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Another wetsuit tale/question.....but longer.

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba' started by Geobound, Aug 2, 2018.

  1. Geobound

    Geobound Contributor

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Ontario
    Being the new kid on the block has it's advantages and it's disadvantages.

    The advantages are you obviously learn something knew and expand those unused brain cells, the disadvantages are that the people on the forums you join to tell your stories to, have likely heard them all before. LOL.....

    Well guess what?? This is going to be your disadvantage.....should you risk reading onwards anyway??

    One of the most exciting things to me about becoming a new diver, is getting kitted out with all the new shiny equipment that I've been looking at online for months.

    I've mentally bought just about everything I've seen, I've shopped around for reviews on comparable products, and pricing, and have tried to not tie myself into one brand straight away.

    Of course your LDS has their brand that they are going to push at you because of monthly quotas, rebates, discounts, or whatever dollar incentive you want to call it. I'm in the sales business to a certain extent, so I get it, and it doesn't even really bother me. You just have to do your homework first, and not be bullied into something you aren't comfortable with.

    I think I've got most of my kit sorted as to what I want to get, but the hang up appears to be with the wetsuit.

    I live in Ontario so most of my dives will be around cold lakes like Ontario, Georgian Bay, Lake Huron, and a bunch of other smaller and much lesser know bodies of water.

    So the debate about which mm size wetsuit has come up several times with people I know personally, and the people that I've run into whilst out shopping.

    I try to explain to them that my main purpose of diving (for the first year or two anyway) is honestly not going to be more than 15', but it will be for as long as my tank will last. (air safety margins taken into account).

    This depth has nothing to do with me not wanting to go deeper (I will make a few ones of course), but the shallow dives will be for purposeful things like dock repairs, boat house repairs, and other close to shore activities.

    Some say I won't need a wetsuit for that depth, but I plan to be in the water as early in the season as possible and as late as possible. Yes drysuits would be a good idea, but as I am just in the early stages of being certified, I'd like to walk before I run.

    So with that said, I was in my LDS the other day trying on my first wetsuit and I'm sure you all know exactly how that goes?

    I'm of average height (5'10") and average build (195lbs with a small belly), but have to admit that that I laughed my butt off when I was handed a large wetsuit to put on.

    I thought the guy was having a laugh with what he gave me, but apparently he wasn't? He just simply pointed to the change room, so off I went.

    As I stood dressed only in my underwear staring at this tiny piece of kit that I was certain I would have struggled to get a beer bottle into, it brought back memories of my youth, and me watching my girlfriend laying on the bed with a coat hanger wrapped around her zipper trying to get her super skin tight jeans done up. LOL....

    I'm not in my youth anymore, and the change room I was in wasn't big enough to allow me to lay down in and get dressed.

    The sales guy gave me no tips or tricks (or vaseline for that matter), he just said for me to give him a holler when I was done. He must have slinked off killing himself with laughter with what I'm sure he knew was about to happen.

    If any of you know who Gumby and Pokey are, then you will understand the the nickname my wife gave me......Anti-Gumby. I just don't bend like I used too, and this fact became ever more obvious as I tried to twist and contort my body into something so skin tight, that I'm sure would even make the Kardashian chicks blush!

    After a good 10 minute battle to what I was certain was going to be to the death, I emerged from my sardine can sized dressing room and queried the sales guy once more about the fit and finish of my neoprene nightmare.

    Once again he assured me it was the right size, and tucked me in at the places that I hadn't, and zipped me up as I just couldn't get my arms to reach around my back to do it myself.

    I've zipped and unzipped my wife many of times out of her dresses, and aside from a few roleplaying nights, I've never seen anything so difficult to do up, never mind undo!!

    Feeling all the air slowly being squeezed out of my body, I begged to be let back into my change room so I could disrobe.

    Okay so tell me, do they use some sort of superglue in these things, because I just about died trying to get it off.

