Early morning paddles have been so cold lately it's been crazy huh?
I reckon it's time I let you know about Probe Wetsuits!
Probe are a dive wetsuit company based in Victoria. They started several years back, after one of the guys left Rip Curl after about 25 years in their design department and he teamed up with another very experienced diver.They know their stuff! What they have produced is a very good "dive" wetsuit based on surfing wetsuit design that is so comfortable that you would not know it's a dive wetsuit!
In winter I wear one of their 3mm IDry steamers and I have just started wearing the IDry 3mm hood and their 0.5mm Insulator gloves. This is a really good combination for normal surfing or stand up paddling or kitesurfing in cold weather.
The steamer has a nice high neck with smooth rubber inside so it seals out the water really well. It has a full lining of quick dry material as well, so it feels extra snug when you put it on and it dries out really quickly from your previous surf.
The neck of the hood overlaps the neck of the steamer and that helps keep the water out a lot too. The hood also seals pretty well against your face. They have thicker hoods and wetties, but the 3mm is all you need here in Victoria. having a warm head makes a huge difference to how long you can stay in the water on a cold morning!
These wetsuits are superb quality. All super stretch rubber with back zips, so they are very easy to get on and off. The zippers have unique overlapping teeth that also help keep the water out. The neoprene quality is fantastic too.The rubber is higher density than the rubber used in wetties purely for surfing. This is because in diving the rubber is subject to higher pressure being under the water. This is one reason why you don't need the typical 4/3mm steamer that everyone in Victoria wears. A 3mm suit is sufficient in the Probe rubber!
Following several mornings of having hands like ice blocks, I realized that SUPing in Victoria on cold mornings you just have to have gloves on. The challenge is finding gloves that are thin enough to still give you good grip on the paddle but still warm enough to make a difference. If the gloves are too thick you can actually get tired hands and arms when you are paddling!
I have listed most of the Probe range in our webstore so you can check them out.
One last thing - feet! One thing that I have found after 45 years of surfing in Victoria is that you don't need the typical calf high booties that most people around here buy. We use Balin Low Cut Reef Boots. If your body and head is warm in the water, you will notice that your feet don't get cold at all.The time your feet get the coldest is walking back to the car park when you have gotten out of the water. The Balin boots are way easier to get on and off and much easier to dry out as well.
We have a small amount of their gear in stock, but I can give you a special deal based on a pre-pay arrangement where will will get in to stock what you need, and if necessary post it out to you. If you use the code WETTIES when you check out, you will get a 15% discount off everything in our wetsuits and accessories collection (valid till the end of July 2017). We will then order in in for you and let you know when it arrives.