Wetsuits cut for sitting/paddling

Discussion in 'Gear Talk' started by Wyvern, Oct 18, 2017.

  1. Wyvern

    Wyvern Paddler

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2015
    Messages:
    16
    With cold weather surfski paddle season here, I relectantly pull out my 4/3 wetsuit when needed at times instead of my Level 6 dry suit. The thing is, I find most wetsuits are “cut” for sports where the body stays in line.....surfing....wind surfing.......scuba diving..... They are not cut for hip/torso flexion of 90+ degrees needed when sitting in or on a kayak. Now, add the fact that I carry a bit more weight up front above the belt, and I find wetsuits uncomfortable, restrictive in breathing, and trying to pull my upper body backwards. So entry of the feet or legs into the kayak/surfski find me having to lean backwards so much, balance is compromised.

    Does anyone know of a brand that is cut for sitting? Do Farmer John type suits work better for sitting versus full wetsuits?
     
  2. semdoug

    semdoug Paddler

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2009
    Messages:
    197
    NRS has a decent selection of wetsuits. In the past I have found their Hydroskin to be pretty flexible and comfortable for paddling, however, it may not cut it if you require 4/3 thermal protection. I also have used a makeshift two piece wetsuit consisting of NRS Hydroskin shorts and a ProMotion long sleeve top.
     
    Wyvern likes this.
  3. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

    Joined:
    May 31, 2005
    Messages:
    5,529
    Location:
    Astoria, Oregon, USA
    Wyvern, consider the NRS Farmer Bill wet suits. FJ with a more generous midsection. I think these are cut for sitting, ditto their FJs. Believe they only come in Nylon 2, 3 mm thickness.

    With a serious breathable drytop, adjustment of insulation under the drytop allows a broad warmth range. Caveat: wet exits and swims will flood the insulation under the "dry"top. Never a problem here, with water temps in the 40 F / 5 C range. This issue alleviated somewhat with a Nylon 1 suit, interior only. Most of the leakage is at the waist, some from the footgear/farmer bill overlap.
     
    Wyvern likes this.
  4. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

    Joined:
    May 15, 2005
    Messages:
    2,906
    Is your 4/3 wetsuit constructed from the more flexible 'neoprene' rubber? That product is literally 2x more flexible than the traditional neoprene and might make sitting more easy.
    Another aspect is just cutting the suit across the back and putting in a 2"[50mm] insert and trying that out. Neoprene is made to be modified!
     
    Wyvern likes this.
  5. AM

    AM Paddler

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2006
    Messages:
    718
    Location:
    Vancouver
    Wyvern, where are you paddling? Here in Vancouver I never almost never see the surfski or OC crowd in wetsuits or drysuits in winter. They tend to paddle in pairs or groups for safety.
     
  6. Wyvern

    Wyvern Paddler

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2015
    Messages:
    16
    East Central Wisconsin, so some on Lake Michigan, but also on inland lakes.
     
    Astoriadave likes this.
  7. Peter-CKM

    Peter-CKM Paddler

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2011
    Messages:
    501
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    I find that wetsuits with arms are less flexible than farmer john style. When you say 4/3, I assume you are talking about ones with arms?
     
    Astoriadave likes this.
  8. pikabike

    pikabike Paddler

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2014
    Messages:
    137
    Location:
    SW Colorado
    I, too, find sleeveless to be less restrictive than sleeved suits or shirts. But even more of a factor has been the type of neoprene used. I greatly prefer the surfer suits because you can get them in much stretchier neos than paddling wetsuits offer. They also fit me better. RipCurl and O'Neill wetsuits have been good for me.

    The catch is decoding all the proprietary and marketing labels. Price gives a clue but is not the whole story.

    If the water is not too cold, I wear a thin (1 to 1.5mm) longsleeve shirt under a 2mm Farmer Jane. This combo allows good freedom of movement while still protecting the cold-vulnerable armpits from direct water contact. For really cold water, it has to be a 4mm or 5mm fullsuit, or a drysuit.

    My Farmer Jane Bahia Jane is my most-used piece. The first one is still in good shape at 5 years of age, but I like it so much I bought two more of them.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2017
    Astoriadave likes this.
  9. Jasper

    Jasper Paddler

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2017
    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    Portland, OR, US
    It might be worth going to a well stocked surf shop. I just bought a new 5/4 and found that all brands are cut slightly different and the sales people were very obliging in letting me try out numerous suits and go through several yoga poses, dry rolls, etc, till I found one that was just right. I was also amazed at at how flexible modern suits are. I eventually settled on an xcel axis, darn good imerion wear for less then $200.

    I originally bought it as a backup because my drysuit is in for repair, now I feel like I prefer it over my drysuit in some conditions. Swimming across a rip or tumbling among rocks in a drysuit sucks!

    If it really doesn't work out, you might get enough insulation and flexibility by going down one size in thickness and combining it with a neoprene vest or top.