How to choose the right wetsuit.

The right wetsuit choice can make all the difference to your riding performance. An ill fitted or a low quality wetsuit will cause you discomfort and therefore a hindrance on your riding ability.

There are a few things to know about how wetsuits work before making your selection. Wetsuits work by trapping a thin layer of water next to your skin, your body temperature then heats this water as you work and this is what keeps you warm. To allow for this insulation process to take place your wetsuit must fit well and not be baggy, this is why we always suggest you try before you buy to avoid disappointment.

The process of your wetsuit selection:

1) What is the wetsuit being used for?

Board sports = For a wetsuit being used for board sports, stretch is an important factor. Neoprene is made from oil, and just like oil there is different grades. The higher quality neoprene generally has a greater stretch, the importance of stretch in board sports is quite clear. You need to be able to move freely and comfortably, without the neoprene restricting you movements, especially in the joints and lower back.

Less Active Sports = For sports were there is less movement, warmth and insulation are the key factors. Wetsuits now days are jam packed with technology to keep you warm; such as firewall materials and windshield, to give you that extra warm you need.

2) Thickness?

Summer = 3/2 – A 3/2 suit has 3mm of neoprene on the body and 2mm on the arms and legs. This provides the good insulation but generally used in warmer waters.

Winter = 5/3+ – Winter suit generally start with 5mm on the body and between 3mm and 4mm on the arms and legs. Some suits provide a 6/4 construction, thee suits are generally heavier but provide a greater level of warmth for them even colder days.

3) What seams?Screen shot 2013-10-31 at 12.30.51

Flatlock Stitching = Flatlock stitching is very distinctive as a train track looking stich. Flatlock stitching is generally found on summer wetsuits or lower grade wetsuits. Flatlock allows water to flow in and out of the seams to keep a constant temperature. This stitching is not recommended for winter wetsuits as water is not trapped and therefore there is minimal insulation. But are perfect for summer suits in warmerScreen shot 2013-10-31 at 12.32.12 conditions.

Glued and Blind Stitching (GBS) = GBS is generally used on winter wetsuits. The neoprene is glued together and then a tight stitching is applied to the outer side, this gives great insulation as water is trapped within the suit, as it should. The “blind” stich provides durability and a tighter seal in the neoprene giving a better level of insulation.

Screen shot 2013-10-31 at 12.33.04Fluid Seam Weld = This is the highest quality way of joining neoprene together and therefore is the most expensive, but you can really tell the difference. Two pieces of neoprene are glued together then a rubber tape is glued over the seam. There are two main advantages of a FSW suit. Firstly as there is no stitching the suits are totally flexible and comfortable, so perfect for all board sports. The rubber tape mean the suit is totally airtight and almost water proof, many FSW suit are called “semi-dry” suits as they let very little water in and provide the best overall insulation.

4) Front or Back Zip?

Back Zip = Back zip is the original and easiest way to enter a wetsuit, but there are downsides. Due to the zip being at the backScreen shot 2013-10-31 at 12.35.04 of the suit the neck seal is not a total seal and water can leak down the back of the neck causing some discomfort. But with a lot of back suits, a barrier system is used, this barrier is pulled over the head before the suit is zipped up to give a better neck seal and therefore minimize the chance of water rushing down your neck.

Front Zip = Front zip may be more difficult to put on, but a front zip suit provides an even better neck seal and generallychestzip_1 provide better back movement as there is no zip restricting movement. But it is totally up to personal preference, as some people prefer back zip even though front zip provides better protection.

Well now I am just confused…

Don’t worry if all that information is too much to take in. Here are Wet’n’Dry we are here to help! Give us a call on 01268 569988 or pop into the store and we will be more than happy to take you through our full wetsuit range to find the perfect wetsuit for you. All the staff at Wet’n’Dry have used a variety of different suit and select only the best suits to stock to make sure you stay on the water for as long as possible!

Posted in SUP | 2,643 Comments

SOLOSHOT – The worlds first automatic tracking tripod.

