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Haiko
April 10th, 2005, 09:37 AM
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

alijtaylor
April 10th, 2005, 04:05 PM
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

Azza
April 10th, 2005, 05:34 PM
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

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

Mike Veitch
April 11th, 2005, 02:19 AM
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

aquakiwi
April 11th, 2005, 07:37 AM
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.

Haiko
April 11th, 2005, 02:26 PM
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

aquakiwi
April 11th, 2005, 04:52 PM
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

Xman
April 13th, 2005, 07:45 AM
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.

TheYellowSubmarine
June 5th, 2005, 03:12 AM
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.


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.

aquakiwi
June 6th, 2005, 02:18 AM
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

greg somers
June 18th, 2005, 01:59 AM
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

mrscubastar
June 18th, 2005, 07:21 PM
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.

TheYellowSubmarine
June 19th, 2005, 02:41 AM
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.

aquakiwi
June 20th, 2005, 01:43 AM
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.
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.

Haiko
June 22nd, 2005, 03:19 PM
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

TheYellowSubmarine
June 28th, 2005, 03:21 AM
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.

edp
July 4th, 2005, 04:23 AM
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 !!

AndyNZ
August 21st, 2005, 12:23 AM
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!

Haiko
August 21st, 2005, 08:36 AM
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!


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.

AndyNZ
August 21st, 2005, 08:27 PM
But for diving that suit was suitable? ;-)

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).

Azza
August 21st, 2005, 11:31 PM
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).

I reckon a drysuit is definantly the best way to go but in saying that I know heaps of people that dive wetsuits all year round, even in Wellington.

Our store stocks Trident Drysuits that are trilam, come with an undersuit for $2000. They are a nice suit and hard wearing. Maybe thats a possibility?

AndyNZ
August 22nd, 2005, 07:02 AM
I reckon a drysuit is definantly the best way to go but in saying that I know heaps of people that dive wetsuits all year round, even in Wellington.

Agreed! I prefer wetsuits when circumstances allow - but have seen the drysuit light!


Our store stocks Trident Drysuits that are trilam, come with an undersuit for $2000. They are a nice suit and hard wearing. Maybe thats a possibility?

That's a fair price if it's standard retail! Is it similar to the Pinnacle trilam? I've just bought one of those on a trade deal for just under $2k - certainly my Trident wettie has done two years of good service and if their drysuits are of a similar quality then I can probably push some custom your way at that price!

Azza
August 30th, 2005, 05:59 PM
Agreed! I prefer wetsuits when circumstances allow - but have seen the drysuit light!

I used to feel like that, now I only dive dry. Call me a wuss if you like....


That's a fair price if it's standard retail! Is it similar to the Pinnacle trilam? I've just bought one of those on a trade deal for just under $2k - certainly my Trident wettie has done two years of good service and if their drysuits are of a similar quality then I can probably push some custom your way at that price!
Sorry I got that price wrong. Its $2300 retail.
They are the same as the pinnacle wetsuits, just rebranded for different stores.
I too had a great life out of my trident semi-dry. Great suits and well made...

AndyNZ
August 30th, 2005, 07:40 PM
Sorry I got that price wrong. Its $2300 retail.
They are the same as the pinnacle wetsuits, just rebranded for different stores.
I too had a great life out of my trident semi-dry. Great suits and well made...


Still not a bad price for the suit, though... particuarly as DiveHQ with their bulk buying and common marketing etc can only retail the Pinnacle ones for $2999.

I went for a dive yesterday after work (ok, it was Lake Pupuke so don't be jealous) for the first time in my drysuit and loved it so will recommend anyone I know to consider the Trident option if it's cheaper as it's a fine suit!

Azza
August 30th, 2005, 08:02 PM
Still not a bad price for the suit, though... particuarly as DiveHQ with their bulk buying and common marketing etc can only retail the Pinnacle ones for $2999.
Wow. They are a little cheaper then. I must double check that price tho as there is a difference between $2999 and $2300. My partner just bought one and although she didnt pay retail I had seen them advertised in our shop for $2300. Might be that we have a special on (I know I should know these things-The boss thinks so too)


I went for a dive yesterday after work (ok, it was Lake Pupuke so don't be jealous) for the first time in my drysuit and loved it so will recommend anyone I know to consider the Trident option if it's cheaper as it's a fine suit!

Ahh. Good ole Lake Pupuke. I dont miss that lake one bit I have to say. I only ever did a few dives in it as I worked for The Dive Centre and all our diving was off Divercity or the RHIBs.
Luckily here in Wellington I can simply walk of the beach/rocks and be diving in beautiful 10-20 metre deep ocean water.

