Choosing the right wetsuit is as essential as selecting the most optimal equipment for many types of water sports and entertainment (including diving, surfing, kiting, and other similar styles).
For surfers and other lovers of similar water activities, a wetsuit allows you to ride all year comfortably round, regardless of the water temperature.
For lovers of diving and hunting, such unique clothing serves as reliable protection against hypothermia and protects against possible scratches and minor injuries.
Therefore, choosing a high-quality wetsuit is one of the central guarantees of a safe pastime on the water for health, and it is worth approaching the solution of this problem most responsibly.
What is essential to consider
When choosing a wetsuit, it is initially essential to decide what purposes and what conditions it will be used.
For example, riding in cold Arctic waters and surfing (or other water activities) in southern latitudes will require utterly different costume options.
There are three essential wetsuits based on water resistance best suited for specific water activities:
- Wet – they let water through in places of fasteners.
- Dry – completely isolates the body from the water and is usually used with thermal underwear.
- Semi-dry – a variation of the wet type with better sealing.
For surfing, a wet wetsuit is the best option. However, it should be borne in mind that models must contain additional pads in the knee and elbow area for such water entertainment.
A dry suit provides maximum protection against water ingress, is the warmest, and is considered the best option for scuba diving. For windsurfing fans, semi-dry models with short sleeves and long legs are most suitable.
A dry wetsuit is significantly more expensive than a wet wetsuit. It should be remembered that such clothing is suitable exclusively for professional divers. Otherwise, you should take a course on using such a wetsuit.
No less essential criteria for choosing a wetsuit are its thickness, material of manufacture, and quality of tailoring in combination with cut features.
Types of wetsuits by the thickness
- 5/4 mm – these figures characterize the consistency, mainly 5 mm, but in the places of most extraordinary mobility (knees, elbows) – 4 mm. This is a relatively warm garment that can be used to practice various water sports in waters with a temperature of + 9 + 13.
- 4/3 mm – medium thickness option. All models of this type usually have long legs, but the sleeves can be long or short and often even removable. This garment is suitable for entertainment in waters with a temperature of + 12 + 17.
- 3/2 mm – due to their relative cheapness and suitability for skiing at the most optimal water temperature (+ 15 + 21) are the most popular type. Such a suit usually features long legs and adjustable sleeves.
- 2/2 mm – the thinnest and most suitable for skiing in sweltering summers with water temperatures in the range of 18-22 °. These suits are usually made with short sleeves and pant legs.
The thickness criterion is fundamental when choosing a diving suit.
Thinner (3-5 mm) is optimal for diving in warm waters, thicker (up to 11 mm) – more suitable for cold waters. In addition, surfers, kiteboarders, windsurfing enthusiasts should opt for sophisticated models with a waterproof coating.
Such a wetsuit will protect you from the wind and at the same time keep you from getting sunburn.
Types of wetsuits by material
Distinguish between neoprene models and models with partial or complete rubber coating.
These models are optimal for riding in cold water and windy weather. The rubber wetsuit provides reliable protection against wind blowing, retains body heat for a long time, and thick cuffs do not allow water to penetrate inside.
But rubber wetsuits have significant drawbacks. They are easily cut. Therefore, it is recommended to store them in a separate bag from the leading equipment for water sports.
In addition, rubber quickly fades in the sun, so such a wetsuit can be dried only in the shade, and even then only after turning it inside out.
Choosing this type of clothing for water sports is not worth saving. Poor quality rubber can constrain movement.
Therefore, it is better to give preference to expensive rubber models, in which all parts are neatly and reliably sewn and glued. In any case, a respectful attitude will increase the safe operation of such equipment.
Such models are considered the best choice for those who ride in southern latitudes, where the air can be well warmed up even in calm water since they provide the most comfortable riding in such conditions.
Among their main advantages over rubber models, note the absence of stiffness of movements, ease of putting on and taking off, and unpretentious use.
Moreover, such models are also much cheaper than rubber ones and, due to the ease of processing of neoprene, have a wide range of colors. Their only drawback is wind blowing.
There are also several variations by the type of neoprene with their advantages and disadvantages. Titanium-coated models provide good heat retention.
Chemically foamed neoprene models are cheaper and softer than gas foamed neoprene models but wear out faster. For diving and spearfishing, open-cell neoprene models are the best choice.
Wetsuits by cut type
Monosuits such as shorts – have short sleeves and knee-length legs. Such models are very convenient, but they should be chosen only for specific goals and conditions. For example, it is not suitable for reef diving and cave diving.
Monosuits-overalls – cover the whole body, and in some cases, with a helmet, even the head. As a result, they provide complete body protection compared to short-cut models.
Split-type wetsuits are models of two parts – a jumpsuit and a jacket with a built-in helmet.
It is essential that the wetsuit fits nicely over the body but does not create stiffness of movement.
Therefore, having tried on the selected model, it is worth doing several squats to understand how comfortable you will be in it on the water during your water activities. And most importantly – never skimp on your safety!