 

What SOLOSHOT say:

“Like most great products, SOLOSHOT was born of desire. A surfer awakes one morning to the sound of a fresh north swell breaking on the famous shifting stones of Apple Bay, Tortola. Looking out on a beautiful sunrise with 6 foot Italian-ice blue waves feathering across a reef, the surfer sets a camera on his balcony, points it fully zoomed out at the peak, presses record and hits the surf hoping for the best. ‘Some footage is better than no footage’ he thinks. Hours later he returns for some breakfast and checks to see what the camera has captured. After watching the footage he thinks to himself, ‘if only the camera could have a tighter shot and follow me throughout the lineup while getting smooooooth footage of every wave…’ Four years later, after a serendipitous meeting of the minds on Kite Beach in Cabarete, Dominican Republic and with the help of 23 engineers, scientists, artists and designers, we are incredibly stoked to introduce SOLOSHOT. We are excited to bring our platform technology first to surfers and similar activities and ultimately to the world at large. We are a hands on company that is proud to design and manufacture its own products that we LOVE to use and stand behind.

about-soloshot

What we say:

First Impressions.

“It looks like a pucker bit of kit! The tripod itself feels very sturdy and the rotating parts look and feel smooth. The buttons and charging points seem easy to use and master. As soon as we saw it, we couldn’t stop thinking of the endless possibilities for the SOLOSHOT, it was love at first site.”

First time using the SOLOSHOT.

“We was so surprised at how easy the SOLOSHOT was to use, it took a few minutes to set up using the very handy “Cheat sheet” that SOLOSHOT supply. After mastering the setting up process filming began. We used the SOLOSHOT in a variety of different ways to tests its ability; strapping the arm band to slow and fast moving objects to see the results, and the results were phenomenal.  We all were so surprised at the SOLOSHOT’s ability to smoothly and quickly follow the armband, with the SOLOSHOT being able to rotate at 45 degrees a second even fast cars could be followed by the SOLOSHOT. We also tried the SOLOSHOT with a variety of different cameras to test each cameras ability. The GOPRO’s worked well, although the GOPRO on wide angle had to be set up differently so it is on a tighter angle we found it worked well. With the almost universal camera attachment, the SOLOSHOT can be used with almost any camera to fit your videoing needs. High res cameras with large zooms can be set to take pictures at intervals to get some cracking photos.”

 Final Words.

“After using the SOLOSHOT automatic tracking tripod multiple times the whole of the Wet’n’Dry Team agree that is one of the best new inventions to come into the boardsports industry in a long time. No longer must you worry about not getting a steady shot, no longer must you put the responsibility of getting the perfect shot in someone else’s hands. The SOLOSHOT allows you to get the perfect shot every time, just leave on the beach and ride. How many times have you said either of these phrases “Did you see that?” or “Did you get that on film”, these two phrases are now extinct with the introduction of the SOLOSHOT tripod.

Rating.

Five Star *****

Click here to view some of our SOLOSHOT footage, filmed at Festival Boardsports, in Basildon, Essex.

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Learning to Kitesurf in the Dominican Republic 2013

Learning to Kitesurf in the Dominican Republic 2013

This was the first time the whole Dodds family had visited the Dominican together, Jamie my farther has visited before, but this year we was all lucky enough to make the 8 hour flight to the Caribbean. Jonathan Dodds (My uncle) moved to the Dominican Republic over 10 years ago, back in the very early years of Kitesurfing. Jonathan was the first Kite school to be opened in Cabarete, but now there is multiple schools along the beach, which is now given the name of “kite beach” due to the huge amount of kiters that flock there every year for the perfect conditions. Jon’s kite school will always remain the original founder of the kite scene in the Dominican working with a number of the major names in Kitesurfing .

