Anyone have experience whitewater kayaking in a Kokata GFER drysuit which does not have the waistband that helps seal the. Skirt against the suit?
Not that particular model
But I have an older nylon Kokatat dry suit without a waistband tunnel that I used for whitewater kayaking and I found little difference in the amount of water that got into the boat when I was wearing that as opposed to a Gore-tex Kokatat dry top that did have a waistband tunnel.
Tried both sith and without
WW is pretty wet anyway, I found that the skirt let in more water than anything around the torso. I should note that my WW boat is an older Inazone 220, which tend to be wet especially when it is the size and height of a teacup and the paddler is at the bleeding edge of the weight limits. But I have found that water coming in doing WW has more to do with the water you are in than what you are wearing.
No overskirt experience
All my suits have a double tunnel that straps over the spray deck’s tunnel. I think I would not want to have a suit without that feature if I were to spend lots of time under water and desire relative dryness.
When I paddle on WW I barely get any water in my boats. When I use the same skirts and boats in the pool where I do not wear my dry top or dry suit, I get tons of water starting with the first rolls. For some of these pool sessions I wear a short-sleeve semi-dry top just so that I don’t have to empty the boat of water so often (and the water coming in is mainly from the neck area on that semi-dry top, which is actually quite wet if you spend any time upside-down).
So the double-tunnel feature (on dry tops) or just the overflap on the dry suits seems to make a significant difference to the amount of water coming in the boat.
Did you buy it already?
All I’ve worn in WW (river) is wetsuits. Some water gets inside after capsizing, but I think that is more from the skirt-coaming interface than through the tunnel. You can try it out by putting the edge of the coaming under water without capsizing–if you can’t edge it that hard without capsizing, just do it next to shore in shallow water with someone holding the boat in that position. If there’s more water after that test than before it, you know it came in somewhere other than the skirt’s tunnel.
Based on my sea kayak experience, a drysuit’s tunnel overflap reduces the amount of water coming in but that’s about all. I think it’s a pain to deal with when zipping the suit. It is nice for tightening up the waist, though (no sagging).
I have certain sprayskirts that grip the
cockpit rim very tightly, but have a rather loose tunnel. It is possible to wet exit so as to leave the skirt on the boat, with my body sliding out of the tunnel.
One advantage of this is that the tunnel keeps much of the water out of the boat.
But I never took advantage of this very often, because usually I would roll up. If rolling up, the overlapping, mating thingy will keep most water out, while a slightly loose skirt tunnel will let some in. Wearing any sort of drytop with a simple elastic closure at the waist will reduce water entering a slightly loose tunnel.
Pay attention to tucks and folds
Dry suits are generally fairly loose fitting.
So you need to tuck and fold the excess when you put on the skirt.
If you do that in a way that forms “U” shaped channels open at the top, then they will channel water through the tunnel.
If you fold things so that the opening is down, not so much.