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Just bought semi dry, question on weights

Discussion in 'Exposure Suits' started by jnocerin, Feb 15, 2020.

  1. jnocerin

    jnocerin Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: San Jose, CA, United States
    14
    8
    3
    Hi all-
    Reposting this here since I initially did not realize there was a board for exposure suits.

    I have been diving for a few years, but mostly travel diving (caribbean, Fiji, GBR) and did my initial training in CT. I moved to Northern California and plan to start diving more and working on some speciality certs. I visited some local shops and there is great diving in Monterey which I plan to start doing regularly. In CT I would use a 5mm wetsuit with a 3mm shorty over it. I had a great conversation with a diver shop owner and ended up buying a Aqualung SolAfx 7/8mm. It was great as I was even able to try it in their dive pool, yet the one thing I noticed is that I was fully floating with just the suit on, I can’t say that ever happened with my wetsuits, but honestly I never went in the water with just suits on. So here is my question , previously dove with 35lbs/16kg in the integrated pockets (fully packed) and assume I will need more weight now. Can anyone give me an idea of how much additional weight I may need? And how I should lid it? My BC has weight pockets on the tank strap. I honestly hate the idea of wearing a weight belt if possible. One diver friend said maybe ankle weights.
    Obviously I know the amount of weight will be an estimate, I plan to try out weighting in my pool, but need an idea of what to have on hand.
    Thanks again, and also open to any tips or pointers on diving NorCal as well, and open to new divebuddies.
     
  2. Bierstadt

    Bierstadt Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Erie, PA
    385
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    It's very much a personal thing. I am a big guy, 6'2" and dive semidry with about 24lbs of weight all together, most of it as backplate, steel tank, and trim weights. You have 35 lbs of weights, so pile them up on the poolside and see what it takes to sink. You probably know the drill.
     
  3. Marie13

    Marie13 Great Lakes Mermaid ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Great Lakes
    7,300
    5,923
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    Ankle weights are a bad idea if you don’t need them for trim.

    New wetsuits are really buoyant until they’re compressed by some dives.

    You can get a single cam band and put it around your tank (below cam band that actually holds tank to BC) with two pockets to hold more weight. I’ve dived with pockets on both of my cam bands before.

    Maxing out your BC isn’t the best idea. Can stress it out and cause wear faster, it seems. Spread out your weight.
     
  4. -JD-

    -JD- Eclecticist ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Greater Philadelphia, PA
    739
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    You should float -well- with just a 7/8mm suit on, so that is not unexpected.

    Obviously, body size and composition are going to play significant roles, but 35lbs seem like a lot of weight for a 5+3 wetsuit setup. Especially, trying to deal with it as added weight on a BCD. A 7/8mm Semi-dry shouldn't be all that much different - but as Marie pointed out new suits will take a few dives to settle in.

    The first thing I wonder is if that 35lbs is not (potentially seriously) overweighting you. Your weights should mostly be what is required to JUST barely start to sink you in your exposure protection.

    I think I'd start with 2 or 3 weight belts (for ease of handling) if you can borrow them and your wetsuit in the pool. Throw 10-15lbs on each to start and see if you can sink when you exhale. Add until you can ...


    If it turns out you really need 30+ lbs, here are some more things that might help.

    Stainless steel backplate and wing vs. a standard BC. Some BCs are pretty floaty even when empty. And having weight in the backplate right up against you makes it easier to carry. (An unaffiliated plug other than as a happy user - check out the Freedom Plates made by @Eric Sedletzky up in Santa Rosa. Freedom Plate Divers Roll Call: show us your rig! They are compact and easy to travel with and VERY comfortable so no floaty padding required.)

    Steel tanks instead of Aluminum. A steel tank will be -close- to neutral when empty whereas the Aluminum 80s are 6ish pounds positive and you need to carry lead to compensate. When you account for the weight of the tanks and lead, the steels can result in less net weight on land and are more comfortable to carry.

    Distribute your weight between fixed weight in/on your rig, ditch-able weight on your rig, and a weightbelt or weight harness. there is some good info here: Weightbelts, why does everyone hate them so much?

    Anecdotal - for me at 5'10", 185ish, generally leanish but with a middle-age-middle, I dive with about 11-13 pounds in my old 7/5mm full suit w/ 2mm shorty under - But that is with a HP100 steel tank and a thin( light-weight) version of the SS Freedom Plate. I just bought a new Deep 6 7mm so I will be adjusting too and imagine I'll be at 13-15 at first.
     
