PADI Open Water wetsuit advice

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Re: PADI Open Water wetsuit advice

Postby mattjurd » Fri Jan 17, 2014 4:02 pm

Hi all,

For what its worth here is a newbies take on a new wetsuit.

My partner and I each had a Seaquel semidry custom fitted. We had compared the main brands and found that the Seaquel was a fair bit cheaper, seemed to be great quality and had the bonus of being custom fitted.

We are very much novice divers having a grand total of 6 dives after our trip to the Poor Knights. Firstly I can't recommend Yukon Dive enough. They took very good care of us, helped us with setting up our gear, answered our many questions, and then looked after us in the water.

The wetsuits, from our limited experience point of view, seemed to work very well. The first thing we noticed was how easy our suits were to get on compared to some of the others on the boat. In particular another diver wore a Mares suit that we had looked at buying. It took them quite some time to get it on, really seemed to be quite difficult. Ours in comparison were a breeze with the long zip down to the thigh. One thing I did notice was that with the suit only half on it did want to sit very low. Tried to zip it up a little but it kept dropping down. Just something to get used to. Getting it on was definitely a solo job.

The boots and gloves, also Seaquel, went on fine. My partner wore a hood which fitted great. The hood she had used during training would ride back on her head, but this one stayed where it was meant to the whole time. I liked the cuffs on the suit that you fold back under themselves to create a seal, seemed to work well and was comfy with the gloves.

The suit is nice and tight once on so there wasn't much of a rush of water when we jumped in. The suit didn't move around at all once in the water. Being a 7mm I thought it might restrict my movement a little, but it seemed very flexible. Im also realising that you don't tend to move around much underwater anyway! Our dives lasted around 45 mins or so. The water was relatively cool, less than 20 at the surface and dropping quite quickly with depth. We never felt it. There were a few comments when we got back on board from some of the others but we had been quite toasty. I only got a feeling for the temp when I jumped in for a swim having taken all my gear off. That lasted about 30 secs before I made a dash for the transom shower!

Getting the suits off was easy, though we did need a hand to pull an arm out of the sleeve. Once one was free we could manage ourselves. We kept the suits half on between dives, getting the top back on wasn't a problem.

I did notice that my suit had a small patch of wear on the upper chest towards the shoulder. Im guessing its from the shoulder strap. Nothing drastic, just cosmetic and pretty small.

Overall we are very happy with the suits, they were easy to get on and off, fitted very well and were warm.

As an aside there were a couple of downsides to the dives. My Mares essence mask just wouldn't seal. I continually had water coming in and so spent all my time trying to clear it. I talked it through with the instructors on board between dives and we decided that I should loosen it up. This helped a little but it still wasn't great. Im also struggling with clearing my ears. Im a pilot and so know plenty of techniques for clearing sinuses from my flying but it just wasn't working for me. It was a continual effort to clear my ears, not at all an automatic function like it is when I fly. Hopefully I get the hang of it because it really detracted from the diving.

Well thats my take on the Seaquel semidry anyway. I would not hesitate to recommend them, and in particular Clinton at the shop.

Cheers,

Matt
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Re: PADI Open Water wetsuit advice

Postby rambaldi » Fri Jan 17, 2014 4:57 pm

You say your partner used a hood but you don't mention whether you did (unless I missed it of course). When the weather starts to turn a touch colder I use one, not bevause I feel my head gets overly cold (generally don't notice the cold when diving, just swimming back) but because I find it helps keep my ears warm and that in turn makes it easier to clear them. Might be worth trying that next time.

The other thing it could be is your mouth position, you might be holding your jaw a bit funny with your reg in while in what ever body position you are in. The usual suggestion is to try push out your jaw, or just work it around a bit.
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Re: PADI Open Water wetsuit advice

Postby mattjurd » Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:07 pm

Cheers for that Rambaldi. I had a hood with me but I didn't use it as I thought I would be warm enough, and I was. I'll try the hood next time if you think it will make a difference.

I did find that I got a saw jaw from biting the reg, I had to make a conscious effort to relax my jaw now and again. Obviously I need a bit more practice!

