To prevent cold shock in frigid waters (e.g., due to unexpected swim, or rolling practice), I am wondering if anyone can recommend a neoprene hoodie that keeps the water out, and is also reasonably comfortable. I have a divers dry suit hood that I have used, but it is very stiff and squeezes my face so much that I generally dissuaded from using it. Maybe they are all like that, but I am hoping that there are some that are more suitable for paddling. I know there are several hoodie type things that are basically wind protection but I am talking about the kind that actually keeps water off much of your face/head and definitely out of your ears. Thanks.
Just google “wetsuit hood” look for something for surfing not diving. Anything from a top surf wetsuit manufacturer should be fine. (O’Neill, Hyperflex, XCel, Patagonia, etc) Modern rubber is very stretchy, comfortable, and warm. This was among the top choice that showed up when I did the search.
First, get Doc’s plugs (vented) for your ears. Can get them from a number of sources, but here is an image of them. Strongly suggest getting colored if you can, much easier to see when you drop them on the water. Link https://www.amazon.com/Docss-Plugs-Surfing-Swimming-Vented/dp/B003F2Y4UC.
With these, the hood only has to keep you warm.
As to lighter weight neo hoods, they will not be waterproof but they will be warm. How warm based on how thick. Kokatat has one, NRS has a neo hood, and the above surfing options are there as well.
As to face, going to have to handle it. Though a good set of diving goggles with vented nose piece blocks a lot off if you want to use it at first to see what you are doing.
I definitely get what you’re talking about when you mention that squeeze. Especially around my chin, it can get uncomfortable to the point of causing a headache, where it’s this immense relief to take it off. I went through a lot of hoods trying to find something more comfortable for my head.
The Rip Curl Flashbomb 3 mm has worked the best of all I’ve tried. No little holes around the ears - which is fantastic. Those things whistle in the wind. It always drove me crazy on my old NRS hoods, and they really didn’t seal out water well at all. With the Rip Curl Flashbomb 3mm, there’s flexible material at the chin. You can see it’s a different color right there at the chin in the picture. That seems to make a big difference in comfort for me personally. The little string lets you cinch it up around the face for roll practice, but I usually leave it for just paddling, as it keeps almost all water out even without cinching for me, so it’s obviously more comfortable that way for extended paddling. But if I tighten it a little, it seems to keep all water out while rolling.
The E-bomb 2 mm is the most comfortable one I’ve ever found. Very flexible material. It doesn’t seal up as nicely as the 3mm on me, but it’s my top choice unless it’s really cold.
I was in a surf shop with someone else to buy a hood this winter. I tried several on from the top makers, and those 2 were still the most comfortable on me. For folks that aren’t planning on roll sessions or surf sessions, where it’s “just in case”, I would recommend the 2mm E-bomb for everyone. If the water is icy cold, you want to keep your ears dry, and getting wet is in the day’s plans, the 3 mm Flashbomb is the most comfortable for me.
The amount of neck material on these hoods is perfect for use with a dry suit or dry top. It’s easy enough to tuck the inner layer inside of the outer collar, without excess material that you don’t have room to tuck in in this fashion. This keeps your neck nicely protected as well.
Guess I don;t paddle in super cold water, so maybe my suggestion wouldn’t work for you. But because I wear glasses, I find that only skull cap style hoodies work for me. Anything that also covers down below my ear either doesn’t fit over the glasses, or the glasses push the cap outward (glasses are between cap and my body) which allows water in.
Examples of what I do use are Kokatat Strap Cap and Skull Cap (or similar from other makers).
Definitely wouldn’t be able to wear glasses under a neoprene hood that’s effective at sealing all the water out, especially if keeping water out of your ears is part of your goal. I wear sunglasses on the outside of the hood. With a helmet on in the surf, that works out fine, as the chinstrap keeps everything in place for the most part. Outside of rough water it works fine too without a helmet. I think neoprene provides enough friction to keep everything fairly effectively in place without tucking behind the top of your ear. Of course I’m just using cheap sunglasses, and I can remember a time when I realized my sunglasses had disappeared. But I don’t remember if that was a cold water hood day, or a day without a hood?
Water temps have already hit 70 here. I had no need for a hood last weekend anymore. That’s such a great feeling!
https://kokatat.com/product/surfskin-balaclava-inusba love mine cover back of neck. made in USA
Currently my favorite hoodie is the NRS Mystery Sea Hood, which I have been using for the last several years.
Regrettably this year NRS decided to improve upon their original design. They eliminated the adjustable chin strap and renamed it a “cap”.
Honestly I believe it’s one of those “if it’s not broke” examples. The new cap might work for you, but I’m not sold on it.