If your wetsuit doesn’t have a hood built in then you’re going to need something thick and warm if you want to go abalone diving. The general consensus is that you’ll want 7 millimeters of neoprene protecting your head when you’re swimming in the cold Pacific waters of Northern California.
Your face will take the brunt of the shock from the cold when you first dive in because it should be the only piece of skin on your body that is exposed to the elements. Your mask will cover your eyes, but everything else will be feeling frozen pretty quickly. Some people get an ice-cream headache when they first get in the water.
The ocean can be quite disorienting when you have all your dive gear on, and when you added the extra shock of the cold water it can be overwhelming. Time and repetition will help. The more dives you do the more comfortable you will feel taking on the ocean.
Here are some of the best hoods for abalone diving on Amazon:
I think the selection of hoods on Amazon is limited because most serious 7 mm wetsuits come with a hood attached.
Now that you’ve found a good hood, there are a lot more pieces of gear you need to go abalone diving. My checklist has the complete rundown.