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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

    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,
  2. alijtaylor

    alijtaylor Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Wellington NZ
    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.

  3. Azza

    Azza Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives:
    Location: New Zealand
    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.


    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 Charter

    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 Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives:
    Location: New Zealand
    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
    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...
  7. aquakiwi

    aquakiwi Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives:
    Location: New Zealand
    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 Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Auckland, New Zealand.
    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 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Sydney, Australia

    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 Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives:
    Location: New Zealand
    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

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