Cheers,

Matt
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Re: PADI Open Water wetsuit advice

Postby Phantom Menace » Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:18 pm

Equalising is a little tricky for many people. I haven't SCUBA dived for a few years as I have gone to the "simple" side and focussed on free-diving - which means I spend a lot of time equalising!

If you are swimming head down and struggling to equalise then pause briefly and move to a head up position and equalising will get a bit easier.

Your clenched jaw may well be a cause of your equalising issues - as you are likely to know from your flying jaw movement can help with opening your eustachian tubes and equalising.

Have a read of this document: http://liquivision.com/docs/Frenzel_Fattah_English_r2006.pdf A fair chunk of it is focussed on equalising at depth for free-divers (the mouth fill stuff) but it does contain descriptions of the main techniques for equalising.

You may well be using the Valsalva technique - if that is the case then have a crack at the Frenzel (named after a Luftwaffe pilot who taught it to his colleagues so they could cope with the rapid pressure changes when diving their fighters). To see what technique you are using just stand there and equalise while placing a hand on your abdomen. If you feel your abdomen tense up then you are likely to be using the Valsalva so have a crack at learning the Frenzel - way more efficient IMO.

EDIT: on the hood front I think it is easier to equalise without a hood i.e. with your ears exposed directly to the water pressure. Some spearos will put small holes in their hoods to let a little water in.
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Re: PADI Open Water wetsuit advice

Postby rambaldi » Fri Jan 17, 2014 11:09 pm

Phantom Menace wrote:EDIT: on the hood front I think it is easier to equalise without a hood i.e. with your ears exposed directly to the water pressure. Some spearos will put small holes in their hoods to let a little water in.


When I was taught to dive we were taught that as well, pop a couple holes so you are equalising to the water preassure rather than a little pocket around your ears. Everytime I mentioned it to people here they looked at me funny. Your ears etc. will still be warm as the water movement should be minimal.
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Re: PADI Open Water wetsuit advice

Postby divepirate » Tue Jan 21, 2014 10:53 pm

also.
don't forget.

If you have a moustache or beard, or even are unshaven this affects the seal for the mask.
If so try some Vaseline in your beard or mo before applying mask.

if not, go to a dive shop and get a fitted mask.
not all of the most expensive are the best.

another note, silicon can (if left in the dive bag) get out of shape or get creases.
don't be scard of going to a mask with a black rubber seal.
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Re: PADI Open Water wetsuit advice

Postby Mykl » Fri Jan 24, 2014 10:47 am

Hi Ecko,

Firstly, welcome to the Scuba Board, you have come to the right place, as I have found the advice posted here is generally first rate.

I'll add something that I don't think anybody else has mentioned yet, but first a bit of background so you know where I'm coming from. I live in Marlborough, so have the Marlborough Sounds and the Kaikoura coast as my playground. The water temperature varies from 9 degrees in winter (when the scallop season opens) to a max of 18 in summer, so I use a 7mm two-piece wetsuit all year round with a Sharkskin hooded vest in winter.

I have also dived in Rarotonga, Samoa, Vanuatu and Thailand where the water temp is generally in the high 20's and I have used a rented 3mm or 5mm shorty. When going on holiday you are unlikely to be taking your dive gear with you unless you want to pay horrendous excess baggage charges so you are generally going to be renting gear. Although I always take my regs/instrumentation and mask with me when intending to dive overseas. Also, I did take everything except wetsuit and weights when I went to Vanuatu using Air NZ's sporting baggage discount.

So unless you are planning on taking a wetsuit with you, you will only need to buy one for the NZ waters you intend to dive in, and if you take heed of the advice above, you can't go wrong.

As I say to people who ask me what it is like diving in the tropics compared to diving in the Marlborough Sounds... It is exactly the same... on my last overseas trip to Thailand in July last year the air temperature was 27 degrees and the water temperatur was 27 degrees. The scallop season opened three days after I came back so I went for a dive... the air temperature was 10 degrees and the water temperature was 10 degrees... as I said exactly the same.
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