My Piel drysuit has been going since 1992 (really!). I put its longevity down to the facts that I wear it only for a couple of winter months each year, and that it is not breathable. The lack of breathability has never been a problem (I always wear a fleecy wicking layer, so the inside of the drysuit gets condensation, not me), and I've noticed how quickly others' breathable ones become porous. Problem is, I think you won't find a non-breathable one nowadays. When the time comes to replace, I'll be looking first at Typhoon - their stuff I've bought (boots, wetsuit) has been first class.
Buoyancy aids are more of a problem. I didn't realise it until one day I found myself clambering onto the centreboard during a capsize much more easily than usual; thought no more of it until I got back to the changing room, and there was my b.a. hanging on the hook! Wearing a wetsuit, I hadn't missed it while in the water either. With that in mind, I've been looking out for a slimmer b.a., but they all look pretty bulky up front (the bit that catches omn the 'board and gunwale lip), even the so called 'constrictor' ones made of neoprene. Frankly, I found a slim, old fashioned zip-up waistcoat type less bulky than the current over-the head type - the foam was distributed more thinly over a larger area.
My advice - get the smallest you can fit. I'll be interested in learning what others recommend.
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