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After arriving in the Dominican after an 8 hour flight over nothing but ocean, the watersports began! The Dominican has lots to offer in the way of extreme sports, from wakeboarding, windsurfing, kitesurfing, horse riding and plenty of waterfalls to jump off. This holiday was the first time had a go at kitesurf, I had previously done sports such as, wakeboarding, snowboarding and windsurfing, but never kiting. I wasn’t apprehensive; I had watched many kiters and worked out the basic for myself over years of watching dad and working in Wet’n’Dry. The first day of lessons started with landbased kite flying which was followed by body dragging, I cannot stress how important bodydragging is when learning to kitesurf, it teaches you kite control but also a safety precaution if you happen to fall off your board, which I sure to happen.
The next kiting lesson I was on the board, this was a very quick learning curve as getting out of the water if very similar to wakeboarding and once your riding it is the same as any other board sports, which made it seem very easy. Until you forget you have a kite and get dragged down wind out of control, which usually ends in you flying into the water. After riding a few times I had good control over the kite and was starting to dig in the edge and start to ride upwind.
The third session I had no instruction and just went out riding, this time I practiced my upwind technique and started to do transitions. This session was the best as I truly felt like I was progressing and Kitesurfing. After this ride I felt confident riding and carried on riding the rest of the holiday, which ended in me nailing upwind, transitions and even trying small jumps.
I would recommend anyone to learn to kite surf! If you have previous board sports experience kiting should be a quick learning curve, all that is needed is to master the kite flying!

I thank Kite Club for their hospitality’s and their excellent teaching, they made it a great holiday!
Now hope to have a ride at the local spots in Southend, so I will see you in the water!!

http://www.kiteclubcabarete.com/

By Nathan Dodds (Wet’n’Dry TeamMember)

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Posted in Kitesurf Spot Guide | Tagged , , , | 246 Comments

SUPsailing – Back to the Old School!

SUPsailing Chalkwell

As we continue to endure the wettest spring in living memory, we’re beginning to dream of the sunny days of summer 2011. OK, it wasn’t the windiest of years, but we got our fill last season thanks to some versatile Starboard stand-up paddleboards.

SUPsailing, windSUPing, or just old-school windsurfing – call it what you like, one thing’s for sure: it’s a lot of fun on a warm summer’s day in light winds. Their 12’ waterlines mean they glide satisfyingly well in light airs so are a pleasure just to sail about on, but as there’s so much volume in these designs they’re also great for polishing up on your technique if the wind’s not blowing. Chuck on a 5.5-6m rig and they offer a stable platform to try all manner of sail-spinning trickery that can only be good for your muscle memory and high-wind sailing.

Before the advent of super-wide, super-stable beginners’ boards, we all learnt to windsurf on boards similar to these. So they offer a nostalgic ride for many. And for anyone who’s learnt to windsurf more recently, getting into SUPsailing offers a whole new world of light-wind sailing. Forget about trying to get planing when the wind’s light – even forget the harness if you want to – and just enjoy cruising around and trying new tricks.

Thanks to Mike Horsfall, here’s a movie from a session towards the end of last summer. Filmed with a GoPro attached to the luff-tube with Mike’s Magic Mast-Mount – available for £25 exclusively from Wet’n’Dry Boardsports!

Check out our SUP range, and GoPro cameras at Wet’n’Dry Boardsports: www.wetndryboardsports.com

Posted in Extreme Sports News, SUP | 301 Comments

Whitey’s Wet’n'Dry Walkabout!

Earlier this year Dave White paid us another one of his regular visits, this time with digicam in hand to record a quick guided tour around our Wet’n'Dry store in Sadlers Farm. So – starring Jamie, Al and Graham (and not forgetting our shiny new hot chocolate / tea / coffee machine!) – here’s Whitey’s Wet’n'Dry walkabout…

Dave Who?!?

There can’t be too many around the beaches of Britain that haven’t at least heard of Dave White, but as it the way of legend there’s plenty more to windsurfing’s widest Essex boy than meets the eye! So here’s five things you might not know about the Mighty Whitey…

1. Way back in the day, before starting Wet’n'Dry Boardsports, our very own Graham Dodds was the first in the country to spot Whitey’s potential. In the early nineties Graham set Dave up with his first sponsorship deal for HyLine Sails, kitting him out with ‘Sotavento Speed’ sails and signing his first windsurfing paycheque.

2. Although best known for his speedsailing – he’s a former World Champ, and widely associated with Southend’s world-famous speedstrip on the Ray – nowadays Dave’s main passion is wavesailing. He won the masters fleet at the BWA Ireland event in Brandon Bay last season, and was spotted throwing double forwards on his latest trip to Maui…

3. Despite having spent decades as Britain’s biggest windsurfing evangelist, Dave doesn’t limit his boardsport exploits to boardsailing. He’s more likely to be kitesurfing these days if it’s marginal, you’ll see him out on his SUP if there’s no wind, or away snowboarding when it’s just too cold!

