Saturday, September 22, 2012

Keeping Warm

When I first started surfing, I just used a wetsuit that I got years and years ago when I first started learning.  It was an Excel and it served me well.  It was so well made that it lasted me 7 years, though it wasn't used all that much.

After a couple of seasons, I decided to get a new suit because I was much smaller in college and had outgrown the suit.  I went with something affordable, a Billabong that didn't cost that much, about $150.  It fit better than my first wetsuit, but the warmth was about the same.  It would flush every so often after a bad wipeout and I would have some water trapped in either my arms or legs.  The initial steps into the water, my legs felt fine till I got to the knees, then I'd feel little pin pricks letting me know what the water temperature was.  I just thought this was normal.

The suit lasted more than a few seasons before it started to thin out.  My guess was the constant act of putting it on and taking it off stretched out the rubber too much.  I decided to splurge a bit and get a nicer wetsuit, but didn't want to go all out and buy a wetsuit over $300.  My friend bought a Psycho One from O'Neill.  He loved it.  It kept him dry for the most part.

I tried a bunch of different suits on and bought a Quiksilver that was a little over $200.  It had piece that went over the head to prevent flushing.  The suit was glue stitched and it felt great.  The piece that went over the head took a little getting used to as it felt like I was getting choked.  Within the first few months, a seam tore at the back of the calf.  The location was right where the heel puts pressure as I put on the suit.  Rather unfortunate location for a seam.

A friend recommended a shop where I could get it repaired.  I brought it in and the guy said that it would be a little tough to get fixed because of the glue stitching.  They were able to fix it for $40.  I used it for another month before the other leg tore open.  Instead of getting it repaired, I opted to just get a new suit, one that wasn't glue stitched.  I could be getting the terminology wrong.  When I say glue stitched, it didn't have threads, just some sort of rubber seal.

I bought into the advertising, "We make the best and fix the rest."  In case you're wondering, it's a Coral Reef wetsuit.  For $200, off the rack, I got a 3/3 and for $40 more, they tailored it for me.  I have yet to try it out since the water has been so warm, but am sure it'll work out great.  It's still in my closet, but it's just a matter of time before I break it out.

As for why I haven't posted much on this blog, it's because I had knee surgery.  The knee is still not 100%.  My timing has been off and my stamina is not that great.  I am more nervous about head high plus waves these days, not trusting myself.  The home break is more crowded than before.  There are also new friendly face.  After a couple of waves, all my worries go away and I remember why I struggled through the cold mornings and endless hours just paddling without catching anything.  The rides make it all worthwhile.


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Clerks II - July 21, 2006