Title:
Wetsuit with flush resistant through shoulder entry system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A low profile, flush resistant, through shoulder entry system for a wetsuit is disclosed. In one disclosed embodiment, the wetsuit has a stretchable entryway formed through a head-opening portion with a head flap pivotally secured to the body of the wetsuit. The head flap pivots to define an open position whereby a user can easily enter and exit the wetsuit through the stretchable entryway, and a closed position. At least one gusset extends between the wetsuit and head flap. In another embodiment, the head flap is detachably secured in its closed position with a combination of a horizontally mounted slide fastener and hook and loop material.



Inventors:
Moore, Bruce (Costa Mesa, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/647541
Publication Date:
12/06/2007
Filing Date:
12/27/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
2/82
International Classes:
B63C11/04
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20090083897COLD-WEATHER GLOVEApril, 2009Kishino
20070271678Dripless Hair BibNovember, 2007Schwartzman
20080109937Wristband With Contoured Comfort SidesMay, 2008Greer
20060137072Neck warmer and method for making sameJune, 2006Visco et al.
20060174399Customizable jeans garmentAugust, 2006Nikolayev et al.
20030182705Reflective halloween costumeOctober, 2003Spongberg
20070000001Ventilation vestJanuary, 2007Tomann et al.
20060117454Disposable exercise garmentJune, 2006Smith
20080209613Strap GloveSeptember, 2008Duby
20060143805Helmet fastening elementJuly, 2006Moore et al.
20090106881METHOD AND KIT FOR COMMUNICATION USING A LEG COVERINGApril, 2009Delinski



Primary Examiner:
MUROMOTO JR, ROBERT H
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
IPSOLON, LLP (PORTLAND, OR, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A wetsuit comprising: a body portion a head opening portion opening into said body portion; an entryway into said body portion through said head opening portion; a head flap portion pivotally secured to said body portion defining an open position wherein said entry way is exposed for entry into the wetsuit, and a closed position wherein said entry way is closed from entry; and, a first water flow resistant gusset extending between said body portion to said head flap thereby limiting the flow of water between said head flap and said body portion.

2. The wetsuit of claim 1, further including a second water flow resistant gusset extending between said body portion and said head flap, said first and second gussets spaced apart from each other and straddling said head opening portion.

3. The wetsuit of claim 1, wherein: said gusset is substantially planar and substantially triangular defining a head flap engaging edge, a body portion engaging edge, and an open edge; said head flap engaging edge secured to said head flap; and, said body portion engaging edge secured to said body portion.

4. The wetsuit of claim 3, wherein said head flap engaging edge is sealed to said head flap, and said body portion engaging edge is sealed to said body portion.

5. The wetsuit of claim 1, wherein said head flap includes an opening for receiving a wearer's head therethrough.

6. The wetsuit of claim 5, further including a collar portion encircling said opening for snuggly engaging a wearer's neck when said head flap is in said closed position.

7. The wetsuit of claim 1, further including a securing structure for detachably holding said head flap in said closed position.

8. The wetsuit of claim 7, wherein said securing structure includes a first portion of a slide fastener mounted substantially horizontally along a front of the body portion, and a second portion of the slide fastener mounted to said flap portion such that said first and second portions of said slide fastener operably engage each IS other when said flap portion is in said closed position.

9. The wetsuit of claim 8, wherein said first portion is mounted to an outer surface-of said body portion and said second portion of said slide fastener is mounted to an inner surface of said head flap.

10. The wetsuit of claim 8, wherein said head flap has a distal end and said second portion of said slide fastener is positioned toward said distal end.

11. The wetsuit of claim 10, further including a first portion of one of said hook and loop material operably secured toward said distal end of said head flap, and a second section of the other of said hook and loop material operably secured to said body portion for operably securing said head flap to said body portion is said closed position.

12. The wetsuit of claim 8, further including a tap extending from said head flap to said body portion, said tap detachably securable to said body portion and positioned so as to extend over at least a portion of said slide fastener when said head flap is in said closed position, thereby preventing inadvertent opening of said slide fastener.

