct and it was 16c but so was the Poor Knights
    just prior to Christmas.
     
  6. Haiko

    Haiko Divemaster

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: The Netherlands
    173
    0
    0
    Hi all, thanx for the response!

    I'm planning to go to NZ next year in spring (here it will be authum). I have quiet some options where to do my diving. Maybe at the Poor knights (can somebody recommend me a diveschool?) or down south in Marlborough Sounds. Not sure yet, as there are plenty of dive sites around the two islands.
    It alle depends if there is a diveschool who can teach me up to the level of DM and having the time to do so. For instance as a Intern or trainee. At this time I only have my OW and not so many logged dives. A newbie so to speak.
    I heard the course can take up to 3 months.

    Time is not really a big issue, I will get a working visa for up to 12 months. So I can stay a while (and hopefully longer)...

    I'm used to dive in tropical waters (Australia/Bali) in a wetsuit (don't remember how thick it was, I guess about 3-5mm). Isn't a drysuit too warm for tropical waters? As I'm planning to go to Australia as well to do some diving.

    As I'm in NZ (you know, backpacking and all that kinda stuff), I'm limited in space by my backpack. So I can't carry that much gear around while travelling. Maybe I'll buy a car, like I did 7 years ago in Auckland... Hopefully the next one is getting me somewhere further than half way wellington, I thought Toyota's where relayable...)

    Maybe a drysuit is "havier" than a wet one. I have to figure those things out before I come over. I personally prefer a wetsuit, because it's cheaper and multipurpose (like when snorkelling or surfing) and you an get it in seperate parts (pants, jacket). Might get a dry one, it all depends... A drysuit must be worn in one piece, right?

    Still have a long way to go...
    Cheers,
    Haiko
     
  7. aquakiwi

    aquakiwi Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives:
    Location: New Zealand
    123
    0
    0
    Haiko Try Dive Tutakaka for the Poor Knights and to do your DM <wwwwdiving.co.nz>
    You can contact me if your interested in the Goat Island Marine Reserve area.
    cheers Alan
     
  8. Xman

    Xman Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Auckland, New Zealand.
    253
    0
    0
    As those before me have stated, it really depends on how you feel the cold, and what you are used to. The vast majority of New Zealand Divers dive in wetsuits year round. There are a number of reasons for this-
    1. They are a lot cheaper than drysuits.
    2. A lot of New Zealand divers spend a significant amount of time hunting for crayfish (lobsters) which can cause damage to the arms of a drysuit, or be a pain in the *** trim wise (since you spend a lot of time head down/feet up.
    3. They are used to our sea temperatures and feel "comfortable" in a wetsuit.

    I have never dived in a drysuit. My coldest dive was in 7 degrees C in Kaikoura in Winter (3/4 of the way up the south island).

    Divers north of Auckland often dive 5mm 2 pce wetsuits. Most people south of Auckland dive 2 pce 7mm semidry wetsuits.
     
  9. TheYellowSubmarine

    TheYellowSubmarine Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Sydney, Australia
    187
    3
    0

    Holy crap!
    7 degrees in a wetsuit! Coldest I've done in a wetsuit (never dived dry either) is 10 degrees in Taupo. When the water got up to my waist area, I almost doubled over in pain! It felt like I'd been kicked in the... well you know :p
    Besides that I'm pretty comfortable 14 degrees and above in my 1piece semidry.
     
  10. aquakiwi

    aquakiwi Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives:
    Location: New Zealand
    123
    0
    0
    Just got out of the water an hour ago wearing my 5mm wetsuit, next weekend at the
    Poor Knights its gonna be my drysuit, seriously it was'nt too bad but remaining still
    while photographing tends to make a dive feel cooler
     
  11. greg somers

    greg somers Manta Ray

    668
    1
    0
    Dive schools are generally operated through the local dive shops. In Whangarei, which is the closest city of 40,000 and is 40min drive from Tutukaka. The 2 main shops are Dive HQ which is in Clyde St. It is Naui & Padi. Good crew. I did my dive master training there. The owner is Dean. He is one of the most experienced divers in the country and is on the NZ dive council, the body that administers all diving in NZ. If you search for 'Dive HQ' it links to all the branches nation wide with contact info. The other main one is also a Padi outfit on Lower Cameron St, but the benefit of using Dive HQ is that they have their own indoor training pool, which gives more flexibility. I personally rate them as the best. The normal dive location, subject to weather, is the Poor Knights and you get to do your open water training dives there.
    All of them have hire gear. Training locally is a great idea. The conditions change all the time and if you learn to dive here, you get lots of variety in your training. It's about $500 NZD for the open water training and it includes the dives to the Knights and the hire of gear. That was what it was last time I was there.
    I did my Padi IDC with Dive HQ Auckland and thsy are another great bunch with their own pool as well.
    There are dive shops in all the cities and plenty of choices. You just need to plan your trip. If you dive below the upper half of the North Island. you will need to upgrade your wetsuit from a 5mm to a 7mm or a dry suit. Dry suits will cost from $1600 - 2000 and I don't know if they are hirable. Above, you can use a 5mm with booties, gloves and hood during winter and drop the hood in summer. Depends on the water temp.
    Email me if you want any help.

