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View Full Version : First-time wetsuit, leaking around the neck



cheakamus
September 15th, 2011, 11:48 PM
I took advantage of the current 60%-off coupon on xterra wetsuits and got myself a Vortex 3 for under $200. It seemed to fit pretty well on dry land, tight, but not too tight, no problem zipping it up, no baggy bits. However, today when I wore it in the water for the first time, I immediately got a load of water down the back of my neck, and when I tried to adjust it further, another load down my front. This is the first time I've ever worn a wetsuit, and I hoping I just didn't have it pulled up sufficiently around the neck. I'm going to try it again tomorrow, but in the meantime, if anybody has any advice, I'm eager to hear it.

Also, after my suit was thoroughly wetted inside (top half), I found it very difficult to adjust, so I ended up just taking it off and hanging it up to dry. Is it even possible to put on a wet wetsuit, i.e., should I have taken it off and then tried to put it on again?

ChrisM
September 16th, 2011, 01:04 PM
It's not going to be watertight (that's a drysuit), there will be some waterflow through it. Some water will always get in, especially down the back. It shouldn't be constant though

Yes, putting on a wet wetsuit is difficult. For diving sometimes we use a spray bottle mixed with water and soap or shampoo (just a litte), or put arms/ legs into plastic shopping bags then slide into the suit.

orca1946
September 16th, 2011, 06:44 PM
Hence the wet suit. It keeps a small amount of water in & warms it close to your body. Yes it's fun to try & put it on. :bouncing::worms:

Thrashing Slug
September 16th, 2011, 07:57 PM
Your wetsuit is too big. Try exchanging it for a smaller size.

I have two wetsuits and neither one allows water in down the neck. My sleeveless doesn't even let water in through the shoulders. The suit should be pretty tight on land. It will loosen up a little in the water. If it feels comfortable on land, then it's too big.

EDIT: Clarification - it shouldn't let loads of water in. Not enough to feel the water between your skin and the suit, or feel like the suit is being bogged down.

cheakamus
September 17th, 2011, 01:40 AM
Thanks, all. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to try it on again in the water today. Hopefully, tomorrow. I did reread the manufacturer's instructions. The one step I didn't cover yesterday was where you're supposed to bend over double after you've got your arms in and grab the loose folds around your belly and hike them up toward your shoulders. I did ease the legs into my crotch and the arms into my shoulders, but not the belly part, so I'm hoping that will make a difference.

I don't think the suit is too big, Slug. It does fit pretty snugly on dry land, and I'm at the top of the height and weight chart for that size (medium-large; I'm 6'1" and 190 lbs.) Who knows though? Maybe I just have a weird body shape. At least Xterra has a very decent return & exchange policy, so if I'm not happy after this weekend, I'll give them a call.

cheakamus
September 19th, 2011, 04:16 PM
So I tried it out again yesterday. Bending over and pulling up the belly fold helped a little I think. The material around my neck and shoulders was less tight, but it still leaked, only not as bad as before. I could feel the water on my chest and back and after 10 or 15 minutes, it hadn't really warmed up at all. I didn't feel at all confident that the wetsuit would keep me warm in really cold water. When I stood up to climb out of the lake, I could feel water trickling down my legs inside the suit. Not quite sure where to go from here. Some of you say it's supposed to leak; elsewhere, like the USMS wetsuit trials video, people said their suits don't leak at all around the neck (can't remember which brands). I read through the Xterra sizing information again, and I'm pretty sure I'm in the right size the suit is tight, no gap in small of back, no wrinkles or folds. Perhaps it's just a matter of body shape? Might the suit perhaps conform better to my body shape after a few wearings? Anyone have any other ideas before I phone Xterra?

orca1946
September 19th, 2011, 06:47 PM
Is there a shop near you that will allow you to try other brands on?

jbs
September 19th, 2011, 07:36 PM
It's hard to say for sure over the internet, but based on what you describe, it sounds like the suit is too big. Every wetsuit is going to let water in. But it shouldn't be sloshing around. I'd say that if you feel it in your legs when you stand up, the water is sloshing around.

Then you say this about putting the suit on:


no problem zipping it up,

When a wetsuit has fit me, it has been hard to zip--and I usually cannot get it zipped on my own.

The sizing charts are guidelines, really. If you fall within them, you should fit the suit. But that doesn't mean that you couldn't fit better into a smaller one.

Good luck.

orca1946
September 22nd, 2011, 12:28 AM
don't buy till you try!!:2cents:

ALM
September 22nd, 2011, 12:26 PM
SWhen I stood up to climb out of the lake, I could feel water trickling down my legs inside the suit. Not quite sure where to go from here. Some of you say it's supposed to leak; elsewhere, like the USMS wetsuit trials video, people said their suits don't leak at all around the neck (can't remember which brands).

I was one of the people who tested wetsuits for the video. I tested three different models. It is normal to feel some water trickling down your legs when you exit the water. It happened with all three of the wetsuits that I wore and I know that it happened to the other testers, too.

You will feel a small amount of water entering the suit when you get into the water, either through the neck or through the zipper. I didn't really notice it until the first day that we swam in REALLY cold water. But it should be a relatively small amount, and it should quickly warm up to your body temperature. You shouldn't feel more and more water entering, and it shouldn't continue to feel cold.

What we discovered in our testing is that it's all about fit. Many of the testers were close enough in size that they swapped back and forth and tested five or six different suits. What one person loved, another didn't like nearly as much. For example, there was one Orca suit that one tester loved. Another tester didn't like it nearly as much. But that person loved the TYR suit, while the first person didn't like the TYR. All of the wetsuits were good quality and well-made; it really came down to each individual's body type and how the suits fit.