13. A wetsuit comprising: a body portion a head opening portion opening into said body portion; an entryway into said body portion through said head opening portion; a head flap portion pivotally secured to said body portion defining an open position wherein said entry way is exposed for entry into the wetsuit, and a closed position wherein said entry way is closed from entry; a first portion of a slide fastener mounted substantially horizontally along a front of the body portion, and a second portion of the slide fastener mounted to said flap portion such that said first and second portions of said slide fastener operably engage each other when said flap portion is in said closed position thereby detachably holding said head flap portion in said closed position.

14. The wetsuit of claim 13, wherein said head flap includes an opening for receiving a wearer's head therethrough.

15. The wetsuit of claim 13, wherein said first portion is mounted to an outer surface of said body portion and said second portion of said slide fastener is mounted to an inner surface of said head flap.

16. The wetsuit of claim 15, wherein said head flap has a distal end and said second portion of said slide fastener is positioned toward said distal end.

17. The wetsuit of claim 16, further including a first portion of one of said hook and loop material operably secured toward said distal end of said head flap, and a second section of the other of said hook and loop material operably secured to said body portion for operably securing said head flap to said body portion is said closed position.

18. The wetsuit of claim 13, further including a tap extending from said head flap to said body portion, said tap detachably securable to said body portion and positioned so as to extend over at least a portion of said slide fastener when said head flap is in said closed position, thereby preventing inadvertent opening of said slide fastener.

19. The wetsuit of claim 13, further including a first water flow resistant gusset extending between said body portion to said head flap thereby limiting the flow of water between said head flap and said body portion.

20. The wetsuit of claim 19, further including a second water flow resistant gusset extending between said body portion and said head flap, said first and second gussets spaced apart from each other and straddling said head opening portion.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority to U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/756,860, filed on Jan. 7, 2006.

TECHNICAL FIELD

This invention relates to an entry system for a wetsuit that allows a user easy entry into and egress from the wetsuit while significantly resisting undesirable flushing of water through the entryway while the wetsuit is being worn by the user.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Wetsuits are tight-fitting water-permeable suits worn by divers, surfers, swimmers and the like in order to protect their wearer's and retain body heat while their wearer's are immersed in cold water. Wetsuits come in a variety of styles and serve a variety of purposes. Full body wetsuits have full-length arm and leg portions extending from a trunk portion. Alternatively, a wetsuit commonly known as a “spring suit” usually has short sleeves and shortened leg portions extending from the trunk portion. In most all cases, wetsuits are formed with flexible, heat-insulating material such as elastomer foam, the most commonly used of which is usually referred to as “Neoprene.”

The typical wetsuit traps a layer of water between the wearer and the suit so that the wearer's body heat warms the trapped water. As warm trapped water is flushed from within the suit, it is usually replenished with cold ambient water that must be warmed by the wearer's body heat before wearer comfort is restored. Accordingly, it is undesirable for large portions of this trapped water to be rapidly flushed or otherwise flow from the suit during use.

Moreover, given the tight-fitting nature of wetsuits, it can be difficult for a wearer to put them on and take them off. Considerable effort has been made to facilitate wearer ease of entry into and egress out of a wetsuit. For example, many wetsuits have a large substantially vertically aligned zipper running down either the front or back trunk portion. The zipper allows the user to put on and take off the wetsuit like a jacket (front vertical zipper) or women's dress (back vertical zipper). Unfortunately, such vertical zippers are not aesthetically pleasing, they can be difficult for a user to use without assistance, and they tend to allow a large amount of water to flush through them during use.

More recently, efforts have focused on providing a zipperless system for permitting entry into and egress out of a wetsuit. An example of such a system is found in U.S. Pat. No. 5,630,229 to Machado et al. These types of systems provide an entryway between the shoulders of the wetsuit that stretches to allow the user to enter the wetsuit, but then compresses against the user after they have entered the wetsuit. In some cases, a head flap is also positioned to close over the entry area, with the user inserting their head through a collar in the flap to further close the entry and secure the user within the suit.

While such systems improve the flush resistance of the wetsuit by eliminating substantial portions of elongate, flush prone, zippers along the trunk portion of the wetsuit, water still tends to flush under the head flap and into the wetsuit.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, despite the known improvements with wetsuit entry and egress systems, there remains a need for a simple, cost effective, low profile, system for a wetsuit that allows easy entry and egress from a wetsuit while minimizing the amount of water flushing through the system into the wetsuit during use. In addition to other benefits that will become apparent in the following disclosure, the present invention fulfills these needs.

