Hey there folks. Hope everyone’s finding water this weekend! I think I may head over to the Hehnen Residence on Spring Creek this afternoon so I can get the scoop on the playspot there, along with some pictures and get them up on our WK Local Playspots page. The more local info, the better the site will be! Anyway, I’m just writing this today to tell you guys about some exemplary service I received yesterday from Immersion Research.

Now I want to start by saying that Immersion Research is a World Kayak official sponsor. Now that’s big stuff. These guys send us tons of free gear to give away at all our events each year. That’s even bigger! Free stuff?? That’s every boater’s magic words.

And so recently I’ve been in a toss-up about which WK Sponsor, Kokatat or Immersion Research, I would go with for my future drysuit purchase? I was leaning toward the Kokatat because of their relationship with Walden’s Ridge Whitewater, whom of which I would’ve purchased it through, and WeStroke and because of the Gortex fabric, which is tried and true.

I emailed Colin Kemp, World Kayak Program Manager to get his feedback on the choice. Now I don’t know if you know, but Colin is actually a bigger guy than I am.  Shocking, I know. He’s got me by a couple inches at least. So he would need a big suit. So I know there’s a big and tall size available in the Immersion Research.

Turns out, Colin is actually the guy who the new Supermodel drysuit was made for. He just completed a 2 year field test on the product, coming back with rave reviews. So there’s that. Here’s what Immersion Research has to say about the Supermodel drysuit.

“The heart of the Supermodel design is it’s phenomenal fabric. The 100% nylon shell material is light,  remarkably durable for it’s weight and has great hand feel. The laminate is extremely breathable and completely unfazed by the brutal conditions found inside the typical drysuit.  Simply put, the suit is made with the best material we have ever seen for dry suits and dry tops.”

“The feature set is exactly what we expect out of a high-end kayaking dry suit: Fabric booties, flexible lightweight T-Zip zippers, heavy gauge nylon used for the elbows, knees and butt, rear entry zip (through the shoulders), glued-in gaskets and an inner neoprene waistband. In addition, we have designed every seam on the suit for ease of taping, we hot press every single cross seam on the suit, and we submerge and air test every suit coming off the production line to test for leaks.”  –  Immersion Research.

Anyway, I recently have been wearing an Immersion Research drytop for the last year, and have recently noticed the Cordura fabric getting worn and frayed by the industrial Velcro. I have also recently noticed a little water in my sleeves coming off the river recently. I hadn’t quite had it a year yet, so it’s still under warranty. So, I put in a claim on the Immersion Research website, which generated a 4 digit code I was supposed to write on the shipping box, along with their address and off it went.

I’ve recently been having to sport my old Level Six drytop, which is now three seasons old and is really starting to show its age.  So it’s been a cold couple weeks.  But something is better than nothing.  Always.

So they gave me that code, which turned out to be a ticket number.  Or a tracking number. It has a message feed over it which shows status and allows you to ask about status.  Sound complicated? It’s not. Not if I figured it out. Lol

So I ended up getting a call from the  Immersion Research Warranty Department with the news. Turns out they’ve never seen this type of wear before.  They think it may be due to the fact that I’m such a big guy, the wrist cuffs don’t close up tight enough and the Velcro hangs back, pressed and rubbing against the Cordura.  It’s also doing the same thing around the belly band. Thanksgiving Dinner has stuck around a little too long!  Leave it to the Holidays to fatten you up! They then pressure tested it in water and found that it doesn’t leak, which is good.  They said the gaskets were a bit worn too.

So to fix this they offered to change out the belly band to a XXL. On the sleeves, they offered to take off the Velcro all together, and put on tight Neoprene Wrist Cuffs that will come down far on my wrists and hopefully over the base of my neoprene gloves.  They offered to cover all that under the warranty! Then they also offered to replace all the gaskets for half the price Stohlquist wanted to fix that old drytop I had in the way back.  BIG difference in price.

I thought their offer was very generous, and I gave them the go ahead on the work. So I’m currently waiting on the thing to come back in the mail.  I can’t wait to have the comfort and security of a good solid drytop again.  Big thanks to Immersion Research for their outstanding customer service so far.

So what is my response to my original problem? Which company will I choose for my dry suit investment?  Immersion Research.

Philip Byard

Nashville WK Ambassador

December 14, 2013

War Eagle!