4. Dave’s still a long way from hanging up his harness just yet, but there’s already a new generation of Mighty Whitey waiting in the wings: oldest son Reece is still in his teens but is already a fully-qualified windsurfing and SUP instructor, and has recently been spotted charging down the Ray with his dad’s trademark full-power style.

5. Having originally been the face of F2 / Arrows in the UK, then Tabou / Gaastra before a spell as the esteemed editor of BOARDS Magazine, Dave’s now supplying Wet’n'Dry with RRD boards, kites and sails. Come and check out his latest delivery of RRD windsurfing and kiting goodness in store at www.wetndryboardsports.com

There’s much more from Whitey on his blog at www.davewhite.me

WetnDry

Inside Wet'n'Dry Sadlers Farm

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SUP: Easy as 1-2-3!

Summer 2012′s here at last, and there’s no better time to get into the rapidly growing sport of stand-up paddleboarding (a.k.a. paddlesurfing, or SUP for short). Initially seen as a light wind alternative to windsurfing, paddling has quickly extended its appeal well beyond windsports. It’s a low cost, hassle-free introduction to watersports. A great way of keeping in shape, it works your core, improves strength and conditioning, and even cardiovascular fitness. But equally, it’s a mellow way to unwind, improve your balance and board skills, and simply have some fun out on the water.

If you’re thinking of giving paddlesurfing a go this summer, here’s how to: our three steps to SUP heaven…

 

1 – Get Kitted Out

One of the joys of SUP is its simplicity – all you need is a board and a paddle and you’re ready to go… (And if you don’t have them already, you might also appreciate a wetsuit if the water’s cold, and a surf-leash to attach to your board.) Wet’n'Dry stock two of the UK’s biggest board brands and have some top value recommendations for typical Essex conditions.

The 2012 Starboard Atlas 12′ in super-tough Slick construction is a great family or beginner’s board, yet also a very competent flat-water cruiser offering effortless glide. 33″ wide, it has a full soft deckpad, high-density PVA rails, and will accept a windsurfing mastbase.

The 2012 Starboard Whopper 10′, also in super-tough Slick construction, is short enough to fit into most vans yet super-stable at 34″ wide. While perfectly at home for beginners on flat water and still windsurf-capable, it offers good crossover into waves and surfing.

Or if space is tight, take a look at the Red Paddle Co Eleven Air – an 11′ inflatable paddleboard that’s easy to store, totally ding-proof and perfect for travelling, yet with surprisingly good performance.

 

 

 

2 – Choose Your Moment

Ideally pick a calm, sunny day, and flat water. There are dozens of paddle spots within 20-minutes of Wet’n'Dry Boardsports near Basildon: the sea, lakes, rivers, canals… Basically, wherever there’s water you can paddle it. You can SUP when it’s windy, but (just like riding a bike) it’s a lot easier if it’s not blowing. Once you’re comfortable on a board, you’ll soon be paddling in choppier water, waves, and even surf: at breaks all around Britain, paddlesurfers catch way more waves than regular surfers!

 

3 – Stand Up and Paddle!

If you’re used to boardsports, it could be as simple as that. But even if you’ve never stood on a board in your life, within half an hour you should be happy paddling around. To begin with, kneel in the middle of the board, take a few strokes to get going, and find your balance. Once moving, get to your feet, stand tall, and keep paddling. Change sides every few strokes to stay in a straight line, keep paddling on one side to turn. With a bit of instruction, you’ll soon learn more advanced paddling, stance and turning techniques – click here for details of SUP Tuition at Wet’n'Dry Boardsports and check out this basics movie from John Hibbard at SUP UK.

What Next?

