New wetsuit - back zip or chest zip?

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keswicktim
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New wetsuit - back zip or chest zip?

Post by keswicktim »

My trusty Gul 5/3 back zip wetsuit is starting to fall apart, and I'm looking for a new 5/3 wetsuit. Currently I use my wetsuit all year round and just add some thermal underlayers and a hood, gloves and booties in winter. There are no wetsuit shops near to me, so I'm restricted to buying online which is a bit of a pain not being able to seek advice or try anything on. Lots of the 5/3 wetsuits I'm looking at have a chest zip rather than a back zip. What's peoples experience of this and what's the advantages/differences of chest zips over back zips?

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waverider
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Re: New wetsuit - back zip or chest zip?

Post by waverider »

I've had both and still use both types, initially a rear zip was a problem because I had lost some mobility in my shoulders so always resorted to asking old ladies to, "Sort me out round the back". :-D

I then bought a front fastening type, not zips though. Velcro flaps. The problem of front opening was the struggle to get in, my 5/4/3 was a complete bastard to get into but the 3/2 was easy so no point in levelling criticism at the opening type, it's the amount neoprene involved.

Also, you can get a cold flush through the front opening when you face plant.

For me it's either one, both have slightly irritating issues. The rear zip type I find i'm always trapping the flap over the inside of the zip and do know others who complain about their flap getting trapped. The front opening is better but you risk a cold flush though I find if I put my hood on first so the suit covers the hood-apron this flushing doesn't happen.

If you're fairly flexible and good at Yoga, go for the front opening, if you like an excuse to approach people in the car park for help, get a rear zip.

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joe_mgh
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Re: New wetsuit - back zip or chest zip?

Post by joe_mgh »

We sell about 60/40 Back/Front.

Personally, once I'm in the water I don't even think about it and will wear whatever.

A well fitting chest zip will give you less 'trickle', but if you take a massive slam or get dragged, the water is coming in.#

A proper Zen Zip barrier back zip is better over all, but if you don't get the velcro right, you may get the trickle.

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waverider
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Re: New wetsuit - back zip or chest zip?

Post by waverider »

joe_mgh wrote:A proper Zen Zip barrier back zip is better over all, but if you don't get the velcro right, you may get the trickle.


I think it must have been the Psycho one with that Firewall thing at the back that used to work but I always made a mess of it without help. Better was the Psyco two which I still have after good ness knows how long. In fact it was you who tentatively OK-ed putting suits in the washing machine, i'm now an evangelist for putting just about anything you can in the machine.

My O'Neil suit has been machine washed @ 30 degrees in that pink stuff she washes woollens and silk in called 'Woolite', must be five years now and still looks like new. Comparatively, the Psycho one looked and felt a wreck after three years and I binned it. The difference has been regular washing/drying and keeping it out of the sun.

georgemp
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Re: New wetsuit - back zip or chest zip?

Post by georgemp »

Apologies for thread hijack, but I'm still not convinced about the washing machine tactic.
I'd love for it to work though!
Couple fo questions:
Do you rinse all the sand off first so that it doesn't clog up the washer? My shower is full of sand when I rinse my suit. Has to go somewhere....
Do you take precaustions as to the next wash that follows your wetsuit? Like, not washing whites. I always take care to wash colours after my rugby kit, the thinking being that there is probably some mud flushing about the system still.

Finally, what's the idea with using hand wash detergent? "less harsh" but does it really matter?
Is it high temperature or detergents that break down the neoprene?

Safety_Crab
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Re: New wetsuit - back zip or chest zip?

Post by Safety_Crab »

georgemp wrote:Apologies for thread hijack, but I'm still not convinced about the washing machine tactic.
I'd love for it to work though!
Couple fo questions:
Do you rinse all the sand off first so that it doesn't clog up the washer? My shower is full of sand when I rinse my suit. Has to go somewhere....
Do you take precaustions as to the next wash that follows your wetsuit? Like, not washing whites. I always take care to wash colours after my rugby kit, the thinking being that there is probably some mud flushing about the system still.

Finally, what's the idea with using hand wash detergent? "less harsh" but does it really matter?
Is it high temperature or detergents that break down the neoprene?


I'm not convinced either... It has been months since waverider last convinced me on the practice of machine washing wetsuits. I can only agree once we have deviated from the main topic of this thread for AT LEAST 10 pages.

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waverider
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Re: New wetsuit - back zip or chest zip?

Post by waverider »

:-D

He's at it again, isn't there a new law out protecting me from stalkers.



georgemp wrote:Apologies for thread hijack, but I'm still not convinced about the washing machine tactic.
I'd love for it to work though!


I had all those reservations George, our machine has low temperature 30 minute wash, thats what I use. My boots and gloves go in together with rash vests and rash shorts. Even the buoyancy goes in and yes I make sure most of the sand is washed away.

