DIR- Generic Maintaining NB, trim, stability in wetsuit

Please register or login

Welcome to ScubaBoard, the world's largest scuba diving community. Registration is not required to read the forums, but we encourage you to join. Joining has its benefits and enables you to participate in the discussions.

Benefits of registering include

  • Ability to post and comment on topics and discussions.
  • A Free photo gallery to share your dive photos with the world.
  • You can make this box go away

Joining is quick and easy. Log in or Register now!

the_one_who_waits

Registered
Messages
34
Reaction score
38
Location
Seattle
So I am about to dive into the realm of DIR; been lurking, searching, and reading through dozens of posts in the last few weeks. I signed up for a Drysuit primer and GUE Fundamentals separately. Because I realize it'll take quite some time to be comfortable in a drysuit, I am doing Fundamentals in warm water and in a wetsuit. As I've been reviewing material for drysuit couse, I deduce that the air in the suit would shift to your boots and shoulder area in the horizontal position, aiding in keeping that position. Would maintaining the same position be more difficult and require more exertion and fine motor coordination in a wetsuit? I have fins that are positive buoyant but not sure how much assist I can get from that.
 
There is a reason that heavy fins are standard with drysuits, I would strongly recommend you get a pair of heavy fins before the class, you'll hate life a lot less. Scubapro Jet, Hollis F1, etc.
 
I tend to think it does make it easier in a drysuit. But it's not insurmountable.

With a drysuit, I can swap out gear, including using a different dry suit, and I still maintain good trim. I've switched to my "tropical" BCD, etc. and it's all worked fine. The only thing I had issues with was switching from negative to positive fins.

But when I switch to wetsuit diving in the tropics, or in the pool with a swimsuit only, I find it's harder to get in good trim. In the pool (no buoyant suit spreading things out), my weighting has to be perfect. In the tropics after a day or two I get body position figured out and my trim is fine even if weighting is off a touch. But it takes some mental thought on my part to get there, at least initially. I'd say the tropical thing is lack of recent experience getting me rusty. But I'm in the pool as often as I'm in open water, so I really think it is the dry suit.
 
I signed up for a Drysuit primer and GUE Fundamentals separately. Because I realize it'll take quite some time to be comfortable in a drysuit, I am doing Fundamentals in warm water and in a wetsuit.
Good decision, in my opinion. I recall the guy in Fundies who had no (or very little) drysuit experience and yet took Fundies in a drysuit. He looked like he was having a difficult time of it, and maybe it hindered him from absorbing as much from the course as he could otherwise have. I originally took Fundies in wetsuit and later starting diving dry.

As to the trim question, I'm really not sure. The "shifting bubble" thing feels difficult at first, and then after a while you stop thinking about it. I no longer feel much difference in difficulty with trim between diving wet and diving dry.

Get some heavier fins for drysuit primer, as tbone suggested.
 
Would maintaining the same position be more difficult and require more exertion and fine motor coordination in a wetsuit? I have fins that are positive buoyant but not sure how much assist I can get from that.
No, assuming your trim is dialed in. Wetsuits are easier to maintain trim because you don’t have the air cell that moves around which you have in a dry suit depending on your attitude in the water. Once you get your fore and aft static weighting worked out in a wetsuit it will stay that way. The exception is the gas in your tank. As that is consumed, the center of mass in the tank will shift forward-skew toward the reg and valve and more for aluminum than steel. However, that’s true regardless of exposure suit and is not particularly disruptive in smaller capacity tanks where use of a wet suit is appropriate (large capacity steels should be dived dry). It may take some experimenting in how you position weights (including the relative buoyancy of your fins) to dial in. Wetsuits also have less drag than dry suits making swimming a bit easier.

Dry suits are wonderful, when they work, but they do take practice and more awareness. These are better developed as muscle memory before adding other skills/task loading to the mix.
 
Everything is easier in a thin wetsuit except staying warm.
Particularly thick wetsuits are a different matter on deeper dives.
 
Weight distribution is key, including your limbs, the fundies instructor will work on that, don’t worry.

A dry suit allows for some shifting of air to make adjustments to that weight distribution, heavy feet? Let more gas go to your leg, you just can’t do that with a wetsuit. Weight distribution is important for both.

My first rebreather was valves down, that put a lot of weight towards my already naturally heavy legs, I discovered on training it wasn’t working with my jet fins, it’d require a lot of gas on my legs to compensate for it, not ideal, switching to lighter fins fixed that. Until I moved to a valves up set up, then I was having happy-feet again, switched back to jets and all is good.

I used heavy fins for dry suit and lighter fins for wetsuit
 
As others have said, heavy fins help with the drysuit, but may cause you to be too foot heavy in a wetsuit. I use a pair of Hollis F1s in my drysuit and a set of OMS Slipstreams (Jet fin style, but more neutrally buoyant) in a wetsuit.

Are you planning on taking the drysuit primer before or after Fundamentals? If you are taking it before, you may want to wait and see (and talk with your instructor) before deciding to take Fundamentals someplace else in a wetsuit. If you're taking the drysuit primer in Seattle, I'm confident any of the local instructors would be more than happy to help you figure out the best path based on your goals.
 
Thnx for all the feedback. Seems I may need to put together a different setup for drysuit diving, or maybe should've gone with the new s-tek fins that let you add weights(?). But I think I should get my technique down before shopping for new gear.

Are you planning on taking the drysuit primer before or after Fundamentals? If you are taking it before, you may want to wait and see (and talk with your instructor) before deciding to take Fundamentals someplace else in a wetsuit. If you're taking the drysuit primer in Seattle, I'm confident any of the local instructors would be more than happy to help you figure out the best path based on your goals.

Yep I'm taking drysuit first. I booked my trip and Fundamentals class before I came across a local drysuit primer course.

Unrelated, and dont want to keep making new threads. Would it be too much if I do night dives during the Fundamentals course? I want to get as much time in the water as possible and figure it may be a good chance to practice more, especially under the cover of night when no one can see me 😬
 
Unrelated, and dont want to keep making new threads. Would it be too much if I do night dives during the Fundamentals course? I want to get as much time in the water as possible and figure it may be a good chance to practice more, especially under the cover of night when no one can see me 😬
In my experience you will be pretty busy with the class room times and out of water skills when you are taking Fundies. My wife and I were pretty fatigued at the end of each day with just the class. Perhaps warm water diving would be different than Puget Sound in January though.

If you want to get more experience, I recommend you join our GUE Seattle Wednesday night dives after your drysuit primer. Most of the year our 7pm splash time is either dusk or full night dives. Check out the GUE Seattle Facebook group or DM me for location details since we change it up every once in a while. Everyone with cold water dive experience is welcome.
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/teric/
http://cavediveflorida.com/Rum_House.htm

Back
Top Bottom