SUP is different things to different people. For many it’s enough just to get out onto the water more regularly. Others do it as part of their fitness regime: paddling will improve your core stability, provide a full body workout, and cardiovascular session all in one – and you can work as hard (or easy) as you like. Once you’re happy on a board, you can cruise a little further afield: maybe paddle up to the pub, plan a route around an island, or if the tide’s out go seal-spotting in estuary? If you want to get competitive, the British Stand Up Paddle Association run a whole series of race events around the country. Or if you want to get into the surf, catching and riding waves is so much easier when you’re already standing up…

Links

Wet’n'Dry SUP store

British Stand Up Paddle Association (BSUPA)

Stand Up Paddlesurf UK (SUP UK)

Wet’n'Dry SUP Lessons, Tours and Rental

 

 

Posted in Extreme Sports News, SUP | Tagged , , , , , , | 288 Comments

Kitesurfing at Clacton-on-sea

Martello Bay, Clacton-on-sea, Essex

Clacton Beach Essex

Martello Bay, Clacton-on-sea is the most popular beach for kitesurfing in North Essex.  It has a series of four large sandy sheltered bays which offer the perfect conditions for all kitesurfers regardless of their level.  Martello Bay is a designated watersports area meaning the beach is always well maintained and has plenty of space to safely launch and land your kite.  The water is clean and is often awarded a blue flag status.  Tidal waters mean that kitesurfers can enjoy varied conditions.  Low to mid tide gives the rider flat, calm and shallow waters with some fun kickers to play with. This period lasts approximately 6 hours with water depth around waist height so perfect for beginners and other riders practising new tricks.  Local kitesurfing school Zenith Kiting run by Matty Hurrell provides kitesurfing lessons in Martello Bay and other surrounding areas in Essex.  They are a friendly team and are well know at the beach.  Zenith Kiting are very approachable and are willing to help anyone from either un-tangling lines, launching, landing or showing new riders other local spots.  They also work with the largest kitesurfing shop in Essex, Wet ‘n’ Dry Boardsports.  They team up nicely organising different events and demo days in the season providing a fun vibe for everyone.   Contact Matty if you have any questions about the area.

T: 07809 710686Clacton Beach 2

W: www.zenithkiting.co.uk

Wind conditions

Prevailing south westerly winds provides Clacton clean cross-shore winds and is often around 20 knots.  Other directions which work are WSW, S, SE, E and NEE.  Best wind directions are anything with south in it and are usually the warmest winds.  In the warmer months sea breezes are more common fuelling some epic late afternoon/evening sessions.

 Hazards

Martello Bay, Clacton-on-sea offers one of the biggest beaches in Essex which makes it perfect for kitesurfing however riders should always use common sense when launching, landing and riding.  Hazards include the usual such as sea walls and sea defences such as rocks.  The bays are big enough to accommodate a good amount of riders without anyone having to sail to close to these hazards.  On low water a storm drainage pipe is revealed in the first bay.  Please ask a local rider where this exactly is if you’re not sure.  Riders should also be careful with dog walkers and other beach users.

Parking

Free parking is available along the sea wall (park and ride!),  however if spaces are full there is a pay and display car park nearby.

Directions

Selsey Av, Martello Bay, Clacton-on-sea, Essex CO15 1NQ

From M25 – At junction 28, take the A12/A1023 exit to Chelmsford/Romford/Brentwood, Merge onto A12, Exit A120 after around 40mi, Slight left toward Colchester Rd/A133, At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Colchester Rd/A133,  At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit ontoA133, go through 4 round abouts, Turn right onto Marine Parade E Go through 1 roundabout, Turn left onto Hastings Ave.

Posted in Kitesurf Spot Guide | 847 Comments

Windsurfing at Marconi Sailing Club

A great place to windsurf in EssexOne of the best secret spots in Essex for Windsurfing is Marconi’s Sailing Club along the Blackwater Estuary. This is usually a members only sailing club, but any visiting Windsurfers are welcome to sail at any time. On arrival, stop at the front gates. Walk to the windsurfers rigging area and a member will be more then happy to show you around and let you in. Parking is free, and there is a large grass rigging area within meters of the shoreline. There is a large clubhouse on site, which at weekends has a full bar and cafe. There are also hot showers and large male and female changing rooms. The windsurf members have access to their own rescue boat, making the location worry free, especially throughout the winter months.

Conditionswindsurfing at Marconi sailing club

Directly across from Marconi’s, is Osea Island and at low tide there is flat, shallow water on both sides. There is a deep Channel in the middle where you can get large ramps, which are great for jumping. This is an awesome spot for Freestyle windsurfing, Bump N Jump or just free-riding.