    Cheers

    Gasman
     
  12. mrscubastar

    mrscubastar Angel Fish

    18
    0
    0
    Just thought I'd give you a perspective from a South Island Diver:

    I only started diving this winter, and have been using a 7/5mm one piece with a 3mm vest/hood. All my diving has been in Canterbury - Kaikoura, Lake Coleridge, Banks Peninsula - water temps ranging from 10 - 13 C.

    When you're sitting still it can get a bit cold, but otherwise I haven't been too bad so far. I guess it depends on what you're used to really. If you have a dry suit, I'd wear it.
     
  13. TheYellowSubmarine

    TheYellowSubmarine Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Sydney, Australia
    187
    3
    0
    I've was told by the people at http://www.oceandry.co.nz at the Auckland Boat Show that they can arrange hiring of drysuits.
     
  14. aquakiwi

    aquakiwi Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives:
    Location: New Zealand
    123
    0
    0
    Thats right, I forgot about Nigel and the guys at Oceandry, they're at Warkworth (like
    myself) about 3/4 hour north of Auckland. Their rates are very reasonable. I use one of
    their suits myself. I guess if your used to cooler temperate water diving in a wetsuit,
    you'll be fine, but if a warm water diver go for the drysuit.
     
  15. Haiko

    Haiko Divemaster

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: The Netherlands
    173
    0
    0
    I did some "research" about a Pinnacle semi-dry with Merino wool inside. I think I'm gonna check that suit out when I'm over in NZ. I want to do some diving in wintertime maybe, so a warm (can't afford a dry one) suit would be nice. Still have to figure it out, but the best way to do this is by testing the suits realtime!

    So, if I'm lucky a LDS can lend me some...

    Haiko
     
  16. TheYellowSubmarine

    TheYellowSubmarine Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Sydney, Australia
    187
    3
    0
    Just remember a semiDRY is still a WETsuit. Temperatures don't really pick up until November or December. A semidry will do alright for the top half of the North Island I'd say. Diving South of Taupo I'd definitely say drysuit.
     
  17. edp

    edp Garibaldi

    4
    0
    0
    I was in Poor Knights a month ago and used a dry suit and was very comfortable. rest of the guys were in 7mm wetsuits but they were the new pinnacle wooly interior ones, but they had no problems at all

    Dive Tutukaka - top place to do Poor Knights from. loved everything about them and being a centre owner i am hard to please, unless you hand me a beer, in which case i am easy !!
     
  18. AndyNZ

    AndyNZ Scuba Instructor

    2,465
    82
    0
    If it helps, I've just decided that I can't cope with getting through the rest of this winter in my merino lined 7mm semi-dry. Diving is not to bad, but the surface intervals are a killer if there is no sun or it's windy! New drysuit ready and waiting for as soon as I can get rid of this stinking cold.... I'll probably be back in the semidry around the end of November.

    NZ is not the cheapest place to train from O/W to DM. To give you an idea of costs, the respective courses prices are around:

    AO/W - $250
    EFR/MFA -$150
    Rescue - $400
    Divemaster - $1200-2000

    Pick and choose your DM course carefully - make sure you get some real intern experience rather than just messing about with simulated training exercises. A DM who has never worked with real students is easy to spot!
     
  19. Haiko

    Haiko Divemaster

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: The Netherlands
    173
    0
    0

    But for diving that suit was suitable? ;-)

    I know that NZ is not that cheap, but compared to, let's say... Holland, it's a real bargain! Have seen some prices in OZ, but they are not much lower than the ones I found in NZ. Maybe the LSD in Bundaberg (AUS) is the cheapest (I did my OW with them) of all... So I stilll have to shop around I'll guess.

    As long as I get a good (and fun) training in NZ, I don't bother about speending some extra $$... But, I have one year do decide and to make up my mind before I travel to NZ.
     
  20. AndyNZ

    AndyNZ Scuba Instructor

    2,465
    82
    0
    Depends. Certainly for most situations (e.g. typical two dive rec day) it was fine. However, the dive shop I do DM work for part time has a policy of only taking groups of four on O/W dives - so instructors/DMs "double dive" a day to get a eight students through their O/W dives in a weekend..... four dives in a day, sat looking for students with problems etc was quite frankly bl**dy freezing. If you are thinking of training as a DM you might end up in this situation!!

    The Pinnacle suits would be fine for this in summer - but at this time of year, never again!

    There's a brand of wetsuit called Trident (made in the same factory as Pinnacle and I think they're a wholly owned subsidary?) have the same merino lining but the outer fabric seems a little more robust.

    If you're going to go down the drysuit route, I'd definitely look to buy outside of NZ. You should be able to claim tax back when you leave Holland which would make it a lot cheaper than the suits here (typically NZ$2500-3500).
     

Share This Page