Help me spec my Seaskin Nova?

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wnissen

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Hi All,

Interested in your opinions on some questions about ordering a Seaskin Nova Suit.

I do most of my diving (pre-pandemic about 20 dives a year) in 55ºF / 13ºC water in Monterey, California. So local shore diving. I currently wear an Aqualung Solafx 8/7mm semi-dry, am usually very comfortable at a steady swim, but get cold when hovering in one spot. I am going to get into photography, and eventually Reef Check, but have no interest in going deeper than 40m. I also have never dived in a drysuit, but I will take the class.

My priorities with the options are, in descending importance, safety, in-water comfort, and cost. E.g., I would prefer to minimize air trapped in boots, so I’m going with the neoprene socks instead of integrated boots. Similarly, I would like to minimize squeeze on my neck, as I can get anxious. I’m realistically never going to be more than an hour’s drive from a dive shop, and not doing a ton of dives, so ultra reliability is not as important as ease of use. I would prefer dexterity if I can get it, the 3mm neoprene gloves I wear with my wetsuit are clumsy. Are dry gloves more dextrous?

Here's what I've got so far:
  • £555 Nova suit
  • £53 Quick Neck system with Silflex seal
  • £21 2x spare neck seals
  • £10 Seal replacement tool
  • warm neck?
  • £46 SiTech Oval Cuff Rings (Siflex seals)
  • £8 Showa unlined gloves
  • £15 2x spare SiTech Cuff seal SILFLEX Cone (pair)
  • £50 Light Monkey Non Balanced P-Valve
  • £5 Inflation Valve Comfort Patch
  • - Compressed Neoprene Socks
  • £8 Increase Braces width to 40mm
  • £9 Change Mat Drysuit Bag Upgrade
  • £25 x2 Pocket, Bellows
  • £134 Undersuit High Wick Thinsulate 250 gsm
Total: £985

Still to choose:
  • Hood
  • Boots (need not be warm?)
Is it right that the oval rings allow you to skip the gloves if desired? Ideally I would take this suit to Hawai’i. My flexibility is pretty good, so I figure the default telescoping is enough. If anyone found the opposite to be the case, please let me know. Also looking for opinions on hoods and boots. Thanks!
 

runsongas

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i would get a thicker undergarment unless if you plan to layer some more wool with it. balanced pvalve and consider the custom divers hewee. 8mm+ hood like the waterproof/santi or get a custom otter bay 12mm. converses or some rock boots.
 

drk5036

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Have you considered the seaskin ultra as well? For the type of diving you’re doing (not THAT cold) you could get away with a much thinner undersuit (I used the 150 g seaskin undersuit under my ultra and lasted 35 minutes with no problems at 3.9C).

You also didn’t include your budget. Are you trying to save cash or are you okay spending more? I’m a big fan of the standard neoprene neck seal. It’s cheap and comfortable. But if you don’t mind spending the money for the sitech it might provide more flexibility.
 

lexvil

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Hi All,

Interested in your opinions on some questions about ordering a Seaskin Nova Suit.

I do most of my diving (pre-pandemic about 20 dives a year) in 55ºF / 13ºC water in Monterey, California. So local shore diving. I currently wear an Aqualung Solafx 8/7mm semi-dry, am usually very comfortable at a steady swim, but get cold when hovering in one spot. I am going to get into photography, and eventually Reef Check, but have no interest in going deeper than 40m. I also have never dived in a drysuit, but I will take the class.

My priorities with the options are, in descending importance, safety, in-water comfort, and cost. E.g., I would prefer to minimize air trapped in boots, so I’m going with the neoprene socks instead of integrated boots. Similarly, I would like to minimize squeeze on my neck, as I can get anxious. I’m realistically never going to be more than an hour’s drive from a dive shop, and not doing a ton of dives, so ultra reliability is not as important as ease of use. I would prefer dexterity if I can get it, the 3mm neoprene gloves I wear with my wetsuit are clumsy. Are dry gloves more dextrous?

Here's what I've got so far:
  • £555 Nova suit
  • £53 Quick Neck system with Silflex seal
  • £21 2x spare neck seals
  • £10 Seal replacement tool
  • warm neck? ( warm neck is nice, I use the one with Velcro, I also have the waterproof neoprene neck seal on my ultra, very warm)
  • £46 SiTech Oval Cuff Rings (Siflex seals)
  • £8 Showa unlined gloves (I don’t know if I would bother)
  • £15 2x spare SiTech Cuff seal SILFLEX Cone (pair) (prefer bottle neck wrist)
  • £50 Light Monkey Non Balanced P-Valve (trigon with a little care is, in my opinion, a better choice)
  • £5 Inflation Valve Comfort Patch (unnecessary)
  • - Compressed Neoprene Socks
  • £8 Increase Braces width to 40mm (unnecessary in my opinion)
  • £9 Change Mat Drysuit Bag Upgrade (better off with a small woven mat)
  • £25 x2 Pocket, Bellows (I never use more than one pocket but maybe you do)
  • £134 Undersuit High Wick Thinsulate 250 gsm (heavy wool is better for the long run)
Total: £985

Still to choose:
  • Hood (waterproof or otter)
  • Boots (need not be warm?) (whatever fits your fins)
Is it right that the oval rings allow you to skip the gloves if desired? Ideally I would take this suit to Hawai’i. My flexibility is pretty good, so I figure the default telescoping is enough. If anyone found the opposite to be the case, please let me know. Also looking for opinions on hoods and boots. Thanks!
Some comments in the field above.
Ovals work with wet gloves just fine and will take Rolock or ultima dry gloves when you’re ready for warm hands.

hawaii is not super warm diving but I just use 2 1mm suits layered and am warmer than diving dry in Monterey. Regular duck tail works fine, telescoping looks cleaner, it’s for getting the suit on and off more than for dexterity. If you want a better suit for Monterey look at the ultra.
 
