Like all drysuit divers I am always concerned about my latex seals. Well two weeks ago during a grueling search in a torrent river, I managed to put a small one inch tear in one of my dry seal cuffs. Now I dive with Viking cuffs mainly because the dry gloves I use are only a couple of bucks to replace and it makes for a better dryer seal. So that being said, my seals don’t have to be absolutely
water tight, but they do need to work. Now the tear is just an inch but its just long enough that trimming it would be a little two short for my liking. Now all you drysuit diving ringfinders know how expensive and time consuming getting your suit cuffs replaced is… (it’s about 180 bucks for two wrist seals and your lucky to see your suit in under three weeks) Traditional way of thinking is… ahh well send em in and get them replaced your S.O.L…. I have been to every dive shop I could find, from professional to recreational open water shops. I have been told the same thing, “either trim or replace.. there is no repair!” Now we are an interesting group of people with a passion that we all follow and we don’t take “Can’t be done” lightly. So I decided to approach this problem from a different angle. I figured instead of talking to a dive shop, I would talk to a chemist… or at least someone proficient in plastics. Low an behold I find an intelligent fellow at Industrial Plastics and Paint. Now I didn’t expect to find allot of brain activity here at all after walking in the front door because of the fumes, but I decided to give it a gamble. Well this plastics expert showed me a product that they use for inflatables because they didn’t have any latex repair that would work because of the flexibility issue. The product is called “Tear-Aid Fabric repair Type A”. Now the reason this was recommended was because of the several things that this repair adhesive tape can be used on, one of them was Hypalon. Now Hypalon is, from what I was told, is very similar to latex and the adhesive will work and stay adherent even when stretched. Hey for about 20 bucks it was worth the gamble. Included are the pictures of the tear and the repair using this tape adhesive. I used a wine bottle for the form of the cuff, and being from the Okanagan, I am in no short supply of those. Now since the repair, I have been on one dive and it seems to work very well. Not affected by moisture and the edges have not rolled or come apart from the latex. This twenty dollar repair has saved me 180 bucks in replacement and several weeks in equipment down time. I have a few other dives planned for this next month, and if anything changes I will update the article.