    At one point I had my sleeves kind of rolled down each arm but couldn't get my hands out, and feared that I was going to have to call for help. However with much sweat, and muscle and I'm sure a few curse words and tears, I managed to free my arms. OH MY GOD how can this be fun??

    I have a whole new sympathy for those poor people that get forcibly put into a straight jacket, and here I did it voluntarily??

    Anyway it was time to get my legs out........ya like that's an easy thing to do!! I have muscular legs and calves, combined with sweat and crazy glue, and you can imagine the fun I was having, not to mention the panic.

    At one point I was sitting down on the stool kind of rocking it forward so I could get a better grip on the leg cuffs, when the chair gave way and I fell to the floor. Well fell to the floor is a bit of an exaggeration......I got wedged between the stool and the wall, half on my back and half on my side, with my legs still stuck inside and now laughing my butt off.

    It was at this moment that my PADI training kicked in......"when feeling out of breath signal your buddy, stop, rest, breathe easy and hold onto something if you can".

    Being wedge between a wall and a stool surely has to count as holding onto something, but there was no way I was going to signal my buddy for help. He'd likely be there with his camera taking photos, and before long I would be the next internet meme!

    Eventually I manage to peel myself out of the bondage suit, and leave the dressing room without causing too much damage........to me or the walls.

    So my question is how the heck do you fit into one of these things, and more importantly how do you do it up when you're alone? I know the buddy rule, but I'm sure most of you that have a cottage have done solo dives on more than one occasion.

    Does it get easier (meaning looser) as time goes by?

    Should I move up to an extra large instead of a large, or does that make a huge difference as far as water penetration goes?

    I've dislocated my shoulder twice and have about 80%-90% mobility back, so reaching around and grabbing the long tethered strap still is quite difficult to do.

    Is a front zipper suit a better way to go?

    I'm open to any and all suggestions as I just can't see me going through that type of ordeal each and every time I want to get into the water.

    Thanks for sticking this post out to the end.

  2. divinh

    divinh Contributor

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: San Francisco
    I have two wetsuits, a 3mm shorty and a 3/2mm full. The shorty is easy to get in/out of, even with back zip. The full is a struggle, mostly for getting my arms and legs through, even when the legs have zippers. I think the full is the correct fit, if a bit tight, as water penetration is minimal, unlike some rental wetsuits I've worn. I was told by the manufacturer that it would get easier with use, but given how difficult it is to get in, I've been inclined to not use it, as I didn't want to hold up other divers. Luckily for me, I found I've been tolerant to 24 C, even on successive dives. I've been getting away with a dive skin. I think if I had to have extra warmth, I might use the dive skin with the shorty.

    I've been told that a plastic bag put over your limbs can make slipping in much easier. I haven't tried it yet. The dive skin was supposed to do the same and I found it did help, but it also added another thing to put on so I don't know if there's a time savings in the end.
  3. Centrals

    Centrals Contributor

    # of Dives:
    Location: Hong Kong
    1. Trying a new and DRY wet suit is never easy. A wet one is a lot easier, no such luck in a shop. Some wet suit is a lot more difficult to put on because of the material used.
    2. Different manufacturers have different sizing. Try as many brands as possible.
    3. Front zip is easier to don but difficult to remove.
    4. Plastic bag does help.
    5. Make sure there isn't much room under the arm.
    6. If you can slip into a brand new suit effortlessly then you can sure that it is too big!
    7. Have FUN.
  4. JamesBon92007