AndyNZ
August 30th, 2005, 10:16 PM
My partner just bought one and although she didnt pay retail I had seen them advertised in our shop for $2300.

Yeah, could be a special. Multisports have a special on the Pinnacle ones at the moment, so they are down to $2300 or so - but only until the end of the month.


Ahh. Good ole Lake Pupuke. I dont miss that lake one bit I have to say. I only ever did a few dives in it as I worked for The Dive Centre and all our diving was off Divercity or the RHIBs.

I've started worrying about my mental health - I refuse to take students into the lake, but have actually started to enjoy diving in in over the last few months....

Maybe it's time to book one of those cheap flights to Fiji?

Haiko
August 31st, 2005, 02:29 PM
I'm a little confused now. Some say u can use a 7mm (semi-) wetsuit all year round (both North and South) and others claim that a drysuit is better. So I guess it all depends of how people react to cold. I'm used to cold weather (brrr), but swimming in cold(er) water is kind of new to me. It makes some things (look) so small ;)

How much heavier (metric, please :11: ) and bigger is a drysuit compared to a wet (1 piece) one? I'll be backpacking, limited in space and weight u see...

I think, I'll try both!
Greetz...

AndyNZ
August 31st, 2005, 07:40 PM
I'm a little confused now. Some say u can use a 7mm (semi-) wetsuit all year round (both North and South) and others claim that a drysuit is better.

Yes, you can use a 7mm semi-dry for most of New Zealand all year round. You'd probably freeze your tonker off down south in winter, but hey....


How much heavier (metric, please :11: ) and bigger is a drysuit compared to a wet (1 piece) one? I'll be backpacking, limited in space and weight u see...

Weight wise, there is probably not much in it. But a drysuit does require more careful handling. I just stuff my semi-dry in my bag and leave it to fester for a day or two until I get to wash and dry it. My drysuit gets washed off on the boat, carefully rolled, stored in the car on top of everything else so I don't break the zip.....


I think, I'll try both!

Probably the best option. If you arrive late spring and stay north - think about maybe doing your DM training with someone like Dive Tutukaka (www.diving.co.nz) you'll be fine in a semi-dry. As you travel around a bit, the semi-dry might start to get a bit chilly for you in which case go for the drysuit option.

Roughly, what sort of size are you? One of my diving buddies has a spare drysuit that he often lends out to people thinking of going dry and I can always point you in his direction when you get here.

Haiko
September 1st, 2005, 11:58 AM
I'm +/- 192cm tall (6'4") and let's say.. 80-85kg. Will come to NZ in sept 06, so that must be early spring. But, will be diving a bit later. Because I have to shop around for a diveschool.
Prob. it will be Tutukaka, but as I heard, it's a big diveschool and you might end up diving seeing more people than marine-life... I sure let u know when I'm overthere.
Greetz

Haiko
September 11th, 2005, 08:03 AM
Does it make sense to wear some undergarments under a wetsuit for insulation? I know it's all wet, but would, let say, a t-shirt (or more) be any comfort?

AndyNZ
September 18th, 2005, 05:00 PM
Does it make sense to wear some undergarments under a wetsuit for insulation? I know it's all wet, but would, let say, a t-shirt (or more) be any comfort?

Yes and no. I tend to wear a nylon rash vest - more for comfort than warmth. It's a smooth material and the seams tend to be worn away from the skin to avoid rubbing.

If you're interested in warmth, have a look at this:

http://www.fourthelement.com/content.php?content=home.php

I wear fourth element gear under my drysuit and I know people who wear it under their wetsuits. It's claimed to be neutrally bouyant (slightly far fetched IMHO, but I do wear less weight in my drysuit than with a conventional undersuit) and makes a huge difference to warmth - around the same as another 3mm of neoprene. It's good stuff!

Azza
September 18th, 2005, 08:25 PM
You can also try Thermal Underwear. Just drop down to the Warehouse or somewhere similar and by polypropelene shirt and long johns. They work great.

I personally use a Merino Thermal top and that works fantastic.

aquakiwi
September 19th, 2005, 04:06 AM
Wearing clothing such as a T shirt under your wetsuit does help by restricting the flow of water within the suit. As for wetsuit/drysuit going by this year (so far) and the previous, I'd wear a drysuit at least up until close to Christmas. Drysuits are quite good
even in summer you just need to wear less under them. Thermal underwear as Azza
stated is a good cheap alternative and its what I use.


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