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2017 AOTY/DOTY Entry

Topic: To wetsuit or, not to wetsuit?  (Read 702 times)

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  • Location: Santa Cruz
  • Date Registered: Apr 2007
  • Posts: 1371
My two cents-
I have used a full 3/2mm surfing wetsuit for kayak fishing in my early days and hated it. I got too hot, sweaty and almost impossible to pull down on the kayak, so I had to hang over the side and pee inside. I like using a 3mm farmer john with a two way zipper, the zipper zips from top down and bottom up, so you can pee. I add a synthetic top with built-in pullover hood that I wear on the outside for more comfort. I know some guys that wear them on the inside too, that's fine, but again I get too hot, so for me I choose on the outside. I also use 4-5mm neoprene booties with a fairly rigid sole for peddling the Hobie. I carry a pullover paddle jacket with hood in case I need to adjust if it gets too cold or windy. Over decades of surfing and paddling the California coast, think that the 3mm is sufficient for limited immersion time. Many have commented that they like 4,5, and 7mm, and I agree that this is the safer way to go for extended time in the water, especially further north, but with much less comfort when paddling distances. I added in the Kokatat semi drysuit into the mix with the neoprene neck and gasketed wrists. I wear synthetic tops, bottoms, and socks with this too wick sweat and keep me as cool as possible since this suit is a baker for me. Unless its cold and nasty out, I find this suit most useful for early season, late season, rainy days, and when it's sporty out there, otherwise it's too hot for me on sunny and mild days. If I were going to do it over again, I would get the new Kokatat hybrid that zips apart at the waist so that you can adjust to the conditions far more easily. Obviously, you should have a hat, sunblock, water, snacks, floating radio, pfd-adjusted correctly, compass, paddle leash, imo-a good knife, and know how to self-rescue should you fall out. Like most of us, continue to do your homework and go out with experienced people so that you can learn from them! Good luck!

Big Hammer Pro Staff
Kayak Connection Fishing Team


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  • Date Registered: Aug 2011
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My two cents-


Only thing I can add is that I've got the Kokatat Surge semi-drysuit (zips apart in the middle) and love it! The ambient temp has to get up to about 70 with little or no breeze and the sun beating down before it starts to get too warm. Pricey, but very nice...
Len Tukwila, Driftwood Sculptor