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Scuba Diving/Wet suits and dive classes

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Question
I live in Southern Caliornia and it's been about 8 years since I SCUBA dived. I want to start up again and have signed up for tune up class at a local sports store. I tried on my old wetsuit, which is a large, and couldn't get in to it! I have gained some weight but I couldn't even get very far with the arms and legs, which are not really much bigger now than in the past. Do wetsuits shrink or become less elastic over time? It was stored in a garage out of the sun. The salesperson at the dive shop thought that my size (looking at me) was definitely an XL, which may be, but how did I get in to my suit before?

I also like to snorkel and would like to get a new half suit, although I saw some hooded vests in the shop. Would these be adequate for snokeling?

Thanks for any advice.

Answer
Hi Randy:  Congratulations for taking the initiative to go diving again.  You are doing the right thing by taking the tune up course and visiting a dive shop.  Even in just eight years, there have some some remarkable changes to dive equipment (especially dive computers).  

I have some wet suits much greater than 8 years old and they are holding up quite well (even those used in tough environments like swimming pools).  While the neoprene may deteriorate in poor storage conditions you should not see much loss of elasticity.  As you suspect you may have added some inches here and there as well as just gotten out of practice donning the suit.

Gear comfort and body temperature are primary factors in diving safely.  You may wish to rent a suit from a local dive shop that is easier to put on and see how it feels in the water.  It is important to not be overly constricted but still provide a layer of neoprene close to the skin.  Once you settle on one, it may be time to purchase a new one if budget allows.

Have fun diving again.  (PS.  I learned not far from you in Monterey Bay). Jesse  

Scuba Diving

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Jesse Scott

Expertise

I can help you with questions about what to expect when learning how to SCUBA dive; how to select a good instructor and dive shop; and how to begin diving after you have been trained. I can help out with gear questions. I am always happy to discuss topics you learned in training but would like to know more detail. I can recommend additional training and books on SCUBA diving. I can discuss NC wreck diving also. I can also discuss what`s involved in learning becoming more involved in the sport and being a rescue diver, dive master, or instructor. NOTE!! I cannot answer medical questions because I am not a doctor.

Experience

I am an SSI Master Instructor and a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor. I have over 500 dives in a wide variety of diving environments and scenarios. I have been diving for 10 years. I also teach numerous specialties including Nitrox.

Organizations
PADI, SSI, NSS-CDS, DAN, NACD, PSI

Education/Credentials
PADI OWSI (Open Water, Advanced OW, Rescue, Divemaster)
SSI MI (OW, Advanced OW; Night, Deep, Wreck, Boat, Nitrox, Navigation, Night, Computer, Search and Recovery, Dry Suit, Advanced Buoyancy Specialties)
Emergency First Response CPR and First Aid Instructor
DAN Diving Emergency Management Provider and Instructor
PSI Visual Tank Inspector
NACD, NSS-CDS Cavern Diver
TDI Advanced Nitrox and Decompression diver


Awards and Honors
SSI Master Instructor SSI Gold 500 Instructor SSI Gold 500 Diver SSI Century Instructor SSI Century Diver

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