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  1. #1

    Drysuit vs semi dry suit vs wetsuit for cold water standup riding


    I'm a beginner stand up rider training for race, and I'm inevitably spending a lot of time IN the water. I'd appreciate some good pointers regarding suit, gloves and boots, but mostly suit, that are the right choice for cold water (5 to 15 Celsius -- 40 to 60 fahrenheit) and cold days as to not freeze to death.

    I realize I'm giving a pretty broad range of temperatures but water temps here tend to rise pretty slowly up until mid summer so I might need more than one suit to take me through the season.

    I'm right now torn between a thicker wetsuit (5mm to 7mm) and a drysuit with some warm and moisture wicking clothing underneath.

    I would like to solicit some comments and discussion about the right gear for cold water/weather standup riding.

    Would love to hear any recommendations you guys may have regarding suits, their flexibility and comfort.

    Much appreciated

  2. #2
    My 2 cents... I've worn both wet and dry suits for swift water rescue and ended up liking the wet vs dry. My dry suit invariably leaked at some point and then you're in wet, cold clothing and that ain't fun. In 45 degree water out on a lake by myself I don't want to get thrown, find out my dry just failed and freeze to death. The dry suit just doesn't give me enough protection and confidence to be comfortable. The wetsuit offers more protection from junk in the water and high speed falls. If I'm going to tumble off a ski at any speed I'd take a wetsuit vs dry.

  3. #3
    @JC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    The Peoples Republic of Minnesota
    When it's that cold, along with my normal life jacket and shorty wetsuit, I add neoprene leggings, NRS wetsocks and a board shirt underneath the wetsuit along with nylon pants, jet pilot booties/gloves/tour coat over the top. And also a UA cold gear hood and Oakley H2O goggles. I can/have got tossed off and make it back to the ski just fine and keep on going without freezing my ass off. As a matter of fact I'm sweating pretty soon if I don't get plenty of wind and spray.

  4. #4
    Banned User
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Milwaukee WI
    I would wear at minimum a 5mm full suit if you expect to fall into 40+ degree water. I wear a 7mm full suit when the water gets below 50 degrees. I also have 7mm boots , 5mm gloves and a 5mm scuba hood. I have spent an hour in 44 degree water and was perfectly comfortable. It was like swimming in water that was in the 80s in mid summer once the suit warmed up. Keep in mind, you choose a wet suit based on the water you will be in, not based on air temperature. If you get too warm in the suit, then get yourself wet to cool off a bit. Not having an adequate suit for the water temps you will be riding in is a serious safety risk. Its not about comfort on the seat, its about being adequately protected from exposure to cold water should you fall in. I see too many people here not wearing adequate equipment for the water temps they ride in. Its always better to wear too much suit as opposed to not enough.

  5. #5
    Click avatar for tech links/info, donation request K447's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    near Toronto, Canada
    Quote Originally Posted by JustMarc View Post
    ... the right choice for cold water (5 to 15 Celsius -- 40 to 60 fahrenheit) and cold days as to not freeze to death.

    ... a drysuit with some warm and moisture wicking clothing underneath...
    Wetsuit is probably the right answer for you.

    That said, the clothing you wear underneath a dry suit is important. My understanding is that you do not want fabrics that absorb water. Cotton would be a bad choice, as once cotton gets wet it becomes a terrible thing to have on your skin. A dry suit can still leak or seep water inside, especially if you enter the water at speed.

  6. #6
    Thank you for your input guys.

    I did notice that all of you do not drive a stand up so it would be a relatively rare event for you to go swimming. I WILL be spending quite a bit of time flying into the water and swimming back to the ski.

    While my lake is free from junk and hazards, I do fully appreciate the risks of a dry suit suddenly taking in cold water.

    The lake is not large and I can easily swim to the shore or back to the ski and get back to base even if I take in water, but obviously that's an important plus for a wetsuit as getting fully wet is never an issue.
    5mm seems to be the minimum I'll be needing. My concern is then getting cold when going fast with a constantly wet wetsuit. I wear a helmet so probably don't need any neoprene on the head, but probably protection of the neck area won't hurt at all.

    Does a 5mm neoprene still work, when wet, for my riding conditions and decent windchill and the fact I'll be spending quite a bit of time in the water?

    Another important aspect is suit flexibility and mobility, so I think a wetsuit has an advantage here from what I've read, although I'm not 100% sure as probably a "baggy fit" drysuit won't restrict movement much. I guess though the thicker the neoprene suit is, the less flexible it would be, and I understand that some suits flex more than others.

    I would appreciate some input on brands/models that I should look at for a comfortable 5mm+ suit that allows the extended mobility a stand up rider needs.

    Thank you

  7. #7
    Banned User
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Milwaukee WI
    You will stay warm in a 5mm even when its wet. Your life jacket will shield your chest area from the wind. I have gotten back on the ski lots of times after going for a swim and I was fine.

  8. #8
    Cool. can anyone recommend any good 5mm suits?

    How about good warm gloves? 5mm as well or is that restrictive?

  9. #9
    Just snoozin' on the couch M447's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    If you want to get input from stand-up riders, is the forum to check out.

  10. #10
    Thank you very much, was not aware of this one.

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