Hoods with a drysuit???

with my winter drysuit, the hood i wear, by o’neill, is, i think, 5 mm thick, which i need here in new england, and every winter it drives me so crazy that i say to myself, never freaking again will i surf in the winter!

the first problem is, i hate not being able to hear. it throws off my balance, for some reason, and make me feel very uncomfortable.

but more problematic is, the rubber is so thick around my neck that i can barely move my head around, maybe a few degrees to the left and right. pretty much it’s stuck looking straight head. i hate that. hate that! by now, some genius should have come up with a way to make the rubber articulate around the neck. i mean, we can send a man to the moon but … etc.

anyway, i’m not looking forward to another winter of this. anyone here solved this problem or have any suggestions?


hyperstretch with rapidstyle inner hood
One example is Henderson USA 5 mm hyperstretch hood. You can cut small holes in the ear zone and line with soft side of velcro or other fabric. It lets in sounds sufficiently to not get that isolated feeling. The neck is much much stretchier. Don’t get the gold label stuff.

Also, a Rapidstyle thin hood under it for the really cold days helps keep out most water so you get little cold water in ears.

Others here get credit for suggesting these items.

Maybe You Need A Bigger Size…

– Last Updated: Dec-04-05 9:24 PM EST –

If you feel you can't move your head. My neck movement is not great either. The only time it makes a difference is if I looking back over my shoulder. Generally it's not an issue. I Just position parallel to the swells and make the move when I see my ride coming.

I use the Henderson 5mm surf hood with the face cinch. I am assuming you're using the ONeil version. BTW, I tried the ONeil and for the same "size" it felt wicked tight on me. The Henderson may be cut bigger. Also may be stretchier. Anyway, with limited motion, just get used to it. Don't put holes in the hood. Or, you have to get ear plugs. This will give you that isolated feeling even more.

Heck, I'm thinking of wearing earplugs under my hood. Lots of cold water surfing in NE is a recipe for surfer's ears (bony growth in the ear canal). No joke. Follow some of the surfing boards and you'll hear folks talk of very painful surgeries to correct the problem.


Got it right

– Last Updated: Dec-04-05 9:28 PM EST –

that stuff works. Get the wetsuit hood and cut the bib off. No unravelling

Definitely Henderson Hyperstretch.
It’s a world better than the standard neoprene. I’ve been using it for a couple of years, sometimes diving in low to mid thirty degree water, and it’s plenty warm and comfortable. I use the 7/5mm, but the 5mm should be plenty good for what you do. With this hood there’ll be no need to go larger. Be informed also that if you get too much extra space in there you’ll take away it’s ability to insulate your scalp which by the way is where the majority of body heat is lost. If it’s too big it’ll act more like a pump by circulating it in and out rather than trapping it. That is a common mistake with not only hoods, but wetsuits as well. The old saying in the dive industry is if it feels good, and snug it’s not tight enough. Thanks to hyperstretch that saying is history now. You won’t know how you lived without it. You can expect to pay between $25-$50 for these.


depends on use
unless you’re in rough water and getting dunked a lot a double layer using a heavy lycra hood liner with a fuzzy rubber hood over that works well for paddling and occasional immersion. The lycra liner traps air well but it conforms with the fuzzy rubber hood to slow down water intrusion. More importantly you can hear through it well. That’s the set-up I used paddling in 35degree air with 35 degree water with 15mph breeze. This is only meant for a few seconds long immersion and a warm healthy body putting out heat.

hyperstretch it is …
i think i’ll give the henderson stuff a go. sound just like what i’ve been looking for. thanks!

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thanks for the link, sing. oddly enuf, it seems to me that scuba.com is the only outfit that sells that particular visor’d hood. in fact, i can’t even see it listed at www.hendersonusa.com.

most places, though, do have the henderson hyperstretch with the big honking bib, around $50. i wonder if the bib alone is what makes it cost $30 more than the other hood or whether there’s some more material difference.

anyway, for $20, i think i’m going to go for it.

actually …
with a call to henderson, i just answered my own question. for future reference, here’s the scoop.

the hood that sing owns and that his link points you to is not hyperstretch but hyperflex. it is not as stretchy as hyperstretch. scuba.com may say the magma has hyperstretch in it but i am assured that it does not. and the price point seems to confirm this.

(sorry sing!!!)

On the other hand, for my surfing style, i’d much rather own and wear the hyperflex magma. so maybe i’ll order both, see how they are, and send one of em back.

learn something new every day!

Let Us Know How It Turns Out…
I hope it has the face cinch feature. Really important for minimizing flushing when you get that wave breaking on top of you, or when you have to roll.


I own that exact HyperFlex hood. I do like it alot. It does have more stretchability compared to other hoods I’ve tried, and it does include the draw cord with cord lock to tighten around the face. Of course all hoods are somewhat restrictive to neck motion and hearing, but it’s better than most. The sizing on Henderson is more correct compared the Oneil hoods which run small.

xc ski
Every racing season I get beat by Canadians who xc ski and bike and hike in winter but never paddle unless they go south. They reduce overuse shoulder problems with using a whole different set of muscles and they have huge crowds for xc races. Maybe we were not intended to paddle in winter but congratulations to those hardy souls who are in the eskimo tradition. Many eskimos died.

Dave’s Annual Sermon…
Man is not intended to paddle in colder months. If he paddles at all, he should be on flat water, on a sprint boat with a wing paddle in his hands. If he sees an approaching storm, he must just muscle it and outrun the storm and hope/pray for divine intervention.

Thanks, Dave. Too bad we can’t all be like you.

Maybe you should jump on this thread 'cause some paddler is about to commit a major boo-boo in thinking about paddling his wing and fast boat in the winter…