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Wetsuit fit question

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba' started by Ricky B, Mar 21, 2014.

  1. Searcaigh

    Searcaigh Chromodoris gordonii Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Dubai, UAE
    6,556
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    One of the reasons for buying a wetsuit at your LDS rather than online, fit matters for comfort and ease of use and you can get it right first time.
     
    fjpatrum and scubamama5 like this.
  2. Ricky B

    Ricky B Contributor

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    Yep. That's why I bought my fins and booties at the LDS. There can be significant cost savings via online, and there is far more selection online. Thought I would take a shot at buying the suit online. So far the jury is still out on whether that will prove to be satisfactory.
     
  3. Ayisha

    Ayisha DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Toronto, Canada
    3,258
    1,594
    I have a Body Glove EVX 7 mm full wetsuit also and the hooded vest is meant to be worn inside. The hooded vest is cut smaller than the wetsuit.

    It sounds like you should try a larger size. The wetsuit should be snug but not constricting, and it should definitely not be hard to breathe while wearing it. You should try the wetsuit and vest on together to make sure they fit together and feel comfortable.

    With the women's, I found that the back zipper was way shorter than they used to be, ending too high up the back. I had the zipper lengthened to below the waist at a local wetsuit repair shop, and it became easy to put on, like other 7mm and other wetsuits I've had. I had won the wetsuit and just had to pick the size, otherwise I would have just bought a perfect fitting suit.
     
  4. g1138

    g1138 Marine Scientist

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Charleston, SC
    3,068
    807
    The Mysterioso would be touching my skin. I wore my swimsuit jammer and Mysterioso on my person, put my 7mm backzip wetsuit on top of that, then donned my hooded vest over that. I recently got the Mysterios M-Tech shorts and would recommend that as well.

    Their fleece does a real proper job at keeping the cold water off your skin both during the dive and after. The only downside is your suit has to fit well, and initially you still get a cold shock as the fleece has to take a minute or two to pull the water away from your skin. And unlike the thin lavacores or other body suits, you get good windchill protection, and it dries real fast.
    Worked perfect for Monterey and Aquarium diving (especially when the water heater broke.....:buggy:)
     
    Ricky B likes this.
  5. Ricky B

    Ricky B Contributor

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    Update

    I drove to Otter Bay Wetsuits today to be fitted for a custom vest and hood. The vest will be 3 mil and the hood mostly 12 mil. The easiest way to stay warm is to keep your head warm. The Otter Bay hood is widely recommended by Monterey Bay divers, so I opted to go that way.

    Cricket at Otter Bay suggested that the vest go on the outside. That way, the same wetsuit can be worn with and without a vest. Hard to argue with the logic. The way she makes the skins for the neck of the vest and the neck of the hood there is no water infiltration, so an outer vest makes more sense all around.

    She also suggested a separate hood and vest. That way, I could take off the hood, which she said most people want to take off right away, without having to wriggle out of the vest immediately. This is useful also for being suited up before you go into the water. Sometimes you have to wait before you go into the water, and I have seen comments here on SB that divers sometimes get hot with the 12 mil hood on.

    Now, back to my OP, the fit of the wetsuit itself. I thought I would get the opinion of an expert before I returned the wetsuit, and who better than a custom wetsuit maker to give such an opinion? Cricket was kind enough to examine the wetsuit for me (with me in it, of course), and she pronounced it a very good fit for a stock wetsuit. In the back of most stock wetsuits, there is usually a pouched out area (which can allow water to circulate), but not on mine. There was only one area where she thought the wetsuit was too big (under the armpits), but she told me to dive the suit and if there were a problem (which she doubted there would be), she could alter the suit to fix that problem.

    She also commented that she has seen some very poorly fitted wetsuits that her customers had bought from a LDS. So I guess it's a crapshoot whether you buy online or local. In my case, it turned out well, and my initial anxiety, fueled by a lack of familiarity with 7 mil wetsuits, was unfounded.