Wind Direction

You can windsurf here in any wind direction, but South round to West is best on an incoming tide. The wind gets accelerated in this direction through the land and between the Island and the mainland, giving up to an extra 5 knts. Sailing from Southeast to Northeast is best on an outgoing tide. North westerly are sailable, but sailing across to the opposite side of the Estuary the conditions are epic. Northerlies are also sailable here, being one of the few places in Essex that are. At low tide sailing across to Osea Island, there is a spit of sand that gives mirror flat water even in 4-meter weather.

DirectionsFreestyle at Marconi Sailing Club

Coming clockwise around the M25 leave at junction 28 A12. Follow the signs to Chelmsford / Harwich. Leave the A12 at the Maldon junction and follow signs to Maldon. Go through the village of Danbury until you reach a roundabout. Take the second exit (straight over) signposted Burnham / Latchingdon. Follow a winding road until you reach a T-junction – at which turn right, still following signs to Burnham. Follow the road to a mini-roundabout and turn left, still following the signs to Burnham / Latchingdon.

In Latchingdon you will come to a fork. Take the left fork (signposted Bradwell / Maylandsea) and follow the road for about 10 minutes until you reach the village of Steeple. Go through the village and just outside it, you will find a small turn on the left called Stansgate Road. Take this left turn and follow the lane all the way to its end where you will find Marconi Sailing Club.

Google Maps: http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?hl=en&tab=wl

Nearest Postcode : CM0 7NU

Posted in Windsurf Spot Guide | 47 Comments

The importance of Snowboarding First Layer!

Most people over look the importance of first layer… And a heck of a lot of people don’t realise how much technology goes into first layer. Let’s face it, it’s because they look like pyjamas.
But please tell me, who wants to feel cold? Yeah, a good quality breathable snowboard jacket is great, and yeah throw on a couple of t-shirts to layer up… But when you’ve been shredding the hill  hard and sweating you’ll get cold on a chair lift sitting still!

 

 

Let’s blame cotton. The most common substitute for first layer is made out of cotton. As soon as cotton clothing gets wet, its insulation capacities are lost and it stays wet throughout. It gets soaked and then freezes, alas; it makes you chilly and ruins your day of riding!

Burton, Dakine, Nikita and Volcom are very clever and use synthetic materials such as polypropylene in their first layer clothing. Burton first layer is made with DRYRIDE Ultrawick™
fabric. It is scientifically engineered to pull heat robbing moisture away from your skin and propels it through your layers. Not to mention most snowboarding first layer also doesn’t just keep you dry, it’s comfortable and looks awesome underneath your jacket.

 

 

 

In addition to all of that, guys Volcom has hit the nail on the head with its ‘Onezie’ stylesuit to guarantee you warmth and dry skin. It also has a hood to seal the deal, but not that sealed, it does have a bum pouch for those who have to drop the kids off at the pool….

For more nfo click:

Mens Tech First Layer

Posted in Extreme Sports News | 703 Comments

Windsurfing at Thorpe Bay

Thorpe Bay

Another main area for windsurfing is Thorpe Bay. This is situated about two miles east of the Southend Pier near Thorp Bay Yatch Club.

Parking is next to a large green area on the other side of the road to the beach.

There are steps going down to the beach opposite the parking.

Thorpe Bay beach is a good sailing area for all levels, but in the summer months there are boats moored out off the beach. This can be a problem when the winds from the south at high tide. These club boats come out early November and are back in the water around April.

Nearest postcode SS1 3NP

Tides

At Thorpe Bay you can windsurf around three and a half hours either side of high tide.

However it can vary depending on spring or neap tides and low and high pressure. Thorpe Bay is a great place to sail 2 hours after high tide when the water is waist deep and flat. This state of the tide is popular with windsurfers who are learning to water start or gybe or in the winter months when it’s cold.

There are no banks or shallow parts, however it is a very long walk back if you leave it too long before returning to the beach.

Best wind for Thorpe Bay

SW Thorpe Bay faces slightly SW so tends to be a bit on shore on a SW wind direction it can also be quite rough on windy days at high tide. As the tide goes out you can get some great sailing as the water flattens off.

S or SE is a good direction for Thorpe Bay, great as the tide goes out with long runs and steady winds.

W wind is a good direction on an incoming tide. This can be good for jumps when it gets windy.

Posted in Windsurf Spot Guide | 1,432 Comments