Talk to me about semi-drysuits

I’m looking for the intersection of safety and economy.

I have a skinny surfski I want to continue paddling through the cold season.

Water temps will hit bottom at about 48-52 and will last for about two months at that temp.

I will be on a river or lake, mostly within about 20-40 yards from the shore—nothing crazy.

I’m thinking I can get away with a semi dry suit. Because it’s a ski, If I take a swim, I likely wont be head under water. Probably just fall in up to my neck, and then jump back in the boat.

So what should I expect from a semi dry suit? Will water pour in from the neck gasket? If I’m dressed warmly underneath, will it keep me in good shape for a few minutes at most in the water?

It seems to depend on your neck. I have a drysuit with neo neck gasket. Very little to no water gets into my suit during a swim. Other people have varying experiences.

Beyond the neck gasket, there are no materials compromises in my “semi”- drysuit that would make it less protective than a drysuit.

Only 52 degrees?
I’m envious.

Kokatat Light Weight GoreTex Paddlers Suit.

I might have to come visit when it’s 20" of ice on the Hudson like last winter.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

agree - varies on your neck size/shape
It seems to vary with yuor neck size/shape. See if you can try one on, and see if the neck feels reasonably tight.

I had a Palm paddling suit and on a roll would only get like a tablespoon of water in. I also have a semi-dry top from Kokatat and have a similar experience there.

Ditto the others.
Sounds like you’re a prime candidate for a semi, but before you pull the trigger look around (specifically Boatertalk and eBay) for gently used (or even new) dry suits. They can often be found for the same price as a semi-dry suit.

Duece is on track
Duece is on track, Leftovers. 2014 Kokatats need a home too.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

get away with ?
off course you can get away with ‘it’

neo neck is comfortable for touring in calm conditions like in the San Juan Islands.

Rolling practice and I have a chicken neck, brings in maybe a quart- after 4-5 dives. In a Kokotat.

When I paddle around the corner in the San Juans, the dry suit is worn as conditions become unknown with the usual small craft warning around the corner.

This is the BL,are your skills way above the projected routing danger levels ? Or not ?

Chicken necks let in more water
In a semidry suit. I have such a neck. The thicker neo necks, not the thin loop and hook types, are about the minimum for me if l don’t want eater pouring in. People l know with thicker necks get less water in.

I have a thick neck?
According to what I’m reading here, I guess. Didn’t think so until now.

Had a Kokatat with hook & loop neck closure. That one let in enough water to be a limiting factor.

My current Stohlquist b-pod has a thick neoprene neck gasket. The original was actually too tight and I had to send it in for a refit (which they did for free). Now it still doesn’t leak any that I’ve noticed, and it doesn’t threaten to choke me out. But I’m not doing class 3 rapids in it, so I can’t say how well it would do in a real trashing.

is possible
adding neo strips would compensate for neck shape eg if your neck is thicker at the head end than the shoulders maybe more water than … ?

Caught in a hole, the neo neck gasket may come undone ?

an unpleasant thought. Do we get a replay on that ?

Neo - 3 styles
The Kokatat Tropos Super Nova paddling suit has a hook/loop cinch collar comfy but not designed to ward off inversion type water pressure.

The Kokatat Lt. Wt. GTX Paddling Suit has a conical neo collar with a tensioner bungee for fine tuning. Works well on 15.75"+ neck sizes. Smaller diameters will be leakier. Good for the occasional roll.

Stohlquist EZ (previously B-Pod) has a doubled over smooth skin neoprene turtleneck that works well as a seal. Not as comprehensive as a latex gasket but respectable enough to do river running WW fun in. More play boating oriented inversion sessions will lean toward the latex style neck gasket.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY