Understanding the Basics of Wetsuits
Wetsuits are an essential accessory for anyone who loves water sports – from surfing to swimming, they help you stay comfortable and protected in the water. But how do you choose the right one? Firstly, it’s essential to understand the basics of wetsuits. They are made from a neoprene material that traps a thin layer of water inside, which your body heats up to keep you warm. The thickness of the neoprene and the number of panels in the suit vary depending on the type of sport and the water temperature. The thicker the neoprene, the warmer the suit, but also the less flexible it tends to be.
Determining the Right Thickness
One of the most crucial factors to consider when choosing a wetsuit is the water temperature. You must choose a thickness that keeps you warm but doesn’t overheat you. A 3mm wetsuit is suitable for water temperatures between 60-70°F, while a 4/3mm wetsuit is ideal for water between 50-60°F. A 5mm wetsuit is suitable for water between 40-50°F, while a thicker wetsuit with a hood is necessary for water temperatures below 40°F.
Consider the Style of the Wetsuit
There are different styles of wetsuits to choose from, depending on the sport you intend to use them for. For instance, full suits are ideal for colder waters and cover your entire body, including your arms and legs. Shorties are suitable for a range of water temperatures; they cover your torso and thighs, but not your arms or lower legs. Spring suits are ideal for warmer waters and cover your torso and arms but not your legs. Consider the sport and water temperature before choosing a wetsuit style.
Size and Fit
Wetsuits must fit snugly but not be too tight. When choosing a wetsuit, consider your height, weight, and chest measurement for the best fit. Try on different suits to determine the best size for you – a well-fitted wetsuit will not let in water but will allow for flexibility and movement. Pay attention to shoulder and chest areas, as these tend to be where the most pressure is applied.
Brand and Price
When it comes to choosing a wetsuit, you get what you pay for. Cheap wetsuits tend to be made from low-quality materials and can wear out quickly. Consider investing in a good quality wetsuit from reputable brands such as Rip Curl, O’Neill, or Billabong. These brands offer a range of options for different sports and water temperatures. When choosing a wetsuit, it’s important to consider the value of your investment – a good quality suit can last for years, while a cheap one may only last a few months.