    Eric Sedletzky likes this.
  5. MrBigfins

    MrBigfins ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Pittsburgh Pa
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    I'm 6'7 and 260ish, when diving my 7/8 semidry with a 100 Al tank I now require 18lbs total. 5 in one trim pocket, 3 in other (offset for back mount pony) 2 lb ankle weight on neck of tank and 2 4lb on a weight belt. I'm a bit pudgy in the middle but have an overall athletic build, that being said I wear a 3xl suit. A 3xl suit is alot of neoprene coverage. I originally started with 28lbs but was significantly overweighted. I would start with your standard 35lbs and start working it down from there to see what you really need.
     
  6. jnocerin

    jnocerin Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: San Jose, CA, United States
    14
    8
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    Thanks everyone for the guidance!
    I failed to take into account the fact that the new suit needs some compression from the first few dives.
    My gear set is as follows:
    - Aeris Atmos (lg)
    - steel tank
    - aeris ion regulator
    - Mens aqualung solAfx 7/8 mm (xls)
    Going to go into my cold unheated pool in the next few days and see where I end up with weight and will let folks know. From there I am going to determine the weight placement (pockets, plate, etc).
     
  7. yle

    yle Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Southern California
    1,285
    1,073
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    If you're using 35 lbs of lead AND a steel tank with a Solafx 7/8 in size xls... and it's still not enough, something is very strange. I use the same suit in size LS and use 18 lbs of lead with an aluminum tank. Your slightly larger suit would require a couple extra pounds of lead (versus mine), but your steel + 35 is equivalent to about 23 lbs more lead than my 18.

    You bought an expensive wetsuit from the shop. In addition to allowing you to use the pool, find out if someone at the shop can work with you on dialing in your buoyancy with the proper amount of weight. You might find you can drop 10 lbs from that 35 instead of adding to it.

    And I totally agree with Marie about ankle weights. I cringe every time I hear someone suggest them. They're a good idea for those that want to blow through their air faster from constantly fighting to maintain horizontal trim.
     
  8. Marie13

    Marie13 Great Lakes Mermaid ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Great Lakes
    7,300
    5,923
    113
    @jnocerin

    To give you an idea of what I do as a naturally floaty person requiring 29 lbs single tank.

    I’m diving a drysuit with thick undies and single steel HP80 tank. I use a 40 lb Halcyon wing. I’ve also dived an Apex 40 lb wing and liked it. Narrower than the Halcyon.

    My weight is split up - 5 lb steel backplate (short Halcyon one, standard sized ones are 6 lbs), 6 lbs in cam band trim pockets, heavy STA with lead poured into it to make 10lbs, 8 lbs on my hips in a DUI weight harness.
     
    -JD- likes this.
  9. jnocerin

    jnocerin Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: San Jose, CA, United States
    14
    8
    3
    Ok, so I spent about an hour in my pool today and found 20lb to be the right weight, but I need some guidance on distribution. Where I had the weight for my test was left pocket 7lbs, right pocket 8 lbs , and 5 lbs in my cummerbund (it was a workout weight I was using :) )
    I tried holding the 5 lbs lower down and also tried for a test to tuck weights in my ankles of my wetsuit, and they just brought my feet down, not my butt.
    If I just go down and let myself naturally float my butt and feet go up. Face down with my butt and feet up at like a 60 degree angle. Is it possible to put weights on the bottom of my tank or something? seems odd since add my weight is at my wrist/hips lower than mid body.
    My goal it to get that perfect parallel hover.
    Any tricks or guidance is appreciated.
     
  10. Bierstadt

    Bierstadt Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Erie, PA
    385
    292
    63
    Good. Remember that you need to be weighted for the end of the dive when your tank is down to 500psi, so if you were using a full tank you'll want a bit more weight based on your tank's buoyancy characteristics. Once you've taken your suit on a few deep dives the weight requirement will lessen, as has been mentioned. I personally find there are diminishing returns on chasing perfect weighting, but at least you are not dragging around 35lbs of lead anymore.

    My trim experience is to correct foot-down trim, so perhaps someone with foot-up trim will be more helpful. I would look for ways to get the trim weights as close to your hips as possible. Ankle weights are one option, but... not a very good one if you can avoid them. About how high on your body were your weights today? 6" above your waist? Hips? Etc. And what find did you have on? Are they negatively buoyant?
     

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