How to Choose a Wetsuit

History:

On 1952, Jack O’Neill starts selling his wetsuits creation, since that industry of Neoprene wetsuits starts developing.

Many practitioner of water sports such as Windsurf, Kitesurf, Surf… are using wetsuits especially during winter as water becomes cold and activities like that require a body heat protection.

Wetsuits are widely known to be one size and fits for all and also same for all water sports which is WRONG!!!!

So in order to choose a wetsuit you have to take into consideration the following Criteria:

  • Sport Type: Diving, Surfing, Paddling, Triathlon…
  • Wetsuit Material Properties
  • Wetsuit Thickness
  • Wetsuit Styles
  • Wetsuit features

 

  1. Sport Type
Sport Characteristics Needed
Diving & Spearfishing Neoprene is heavy & Denser (More Weight)

Low mobility in the suit

Resists to water pressure

Surf, Kitesurf, Windsurf, Paddles… Mobility and warmth

Many types of thickness

Neoprene is widely used

Triathlon. Speed during competitions

More flexible than others

Placed flotation systems to help swimmer floating during competitions.

  1. Wetsuit Materials

Mainly all Wetsuits are made from Neoprene, which is a rubber polymer that is resistant to water, wetsuit neoprene based provides heat to user as following: the water traps between the body and the neoprene providing a protection layer, this film of water is heated by human body warm. The formed heated film provides protection and acts as a shield against cold and external water. Keeping the film of water warm as much as possible is defined by how much the Neoprene is thick.

  1. Wetsuit Thickness

Wetsuit thickness is a number describing the thickness in millimeter of Neoprene, this thickness describes how much the neoprene is thick and how much it protects you from the external cold water.

Usually thickness in wetsuits is highlighted by a number 2-3-4-5 MM, so in this case all the suit has identical thickness, from shoulders to arm to torso, other suits are described by two numbers 3/2,4/3…the first number which is the bigger describes the thickness in the torso and where life organs such as heart, lugs… needs more heat to resist to water, the second number describes the thickness in the arms, legs… which provides more flexibility for the movement.

As a rule of thumb, when Neoprene thickness increases, your flexibility and mobility will decrease.

  1. Wetsuit Styles
Style
Insulated Jacket Mainly used during moderate warm water, could be linked with a Farmer John Wetsuit to have a combined suit, big advantage that could be opened easily within no help required.

insulated-jacket

‘Farmer John’ Suit Sleeveless style to provide maximum flexibility and mobility, protection for only legs and bottom, could be combined with Insulated Jackets to become a complete wetsuit.

farmer-john-suit

Spring suit / Shorty Suitable during cool water and air temperatures, mainly used during spring when there is sunshine to provide more heat, many combination are available such short & full sleeves and short & full legs.

shorty-wetsuits

Full Wetsuit Maximum body area is covered, many types of thickness widely used during cold weather and winter seasons.

full-wetsuit

Hooded Wetsuits Same as the full suits except it covers also the head, thickness value are big 5/4, 6/5/4…

hooded-wetsuits

  1. Wetsuit features

Zippers: Two combinations are available back zipper and chest zippers,

  • Back Zippers provide easy wear and exit from the suit which a major disadvantage which is entry of water from the neck side this disadvantage could be eliminated if you like wearing Neoprene Hoodies, further to that assistance is required to close the back zipper.
  • Chest Zippers, more efficient than back zippers, as water inlet from neck is eliminated but requires more attention during the wear, and no external assistance is required during entry/exit from the suit.

Knee pads:

  • As movement of knees and arms are widely used and flexibility is too much used during the surf activity, there is too much wear in the knees neoprene, that why manufacturers have introduced the Kneed Pad and it is considered as a ticker Neoprene to protect and extend life of the suit.

Others:

  • Other features are used during design / use of the wetsuit and this includes, Hoodies, Gloves, Booties, Rashguards ….

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