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georoc01
09-16-2007, 19:51
Well, this past week I took the dry suit specialty from my LDS. One night I was fitted for the suit, the next night we did a pool session, then did five dives over two days open water.

Some thoughts..

1) Dry Suit didn't seem to be totally dry. between perspiration, and the slightest issue with any seal, and some type of pin hole in the boots of my rental boots assured this. Wearing socks really didn't seem to be wise given that my feet were fairly wet after every dive.

2) Suit squeeze is a unique experience. From the first time you step in the water, even in the shallow end of the pool, you feel it. It also pushes your bouyancy to another level in that you now have this air pocket to balance within your suit. My instructor wanted us to handle our bouyancy 100% with the suit, no adding air to your bcd. And with the dump valve on your left shoulder, you have to make sure this isn't your highest point when trying to add air. I should add that she had us diving with the valve wide open. But I had one dive where I was adding air and couldn't figure out why I was still decending.

3) Even with the squeeze, I can see why people prefer it over the thicker wetsuit combos. I was suprised how much your undergarments made a difference in your bouyancy and the amount of lead I needed. I had to add 10lbs going from the pool to the open water, due to the undergarments.

It was a fun weekend learning about this type of diving, and will probably end up getting one if I continue to dive in the cold waters around here.

Subaqua
09-17-2007, 17:34
Thanks for sharing your experience. I'll probably take this course next month. What type of drysuit did you use during your course and did you had choice between the different types or you just had to pick this one?

CompuDude
09-17-2007, 19:26
Dry suits rule. :) (In colder waters, at least!)

1) There's a reason they are often jokingly referred to as "mostly-dry" suits. ;) There's nothing you can do about condensation. The rest of the issues can generally be resolved with experience and properly-sized seals.

2) You get used to the suit squeeze ... I barely notice it anymore. Most recreational agencies tell you to use the suit only for buoyancy. Yet most technical (and experienced) divers tell you to put only enough gas into the suit to take the edge off the squeeze and allow your undergarments to do their job, and use your BCD (Buoyancy Control Device) for it's given purpose: Controlling your buoyancy. Coincidence? PADI and a few other agencies seem to feel it's too much to ask a diver to be able to manage both air pockets. It's true that it is more to ask of them, but if you're going to dive dry, it seems like a pretty important skill to me. So dive the way the instructor tells you during class, and then dive however you feel it works best once you're done. Big bubbles of air moving around inside a drysuit are REALLY hard to control. That particular recommendation just makes no sense to me.

As for valves... it should be fully open on the surface, but I generally close mine, at least a little bit, once I'm at depth to avoid inadvertently dumping gas. Just don't forget to open it up again when you're ready to ascend.

georoc01
09-18-2007, 08:40
Thanks for sharing your experience. I'll probably take this course next month. What type of drysuit did you use during your course and did you had choice between the different types or you just had to pick this one?

Pinnacle Evolution. I had a choice between that one and a very old neoprene suit that had a stink so bad that the shop had to be evacuated when they opened the bag. I doubt it had been out in a couple of years.

The Pinnacle was a new suit, as they had turned over their rental stock in the last few months.

georoc01
09-18-2007, 08:45
Dry suits rule. :) (In colder waters, at least!)

1) There's a reason they are often jokingly referred to as "mostly-dry" suits. ;) There's nothing you can do about condensation. The rest of the issues can generally be resolved with experience and properly-sized seals.

2) You get used to the suit squeeze ... I barely notice it anymore. Most recreational agencies tell you to use the suit only for buoyancy. Yet most technical (and experienced) divers tell you to put only enough gas into the suit to take the edge off the squeeze and allow your undergarments to do their job, and use your BCD (Buoyancy Control Device) for it's given purpose: Controlling your buoyancy. Coincidence? PADI and a few other agencies seem to feel it's too much to ask a diver to be able to manage both air pockets. It's true that it is more to ask of them, but if you're going to dive dry, it seems like a pretty important skill to me. So dive the way the instructor tells you during class, and then dive however you feel it works best once you're done. Big bubbles of air moving around inside a drysuit are REALLY hard to control. That particular recommendation just makes no sense to me.

As for valves... it should be fully open on the surface, but I generally close mine, at least a little bit, once I'm at depth to avoid inadvertently dumping gas. Just don't forget to open it up again when you're ready to ascend.

I had read about using both and started that way (only adding air to the suite when necessary and using my BC), but my instructor stopped me as they like to keep it simple. And I agree the more air in the suit seems to make it harder, especially if you get too much air in your feet. I think that's why most of the class went to ankle weights.

diverdad
09-18-2007, 22:29
I have been thinking about taking a dry suit class and would like to thank you for a little insite into what i'll be in for.

greyzen
09-18-2007, 23:34
I wanted to look to verify you were right and sure enough in black and white it says in the PADI AOW book under the dry suit section


Using your dry suit for buoyancy control has two main benefits. First, it simplifies buoyancy control because you're only controlling one system. Second, it minimizes the possibility of suit squeeze.

It then goes on to explain what a suit squeeze is. It really does sound like they say "Use your suit" only because of ease of explanation as telling someone to control their buoyancy half through the suit and half through the BCD is more complex.

ScaredSilly
09-19-2007, 16:24
One of the problems with using your suit for bouyancy is controlling the air bubble. Say the bubble moves down to your feet you need to invert yourself to get the bubble back up to your arm. Well may be you are not in a good place to invert - no choice that is what you have to do. If using your BCD you just pull the bottom dump valve.

In the above case I am not talking about a run-a-way ascent but just a day in the water.