Spring clothing recommendation

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9 months 4 weeks ago #39620 by dapara2004
Water temperatures locally average between 44-46 F (6.7-7.8C) in March to 45-48 F (7.2-8.9C) in June on a bay, and air temperatures average between 37-52 F (2.8-11.1 C) in March to 51-67 (10.5-19.4 C) in June. As a novice surfskier, I go in the water once in a while, especially when practicing maneuvers on waves. Some locals, with a lot more experience than I, advocate a Farmer John wetsuit and layering for most of this time period unless it is on the colder or hotter end of the ranges. Right now I have a 2mm short leg and long arm wetsuit, but am considering either a similar short arm, long leg suit, or a Farmer John style suit with front zip. I am posting to see if there might be a recommendation either way, or what other clothing recommendations there may be on this forum. Any specific suits/clothing product information would be much appreciated if possible.

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The type of suits I am looking at:

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9 months 4 weeks ago #39621 by Arcturus
Having some combination of neoprene that covers the legs and arms works for me. Similar early spring and late fall water temps where I paddle.

My go-to combo is a 2mm Farmer Jane that has a sleeveless upper, full-length leg coverage, and a zippered center front, plus a long-sleeve shirt (1 to 1.5mm neoprene) with a short zipper at the neck.

This pair is easier to put on and take off than a full wetsuit and allows use with different tops, which allows small adjustments of combined neoprene thickness. Sometimes I wear a non-neoprene wicking shirt instead of the neoprene top when it gets warmer. It is also possible to pair the neoprene top with non-neoprene shorts or tights, though I rarely do this. The gapless neoprene coverage over the torso of the Farmer Jane is REALLY nice if you end up in the water.

A lot depends on your body, the thickness of the neoprene, windiness, and other factors. In all cases, make sure the neoprene fits you snugly enough to block water flooding through. There will be some water getting in; it shouldn’t be much.

Do you wear booties in the shoulder seasons? My feet need 7mm booties that go above the top of the ankle at the start and end of our paddling season, but most of the year 3mm shorter booties are enough or even too much (in which case I take them off).
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9 months 3 weeks ago #39626 by agooding2
For water in the 40's I wear a drysuit, the Kokakat Hydrus which has a neoprene neck, so is called "semi dry" as a latex neck is a more complete seal. If the water is rough with waves, you may want a full drysuit with a latex neck, less comfortable to wear but a complete seal. After one with attached booties as they will keep your feet dry. If durability is an issue, then full Goretex.

Underneath I wear a one piece fleece liner from Immersion Research, no zipper to rub, on my feet I wear thick synthetic or wool socks, hands 2-3 mm neoprene gloves, on my head a neoprene skull cap like the one from NRS. On my torso depending on outside temperature either a pile vest or jacket from LL Bean treated with polarproof so it is non absorbent.

I have been in 40 degree water with these combos and have been fine. I don't think a 2 mm "shorty" wetsuit is sufficient for these temperatures and it won't protect you from cold shock.

paddling.com/learn/how-to-dress-for-paddling-in-the-spring

www.gearx.com/blog/knowledge/paddling/co...ee-deep-in-neoprene/ Suggests that neoprene is only sufficient for water above 50 degrees.

-- Andrew

Nelo 550L, Streuer Fejna, Nelo Viper 55

Braca XI 705 EL blade, 17K shaft
Braca XI 675 marathon blade, 19K shaft
Braca IV 670 soft blade, 19K shaft
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9 months 3 weeks ago #39627 by zachhandler
I think that line about wetsuits only being good for water above 50 is the opinion of one guy that wrote an article about whitewater, but not some sort of actual truth. The people that are surfing among floating ice in lake superior or the canadian atlantic in the middle of winter are in wetsuits. They are in the water a long time just bobbing in the swell looking the right wave. And on the flipside, just as 2mm of neoprene will not be adequate for any prolonged immersion in icewater, nor will a drysuit with inadequate layers under it, and i can think of at least one famous case of a ski paddler with just thermal underwear under his goretex not making it. One difference between neoprene and dry suits is that wetsuits are often colder out of the water as the fabric covering of the neoprene wets out and causes evaporative cooling. They insulate well when in the water. A drysuit by contrast with trapped air and water shedding DWR coated goretex is quite warm out of water but in the water loses some insulating capacity as water pressure compresses and redistributes the insulating air pockets in the undergarments toward the surface of the water. In that regard wetsuits have an advantage for shorter intenser more heat producing outings and dry suits the advantage for longer days at a more measured pace. I think wet or dry suits can both be used effectively or ineffectively but there are differences that are important to understand.

I agree fully with neoprene gloves or mitts. Pogies feel great while paddling, but if you end up in the drink leave you unprotected. In ice water hands can only function for a few minutes. Without hands it does not matter how warm your wet or dry suit is - you probably will not be able to save yourself.

Current Skis: Epic v10 g3, NK 670 double, NK exrcize, Kai Wa’a Vega, Carbonology Feather, Think Jet, Knysna Sonic X
Former Skis: Epic V12 g2, Epic V12 g1, Epic v10 double, Nelo 550 g2, Fenn Elite S, Custom Kayaks Synergy
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9 months 3 weeks ago #39630 by agooding2
Good description of the differences between wetsuits and drysuits.

Yes, a thick enough wetsuit can work, surfers use them regularly. However as the wetsuit gets thicker it also gets more restrictive of paddling, especially if it has long sleeves. A 2 mm Farmer John will not be sufficient in water in the 40's.

Different people have different tolerances, it is always a good idea to test your gear before you fall in. I regularly wade out waist deep in the 40 degree water to mount my ski and I'm fine. You can try wading out to mount your ski with a 2 mm Farmer John if you want but I think you'll be sorry.

