Category Archives: Wetsuits

Patagonia at Big Winds

The newly redesigned Patagonia wetsuits and newly introduced drysuit caught our attention this year and thought they would be a perfect fit to the Big Winds offering for Fall 2014 and Spring 2015. Patagonia has always stood by a mission that has inspired us: To build the best product, to cause no unnecessary harm and to use business to implement solutions to the environmental crisis. After hearing about the new upgrades from local Patagonia ambassador Jason Slezak, we thought there is no better time then now to offer our clientele a new wetsuit and drysuit option at Big Winds.

Patagonia wetsuits have a new exterior fabric this season. It is 88% recycled polyester, ultra durable and water-resistant. The wrists, ankles and knees are built with a very durable and long lasting Supratex material that overlaps well with gloves and booties. These updated suits are now 100% externally seam sealed, triple glued, blind stitched and internally taped on high stress areas.

Big Winds carries the new R2 and R3 back zip wetsuits. The R2 is rated for water temps of 55-60 degrees and has worked perfectly so far on the Columbia River this fall. The 3.5 mm neoprene is located in the torso and thighs and is reduced to 3 mm in the arms. The R2 is lined with a

Patagonia R2 wetsuit at Big Winds

Patagonia R2 wetsuit. Click to enlarge.

green interior fabric in the body. This fabric is 67% recycled polyester and very hydrophobic, allowing for minimal water uptake and quick drying. The arms and legs are lined with a blue lining, which is 100% recycled polyester and ultra stretchy. The easy-access center back zip entry has an internal gasket to prevent water from flushing down the back, maximizing comfort. The R2 suit is easily as warm as any other 4/3 mm suit out there and retails for $389.

Patagonia R3 wetsuit at Big Winds

Patagonia R3 wetsuit. Click to enlarge.

The R3 suit is rated for water temps of 48-55 degrees and will be our go to winter and early Spring suit. The thickness bumps out to 4.5 mm in the torso/thighs and is lined with a mid-weight chlorine-free merino wool. It’s the wool that makes this suit feel like you are inside a toaster oven, offering the warmth of a 5/4 mm suit, without the bulk and thickness of a 5/4 mm. The same green polyester lining used in the R2’s torso is used in the R3’s arms and legs for maximum stretch and warmth. The new R3 back-zip full suit retails for $489.

After watching Jason Slezak testing the drysuit in the Gorge last winter and hearing the positive feedback from our Alaska friends up north, we feel this is a good season to re-introduce a drysuit into the Big Winds offering. Patagonia has recently entered the kiteboarding market, hiring ambassadors like Jason and Julien from Liquid Force and Reo Stevens from Cabrinha.

Patagonia Drysuit at Big Winds

Patagonia Drysuit.

This new kiting suit is made with durable waterproof, breathable and windproof, 3-layer Gore-Tex. It’s rated for cold water and air temps of 48-55 degrees and can certainly be pushed into an even colder environment with proper layering underneath. It comes with a Gore-Tex waterproof hood that is stowable. Wear it up when rigging your kite to stay warm.  Then zip it down and out of the way just before hitting the water, so it doesn’t flap and fill with water. The neck gasket is a comfortable 2 mm neoprene and is easy to pull over. It is coupled with a front collar flap with snaps to prevent wind and water entry. The wrist and ankle gaskets are latex, which prevents any water entry (no more balloon legs!). Like most drysuits, the Patagonia drysuit is a rear zipper entry. The zipper used is a YKK/Aquaseal waterproof zipper that is easier than any other drysuit zipper I’ve used. There are a few other nice features, including a chest pocket, leg pocket, relief zipper and suspenders. Priced at only $699, this is the best built, highest quality drysuit we’ve seen for the price. If you want to make kiteboarding or windsurfing an all season sport, this is the ticket to challenge the coldest of water and air conditions.

Patagonia Drysuit at Big Winds

Patagonia Drysuit

Big Winds is one of the first retailers to offer the all new Patagonia wetsuits and drysuit and we feel confident that Patagonia has a quality product that they stand behind with an ironclad guarantee. Give us a call, stop in or order online.

–TJ

Click to go to bigwinds.com

 

 

 

Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031

888-509-4210

www.bigwinds.com

2014 Mother’s Day

Mother's Day

Click to enlarge.

This weekend:

Free SUP rentals for all moms on Mother’s Day from 11-4
at the Big Winds Event Site Center!

10% off all in stock Women’s Fullsuits and Springsuits

$100 off these SUP boards:

Bark Appleby Race
Bark Appleby Crossover
Amundson 11’6 TR-X
Amundson 11’6 TR
Naish Alana 10’6
Starboard 12’6 Turtle Bay
Boardworks Sirena 10’6
Tahoe Bliss 11’6

10% off these paddles:

Quickblade Flyweight All Carbon
Quickblade Flyweight FG / CA
Quickblade Super Fly All Carbon 92 Superfly

$100 off these kiteboarding products:

2014 Cabrinha Siren
2014 Cabrinha Siren Control System
2014 Cabrinha XO Siren Board
2014 Naish Alana
2014 Naish Alana Control System
2014 Naish Alana Twin-Tip

Discount applied after checkout and verified on your shipping confirmation.

