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Lavacore instead of wetsuit for 77F 25C water?

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.


Love snorkeling in warm water.
May 4, 2006
I will be going to Maui, Hawaii in January and want to be comfortable in the water. I mostly snorkel on the surface with dives to the reef from 10 to 30 feet (10m) depth.

I just returned from a trip and was a bit cool after an hour in the water on cloudy days or when in bays with cold-water springs. I was fine on sunny days. January water temperature is predicted to be about 3 degrees cooler at 77F (25C). I wore board shorts, a 1.5mm neoprene T-shirt, and a long sleeve hooded lycra rashguard. I would rather not add more buoyancy since I'm diving so shallow. I want long sleeves and a hood for sun protection.

I recently learned about Lavacore and Sharkskin garments. They use a fleece lining inside a stretchy water resistant membrane. The idea is the fleece holds water in place, the membrane keeps flushing to a minimum. Since they don't have foam, they are neutral buoyancy. Claims of warmth are equivalent to a 2-3 mm wetsuit which would be great for my use.

We tend to try out different beaches, go to town for lunch, etc. so having an insulating top over board shorts is a lot more convenient than a full wetsuit.

Any experience with these types of garments?
I remembered having a discussion on the same topic with someone a couple of years ago so backtracked to dig this one out but hope it helps.
I have a lavacore hooded top. It is pretty nice, but nowhere near as warm as my 3mm open cell top. If ill be in for a couple hour waters, I can get by with the lavacore, especially on a sunny day. If I'm going more than 2 hours, Ill wear the wetsuit top, if im going all day, ill wear the pants too. I would say 77 is a bit borderline. and I wouldnt expect the lavacore to be too much different in warmth from the 1.5 you have.
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