dry suits safety concern
Posted: 02 May 2008 03:05 PM   [ Ignore ]
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2 weeks ago , I came back to switch for a bigger kite , I opened the back zipper on my dry-suit and in a hurry , I prepared my kite , put my harness and life vest back on , but forgot to close the zipper. When I made it back to shore , I had quite a hard time to walk since the legs and arms were filled with water. I would not like to be immerged this way without a life vest. This experience brought back a question that was asked 10 years ago. What if you happen to rip the neck’s sleeve, arms , ankles or break the zipper?? Are there :shock:  any tests that have been done in the past??

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Posted: 02 May 2008 03:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Me thinks that you should be neutrally boyant.  People assume that you’ll sink with the weight of the water which is not the case.  You’ll be damn cold though.

Tough luck about leaving your zipper open.  We used to do this to our buddies all the time when winter surfing in wetsuits.  Everything is fine until they duck dive the first wave.  Always good for a laugh until you were the victim.

Brad

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Posted: 02 May 2008 04:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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That’s a cold lesson to learn, I guess you will never leave your back zipper open again wink

I don’t think you will have the same problem if you put a small rip in your sleeve or leg (tough to do with these drysuits) because the suit would not fill up as fast or as much as leaving the full zipper open (zipper length is about 2 feet long and it is a huge space to leave accidently open to the water).  If I felt any cold water in my drysuit while on the water, I would head straight back to shore without hesitation. 
I would say the drysuit is neutrally buoyant, but there would be a tipping point as more water enters the suit where it would turn the suit negitive buoyant.  If in doubt put on a life-jacket.  In cold waters/weather, I always wear a (kayaking) life-jacket, because doing any sport in cold water has its risks…drowing due to the cold water would make for a bad session.

Zipper breaks are also pretty uncommon.  The O.R. drysuit zippers are similar to diving drysuit zippers and as long as they are taken care of, they will last.  I do a lot of cold water diving with O.R. sister’s company (Frank Whites) drysuits and they have always kept me dry down to a depth of 200ft and as cold as -1C waters.  In fact, I think they use the same brass zippers so I trust them completely.

The drysuit is like any piece of kite equipment, check it out(inspect it) before you hit the water.  If if looks old or grubby, replace the seal or patch the piece.

Whoa, that turned out to be a longer post then I intended.
Cheers Justin

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Posted: 02 May 2008 09:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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No Not long but very informative and on the mark

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Posted: 02 May 2008 10:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I have never had a seal/ zip failure whilst surfing
If they are going to go they will do it when you put the suit on or take off.
This is when the seal are stretched the most and the zip has all the load in one place.
That said I am of to the beach now clutching a 4x2?

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Posted: 06 May 2008 12:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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[quote author=“Burness”]Me thinks that you should be neutrally boyant.  People assume that you’ll sink with the weight of the water which is not the case.  You’ll be damn cold though.

Tough luck about leaving your zipper open.  We used to do this to our buddies all the time when winter surfing in wetsuits.  Everything is fine until they duck dive the first wave.  Always good for a laugh until you were the victim.

Brad

Nice one you just beat my other really laughing experience..
A friend of mine told me another great one. He was an army diver and they used to close the bottles underwater from another diver.. just image you are trying to inhale and you can’t get air and you’re 30 ft under water…  ofcourse the buddy knows and solves the problem with his spare hose.

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Posted: 06 May 2008 04:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I had a similar thing happen. Was on the beach for a rest with the zipper open. A bunch of people started yelling as some kids were caught in the rip. I ran out after them and got them to safety with the help of a windsurfer, problem then was I was stuck. Zipper was open and i was full of water. Sure, you may be neutrally buoyant,  but you sure as hell can’t swim with a suit full of water. Lucky the windsurfer noticed i was in a bit of trouble and came back for me. From that day on I never wore it again and never will. Shit happens. I just feel safer in a wet suit no matter what anyone else says.

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Posted: 06 May 2008 06:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Everyone needs to operate in their own comfort zone, there is a lot to focus on when you are out in the open water flying a kite.
I personally love the option of going dry when the conditions call for it.
...but still love that compression of a snug wetsuit too.
Short sessions I usually will go for a wetsuit, but for long ones, especially where I have to spend time on the beach in the wind, nothing beats the warmth of a drysuit, it has changed my winter storm sessions forever.
I know the OR guys on the island use them year round, and I am looking forward to trying the surf dry in mild conditions with just the shorty undergarment.

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Posted: 07 May 2008 12:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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The whole “sinking to the bottom” thing seems to come from diving.  From the early days of training, it’s drummed into you to do up the dry suit before you start carrying gear down to the boat.  The problem in this case, is that the easiest way to carry the weight belt is to wear it.  Clearly 5-10kg of lead isn’t going to help you be bouyant, but with air trapped in a sealed dry suit, you’d be OK if you fell in.

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