    So I will be diving with 10 mil over the core and 12 mil on the head. And the price for the custom hood and vest was quite reasonable. I wouldn't be surprised if it were less than the price for a separate hood and vest bought online.

    Final verdict: successful purchase.
     
    Ayisha and fjpatrum like this.
  6. fjpatrum

    fjpatrum Contributor

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: DC area
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    591
    Ricky, Billabong is the suit that fits me best. I'm 6'1", 170 so I tend to be on the lower end of the weight range for their Large. My 4/3s fit me like a skin. I still have enough flex in the suit to put my hooded vest underneath when I want/need to do so. I suspect if I were in a 7mm that would be more difficult though because the neoprene is just harder to stretch. Have you considered keeping the suit as is (it sounds like it fits perfectly) and wearing the vest on the outside? It's a perfectly acceptable option.

    EDIT: Don't assume a next size larger is the right choice, though. A dry wetsuit that fits properly will feel constricting (but shouldn't be painful or cause you significant discomfort) and it will "relax" a bit when wet. If you can get in it and it's not choking you but you have slightly limited shoulder motion, it fits right. There shouldn't be any "loose" spots on the suit. If there are, try a different (smaller) size or a different brand. They don't all fit the same.

    2nd EDIT: Also, check out some surf shops in Monterey when you're down there. You may find more options for suits (maybe not) that give you a larger range of thicknesses and brands. All my primary suits are "surfing" wetsuits and I can't tell any difference... in fact they're warmer than my "diving" suits of the same thickness, though that may just be a brand issue.
     
  7. Ricky B

    Ricky B Contributor

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    Thanks for the post. I have decided to keep the wetsuit, but your post will be helpful to others who have the same concern, "Is this too small?"

    In other words, one wants a wetsuit that fits snugly but not too tight. But when does snug become tight? This is reminiscent of one of the great philosophical questions of our time, When does a cucumber become a pickle? In my case, I got expert, hands-on (literally), disinterested advice that my suit was snug and not too tight.

    And I have you to thank, fj (if I may be so familiar), for my buying the wetsuit--and other gear--in the first place. You started the thread "Getting started 'on the cheap'," which inspired me to get off the dime and get going buying gear. So thank you for starting that thread.

    ---------- Post added March 26th, 2014 at 10:22 AM ----------

    When I was at Otter Bay Wetsuits yesterday, I saw a 12 mm vest awaiting customer pick-up! Custom, of course.
     
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  8. fjpatrum

    fjpatrum Contributor

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: DC area
    2,777
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    For the record, "too tight" while dry, for me, is when I feel "throbbing" in my neck from the constriction. If it's just a little tight dry (ie a correct fit) you won't feel like you're being strangled or "choked out" but you will feel constriction without discomfort. If it's too tight I will feel like I'm not getting blood to my face and I'll start to feel my pulse in your neck... that's bad. It's not a lot of difference in fit between the two, though, just a cm or so around the neck will do it.

    Shoulders are another big one, if I have slightly restricted but near full range of motion then it's good. If my motion is restricted heavily, it's too small.

    Any gaps at all, anywhere on the suit, be it underarms, above my butt, in my belly, or my ankles/wrists, it's too big.

    Glad I could help someone get off the fence and start diving more... goodness knows someone needs to be getting wet with the amount of effort I put into diving without actually diving.
     
  9. Ayisha

    Ayisha DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Toronto, Canada
    3,258
    1,594
    Yes, you want the wetsuit snug but not too tight. Too tight would make it feel hard to breathe and feel very restrictive.

    BTW, many wetsuit neck seals (as well as hood seals around the face) are designed to be trimmable. They are easily recognizable because you will notice that the neck seal (or face seal) appears unfinished. It is common for people to feel restricted at the neck until it is trimmed a little shorter. Just mark it with a white pencil crayon or chalk and trim a small amount at a time. I've had to trim a few neck seals since my neck is shorter than most and then it fits perfect.
     
  10. Cave Diver

    Cave Diver Divemaster

    17,866
    2,523
    Solid advice.
     

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