So don't get discouraged. If you try a smaller size and it still doesn't work for you, perhaps you just need a different brand.

orca1946
September 22nd, 2011, 10:55 PM
Ask some of the companies you like for dealers close to you to try some on.

cheakamus
September 24th, 2011, 06:52 PM
So, just to update you all, yesterday I returned my wetsuit. I tried it three times in the water, and each time it seemed to conform a little better to my body and leak a little less, but in the end, I still felt I would not be comfortable wearing it in colder water (the temperature in Lake Washington right now is 67 F.) The water that got in did not really seem to warm up, even though on my third go I swam a little over a mile.

Another issue I was having was some pain in my left (non-dominant) shoulder, which I'm pretty sure was due to the extra constriction of the wetsuit (I never have pain in my shoulders when swimming ordinarily). Since this would be a problem with any wetsuit I wore, I'm also thinking of trying on some sleeveless suits. Or, I could work on strengthening my left shoulder!

Thank-you, everyone, for all your excellent advice. I feel like I have a much better idea of what to expect now. I plan on visiting my local retailer, who sells a variety of different makers' suits, and trying out at least a few before making my final decision.

robertsrobson
September 26th, 2011, 04:31 AM
So, just to update you all, yesterday I returned my wetsuit. I tried it three times in the water, and each time it seemed to conform a little better to my body and leak a little less, but in the end, I still felt I would not be comfortable wearing it in colder water (the temperature in Lake Washington right now is 67 F.) The water that got in did not really seem to warm up, even though on my third go I swam a little over a mile.

Another issue I was having was some pain in my left (non-dominant) shoulder, which I'm pretty sure was due to the extra constriction of the wetsuit (I never have pain in my shoulders when swimming ordinarily). Since this would be a problem with any wetsuit I wore, I'm also thinking of trying on some sleeveless suits. Or, I could work on strengthening my left shoulder!

Thank-you, everyone, for all your excellent advice. I feel like I have a much better idea of what to expect now. I plan on visiting my local retailer, who sells a variety of different makers' suits, and trying out at least a few before making my final decision.

Unless you get something made to fit or try lots on before you buy, no wetsuit will fit perfectly. Mine is also very tight across the shoulders, but I guess I'm a lot bigger there than most open water swimmers, so I just accept it until I'm ready to invest in another suit (not for some time). I've had a couple of swims now in it and think that I'm going to have to really focus on rotating to get a comfortably recovery and that the tight shoulders on the wetsuit have exposed how flat I am normally on crawl.

Chicken of the Sea
September 26th, 2011, 12:01 PM
why don't you just dump the bloody thing and swim without it. It'll feel wonderul.

cheakamus
September 26th, 2011, 12:24 PM
I'm tempted, Amanda. Somehow, I've managed all these years without a wetsuit. It was only this year, where we had a cold, wet spring and a nearly nonexistent summer and the lakes took forever to warm up, that I considered buying a wetsuit at all. The pivot point came when I did a two-hour swim in Lake Washington on July 10, with the water temp at 64, and I got quite seriously chilled. Had I not been in the water so long, I don't think it would have bothered me. I often swim in high alpine lakes, sometimes with the ice still floating on them, so I'm used to cold, but usually in smaller doses. I think perhaps a sleeveless wetsuit might better suit my purpose, which is mainly to extend the open-water season for a few weeks either end. On the other hand, there's also a couple of ocean open-water swims that I'm very interested in, and the ocean around these parts is pretty cold year-round.

Chicken of the Sea
September 26th, 2011, 12:48 PM
I'm tempted, Amanda. Somehow, I've managed all these years without a wetsuit. It was only this year, where we had a cold, wet spring and a nearly nonexistent summer and the lakes took forever to warm up, that I considered buying a wetsuit at all. The pivot point came when I did a two-hour swim in Lake Washington on July 10, with the water temp at 64, and I got quite seriously chilled. Had I not been in the water so long, I don't think it would have bothered me. I often swim in high alpine lakes, sometimes with the ice still floating on them, so I'm used to cold, but usually in smaller doses. I think perhaps a sleeveless wetsuit might better suit my purpose, which is mainly to extend the open-water season for a few weeks either end. On the other hand, there's also a couple of ocean open-water swims that I'm very interested in, and the ocean around these parts is pretty cold year-round.

I know what you mean! I would extend my lake swimming season as long as possible if I could only stand the feel of a wetsuit. I can't though, can't stand anything touching my neck. I'm just going to do 50 to 50 as usual.

KatieK
September 26th, 2011, 06:12 PM
I know what you mean! I would extend my lake swimming season as long as possible if I could only stand the feel of a wetsuit. I can't though, can't stand anything touching my neck. I'm just going to do 50 to 50 as usual.
50 to 50 degrees?

If I could find another crazy person to swim with, I could make my open water season last all year in Arizona. My source of swim buddies dries up after IMAZ, the 3rd week in November, even though the water temperatures are still above sixty at that time. I don't know anyone who gets back in before the middle of March.

No wetsuit for me. I've never been in water below 60F, but I would do it.

Chicken of the Sea
September 27th, 2011, 12:00 AM
50 to 50 degrees?

If I could find another crazy person to swim with, I could make my open water season last all year in Arizona. My source of swim buddies dries up after IMAZ, the 3rd week in November, even though the water temperatures are still above sixty at that time. I don't know anyone who gets back in before the middle of March.

No wetsuit for me. I've never been in water below 60F, but I would do it.

50 to 50 but we're talking about maybe 30 minute swims. That's how much I hate the pool and those surrounding it these days!