OP
wnissen

wnissen

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i would get a thicker undergarment unless if you plan to layer some more wool with it. balanced pvalve and consider the custom divers hewee. 8mm+ hood like the waterproof/santi or get a custom otter bay 12mm. converses or some rock boots.

I feel like with aboveground fleece you're almost always better off getting two thinner layers than one thick one. I've gotten my wetsuit tailored at Otter Bay but never bought any custom gear. Might be the best place.

Have you considered the seaskin ultra as well? For the type of diving you’re doing (not THAT cold) you could get away with a much thinner undersuit (I used the 150 g seaskin undersuit under my ultra and lasted 35 minutes with no problems at 3.9C).

You also didn’t include your budget. Are you trying to save cash or are you okay spending more? I’m a big fan of the standard neoprene neck seal. It’s cheap and comfortable. But if you don’t mind spending the money for the sitech it might provide more flexibility.

I don't want to splash out for a DUI custom suit, which apparently runs about $US3500 / £2500 for a top of the line suit, but I'm willing to spend some money. Mainly I don't want the sensation of squeeze on my neck, like I'm not able to breathe.

hawaii is not super warm diving but I just use 2 1mm suits layered and am warmer than diving dry in Monterey. Regular duck tail works fine, telescoping looks cleaner, it’s for getting the suit on and off more than for dexterity. If you want a better suit for Monterey look at the ultra.

So two 1mm wetsuits. Interesting.

I was under the impression that trilam suits were in general favored for being bulletproof. What it is about the crushed neoprene that makes it superior? It's a bit cheaper without options, but it seems like it's not much cheaper overall. Thanks everyone for your help.
 

Degenerate

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I was under the impression that trilam suits were in general favored for being bulletproof. What it is about the crushed neoprene that makes it superior? It's a bit cheaper without options, but it seems like it's not much cheaper overall. Thanks everyone for your help.

A good trilam suit will be more than enough for almost any kind of diving you can think of, no reason to splurge for a crushed neoprene one but people who own one will happily tell you how you absolutely need one.
 

lexvil

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I feel like with aboveground fleece you're almost always better off getting two thinner layers than one thick one. I've gotten my wetsuit tailored at Otter Bay but never bought any custom gear. Might be the best place.



I don't want to splash out for a DUI custom suit, which apparently runs about $US3500 / £2500 for a top of the line suit, but I'm willing to spend some money. Mainly I don't want the sensation of squeeze on my neck, like I'm not able to breathe.



So two 1mm wetsuits. Interesting.

I was under the impression that trilam suits were in general favored for being bulletproof. What it is about the crushed neoprene that makes it superior? It's a bit cheaper without options, but it seems like it's not much cheaper overall. Thanks everyone for your help.
The Seaskin is compressed neoprene, it’s warmer than the nova and much more flexible, more like a wetsuit.
 

drk5036

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A good trilam suit will be more than enough for almost any kind of diving you can think of, no reason to splurge for a crushed neoprene one but people who own one will happily tell you how you absolutely need one.
I think this is kind of a strange take, as I've seen exactly the opposite. 1) Trilam's are generally more expensive than crushed/compressed neoprene, so I don't know why you would say "splurge" for one. 2) On scubaboard, plenty of people will tell you you're crazy to buy a neoprene drysuit instead of a trilam, but I've never seen anyone say that neoprene is universally superior.
 

drk5036

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I was under the impression that trilam suits were in general favored for being bulletproof. What it is about the crushed neoprene that makes it superior? It's a bit cheaper without options, but it seems like it's not much cheaper overall. Thanks everyone for your help.
Trilam suits are favored here for sure, but I think a lot of that has to do with the bias of scubaboard. 1) there are people here who do REALLY COLD water diving, like below 38F. At that temperature, you need extremely thick undersuits with drygloves, etc., and in these circumstances, the flexibility and expandability of a trilam is beneficial. You can fit more layers underneath more comfortably. Also, if you are diving really WARM water but expect to do long dives (3 hours + ) or need redundant buoyancy, Trilam's also work well. Diving a > 3mm neoprene drysuit in 25C water might cause you to overheat. For me, about 23C is the limit.

However, as I and @lexvil said, in that 55-65F range, a neoprene drysuit works great. Because neoprene is stretchy, it can be cut much slimmer; there's no folding things over at the waist and buckling it down. When you're not wearing it, it basically looks like a wetsuit. Also, especially if you get neoprene socks with rock boots, it'll dive very similarly to a wetsuit. You can't feel a significant amount of air moving around--there's no obvious bubble you have to fight against, like with a trilam.

In my opinion, a lot of people on here don't differentiate between old 7-8 mm uncompressed neoprene drysuits and newer, thin, compressed ones. New neoprene drysuits don't compress with depth, and they're not significantly heavier than a wetsuit. I mentioned before that I dive an ultra (with regular neoprene neck and wrist seals). I've done dives down to 39F by using the seaskin 150 gram undergarments, and didn't feel any chill in my body, but most of my diving is in water that is 55-65 degrees. I like that I can get away with wearing thin undergarments most of the year, and that I don't need much weight.

I just got back from a trip to Okinawa wear I used my seaskin ultra in 21 degree water (70F). I just wore very thin base layers on top and bottom (cheap wool stuff i got for 50 dollars on amazon), under the suit. I only needed 4 kg of lead to be perfectly weighted. For me, that's incredibly good versatility. The only "issue" is it doesn't pack as densely, meaning it's a bit of a pain to travel with. But my total was £565.
 

happy-diver

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