Posted by Dave on April 20, 2005 at 21:51:06:
In Reply to: Ode to the Lowly Wetsuit posted by Dick Analog on April 20, 2005 at 14:57:44:
In diving with dryuits for 20 years now, I can say with certainty that they are not "vulnerable to poking, cutting things..." I have driven sea urchin spines right through wetsuits right into my waiting flesh. My Viking drysuit if anything is LESS likely to allow a sea urching spine to penetrate through than wetsuits I have used. Having had about 4 or so sea urchin spines actually penetrate through my drysuits over the years, the amount of water that typically ingresses over the dive is maybe a cup of water. It is thermally inconsequential, especially because like most drysuit divers, we use undergarments that maintain most of their loft and insulating abilities when damp. This usually means Thinsulate.
Only once have I had a catastrophic failure of a drysuit, when using a 5 year old fabric shell suit with an old neck seal on a nightdive WITH NO BC in 50 feet of water. I made my way slowly uphill underwater, and crawled onto the beach, turned downhill and drained all the water out. Lucky for the lobsters!
Divers who defend wetsuits are divers who have never used a drysuit. We can spot em a mile away! They ar ethe ones shivering. It is like PC's running Windoze v Mac's running Unix cored OS X, once you go to a Mac, you will never switch back. "I'm freezing!" seems to be a common refrain I hear from, wetsuit divers. Who wants to enjoy a sport/hobby where you are miserable, especially when you don't have to be?! The pain of buying a drysuit is a one time thing, whereas being cold is everytime you dive in the winter with a wetsuit.
My Viking has heavy flexible solid rubber kneepads that go all the way down the front of my shins. Good luck getting an urchin spine through that. And because of the undergarment thickness, you have more protection against the spine reaching your flesh then on a wetsuit. Being in touch with my inner McGuyver, I have ripped out neck seals and wrist seals when I was too lazy to change them, and had em up fixed and running for the trip remainer within the hour using urethane and toluene accelerator. DUI's zipper system for neck and wrist cuff seal replacement solves those who technically challenged.
Oh, and my drysuit insulating booties always smell fresh because what goes into them is always clean, thank you very much!
I now yeiled the floor back to my esteemed colleague from California
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