Things you may want to consider when choosing seals and dryglove systems for your Seaskin drysuit.

The choice of what seal system to have on the wrist of their drysuit can be a bit bewildering at first. On the Nova suit the default (what you get as standard on the suit if do not select an “option”) is bottle seals standard weight. We will fit the size that is appropriate to the wrist size you provide. These seals are great allrounders comfy and generally very dry. So why change them? Let’s go through the options.

Change seal shape from bottle to cone: The bottle shape spreads the constriction on your wrist over a greater area so a considered easier to get on and off and more comfortable. Cones have a smaller constriction area so feel tighter, but this can be an advantage if the tendons on your wrists make deep grooves when you make fist. These grooves can give a way for water to get in your suit. Although bottle and cone seals are sized, cones have addition rings that can be cut off to tweak the opening size even further.

Change from standard latex to heavy duty: Heavy duty seals are identical to their standard counter parts but are “dipped” more times to give a thicker wall thickness. This makes the seals harder to pull on and off but less prone to splitting (they still do!). the latex they are formed from degrades at the same rate but there being more of it may give a longer period between seal changes.
All latex is basically disintegrating from the moment it cured. Some divers can get 5 years out of a set seals., others only manage a matter of months. Disregarding mechanical damage degradation is accelerated by a long list on factors exposure to UV light, ozone (natural or from electrical motors, like compressors), products you put on your hair and body like conditioner and sun screen, petrol chemicals like outboard motor fuel on the water and there are many more.
Some people have an allergy to latex so have to choose a different seal system.

Change from latex to neoprene seals: 3mm Neoprene seals do not “rot” like latex so last longer. They do get little spits and chunks gauged out of the skin surface, but they can mostly be nursed to the end of the season with field repairs when they can then be replaced. They very rarely fail catastrophically so you can’t dive unlike latex. However, despite being warmer due to the inherent insulation of the neoprene they can be prone to letting water in and be harder getting on and off because they cannot stretch like latex.

So, a way that we can use the advantages of latex wrist seals but not worry about them splitting and losing the chance of the “dive of year” if to have a ring system of some sort fitted onto your suit. This means not having the seal glued to the suit but a plastic or metal ring that permanently attached, the seal is then held into this ring by varying methods, the important things is that the seal part change be removed in seconds and a new one inserted (you did bring your spare seals, didn’t you!). Most of these systems also allow you easily attach a pair of dryglove, and like drysuits are warmer than wetsuits, drygloves are warmer than wet gloves. With these systems it also possible to use silicon seals which are much nicer to wear than both neoprene and latex and do not rot over time. These seals can only be attached to a suit mechanically rather than being glued as nothing will stick to them, for the same chemically inertness that means the do not degrade means adhesives will not cross link onto the surface.

If you just want the luxury of silicon seals and the ability to swop them out if you need to then the Option-SiTech SLAGGO Flex Rings is the way to go. As the name suggests this system is flexible so is the most comfortable to wear. If you want to use drygloves (you may not want to at the moment, but your diving may evolve to give longer deeper run times when drygloves become necessary) then this not the system to choose.

Option-SiTech Docking System 60910 fitted: This system offers easy changing seals, latex or silicon and a dry glove that can be added on (SiTech QCP Glove Lock System). The whole system is super tough and reliable BUT is pretty bulky on the wrists. If you are medium to large frame, then this may not be an issue but on smaller/slimer diver they may find it too cumbersome.

The Option-SiTech Oval Cuff Rings: offers a much-reduced feeling of bulk on the wrist as the oval shape closely the profile of your wrist. The shape may also lead to a draw back off the design if you want to use dryglove system that is paired with it, the ANTARES Dry Glove System. This is also oval so the alinement of the glove rings and the suit ring is critical when you push your gloves on and they lock in place any twisting of the two may cause water to get in the gloves. The system is ideal for divers that want seal changing but use wet gloves for the majority of their dives only occasionally use the dryglove addition.

The Rolock 90 kit uses the Option-SiTech Oval Cuff Rings and converts the oval shape to a round one. So, you get a very low-profile oval system in the warmer months then convert into a very reliable round system for the winter, best of both worlds?

Finally, we have Option – Kubi Fitted Dry Cuff System. The kubi rings are alloy not plastic and come in four sizes so you choose the ring size to your hand size. Very tough very reliable but this engineering comes at a price, but a price that if you wear drygloves on almost all dives and you do a lot of dives that is worth paying. We would always recommend that you also select Supplement for Siflex (silicon seals).

For Neck seals the default on a Nova suit is a standard weight latex seal. The advantages of these are, relatively easy to pull over your head and off again, excellent at keeping the water out, their size can be fine tuned by removing rings with scissors, minimal bulk and weight with a very “low profile”. The cons to these are, when the go, they go! No more diving that day and your suit is out of action until you get a new seal fitted. See above for more problems with latex and its longevity. A latex neck on its own is not particularly warm is where it contacts the neck there can be no insulation underneath. For this reason, it is usually combined with a warm neck system so your neoprene hood of the correct style can cover your neck, the warm neck holds the hoods “yoke” in place.

Change from latex neck seal to a neoprene seal: Neoprene necks on dive suits are made to be tucked inside giving you a seal against the skin of your neck. At first, they can appear to be overly long, resist the temptation to reduce the length until you are sure that you do not need that neoprene to seal against your neck. Even the best fitting neo seal is not as good as latex or silicon at keeping the water out, small amounts of water can trickle in if your head movement exceeds the stretch available in the seal. People with very small necks can find neo necks very difficult to pull over their heads, because we have it to fit your neck not what your head circumference is. We recommend people with necks smaller than 33cm and below and a head size of 53cm or bigger will really struggle to get a diving type neoprene seal over their heads. This is made even more difficult with longer hair. A latex neck seal or Necktite system would be a much better option.
With all these negatives why would you want one? Well, they are very comfortable (once on) and very warm, also they do not “rot” like latex so last longer. They do get little spits and chunks gauged out of the skin surface, but they can mostly be nursed to the end of the season with field repairs when they can then be replaced. They very rarely fail catastrophically so you can’t dive unlike latex.

Neck systems from SiTech are highly popular. They allow the use of silicon (Silflex) neck seals, these are very comfortable and hypoallergenic and of cause if you damage one they can replaced at the dive site or even on a dive boat without these use of any adhesives.
Neck rings currently come in two types – Quick Neck and Orust Neck Systems. The Quick Neck is generally considered better for dive suits as it allows the fitting of a warm neck (see later for why a warm neck is a good idea). The Orust is more flexible so is more comfortable on people with small body frames as it curls over the shoulders more easily. The greater flexibility means that the locking ring that hold the seal in has to be secured with a series of plastic clips around its outside edge, it has to be said that removing and refitting these clips is an awkward task. It is access to these clips that is why we recommend that a warm neck is NOT fitted over the top of them. We find that most people do not have a comfort issue with the Quick neck, the broader your shoulders and chest the more comfortable they are. With very narrow shoulders and slim chest the ring can press into the top of the shoulders when the straps of a BC or wing press down.

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