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  Florida garments -- "it depends"...
  Posted by: gstamer on Dec-04-12 11:56 AM (EST)


Keep in mind that what you need to wear for rolling/rescue practice (extended immersion) is not necessarily what you would be wearing (in Central Florida) for active paddling, depending on the conditions.

A Central Florida January morning might be 30 degrees or it might be 75, the water temperature might be 72 degrees in a spring-fed run, or it might be 55 degrees offshore. A one-size-fits-all approach doesn't work well, so you need options.

For rolling practice I often wear a neoprene tulik or a drytop, although the tuilik would COOK ME me if I wore it for actual paddling. Likewise, I often wear a drytop, drysuit or neoprene vest for playing in surf in mid winter, but rarely wear them in Florida for "regular touring".

If you are into Greenland rolling, consider a tuilik. The loose fit gives you incredible freedom of motion and having your face/ears/neck covered adds comfort and warmth. I can use my tuilik from November to March before I start to roast.

I'm glad to have a drysuit and drytop, but for touring in Central Florida I *usually* wear a short or long-sleeve paddle jacket with appropriate insulation, or just the insulation, depending on conditions. But there are times when I need more than a paddle jacket.

The latex seals on a drytop often last only for a few seasons, and the wearing season in Florida is very short, so unless you travel extensively it might seem that everytime you seem to reach for the drytop that the seals are already rotten (it's not too difficult to replace the seals, however).

Consult local knowledge because there can be a lot of variation in temperature between paddling in the keys versus heading for Cumberland Island, or the panhandle, in mid-winter.

Greg Stamer

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