In a disclosed embodiment, the wetsuit has a stretchable entryway formed through a head-opening portion with a head flap pivotally secured to the body of the wetsuit. The head flap pivots to define an open position whereby a user can easily enter and exit the wetsuit through the stretchable entryway, and a closed position wherein the user is secured within the wetsuit. One or more gussets extend between the wetsuit and head flap thereby preventing inadvertent flushing of water between the head flap and wetsuit body through the entryway when the head flap is in its closed position.

In another disclosed embodiment, the head flap is detachably secured in its closed position with a combination of a horizontally mounted slide fastener extending between a distal end of the head flap and an outer, front surface of the body of the wetsuit and hook and loop material also extending therebetween.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a wetsuit having a flush resistant through shoulder entry system in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, showing a head flap in a possible closed position.

FIG. 2 is an enlarged partial view of the wetsuit of FIG. 1 showing preferred components of the flush resistant through shoulder entry system in an exploded view.

FIG. 3 is a partial front view of the wetsuit of FIG. 1 showing the head flap in a third possible partially closed position.

FIG. 4 is a partial front view of the wetsuit of FIG. 1 showing the head flap in a second possible partially closed position.

FIG. 5 is an isometric partial view of the wetsuit of FIG. 1 showing the head flap in a first possible partially closed position.

FIG. 6 is an isometric partial view of the wetsuit of FIG. 1 showing the head flap in a possible open position.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

A wetsuit 10 having a low profile, flush resistant, through shoulder entry and egress system 12 is disclosed in FIGS. 1-6.

The wetsuit has a stretchable through shoulder entry 14 with a head flap 16 that is pivotally secured to the wetsuit 10 so-as to define an open position 20 (FIG. 6) and a closed position 22 (FIG. 1). Left and right gussets 30a, 30b extend between the head flap 16 and top portion 32 of the wetsuit to prevent inadvertent water flow between the head flap 16 and top portion 32 of the wetsuit when the head flap 16 is in the closed position 22 (FIG. 1). A securing structure 40 is also preferably provided to detachably hold the head flap 16 in its closed position 22 (FIG. 1).

Referring to FIG. 2, the wetsuit 10 is preferably formed with conventional materials and methods to define a front 50, a back 52, a top 54, a trunk portion 56, a left leg portion 58, a right leg portion 60, a left arm portion 62, a right arm portion 64, a shoulder portion 66 and a head opening portion 68. The wetsuit 10 is preferably formed with elastomer foam such as neoprene having desired insulating characteristics for the planned use of the wetsuit. For example, a lightweight wetsuit would have a neoprene thickness of about 2 to 3 millimeters, a medium weight wetsuit would have a neoprene thickness of about 3 to 4 millimeters, and a heavy-duty wetsuit would have a neoprene thickness of about 4 to 5 millimeters.

Preferably, the head opening portion 68 includes an interior chest lining 70 that attaches to the front 50 of the wetsuit 10 and has overlapping panels 72a, 72b that stretch around the head opening portion 68 toward the back 52 of the wetsuit 10 to allow a user to enter and exit from the wetsuit through the stretched head opening portion 68. The head opening portion 68 and chest lining 70 are preferably made of sufficient resilient material to close down around the user when the user is inside the wetsuit 10.

More preferably, a substantially planar, chest lining insert 72 is secured to the inside surface 74 of the chest lining 70 toward the front 50 of the wetsuit 10 as best shown in FIGS. 5 & 6. The chest lining insert 72 is preferably formed of water impenetrable material such as neoprene or the like, and it is preferably edge glued and bind stitched to the chest lining 70 using conventional methods. The chest-lining insert 72 reduces water flush entering from the front of the wetsuit through the head opening.

Referring to FIGS. 2 & 6, the head flap 16 is preferably pivotally secured to the wetsuit 10 along a substantially horizontal plane 80 aligned along the shoulders of the wearer so as to provide movement between a closed position 22 (FIG. 1) and open position 20 (FIG. 6) of the head flap 16. More preferably, the head flap 16 is pivotally secured to the wetsuit 10 with conventional edge gluing and bind stitching.

An opening 82 is provided in the head flap 16 that aligns with the head-opening portion 68 of the wetsuit 10 when the head flap 16 is in the closed position 22 (FIG. 1). A resilient collar panel 84 preferably encircles the opening 82 and is sized to snugly encircle a wearer's neck, thereby preventing the flow of water through the opening 82 when worn by the user.

