How I replaced the neck latex seal on my Ocean Rodeo Pyro Pro dry suit

I bought the Ocean Rodeo Pyro Pro dry suit in March 2008. Since then I have used it a lot (stopped using a wetsuit).
I love the dry suit, especially because I feel it is easier to put on and off, warmer, more comfortable on the water, and of course warmer during breaks and more comfortable to put on for a second session.
I use fleece underneath in spring and fall, wool in winter, and both on extreme days.

The major downside is for bodydragging. Since your legs float, it is much harder to take or keep height while dragging, and therefore I have several times had to bodydrag 10-20 laps before I could get back to my board, where I would have reached the board in 3-4 laps with a wetsuit.
I have also been a bit concerned about what would happen if it got ripped far from the shore, - I am not so worried about that anymore, - see below.

In September 2010, starting the fall season I discovered that the neck latex seal was getting sticky, - and finally, on a trip to Sweden in late September, the seal tore totally while I was pulling the suit on. I still spent 2 hours on the water, - 12 degrees in the air, - probably about the same in the water, 16-20 knots, - and crashed a number of times, - so now I know how it behaves when ripped. I had a thin fleece sweater and pants under the suit, and even if it was cold each time a couple of liters of water came in, I had no problems continuing to kite.

An old picture of me in the suit, using neoprene socks, cloves and hat. (Taken just after the wind died..)


The Ocean Rodeo manual is next to useless, - and contains errors and omissions. The headline only mentions hand and ankle, - while the neck is briefly mentioned in the text. The photographs are tiny and low resolution, and of an ankle only.


Equipment needed: Hairdryer, plastic bowl that fits the neck, acetone, sharp knife, spare neck seal.


The spare neck latex seal was delivered by our local dealer in a few days, and for about 60 USD, - not bad at all.
The manual describes a separate piece of tape, - my replacement neck had a glue-surface on one side instead.
Also, - I had the impression that I should use the hairdryer to remove the old seal and tape, - this is not possible (it's sewn on), the new seal must be glued to the old tape.

Step one: Make the new seal fit your neck.
After some testing, - I used another bowl, a rubber-band, and a sharp knife to cut the cone neck opening about one cm, - which made it tight, - but not so tight that it stops the blood circulation.
(cut along the rubber-band)


After cutting.


This is how the torn seal looked. It is easy to see why the last session became a wet one...
You can probably also see that it has gotten sticky and started to rot.


The manual recommended to use a big ball, - but that was not possible, as the neck opening is more narrow than the foundation of the seal. Luckily I had a bowl that fitted, and that could be squeezed out through the neck opening afterwards.


The same seen from the inside, - and here you can see the neck opening which is not wide enough to show the whole bowl.


Step two, - cut away the old latex, - close to the tape. (I used a rubber band here also)
Lesson learned: Should have cut closer, - the old latex is impossible to glue to and gets in the way for placement of the seal.

Step three, place the new seal and inspect how it fits and where it should be placed.


Trying it on, - checking that there is sufficient overlap. Note that the glue on the replacement seal does not fasten to latex, - but can fasten ok to the old tape and to the suit inside. Lesson learned: I did not get sufficient overlap (only 1 cm at one place), - mainly because the fit on the bowl was too tight and the neck rose up while fitting. I will report later if this caused the suit to fail during use. (I should have understood this when I saw the tape not covered)


Here on the opposite side it fits better.


Here it is nice


Step four: Wipe the two surfaces that shall be glued together with Acetone (I guess any solvent without oil will do).
Note that the glue does not get sticky when it is wiped, - so it can still easily be moved and placed (I did not know, so I spent a lot of time testing how to place it after wiping without getting the surfaces to touch each other)


Heat about 7-8 cm with the dryer, - then squeeze the parts together with your hands.
(The guide recommend a roller, - but since you are pressing towards the old tape, the surface is far from even, and a a roller is useless).

All the way around, - each spot several times.


Step five, - wait 15 minutes to let it cool down, - then take it off, - check again, - and re-heat and re-squeeze where it does not stick fully.


Same spot taken from the other side, - easy to see that I got too little overlap. Showing un-covered glue from the new seal.

If you have any questions, comments, tips etc, - please send a pm to "bounce" at kiteforum.no or at kiteforum.com.

And finally, - I was out for a short session today, - 8 degrees C in the water, 8.5 in the air, - no hard chrashes, but I did get my head under water several times, - no problems, the seal did not get loose and did not leak water!