Old Diver, New Area

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Old Diver, New Area

Post by LdyPax » Fri Jul 12, 2019 7:42 pm

Hello all,

I have a question regarding suits. My dive background is Northern California (Mendocino) Abalone diving and Lobster Diving (Cortes Banks). My previous gear was a Farmer John Style with Beaver tail. Both 7mm. So essentially14 mm for torso. I am in desperate need of a new suit. I am new in the area and have yet to get in the water. I have been told that a dry suit is the only way to go. But other are saying 9mm is okay. Thoughts, comments, suggestions.

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Re: Old Diver, New Area

Post by 60south » Fri Jul 12, 2019 7:52 pm

Welcome to the board!

Go dry. Sooner or later you'll get too cold in a wetsuit and decide to get a drysuit. Might as well just do it from the start. :-)

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Re: Old Diver, New Area

Post by SCUBARM79 » Mon Jul 15, 2019 12:24 pm

As a "CRAZY" person who has dove wet, and never used a dry suit, I say that it depends on you and what you're doing/ tolerance for cold is. I've found that if I am doing consecutive dives in less than "warm" (read under 70 deg) surface conditions, putting on a chilled wet suit is... chilling. To combat this I truck along a large cooler full of gallon jugs filled with hot water. zip up, pour in... bathe in the warmness. (*Disclaimer- I also wore a 2/3mm shorty for cooler surface days to help keep me warmer on longer dives/in between). I've heard the same call to dryness as well but never taken the plunge. To be fair, I am getting back into diving now ( Hello NW Dive Club! I'm new to the forum), after a hiatus, and am planning to go wet again, mostly out of budget. My perspective is subject to change, but I am also willing to suffer a little for the convenience of not worrying about holes or leaks. (for now!)

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Re: Old Diver, New Area

Post by Gdog » Mon Jul 15, 2019 1:32 pm

I can tell you this: the percentage of divers in our Washington and Canadian waters that dive just in wetsuits and are still avidly diving a couple years later is probably hovering around the 0-5% mark. If you plan on diving 5- 10 dives a year, then stay with a wetsuit. If you are going to dive with any regularity, make the leap into a drysuit. The vast majority of us have. You will be thankful you did in retrospect. However, as a ending statement, choose whichever you will, but get out and dive with us. Ask questions about the suits. There are ways to try out a drysuit, I would if I were you. Gather all the information you can by diving with us in our colder waters, then make your best choice.

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Re: Old Diver, New Area

Post by mpenders » Mon Jul 15, 2019 5:06 pm

I agree with Gdog - it can really depend on what your expectations are.

If you are a warm-weather, one-dive-and-done type of diver, a wetsuit may work fine. But if you like multiple dives, cold weather diving or diving multiple days in a row (imagine putting on an already wet wetsuit in 40 degree weather), you really need to consider a drysuit.

We are blessed to be able to dive here year round, and some of the best diving is during the months where the air temps are lower than the water temps. Some of the most difficult (bone chilling) parts of diving wet are surface intervals and being wet and half naked in 40 degree weather while changing into your street clothes.

Nothing against wetsuits, but we have wonderful stories of divers (some our best dive buddies) who "didn't mind" diving wet, and freely gave us drysuit weenies a healthy dose of sarcasm...until December rolled around. Yes, sarcasm was returned in kind. :rofl:

To address your other question: Were you thinking a 9mm farmer john, single layer, or semi-dry? I haven't seen a 9mm farmer john in person. 18mm around your core sounds cozy, but also pretty constricting and motion-inhibiting. The 7mm farmer john, with double layers (14mm) from mid thighs to shoulders is pretty common among the local dive shop rental fleets.9mm single layer suit? Pass. 9mm semi-dry? That type of suit is often asked about. Most divers I know that have tried it have soon thereafter gone completely dry (it doesn't fix the wet+naked+cold air temps situation).

Many local divers have eventually ended up in a drysuit. There's probably a good chance one of them is willing to part with their old wetsuit for cheap (in like new condition!). You might look for one of those and use it for now, while saving up/looking for a drysuit. I'd probably opt for the 7mm farmer john if I had a choice. Maybe.

Welcome to the area, and to NWDC!

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Re: Old Diver, New Area

Post by Penopolypants » Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:42 am

I will throw myself in with Team Dry Suit. But, as Penders said, 7 mm farmer john suits are readily available in the rental fleets of local shops, so it wouldn't hurt to rent one first and see how you do.

Our waters are colder than what you're used to, and if you're not hunting you likely won't be moving as much to keep yourself warm. Water temps are in the low 50's typically in the summer, upper 40's in the winter.

Note: crabbing and spearfishing are allowed, so you may be hunting after all? Abalone hunting is not allowed here, and if you happen to find a lobster, it was released by some well meaning but rather ignorant soul, and therefore fair game.

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Re: Old Diver, New Area

Post by fmerkel » Wed Jul 17, 2019 5:31 am

Took out a very experienced CA diver on 2 local dives. He wore a 3mm shorty under a 7mm Farmer. He was blue for about 30" after the dives.
Almost no one actually continues diving routinely year around here with a wetsuit.
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