Wetsuits and weighting

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Posted by Eric S on October 27, 2007 at 17:38:54:

I know this topic has been beat to death in the past but I thought about a few technicalities regarding wetsuits and weighting.
We all know that the ultimate goal to successful weighting is to be able to hold a stop at 10 to 15 feet with an almost empty tank and have the bc (if you use one) completely empty regulating your position with your breathing only.
There are a few points I'd like to add.
For people using thinner wetsuits, this may not be a big deal but for the thick to extremely thick suits I think the following issues are relative.


Does colder water require the wetsuit diver to use less weight? I personally think so because the cells in the neoprene will not be as inflated in freezing cold water as would be in warmer water.

If a wetsuit diver does a weight check as soon as entering the water with an almost empty tank as opposed to doing a complete dive then checking weighting would there be a difference.
In my reasoning, yes, and here's why: Because if the diver does a weight check immediately upon entering the water the suit could be hot from the sun and the cells would be inflated to their max causing the diver to use too much weight. The time in the water may not be enough to cool the suit down to the proper temperature to do an accurate weight check.
If the diver goes through a full dive the suit is cooled down to the temp when the dive would normally end and also I figure that the compression of the suit at depth could also be a factor. I know that when a suit is compressed at depth combined with being chilled down it doesn't just spring back to it's full thickness right away, it could take a little time after the dive for the neoprene to recover. So when holding a stop at the end of a cold deep wetsuit dive the amount of weight needed would be substantially less than just jumping in the water real quick to do a weight check.

Combine all these factors and with the thicker suits and I think there is enough of a difference to consider rethinking the standard formulas for figuring weight.
I began thinking about this when it seemed I would end a dive really heavy and I couldn't figure out why till I started thinking about this. Now I have my weight belts stripped down to the bone and figured for the perfect weight at the end of the dive even though I have to fight to get down at the beginning of the dive.

Any thoughts?

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