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Anywhere to get "new" vintage wetsuits?

Discussion in 'Vintage Equipment Diving' started by MattCrunk, May 28, 2010.

  1. JamesBon92007

    JamesBon92007 Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
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    I thought twistlocks were one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century.
     
  2. Thalassamania

    Thalassamania Diving Polymath ScubaBoard Supporter

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    I've had wetsuit jackets with "Raglan" sleeves (like the ones J&M make) since the early 1960s, they are legitimately vintage.
     
  3. captain

    captain Captain

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    Twist lock have been around forever, a 60's Parkway suit I had had them.
     
  4. ZKY

    ZKY Minimalist ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Santa Rosa, California
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    Omer makes freediving suits that are skin both sides. Originally they used a skin/open cell material but it was so tender and tore so easily that it was impractical. What they did instead was take two sheets of skin/nylon and laminate them together nylon to nylon so the result was an internally reinforced material that was skin both sides. This is the current suit that is available that has a slick outer surface however the style is far from vintage. The suit from JMJ from what I heard is nothing more than nylon/skin reversed so the slick part is out. That's worthless to me because I want skin against my skin for a full body seal for warmth, not just looks.


    If someone want's a real vintage suit go down to Dive & Surf in Redondo Beach and talk to Bob Miestral (SP). He and his brother are the ones that used to make the suits for every one on Sea Hunt. Maybe he still has some original patterns around? Who knows.

    Rubatex still makes G231 in skin both sides (supposedly) but when I asked about wether it was truelly closed slick skin on both sides and not skin one side and cut open cell on the other the lady that replied to my email couldn't answer the question. I asked for a free swatch sample (which they offer) but never got it.
     
  5. Akimbo

    Akimbo Lift to Freedom Volunteer Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

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    One piece suits are pretty awkward without a zipper :wink:

    Actually I am with you on this. I have a 43" chest and 35" waist, up from 32" 15 years ago. I have worn custom no-zip pullover beavertail jackets with a neck dam since a zipper failed and aborted a working dive in the in the early 1970s. I even have the jacket bottom cut 3" smaller to reduce water circulation. All I used was baby powder, which is not nearly as slippery as soap or conditioner concoctions. Skin-1/Nylon-1 Rubatex has a lot more stretch resistance than today's Neoprene blends, but it was not that hard to don & doff.

    No-nylon was a little too delicate for me, but most of my suits have been skin-in/Nylon out. Skin-in was always warmer, dried way faster, easier to put on, and less restrictive. It is ironic that the "new" freediving suits are exactly the same cut except for attached hoods and different material — attached hoods pretty much suck with commercial full face masks or hats.

    I am just getting my first split cell (commonly but incorrectly called open cell) freediving suit. For those who have not seen them, the cells are much smaller than Rubatex and are about like the raw cut edge of most Asian Neoprene blends available today. The idea is all those tiny split cells act a suction cups to restrict water flow. A lot of people claim a 5mm split cell suit is as warm as a 7mm Nylon-2 Scuba suit.

    The one property of the Asian Neoprene blends I don’t like is they have far less compression resistance. This translates into less insulation at relatively shallow depths and a lot more weight change due to suit compression compared to Rubatex G231-N. I think that is the biggest reason for the growth in the drysuit market. My new 7mm suit at 50' feels like an identical cut ¼" Rubatex suit at 140'.
     
  6. Akimbo

    Akimbo Lift to Freedom Volunteer Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

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    Amen, I remember that. Brass snaps were the absolute worst — defeated by one grain of sand. Unfortunately, stainless Twist Locks have been virtually replaced by Velcro or really poorly designed plastic pin & keyhole sockets used on most freediving suits.

    My only real complaint with stainless twist locks is they are hard on the suit when bellying over kayak and rubber boat gunnels or on a stern platform in choppy seas. I recently came up with a beavertail closure I like much better than anything else I have tried. Here is a post on Spearboard that explains it:

    Picasso wetsuit clip repair? - Spearboard Spearfishing Community
     
  7. Akimbo

    Akimbo Lift to Freedom Volunteer Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

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    Ditto what ZKY said. It makes a skin-in suit slipperier than Abalone snot. I almost feel dumb fighting suits with powder or corn starch for so many years. The second best part is you could care less if the suit is dry or not.

    I use about a ¼" of that clear anti-bacterial liquid hand soap from Costco (Softsoap???) in a spray bottle and fill the rest with water. I have never had any irritation even wearing the suit all day on a kayak. Your mileage may vary.
     
  8. Akimbo

    Akimbo Lift to Freedom Volunteer Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

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    True, but the vast majority I saw were those horrible brass snaps. I don’t recall twist locks really taking over the market until around 1970, on the West Coast anyway.
     
  9. Thalassamania

    Thalassamania Diving Polymath ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: On a large pile of smokin' A'a, the most isolated
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    I've never found skin two side (GN-231) to be too tender and I've always loved the increased flexibility and tighter fit that it provides. I'm diving a skin two sides suit right now that I've had for eleven years, it's still going strong.
     
  10. ZKY

    ZKY Minimalist ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Santa Rosa, California
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    Where did you get it?
     

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