Winter in many places brings with it extreme cold but also wind. In these extreme colds a wetsuit sometimes wont cut it. In those cases a dry suit is the best option. They are considerably more expensive than wetsuits however. But for some they are the way to go and have a much longer life span if properly maintained and lubricated.
Click to see the Ocean Rodeo Dry Suit product video:
How to choose the right suit.
The right material
Most drysuits are made out of two types of materials: either crushed or compressed neoprene or bi/tri laminate which is layers of different, less cumbersome materials.
Laminated Material Drysuits - These suits, called bilaminate or trilaminate, allow the drysuit to be thinner and less cumbersome. Some people like this, as the suit is lighter and easier to move around in. BUT the suit provides no thermal protection. You therefore need to have on the correct undergaments for the temperature. These laminated materials also do not absorb any water. They therefore dry very quickly.
Neoprene Drysuits - These suits still a bit of a wetsuit feel. But they fit tighter, therefore not offering as much room to fit thicker undergarments in. They do provide a bit of thermal protection though, as the neoprene material is much thicker than laminate materials. Because of this thickness, neoprene drysuits do take a lot more time to dry out than laminate drysuits.
The right seals
Your seals can be the most important part of your drysuit. Seals that are too tight will pinch your skin and can cause painful marks on your skin and seals that are too loose will let water in, defeating its purpose altogether.
Depending on the brand of your drysuit, you will be choosing between neoprene, latex, or silicone seals. They all have their pros and cons.
Neoprene is the most durable out of all of the seal options, not tearing easily; however, it will stretch out over time. Also, due to its thickness, some find it harder to pull a neoprene seal over their head.
Latex seals are a customized fit as you will trim the seals when you are first fitted into the suit. Latex is also much more flexible and can be easier to get into. It can however rip more easily
Silicone is the newest seal material in drysuits. It is the most flexible and well fitting of the three, but it does wear out the quickest. If you have a latex allergy however, this is a great option.
Choose the right foot-option
There are two to choose from: built-in boots/socks or gaskets.
With the gasket your dry suit ends at your ankle. They do however allow the rider to have that all important board feel and if needed a bootie can be put on to provide warmth.
Built in Boots/Socks - This is a great option for those extreme cold climates where having bare feet is simply not an option. They do limit board feel however, as you have a loose fitting sock around your foot.
The sizing of dry suits is a bit different to wetsuits in that a tight fit is only required around the gaskets (neck, wrists and ankles). It is supposed to fit comfortably and allow the user to put multiple layers of clothing on underneat the suit to generate that all important warmth.
Below is a dry suit size chart to give you a rough idea. We highly recommend going to your local shop and trying one on beforehand!