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Old 10-22-2015, 01:20 AM   #1
Tyson Brown
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Question Wetsuit thickness question for Floridians

I'm thinking about buying a 2-piece, farmer john style open cell wetsuit for use here in Florida over the winter. I was talking to someone about it today who recommended a 7mm suit, but I forgot to ask if that was a traditional lined "closed cell" suit or a open cell suit for freediving.

I've heard the open cell suits are substantially warmer. And with a 2-piece, I guess you have extra on your core.

So, what would you recommend for open cell suit thickness? I don't think I mind being a little warm.... Rather be warm than cold. I usually scuba, so I could be down at depth for a long time.

Thanks guys!
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Old 10-22-2015, 01:34 AM   #2
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Re: Wetsuit thickness question for Floridians

Id suggest a 3mm to start with, you'll likely die of heat stroke just suiting up on the deck in a 7mm and need 25lb just to keep down.

That being said I know a few guys here in the keys that rock a 5mil (lined) for scuba diving...gets a bit chilly if you are doing 3-4 tanks in a day.

Did you have a brand in mind?

NOTE....make sure you know what your dive buddy wears and avoid getting the same pattern as him. People really look at you funny when pulling into the boat ramp and you're all matchy and what not...

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Old 10-22-2015, 07:24 AM   #3
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Re: Wetsuit thickness question for Floridians

As kwtony mentioned, a 3mm will be the best all around option for the majority of the year. I switch over to a 5mm when it drops below 70 degrees and that keeps me warm until the water gets down in the 50s. You definitely shouldn't need a 7mm.
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Old 10-22-2015, 08:01 AM   #4
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Re: Wetsuit thickness question for Floridians

Quote:
Originally Posted by kwtony View Post
NOTE....make sure you know what your dive buddy wears and avoid getting the same pattern as him. People really look at you funny when pulling into the boat ramp and you're all matchy and what not...
That is SOOOOO Super Cute! Are you guys on a snorkeling team, or something?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kwtony View Post
Did you have a brand in mind?
None of the $400 ones, fo sho. I like the green Mako just fine for a new suit, and I've trolled the board & craigslist a little for used ones. Someone on here has an OMER 5mm that is a little extreme on the 3D camo, but is my size. But I'm not tied to a brand.

I just want an open cell for the warmth with freedom of movement. And I want a 2-piece beaver tail so I don't look like a Power Ranger.




Although....... that blue one wouldn't be too bad if you swapped the white for Gator orange.
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Old 10-22-2015, 08:07 AM   #5
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Re: Wetsuit thickness question for Floridians

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptivaCommando View Post
As kwtony mentioned, a 3mm will be the best all around option for the majority of the year. I switch over to a 5mm when it drops below 70 degrees and that keeps me warm until the water gets down in the 50s. You definitely shouldn't need a 7mm.
Now, just to be clear, I think I'm definitely sticking with board shorts and a rash guard for the warm season. If I'm buying just one wetsuit, for cold-weather use only, I'm thinking maybe I should get a 5mm.

One thing I'm not sure of is how cold the water gets. All the freedivers are always bobbing up and down, but on scuba I'll be down at the bottom for extended periods of time.

Does anyone know how cold the water gets in the Middlegrounds over the winter?
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Old 10-22-2015, 08:27 AM   #6
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Re: Wetsuit thickness question for Floridians

Petros from Spear America and Andrew from Nautilus are having good sales right now on their suits, be sure to check em out.
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Old 10-22-2015, 08:29 AM   #7
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Re: Wetsuit thickness question for Floridians

Well, we get down right cold up here in the Stein/ Cedar Key areas. I've been in forty five degree water hunting the sheepies in Feb. so I think that you might need to think about what temps that you are going to be diving in then adjust the mils from there. I'm a believer that one size does not fit all. For me, it takes a bit thicker suit now for me to be comfortable than when I was younger, slower metabolism perhaps. I do like my farmer j as it provides more chest warmth that a single layer. Also, the newer closed cell suits are far more suple than years ago so you don't feel so much like Frankenstein in a wetsuit. Just my thoughts.
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Old 10-22-2015, 08:53 AM   #8
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Re: Wetsuit thickness question for Floridians

If I only had one suit, it'd be a 5mm 2 piece open cell.

But for the Tampa area, I use a 3mm for a month or two each fall and spring.

It gets much colder inshore than the grounds.

I've found that deep scuba diving gradually crushes the suit and thins it out. Check your PMs for my suit recommendation.

