I mostly do sea kayaking, but am looking to get into more white water kayaking. I also do quite a bit of sailboat racing. I am looking for something to keep me dry when sailing in heavy wind and big chop, plus something that will work for kayaking and hopefully keep me dry when I roll. Would a semi-dry top like the Extrasport X-Pert Flex Semi-Dry Top (Extrasport M'S X-Pert Flex Semi Dry Top - Men's - 2009 BCS from Backcountry.com) keep me dry enough on a roll? Thanks for all your help!
I have the extrasport semi-dry top. I use it on cooler summer days for whitewater and after several rolls i get pretty wet inside. You can usually add some layering underneath to keep you a little warmer but there is definitely leakage. Otherwise it is a great top.
But, I have used the NRS and IR semi dry tops. I found both to work pretty well for me doing WW kayaking. This includes a few rolls but no extended swims (yet). I think a lot depends on the semi dry setup, how it fits on your body and if or how much you trim. But, for sailing and cooler water a semi dry top should work out pretty good especially from the comfort level. If it is really cold water and swims will be long and brutal (both depend on your idea of cold and long) - I would go with a real dry top or suit with latex seals.
It totally depends on the climate you are paddling in. I would never go back to using a semi dry top now that I have a full dry top. Next on the list for me is a dry suit then I don't have to worry about it at all.