Posts Tagged ‘wetsuits’

After my last surf session, I am glad to report that I was officially able to peel back the hood on my winter wetsuit.  Sure, I still need gloves and boots, but the hood was off.  Popping the top is always a great sign of things to come, but it leaves me in a bit of a dilemma in terms of my gear. 

Brinley says, "time to pop the top."

When it came time to purchase a winter suit, I maxed out and went with a 6 millimeter O’Neill, and in February I generally have few regrets about this.  But, in the transitional seasons I find myself too warm in the big daddy, as the suit is affectionately referred to, but too cold in my 3 millimeter.

I realize that this is very convenient problem and that plenty of people in the world should wish to have such worries.  I also understand that this “dilemma” hardly warrants blog space, but if you have read this far I will share my options with you as I see them:

  1. I buy a 4 or maybe a 5 millimeter suit for the transitional seasons, which in New Jersey amounts to a month in the spring and a month in the fall.
  2. I stop whining and suck it up, wait for a warm spell and forget about winter altogether.   
  3. I buy a one millimeter top to put on under my 3 millimeter suit, and let my lower half, including my spindly legs, freeze. 

Being that I usually ascribe to the sentiment “less is more,” I am inclined to go with option 2.  After all, it is May already.  But there is still one deciding factor to contend with, and that is the reports from MagicSeaWeed, Localswell, and Surfline. 

Winter days will come again...

If the stars align, and a peak swell should develop where I want hours of water time in absolute comfort, I will be off to buy that suit.  Of course this is wishful thinking on my part.  The reports look marginal at best.  None-the-less, I am only an impulse buy away from having the session of my life! 

I can hear the wetsuit makers praying for waves- it is money in their coffers after all.  And the best part about it is I can hear them so clearly without that damn hood on my head.

I hear ya dog. Summer time is cool.

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Yesterday’s surf session was fun. The south swell lingered and the afternoon sunshine was rejuvenating.

I also had the chance to surf an old break with a good buddy, and I watched him go all time on his classic longboard. Tim is primed for his Costa Rica trip!

And the best news is that my feet were toasty thanks to the folks at Inlet Outlet Surf Shop in Manasquan. All wetsuit gear is 30% off, if you are in need head on down.

Just one question… Is that surfer still in the woods?

I know that when surfers plunk down sixty bucks on a pair of wetsuit boots they are not making a lifelong committment.  I am fully aware that these boots, and even the gloves and suits for that matter, are consumer products with a shelf life in alignment with the average Hollywood relationship.  I also hypothesize that there is some grand marketing plan behind it all; with a CEO looking at the prototype, asking his team of designers, “are you sure that these boots will fall apart after six months of normal use? Because that will truly alter my bonus and our bottom line if they don’t.”

None the less, and maybe because I am a cheap SOB, I feel like these products should offer more of a return on the investment.  Afterall, when they are through being useful, the rubber generally ends up in a landfill, free to release toxic compounds for generations to come.  So why, as a half-awake buyer, should I not anticipate a long and happy marriage with this costly gear?

So fast forward to my second season in my Infinity 7mm boots.  Snug as a bug in a rug when purchased, but more torn than a pair of Union Solider boots during the Crossing of the Delaware, as the second February came closing in. 

I knew I was in trouble given their current state of repair and the 36 degree water temperatures.  So I borrowed a bottle of this product that is essentially rubber cement glue on A-Rods vitamins, slathered every hole in my gear, and paddled out for a friendly Sunday surf session.

As soon as the waves wrapped around my ankles I knew I was in trouble.  My boots took on water, or should I say ice water, faster than an oil company raises gasoline prices.

Still, I decided to play through the pain.  I was suited up, and the waves were glassy and fun.  About an hour into the afternoon my foot began to throb mercilessly.  I will spare you the dramatics, and let you know that I dodged a few more waves and then grabbed one for home.  

The glue did help with this hole... I think...

The run, I mean limp, up the beach was excruciating.  The rock solid sand, coupled with the ice and snow, made matters worse.  By the time I reached the car I was cursing these blasted boots, and the glorified Elmer’s Glue. 

