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  1. #31
    As others here have said, it's not exactly the same to add layers rather than getting a warmer/thicker suit, but if layering around your 3/2 keeps you warm and isn't constricting, great, enjoy your surfing. But a decent 4/3 would likely provide total warmth (you might even get too hot on some days) and better comfort/flexibility than layering.

    Here's the real point I want to make: If you want to buy a 4/3, be aware that there are three basic types of suit constructions intended to run the spectrum from from more-flexible-but-not-as-warm to warmest-but-(slightly)-less-flexible. This means that NOT all 4/3 suits are equally warm - by design. On the flexible end are suits that are just a layer of 3/2 or 4/3 (or whatever mm's) neoprene, period: they're great for people who don't get cold easily, or who are competing and want the most flexible suit, but they're not cozy. In the middle are suits that are neoprene with an added lining of fuzzy insulating material inside next to your skin; these are warmer but still quite flexible. Warmest are suits that are both lined inside and have that sticky rubber panel on the outside chest and back; the rubber panels block the windchill and possibly heat up from the sun better. (there are also some other variations, like rubber outside, no fuzzy stuff inside.)

    Since you have, ahem, grownup circulation, and since you're longboarder, and sit up high on your board out of the water, you're exposed fully to the wind, so if it's often windy where you surf you'll probably be happiest in the suits with rubber panels outside and the lining inside. If you think of suits this way, in terms of the construction, it's easier to choose between brands and models.
    Last edited by Bayztreet; Nov 5, 2012 at 12:40 AM.

  2. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by Bayztreet View Post
    As others here have said, it's not exactly the same to add layers rather than getting a warmer/thicker suit, but there's not really a science to this. People vary in how they feel the cold, and also different suit construction designs means that different 4/3 suits will vary a lot in warmth even though they're the same thickness. So, if layering around your 3/2 keeps you warm and isn't constricting, great. But a decent 4/3 would likely provide total warmth (you might even get too hot on some days) and better comfort/flexibility than layering.
    If you want to buy a 4/3, be aware that there are three basic types of suit constructions intended to run the spectrum from from more-flexible-but-not-as-warm to warmest-but-(slightly)-less-flexible. On the flexible end are suits that are just a layer of 3/2 or 4/3 or whatever neoprene, period: they're great for people who don't get cold easily, or who are competing and want the most flexible suit. In the middle are suits that are neoprene with an added lining of fuzzy insulating material inside next to your skin; these are warmer but still quite flexible. Warmest are suits that are both lined inside and have that sticky rubber panel on the outside chest and back; the rubber panels block the windchill and possibly heat up from the sun better. (there are also some other variations, like rubber outside, no fuzzy stuff inside.)
    Since you have, ahem, grownup circulation, and since you're longboarder, and sit up high on your board out of the water, you're exposed fully to the wind, so if it's often windy where you surf you'll probably be happiest in the suits with rubber panels outside and the lining inside. If you think of suits this way, in terms of the construction, it's easier to choose between brands and models.
    Excellent first post man. THANKS!

  3. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by idsmashh View Post
    3/2 maybe. You'll be sweating in a 4/3.
    How exactly do you sweat in the water? lmao

    I've been in 68 degree water with air temps in the upper 70s and been perfectly comfy in a 4/3. Don't listen to some of the advice on here. A lot of these guys surf in the middle of the winter in the mid atlantic/northeast and say their comfy.(I've seen them shaking violently and near hypothermia with no feeling in their hands and they'll say their warm)

    As far as layering. It's a terrible idea like other said. It really restricts movement/bunches up and is uncomfortable and isn't as warm.

    You can barely tell the difference between a 3/2 or 4/3 when it comes to movement. You will notice the difference in warmth though.
    Last edited by shark-hunter; Nov 5, 2012 at 01:51 AM.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by shark-hunter View Post
    How exactly do you sweat in the water? lmao

    I've been in 68 degree water with air temps in the upper 70s and been perfectly comfy in a 4/3. . . .
    surf for hours in 80-90 degree water in 90-100 degrees. I sweat buckets, gotta keep hydrated likes a mofo. I sweat in Cali when the water gets up around 72 degrees and the air temps in the 90's, summatime. I was trunking it today in 66 degree water and 70 degree air. What you surf a 4:3 in, wow! I was in for almost two hours and then biked the mile home soaking, not shivering. I get hot in a 4:3 in anything above 55 degrees. Like ball sweating hot. Don't own booties, don't own a hood.

    It has a lot to do with personal preference, time in the water, adaptation to one's local conditions and in my case, my physiology. I'm half walrus.

  5. #35
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    Feb 2012
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    A lot of good advice has been provided. Here's my $.02. When looking for another wetsuit make sure the seams are glued and blind stitched (GBS). Taping inside and liquid taping outside the suit will add durability and cost. A flat lock stitched seam (found on many less expensive suits) will allow water to enter through the stitching. Back zip wetsuits are the easiest to take on and off but will allow some flushing through the zipper, chest zip entry will prevent this. To help prevent against wind chill find a wetsuit with smooth skin (rubber exterior) on the chest and back. Look at the construction of your current suit, an upgrade to a better 3/2 may solve the problem. I agree layering is not the best solution. In the end comfort is personal preference. I get cold easily and would rather be too warm than a little cold. With that said, using a good 4/3 for the dead of winter would be my preference.

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by NJGOOFYFT View Post
    . . . Back zip wetsuits are the easiest to take on and off but will allow some flushing through the zipper, chest zip entry will prevent this. . . .
    Easy to take off Death Traps. Nothing like having the zipper go down a few notches while duck diving and then having an extra 20-30 lbs of water in your suit. I'll never buy another back zip and it took me years to make the switch.

