Whether you're a seasoned surfer or a beginner just getting started with water sports, finding the right wetsuit is essential for staying warm and comfortable in the water. But with so many options on the market, it can be challenging to choose the right wetsuit for your needs. In this blog post, we'll share five tips to consider when buying a wetsuit. From knowing your measurements to choosing the right material and type of wetsuit, these tips will help you make an informed decision and find a wetsuit that fits well and provides the right level of warmth and protection for your water activities.
Know Your Measurements
Knowing your measurements is crucial when it comes to finding the right wetsuit. Wetsuits are designed to fit snugly to keep you warm and comfortable in the water, so it's essential to measure yourself accurately before you start shopping.
When measuring yourself for a wetsuit, you'll need to know your height, weight, chest, waist, and hip measurements. Here's how to take these measurements:
- Height: Stand up straight against a wall and measure from the floor to the top of your head.
- Weight: Stand on a scale and measure your weight in pounds or kilograms.
- Chest: Measure around the widest part of your chest, keeping the tape measure level and snug but not too tight.
- Waist: Measure around your natural waistline, which is the narrowest part of your torso.
- Hips: Measure around the fullest part of your hips, which is usually 7-9 inches below your waist.
Once you have your measurements, consult the manufacturer's size chart to find the right size wetsuit for your body. It's essential to get the right size to ensure the wetsuit fits snugly and provides the right amount of insulation and protection in the water.
Choose the Right Type of Wetsuit
Choosing the right type of wetsuit is another crucial factor to consider when buying a wetsuit. Wetsuits come in different types, and each type is designed for specific water temperatures and activities. Here are the most common types of wetsuits and their intended uses:
Full Wetsuits: Full wetsuits cover your entire body, including your arms, legs, and torso. They provide the most warmth and protection, making them ideal for colder water temperatures and longer periods in the water. Full wetsuits are the go-to option for surfers, divers, and anyone else who needs maximum warmth and protection in the water.
Spring Wetsuits: Spring wetsuits, also known as shorty wetsuits, cover your torso and legs but have short sleeves or no sleeves at all. They are ideal for mild water temperatures and provide some protection against the elements without being too warm. Spring wetsuits are a popular choice for water activities such as kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and swimming.
Rash Guards: Rash guards are thin, lightweight shirts that protect your skin from the sun, wind, and sand. They provide minimal insulation, making them ideal for warm water temperatures and activities such as snorkelling, surfing, and beach sports.
Dry suits: Dry suits are designed for use in cold water temperatures or extended periods in the water. Unlike wetsuits, which trap a thin layer of water between your skin and the suit to insulate you, dry suits keep you completely dry by sealing out water. They are commonly used for diving, water sports, and activities in extreme conditions.
Choosing the right type of wetsuit depends on the water temperature and activity you plan to participate in. Consider the conditions you'll be facing and select a wetsuit that provides the right balance of warmth, protection, and comfort.
Consider the Material
When it comes to buying a wetsuit, the material is another critical factor to consider. The right material will not only keep you warm and comfortable in the water but also provide durability and flexibility. Here are some of the most common materials used in wetsuits:
- Neoprene is the most common material used in wetsuits. It's a synthetic rubber material that provides excellent insulation and is flexible, lightweight, and durable. Neoprene wetsuits come in different thicknesses, and the thicker the material, the warmer the wetsuit will be.
- Lycra, also known as spandex or elastane, is a stretchy, lightweight material that is commonly used in rash guards and spring wetsuits. It provides minimal insulation but offers excellent flexibility and range of motion.
- Polyester is a durable, lightweight, and quick-drying material that is commonly used in the lining of wetsuits. It provides added insulation and helps to wick moisture away from your body, keeping you dry and comfortable in the water.
- Merino wool is a natural fibre that provides excellent insulation and is also moisture-wicking and quick-drying. It's commonly used in wetsuits designed for colder water temperatures.
When considering the material of your wetsuit, it's essential to consider the water temperature and your intended activities. Neoprene is the go-to material for wetsuits because of its excellent insulation properties, but it can be heavy and restrictive in warm water temperatures. Lycra and polyester are great options for spring wetsuits and rash guards, providing flexibility and quick-drying properties. Finally, Merino wool is an excellent option for cold water wetsuits, providing insulation, comfort, and moisture-wicking properties.
Check for Quality and Durability
When buying a wetsuit, it's essential to consider the quality and durability of the suit. A high-quality wetsuit will last longer and perform better in the water, providing better insulation, comfort, and protection. Here are some key factors to consider when evaluating the quality and durability of a wetsuit:
The seams of a wetsuit are a critical factor in its durability and performance. Look for wetsuits with glued and blind-stitched seams or sealed seams that prevent water from seeping through the stitching.
Zippers can be a weak point in a wetsuit, so look for high-quality zippers that are corrosion-resistant and easy to use. YKK zippers are commonly used in high-quality wetsuits.