    JamesBon92007 Contributor

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Southern California...too far from the ocean
    I'm 5'10' and 170 pounds and my new Medium Large 7mm Super-Stretch suit is just right. That is what their size chart said should fit. It is a full, one-piece suit with a back zipper. To me it sounds like the suit you tried on is too small but some of it might just be technique. If mine was that hard to put on I would have sent it back and made some adjustments on my old farmer john. It fits very snugly and is not a whole lot harder to get on and off than my 2.5mm full suit. How thick is the one you tried on? I'm guessing that with my new suit a Large or X-Large would fit you. The only thing I had trouble with was the arms being too snug. Back in the old days they used to make the arms big enough for a weight-lifter and now they seem to be more for non-athletic guys. The old suites did not stretch much so it needed to fit very accurately but in any case they were a struggle to get on and off. When putting on my suit, first I get my left foot almost all the way down, pull up the leg as much as possible, get the foot all the way through, pull up the ankle area to the right position, and then work the suit up my leg. Then do the other leg. Then I simply stick my arms in the sleeves and stretch and wiggle with a little adjusting and pulling with the opposite hand. It should be snug everywhere but if you can't breathe then I'd say it's too tight.

    Good luck. You might enjoy reading this before trying on a hood:

    Close call in the dressing room
  5. msinc

    msinc Contributor

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Maryland
    I do not find front zip easier to get on or off. I have both and without question the front zip is harder. Your back zipper suit should have a cord or strip of material to allow you to easily pull the zipper up and down so you don't need help. As to getting them on and off easy...do yourself a favor and get a Henderson Titanium Hyperstretch wet suit with the fire fleece lining. You will thank me later and you wont believe the difference, both in putting it on and taking it off {even when wet} and also the performance in the water.
    I can seriously get by in water temps that others have a 5mm or even a 7mm on with my 3mm Henderson. I have been in some very cold water with my 7mm and the limiting factor was not the wet suit, but anything that was not covered by it. Don't get me wrong, it is not, nor does it replace the need for a dry suit, not by no means...but, I can dive and stand the cold when other brand wet suits will not let you do it. They just seem to fit better too. I am 5' 8" and 195 and I use their XLS for a perfect "not too tight" fit. Sounds like an XL would be about right for you.
    tracydr and Saltyhawg like this.
  6. aldertyler

    aldertyler Contributor

  7. Sam Miller III

    Sam Miller III Scuba Legend Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: CALIFORNIA: Where recreational diving began!
    >>>> Miller's Rule of Wet Suits <<<<

    Your first wet suit will be thick and tight

    The second wet suit you purchase

    Will be even be thicker and tighter

    FYI wet suit warmth is predicated on

    Thickness for insulation
    Tightness to prevent water circulation

    >>>> Miller's Rule of Wet Suits <<<<


    Sam Miller III,
    Bubblesong likes this.
  8. JamesBon92007

    JamesBon92007 Contributor

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Southern California...too far from the ocean
    I agree with msinc that a back-zip is, in general, much easier than a front-zip. I had a one-piece 3mm with a front zip and could not get it off without help. I find the separate jackets with the front-zip to be easier that the one-piece front-zip, but it can still be a challenge.

    In addition to the other fine features that msinc pointed out with super-hyper-stretch suits I can also get mine over my 2.5mm shorty suit if I feel the need. I haven't tried it with my new 7mm yet but wore it under my 2.5mm full suit and the shorty suit was almost completely dry inside after a dive.
  9. stuartv

    stuartv Seeking the Light ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Lexington, SC
    Wet or dry, I normally use a 50-50 mix of baby shampoo and water to help my suit on. I keep a squeeze bottle of it in my dive bag. I squirt some into the arms and legs before I put the suit on. It really helps the suit slide right on.

    I'm guessing that you (the OP) were donning a 7mm suit? Those ARE a bear, even when they are the right size. Once you buy a suit, definitely try the "suit lube" option. I regularly loan my bottle of it to our OW students after they have first tried getting their 7mm suit on (our quarry for OW checkout dives is cold all year) without it. They ALWAYS thank me profusely afterwards for how much easier it was to get their suit on with some lube to help.

    Bonus 1: diluted baby shampoo also works great as a mask anti-fog.

    Bonus 2: you smell so clean and fresh after you get out! :D
    Eric Sedletzky and JamesBon92007 like this.
  10. stuartv

    stuartv Seeking the Light ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Lexington, SC
    accidental double post

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