-- Andrew

Nelo 550L, Streuer Fejna, Nelo Viper 55

Braca XI 705 EL blade, 17K shaft
Braca XI 675 marathon blade, 19K shaft
Braca IV 670 soft blade, 19K shaft
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9 months 1 week ago #39671 by mrcharly
I live somewhere with moderate water temperatures (7C - 15C, year round and 15C is considered 'warm'), strong winds and frequent rain.


Year round, I use wetsuit socks, wetsuit bottoms and a Rooster cag.

Summer, just a T shirt and lycra jogging bottoms underneath.

Winter, Wool thermal bottoms and tops, two layers on top if it is cold (snowing or sleet) plus a hat.

The cag and hat are made of the same material; a polyurethane outer with fleecy lining. Utterly windproof, waterproof but not sealed. If I get too warm I take my hat off and stuff it in my PB pocket. If I'm really too warm I have a swim.

In summer the combination is often a bit warm, but average water temps are still often 10-12C. So I'd rather be a bit warm than get cold.

In really bad winter weather I put a backup pertex and pile jacket in a dry bag in the ski compartment. It is conceivable that I could end up wrecked on a rocky shore - I'd like to have something warm and dry to put on if that is the case.
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9 months 1 week ago - 9 months 1 week ago #39674 by zachhandler
Mrcharley - I dress as you describe (neoprene pants, thermal underwear top, light waterproof shell over that) when I am paddling flat water in those sorts of temps. Basically in conditions where capsize is unlikely and remount would be quick and easy. I also like to stay within 50 yds of shore in those conditions so I can save myself if remount were not possible. That is because i feel that kit is not going to protect much at all if I end up immersed in cold water. The pants are mostly for the discomfort of sitting in cold water and having it drip on my legs. The shell is mainly for drips and cutting the wind. If I were far from help in that situation I would also take drybag with additional layers like you do. As it is I paddle flat water in a city so I don’t take that precaution.
If I am off shore in downwind conditions in the cold I am definitely using full coverage neoprene wetsuit including booties and gloves. I have a 2mm full suit i use at the upper end of that range and a 4/3mm at the lower end. I also use a neoprene hood when it is colder.

I am not criticizing your personal choices. We all make our own decisions regarding risk tolerance. I just don’t want a beginner to get into dangerous situation.

By the way I had a friend who dressed in a light kit like we described doing cold water downwinds in lake superior. He came out of the ski one November day and despite his great skill and athleticism (skilled white water paddler, NCAA division 1 collegiate swimmer, years of downwind experience) he could not remount because the cold water was sapping his strength by the second. This was in front of the city of Duluth. He would have died that day but by freak chance, a woman on the top floor of the hospital happened to look out the window at the bay at the right moment and noticed a white surfski and a paddler floundering in the white caps. It is almost impossible to see a ski in that situation even if you are looking for it so that was amazing luck. Also lucky was that she recognized a like threatening emergency for what it was and called 911. The coast guard was then able to rescue him in time.

I unfortunately can’t count him as a friend but here is the story of when Ivan Lawler almost died doing cold water downwinding in neoprene pants.
www.gosurfski.com/post/meeting-the-monster-of-loch-ness

Be safe out there everyone. Time runs out very fast in cold water.

Current Skis: Epic v10 g3, NK 670 double, NK exrcize, Kai Wa’a Vega, Carbonology Feather, Think Jet, Knysna Sonic X
Former Skis: Epic V12 g2, Epic V12 g1, Epic v10 double, Nelo 550 g2, Fenn Elite S, Custom Kayaks Synergy
Last edit: 9 months 1 week ago by zachhandler. Reason: Spelling and formatting
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9 months 1 week ago #39675 by mrcharly
Good lessons to be learnt from those experiences, Zach.

Don't mistake the Rooster cag for a standard thin cag though. It is designed to protect people when doing extreme dinghy sailing - being soaked and subject to winds. It is a very warm top, even after immersion. Better than neoprene, because you don't get the evaporative cooling effect (water runs straight off the outside, the 'fabric' doesn't get wet).

Ivan spoke about that incident with me when I picked up my ski from him. It really shook him up.
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9 months 1 week ago #39677 by dapara2004
Would you have a recommendation on a Rooster cag top? Sounds like a good idea over top my wetsuit on the colder days. Being able to cut down on the evaporative or windchill cooling would be great midwinter. I am the one always overdressed in the local crew, but I do an early remount practice and again whenever I overheat . Needless to say, I get lots of remount practice in!

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9 months 6 days ago #39678 by zachhandler
Good Idea dapara2004. Also if you can find a bright color cag it will add to visibility. Sometimes i pull a long sleeve fluorescent tshirt over my wetsuit just for extra visibility.

Current Skis: Epic v10 g3, NK 670 double, NK exrcize, Kai Wa’a Vega, Carbonology Feather, Think Jet, Knysna Sonic X
Former Skis: Epic V12 g2, Epic V12 g1, Epic v10 double, Nelo 550 g2, Fenn Elite S, Custom Kayaks Synergy
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9 months 6 days ago #39681 by mrcharly
I bought the mid-range top - so it has closures on wrist and waist. That is the pro-lite aquafleece europe.roostersailing.com/collections/me...ocks/products/105741

The sizing for sport is spot on; big around shoulders and long arms. Buy to fit your waist.

I have on in a strong bright blue colour - that stands out very well.

Wore it yesterday to go rowing in a St Ayles skiff (first time, the boat surprised me with its speed).

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Ayles_Skiff
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