  7. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by zaGaffer View Post
    Easy to take off Death Traps. Nothing like having the zipper go down a few notches while duck diving and then having an extra 20-30 lbs of water in your suit. I'll never buy another back zip and it took me years to make the switch.
    Death traps? lol. I've NEVER had the zipper come down ever and fill with 30 pounds of water. Sounds like a crap wetsuit. A few notches is not going to kill you anyway. Just ruin your session and make you come in immediately if it's extremely cold out. OP is surfing in Florida for pete sakes. I hate chest zips. I also find them to annoy my shoulder/chest area as well as being hard to get in and out. Also, you can't adjust the neck which is highly annoying. Much prefer back zips personally.

    How many people have died surfing from a back zip failure? Chest zips are relatively new thing

    If op gets cold easy, a 5mm w/o hood would also work well.
    Last edited by shark-hunter; Nov 5, 2012 at 03:29 PM.

  8. #38
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    [QUOTE=shark-hunter;145602] I've NEVER had the zipper come down ever and fill with 30 pounds of water. Sounds like a crap wetsuit. . . .A few notches is not going to kill you anyway. QUOTE]

    O'neills with lots and lots and lots of hours. I learned a long time ago, you get what you pay for when it comes to tools, so I spend good money on ‘em. Every one I've ever owned, I know when it's time to get a new one when the zippers start slipping. Not crap suits or at least they weren't when they were made in the USA and that's how long I've been buying them (has it really been 18 years of surfing!?!), before switching to chest zips (don't like O'neill anymore, the Thai-made suits just aren’t worth it to me with so many other options). As far as killing you, have you ever had a suit full of water? That extra 20-30 lbs really does make a huge difference. Compound that with cold water, strong rips and the big waves that go along with winter surf, it's a whole different story. I’m a strong swimmer too. I do the rough water swim in La Jolla Cove every year, have competed in Sprint Triathlons, have been PADI certified since 1991 and was on swim, then water polo teams from the time I was 6 up until HS.

    So, take a big wipe-out on a big day (10’+) and have your suit fill up cause the back zip failed; and it starts with just a notch or two. I guarantee, while you're struggling to it make back up to get a breath, your perspective about this might change. Then get hit by another wave and try to make it back up again. My spring suits are still back zips, I ain't worried too much when conditions are mild. None of my winter suits are anymore. Course, I've been hit by big waves so hard that I've sustained a concussion and ended up requiring knee surgery; two different occasions, not hitting rocks or getting pounded into the shore, solely getting hit by water. Those were fun times dragging myself back to the beach. Maybe we surf in different conditions, my equipment demands therefore are different. The more arduous the conditions, the more one demands of their gear. Same reason I don't buy my boards off the rack. There aren’t too many days like that out here, but when they happen I'm in the water.

    How many people have died, don’t know, probably none. From personal experience, I’m going to continue to say, the potential is certainly there. I try to minimize personal risk, I pulled enough people out of the water when I was a white water guide that I have an idea of what can go wrong (no fatalities, thank G-d ). A suit full of water is one of those things and I haven't had one since I made the switch.

  9. #39
    [QUOTE=zaGaffer;145681]
    Quote Originally Posted by shark-hunter View Post
    I've NEVER had the zipper come down ever and fill with 30 pounds of water. Sounds like a crap wetsuit. . . .A few notches is not going to kill you anyway. QUOTE]

    O'neills with lots and lots and lots of hours. I learned a long time ago, you get what you pay for when it comes to tools, so I spend good money on ‘em. Every one I've ever owned, I know when it's time to get a new one when the zippers start slipping. Not crap suits or at least they weren't when they were made in the USA and that's how long I've been buying them (has it really been 18 years of surfing!?!), before switching to chest zips (don't like O'neill anymore, the Thai-made suits just aren’t worth it to me with so many other options). As far as killing you, have you ever had a suit full of water? That extra 20-30 lbs really does make a huge difference. Compound that with cold water, strong rips and the big waves that go along with winter surf, it's a whole different story. I’m a strong swimmer too. I do the rough water swim in La Jolla Cove every year, have competed in Sprint Triathlons, have been PADI certified since 1991 and was on swim, then water polo teams from the time I was 6 up until HS.

    So, take a big wipe-out on a big day (10’+) and have your suit fill up cause the back zip failed; and it starts with just a notch or two. I guarantee, while you're struggling to it make back up to get a breath, your perspective about this might change. Then get hit by another wave and try to make it back up again. My spring suits are still back zips, I ain't worried too much when conditions are mild. None of my winter suits are anymore. Course, I've been hit by big waves so hard that I've sustained a concussion and ended up requiring knee surgery; two different occasions, not hitting rocks or getting pounded into the shore, solely getting hit by water. Those were fun times dragging myself back to the beach. Maybe we surf in different conditions, my equipment demands therefore are different. The more arduous the conditions, the more one demands of their gear. Same reason I don't buy my boards off the rack. There aren’t too many days like that out here, but when they happen I'm in the water.

    How many people have died, don’t know, probably none. From personal experience, I’m going to continue to say, the potential is certainly there. I try to minimize personal risk, I pulled enough people out of the water when I was a white water guide that I have an idea of what can go wrong (no fatalities, thank G-d ). A suit full of water is one of those things and I haven't had one since I made the switch.
    Interesting points. No I've never had a full suit of water with zip blown out. You had a concussion just from hitting the water? How big was it that day? Where was that? blacks?

  10. #40
    I'm still comfortable with my safety in back zip though.