The left gusset 30a and right gusset 30b are preferably each substantially triangular shaped, planar members formed of substantially water impenetrable material, such as neoprene. Each gusset 30a, 30b defines a wetsuit engaging edge 90, a head flap engaging edge 92 and an open edge 94. Preferably, the wetsuit engaging edge 90 of each gusset 30a. 30b is edge glued and bind stitched to the wetsuit 10, and the head flap engaging edge 92 of each gusset 30a, 30b is edge glued and bind stitched to the head flap 16 as best shown in FIG. 6. More preferably, panel patches 96 are also provided at the corners of each gusset 30a, 30b to further improve the durability of each attachment.

The head flap 16 is free to move between its open position 20 (FIG. 6) and closed position 22 (FIG. 1) without interference from the gussets 30a, 30b. Moreover, the gussets 30a, 30b are preferably formed of a stretchable material so as to stretch as needed to allow a user to enter through the head opening portion 68 in the wetsuit 10 when the head flap 16 is in the open position 20 (FIG. 6). The gussets 30a, 30b provide a substantially water tight seal between the wetsuit 10 and head flap 16 on the left and right sides of the wetsuit 10 when the head flap 16 is in the closed position 22 (FIG. 1), thereby reducing water flush into the wetsuit 10 during use.

Preferably, the gussets 30a, 30b are formed with the same material forming the wetsuit 10. More preferably, the gussets 30a, 30b are formed with neoprene having a thickness of about 1 millimeter. Of course, other substantially non-permeable stretch materials could also be used.

The securing structure 40 for holding the head flap 16 in the closed position 22 (FIG. 1) preferably is flush resistant and includes one or more structures for preventing inadvertent opening of the head flap 16.

One possible securing structure 40 is shown in FIGS. 2-6. A first portion 100a of a slide fastener 100, such as a corrosion-resistant zipper, is aligned substantially horizontally along the front 50 and on the outer surface 102 of the wetsuit 10. The mating portion 100b of the slide fastener 100 is positioned on the inside surface 104 of the head flap 16 and aligned so as to operably engage the first portion o100a of the slide fastener 100 when the head flap 16 is in the closed position 22 (FIG. 1).

More preferably, engaging panels 110a, 110b of hook and loop material are provided on the outer surface 102 of the wetsuit 10 and the inside surface 104 of the head flap 16 adjacent to their respective slide fastener portions 100a, 100b and positioned toward the distal end 120 of the head flap 16 as best shown in FIG. 6. A tab 122 with engaging hook and loop material 124 secured thereto preferably extends from the head flap 16 toward the engaging hook and loop material 110b on the wetsuit 10, thereby covering a portion of the slide fastener 100. More preferably, this tab 122 is positioned so as to prevent the pull 130 of the slide fastener 100 from inadvertently moving, thereby holding the slide fastener 100 closed.

A user dons the wetsuit 10 with the low profile, flush resistant, through shoulder entry and egress system 12 by first positioning the head flap 16 to its open position20 (FIG. 6) and inserting their body, legs first, through the head opening portion 68 at the top 54 of the wetsuit 10. With their body, including their arms and legs, in the wetsuit 10, the user then inserts their head through the opening 82 in the head flap 16 so that the collar panel 84 encircles their neck. In this configuration, the head flap 16 will likely be in a first partially closed position 150 as best shown in FIG. 5.

The user then aligns the slide fastener portions 100a, 100b so as to allow the pull 130 to operably engage the slide fastener 100 (FIG. 4) and slides the pull 130 thereby securing the distal end 120 of the head flap 16 to the front 50 of the wetsuit 10. The tab 122 is then positioned across the slide fastener 100 (FIG. 3). The engaging panels 110a, 100b of hook and loop material on the head flap 16 and wetsuit 10 are engaged (FIG. 1), thereby securing the head flap 16 in a substantially flush resistant closed position 22 (FIG. 1).

In view of the wide variety of embodiments to which the principles of the invention can be applied, it should be apparent that the detailed description of a preferred embodiment is illustrative only and should not be taken as limiting the scope of the invention. Accordingly, the claimed invention includes all such modifications as may come within the scope of the following claims and equivalents thereto.