I've been doing this long enough to be convinced and we haven't had any repercussions with other wash-types. Sometimes I double spin the suit if i'm riding the next day.

It's not just the quality of the O'Neil suit, my first one fell to bits possibly because it was never thoroughly washed. My summer suit is a Billabong and my extreme winter suit was an Exel. They've all been in the machine before the flimsies and whites. And what about my muddy overalls or my chain-saw trousers, they all go in.

Maybe it's about the machine.
Last edited by waverider on Tue Dec 04, 2012 3:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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JGTR
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Re: New wetsuit - back zip or chest zip?

Post by JGTR »

I went from back zip to chest zip for my winter suit - worst descision ever :evil:

Lets water in all the time, as soon as you stack it or have to body drag it seeps in. I have an Excel suit aswell, not a cheap one.

If you don't get too wet then I suppose they are ok, my friend has one and is happy with it as he only really goes back and forth all day and rarely gets a dunking but if you are a bit more adventurous or spend more time in water than out then seriously avoid.

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waverider
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Re: New wetsuit - back zip or chest zip?

Post by waverider »

JGTR wrote:my friend has one and is happy with it as he only really goes back and forth all day and rarely gets a dunking


You talking about me ? :-D

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g0nz0
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Re: New wetsuit - back zip or chest zip?

Post by g0nz0 »

Waverider doesn't do tricks :-D

Back on topic, I have yet to find a 5/3 neck entry that's easy to get out of. The superfreak 3/2 was ok as it's soooo stretchy, but every other one I've tried on canes my shoulder getting the suit over my elbow... it's like a straight jacket or something :oops:

Decent back entry suits with an over the head barrier are my choice. Was out last week in a Northerly in the Hydrogen, warm as toast. Fit is everything with wetsuits, we quite often send a couple of suits to customers to give them a chance to try on & return what they don't want.

Dan

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waverider
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Re: New wetsuit - back zip or chest zip?

Post by waverider »

g0nz0 wrote:Waverider doesn't do tricks :-D


Just mowing the lawn most days though when i'm on a surf board without straps you'll find it fun to watch and I still face plant coming down a wave face on a twin tip.

g0nz0 wrote:we quite often send a couple of suits to customers to give them a chance to try on & return what they don't want.

Dan


What a good idea, well-done. presumably you can do the same with harnesses ? Just charge them out and refund them back in when they arrive.

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JGTR
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Re: New wetsuit - back zip or chest zip?

Post by JGTR »

waverider wrote:
JGTR wrote:my friend has one and is happy with it as he only really goes back and forth all day and rarely gets a dunking


You talking about me ? :-D


Nope not at all!! I have my Kamikazee moments which don't suit a front entry suit well :x Also I have the attached hood which is useless, any time I dunk my head I get a load of ice cold water straight down my neck :roll:

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garyb
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Re: New wetsuit - back zip or chest zip?

Post by garyb »

No problems with my C skins Wired 2010 summer and winter front zip suits. Once I got used to getting them on and off, no worse than a back zip, and never noticed too much flushing, and I get some right good rinsings in the waves.
Mind you, I bought reduced price end of season 2012 C Skins Wired winter suit as a back up - No where near as good as the 2010 - Minimal flushing but real difficult to get out of when knackered.

supernoodles
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Re: New wetsuit - back zip or chest zip?

Post by supernoodles »

g0nz0 wrote: Back on topic, I have yet to find a 5/3 neck entry that's easy to get out of. The superfreak 3/2 was ok as it's soooo stretchy, but every other one I've tried on canes my shoulder getting the suit over my elbow... it's like a straight jacket or something :oops:


I have the O'Neil mutant, which is neck entry. No problem getting into it at all. Plus I don't have to ask for help getting the zip sorted. My dad has the Psycho 2 and struggles with getting the back right at times. With the mutant if you have either the hood attached or the neck attachment, you can just grab that and pull down to help get it off.

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waverider
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Re: New wetsuit - back zip or chest zip?

Post by waverider »

g0nz0 wrote: I have yet to find a 5/3 neck entry that's easy to get out of.


I thought it was just me and my ageing body, after each hip resurfacing when I got back in the sea around May I often got stuck with the suit halfway off. I'm sitting in my motorhome trapped in my suit and up to my old tricks of approaching people in the car park for help, often there wasn't anyone so I sat there.

That was the Excel 5/4/3. an excellent hood-attached suit for warmth but for me there comes a point when the suit itself requires more strength and agility than I have so I sold it and manage with the Psycho two plus wind-stop pants and jacket over the top. For me the loss of mobility a suit together with harness presents a bigger problem than the cold though it's usually up to 7 degrees warmer here than in the South East.

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