Sure my digits were intact, right down to the smallest toe, but my session was cut short, and that is the point right?  For sixty bones you might think I could get a little bang for my buck.

 

While all of those who trick or treated donned their costumes yesterday I pulled on my wetsuit and grabbed a few knee high waves.  It was a bit of a shock to my system to find out that the water temperature had dropped to a brisk 59 degrees.

Fortunately, I had booties on along with my 3/2 wetsuit.

This set-up was fine given that the sun was shining, and I was able to surf for a comfortable hour.  Still, when I got out my fingers were numb, and I suffered from a bit of tooth chatter.  The moral of the story is that winter suit season is rapidly approaching. 

As a matter of fact, the chances are slim that I will surf next time without gloves.

I am sure that there is some hearty soul somewhere who is “trunking” it one last time and they have a club for that type of a person…

 

I on the other hand will be shopping for a new wetsuit.  Something in the 5/3 range to help me transition through the next two months before the heart of winter is upon us.  Then the 5/3 can go away as I dress in what amounts to a seal pelt.

I will let you know what my wetsuit search reveals. 

And speaking of searches; while we in North East prepare for the frigid season, it was awesome to see the WCT Rip Curl Search get underway in Puerto Rico.  The webcast is actually entertaining!

I find myself following the Pro Scene more and more intently.  I guess that is due to the fact that modern media is making it possible to watch the competition between the heavy hitters in real time. 

I must also admit that I really pulling for Slater to win his 10th  world title.  This guy is the Michael Jordan AND Tiger Woods of surfing combined, and I am rooting for him through every heat.

As for the rest of us mortals, the end of the week is looking as though we may be poised for some fun swell in New Jersey too.  Keep monitoring reports and get those booties ready.  It looks as though you may need them if you plan on surfing for any length of time.

There are plenty of happenings in the Surf Community as the summer chugs along full speed ahead.  With so many things to choose from the only question is how to get it all in?

For those looking to help raise money and awareness for the fight against Autism there is the SEA PaddleNYC.  Stand-Up Paddlers will join friends and family to trek the waters around Manhattan.  With a distance of 28 miles each participant is taking up an awesome challenge for a great cause.  The Paddle will be taking place on August 13th.

On that same evening in Atlantic City the premier of The Dark Fall will be taking place at the House of Blues.  Tickets are available through Ticketmaster.  This is an awesome film about New Jersey Surfing and is a must see.

The iMatter Surf Camp for Children with Autism is taking place on August 14th in Westhampton NY.  This is such an awesome way to get people in touch with the ocean.

For folks in Central Jersey, or anyone willing to travel to compete, the Big Sea Day Surf Contest is taking place in Manasquan.  Entry forms can be found here.  There is a division for everyone, so if you want to get out and test your skills against your fellow surfer, do not delay.

Early reports indicate that we may have some swell on tap for all of these events too, so that will be a good thing.

In related competition news, The Garden State Grom Grudge Match waiting period opens on August 15th.  The event will take place in Seaside Park.  If you feel like you are an up-n-comer get your entry forms in, and get in the mix for the $1,500.00 in prize money that Smith Optics and others will be handing out to the big winner.

This is also a great time of year to look for some new gear.  Many of the local shops are running their sidewalk sales, so if you are in the market for a new pair of trunks or shades, this may be your time to pounce.

Thanks to everyone for checking in.  If you are like me we will try to get every last drop of fun out of this summer.  Make the most of it.

Sharks can clear the water with the flash of a fin.  That is never going to change.  But can you imagine not being able to get in the water at all because the line-up is swarmed with Sea Nettles?  It sounds crazy I know, but it may not be far from reality. 

A sting from one of these things is worse than bumping into a hornet’s nest.  The article in the Asbury Park Press clearly documents how they may become a monster of our own making.  Check it out.  Stay informed.  Do your part to keep our oceans clean.

One of the cool parts about beach life in New Jersey is the fact that you are never far removed from that space where urban living meets the edge of the shore.  Coming back from a surf check a few days ago I snapped some photos of that urban beauty.

 

Walk through this gate for a block and a half and you are sitting on the beach staring at the horizon.

And of course there is the prize at the end of the journey…