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Old 10-22-2015, 12:50 PM   #9
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Re: Wetsuit thickness question for Floridians

3mm open cell until temps get below 65 then I'd switch to a 5mm. You'll be much more comfortable warm than cold and your dives will benefit from that if free diving. Shivering isn't a good thing for maximizing bottom time.
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Old 10-22-2015, 03:08 PM   #10
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Re: Wetsuit thickness question for Floridians

An "open cell" ( a misnomer BTW) suit may form a better seal to your skin, allowing less water to circulate, thus being warmer..but the material is NOT warmer nor is it more insulation.
The prime benefit is the increase % of stretch you will receive from open cell ( not saying that some "closed cell" suits aren't at a higher % of stretch, just saying two identical neoprenes , one with fabric on one side will stretch more than the one with fabric on both sides).
My advise is to stick with a jump suit, rather than two piece ( I know the theory of two layers over the core/chest,,I manufactured Many a wet and dry suit) but you will find a one piece suit to be warmer and you'll need less lead to get down.
Not to mention easier to breath up.
Just my 2 cents
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Old 10-22-2015, 03:23 PM   #11
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Re: Wetsuit thickness question for Floridians

One piece jump suit. 5MM for MG in winter.
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Old 10-22-2015, 03:29 PM   #12
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Re: Wetsuit thickness question for Floridians

Quote:
Originally Posted by SEATUX View Post
An "open cell" ( a misnomer BTW) suit may form a better seal to your skin, allowing less water to circulate, thus being warmer..but the material is NOT warmer nor is it more insulation.
The prime benefit is the increase % of stretch you will receive from open cell ( not saying that some "closed cell" suits aren't at a higher % of stretch, just saying two identical neoprenes , one with fabric on one side will stretch more than the one with fabric on both sides).
My advise is to stick with a jump suit, rather than two piece ( I know the theory of two layers over the core/chest,,I manufactured Many a wet and dry suit) but you will find a one piece suit to be warmer and you'll need less lead to get down.
Not to mention easier to breath up.
Just my 2 cents
Thanks! I'm going to go with extra lead and less of this


But I do think that the bare, sheared neoprene sticks to your skin better and keeps you warmer, from all accounts. Just look at how much harder they are to slide into and get out of... I want all the stretchiness I can get, too - I have a traditional closed cell scooba suit, and I feel like T-rex
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Old 10-22-2015, 03:46 PM   #13
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Re: Wetsuit thickness question for Floridians

Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadHunter View Post
One piece jump suit. 5MM for MG in winter.
Hmm. You're recommending a lined aka closed cell 1-piece? Hmmmmm.

I have/had a 3/5 lined scuba suit that I used in March in the Keys, and it wasn't working right for me. The legs were a little too tight and it was cutting off my circulation, so I cut off the shirt to use just that. So I really don't have a full wetsuit anymore...

Dan & Seatux - are you recommending against unlined/open cell suits for a certain reason, like durability, or are you just saying that you've used the 1-piece lined suits and they've always done well for you? Seatux said he felt the 1-piece suits were warmer, but everyone I've ever talked to who switched to unlined open cell suits said they were as warm as the next size thicker traditional lined suit.

Decisions.
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Old 10-22-2015, 03:48 PM   #14
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Re: Wetsuit thickness question for Floridians

Also, while I NORMALLY scuba, I like to do a little "snorkeling" on the side. So I don't want to sacrifice flexibility. That's a big part of why I feel like I should get an open cell.
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Last edited by Tyson Brown; 10-22-2015 at 03:49 PM. Reason: Not legit enough to call it "freediving"
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Old 10-22-2015, 04:19 PM   #15
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Re: Wetsuit thickness question for Floridians

Your not reading me right!
The sheared neoprene ( what you call open cell) exposes the zillion of bubbles in the neoprene, which act like a zillion little suction cups, which make it harder to get on, and make it stick to your skin. Thus less water exchange in your suit because the material is stuck to you like glue. It is also much more stretchy because you have eliminated the fabric ( what ever that fabric may have been) on one side ( the "open cell" side ).
The ACTUAL neoprene is of a certain R factor ( which varies by grade and mfg of that material) and that is not affected by shearing or laminating fabric to it. so the idea that the material is a better insulator is just plain Wrong. The idea that a sheared face may adhere to you better and thus reduce circulation is realistic.
The one piece suit is ( I believe ) superior in comfort and warmth to the two piece.

So I am saying a one piece, sheared, jump suit is your best bet!

Hope that clears it up, as to what I was trying to convey.
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