It’s Always Summer on the Inside

Late season paddling

Late season paddling. Click to enlarge.

The fall and winter in the northwest offer some of the best paddling conditions of the year. Smooth, glassy water, gorgeous fall colors and crisp air can make for memorable and exhilarating SUP sessions. And, paddling on the Columbia River in the midst of a lightly falling snow is flat out awe inspiring. The trick is being warm enough without overheating.

The past three winters, Big Winds SUP Manager, TJ, and I paddled a ton, and experimented with a variety of wetsuit and clothing options for paddling in chilly to frigid temps.

Steve and friend

Steve and friend

Think of paddling as the aquatic equivalent of skate skiing or Nordic skiing. You’re going to warm up really fast. The more clothes you have on, the more clothes you’re going to end up putting in your backpack. The same thing is true with Stand Up Paddleboarding. The trick is to not overdress.

Many people have the feeling that they’re going to be falling in the water and getting wet, so they wear a bulky wetsuit. That’s really not the case unless you are going out in rough water or riding waves in the ocean. If you are paddling on flat water in relatively calm conditions, you’re not likely to fall in. And if you do, you’re going to get right back up on your board. You don’t need to wear a bulky wetsuit because you’re not going to be in the water for long.

Superlite John

Superlite John

Bahia Jane

Bahia Jane

What TJ and I like to wear in cold conditions is an inexpensive, simple, farmer-john style wetsuit: the O’Neill 2mm Superlite John. When the temps dip into the 30’s, I wear a very thin capilene zip turtle neck underneath the Superlite (the same base layer I would wear skiing) and a fleece over the Superlite that I can easily peel off once I get going. The Superlite John has a front and ankle zips, making it super easy to get in and out of. (Remember it’s front zip. You might try to put it on backwards like I did at first!)

The Superlite is inexpensive at under a hundred bucks, and it works great! O’Neill’s ladies version is called the Bahia Jane.

Your feet will get wet and cold if not adequately covered. I recommend the O’Neill Mutant 6/5/4 Boots. These boots are super warm and comfortable. With the internal split toe, your foot will stay well positioned in the boot.

If you’re going on a downwinder, or SUP surfing on the Oregon Coast, by all means, wear a thicker suit that’s appropriate for the conditions. But if you’re paddling in relatively flat, calm water, you probably won’t get wet. So don’t overdress and you’ll be a happy camper!

See you on the water!

Steve Gates
Big Winds

O’Neill TechnoButter

Every now and then something comes along to earn the designation of “Game Changer”. One such innovation this year is “Techno Butter”! Say what? Yep, this new proprietary wetsuit material by O’Neill totally changes the wetsuit game.

techno-butterClick to enlarge

O’Neill has a number of suits featuring this all new neoprene and they are light years ahead of other wetsuits in comfort and light weight. Techno Butter suits are 17% lighter than other high end suits and retain 30% less water! The difference in feel is HUGE!

Treat yourself and get either the Psycho 3 or Psycho 1 wetsuit. Ladies too! It will absolutely amaze you. Guaranteed.

It’s Always Summer on the Inside

It’s spring and time to get out on the water! But it seems so cold! Well, it’s certainly chilly, but that’s no reason not to get out and paddle!

When it’s chilly, think of paddling as the aquatic equivalent of skate or Nordic skiing. You’re going to warm up really fast. The more clothes you have on, the more clothes you’re going to end up putting in your backpack, as you warm up really fast. The same thing is true with Stand Up Paddle boarding. The trick is to not over dress.
steve_wetsuitSUP
Many people have this feeling that they’re going to be falling in the water so they wear a bulky wetsuit. If you are paddling on flat water in relatively calm conditions, you’re not likely to fall in. And if you do, you’re going to get right back up on your board. However, if you are going on a downwinder, paddling in rough water, or SUP surfing in the ocean, you will likely need to wear a thicker wetsuit more appropriate for the conditions.

What TJ and I like to wear best in cold conditions is a really simple farmer-john-style O’Neill Superlite, an inexpensive 2mm throwback to the old days. The Superlite John has front and ankle zips. It works great, is stretchy, easy to get in and out of and is inexpensive, priced at just $99. O’Neill also has a version for the ladies called the Bahia Jane for only $85.

I wear a very thin capilene zip turtle neck underneath the Superlite — the same base layer I would wear skiing — and a fleece or hoodie over the Superlite that I usually peel off once I get going and warm up.

There you have it: chilly conditions for SUP, don’t overdress. If you’re going on a downwinder and know you’re going to be in the water a lot, dress appropriately to stay warm. If you’re paddling in relatively flat, calm water, you probably won’t get wet. So don’t overdress and you’ll be a happy camper!

–Steve