Choosing the best Wetsuit for Surfing
Surfing, just like any other water sport, requires use of some apparel for enhanced performance and comfort. One of the most important surfing apparel to have is a wetsuit. A wetsuit is beneficial because it keeps you warm, trapping a small layer of water between the suit and your body.
The temperature of water is then raised to your body temperature, thereby keeping you warm. Wetsuits also fit snugly on your body, enhancing your flexibility. The suits are available in different types and sizes to fit men, women and kids into surfing. Here are some types of wetsuits available on the market:
Types of Wetsuits
Full Suits – The suits are by far the most common type of wetsuits among surfers. It covers the entire body from the ankles up to the neck and wrists. The suits can also be hooded, offering protection for the head and face.
Spring Suits – They are full body suits with short arms and legs. It means the surfer is not covered from the elbows to wrists and from the knees to feet. Spring suits for women may come with a bikini bottom or also cover to the knees.
Long Arm Spring Suit – It is just like a spring suit, but the top has long arms. The suit is ideal if it’s windy because it offers better protection on the top and full mobility on the legs.
Long Johns – They are also referred to as farmer Johns. The suits are full suits with long legs and sleeveless tops. They are ideal when the water feels cool, but the air is hot. The wetsuits are also preferred by long boarders and stand up paddle boarders; they offer full arm mobility for easy paddling.
Short Johns – The suits have short legs and no sleeves. The designs for women are like a one piece bikini. They are ideal where full mobility is required and when the water and air are both warm.
Short Arm Full Suit – It comes with full legs and short arms. It is popular among surfers with no preference for the appearance of suits with short legs. Short boarders prefer short arm full suits because they keep their leg muscles warm while allowing them full mobility on the arms.
If you do not want a full suit, you can also get pieces for the protection you need. For instance, rash guards offer protection against rashes either from the wax on the board or even the sun.
Vests can also be worn under the suits or used on their own if the weather is favorable. You may also decide to buy the top of the suit without the bottom.
Wetsuits for Kids
Wetsuits for kids come in three different variations. The full suit, just like adults’ suits, cover the entire body from the ankles to the wrists. The Shorty or Shortie suit is made with short legs and arms. It provides warmth for the core of the body, but freedom of movement for a kid. The Farmer John, has full legs but no arms.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Wetsuit
Material – Wetsuits are also referred to as neoprene suits because they are made from neoprene material. Neoprene is considered the best material for the wetsuits because it is light, flexible and offers high insulation against cold. It keeps you warm even when the water is cold.
Recent developments have seen the introduction of another material into the market called geoprene, a more environmentally friendly material. It works more just like neoprene.
Size – Size is of utmost importance when it comes to buying a fitting wetsuit. It should fit snugly for all surfers, including kids. However, don’t go for a suit that’s so tight that it inhibits blood circulation and your body movements.
It is recommended that you try on a suit before buying it because size charts vary from one brand to another. Neoprene should fit so closely, feeling like your second skin.
Thickness – Another important factor is a wetsuit’s thickness. It determines the level of warmth a wetsuit provides and your flexibility in it. If surfing in cold weather, opt for a thick full suit that’s heavy and warm. However, the extra weight can weigh on you, causing your performance to dwindle.
Therefore, opt for a suit that provides you a balance between warmth and performance. The thickness of neoprene used on wetsuits is often indicated using two numbers. For instance, 3/2, 4/3 etc.
The first number indicates the thickness of the upper part of the suit that covers the torso. The second number, however, indicates the thickness of the part of the suit covering extremities.
Zippered or Unzippered?
Do you want a zippered suit? A zipper is important because it makes it easy to get in and out of a suit. The bigger a zipper is, the easier it is to wear and remove the suit. However, the spaces in the zipper can cause water to seep into the suit, making you cold.
Zippered suits can either have a full zipper running from the neck to the spine or waistline or a half zipper that runs from the neck to halfway through the back. A zipper can either be on the back or on the chest. Chest zippers are easy to use.
Sealed or Not?
Only a few wetsuits don’t have some form of sealing. It is done to prevent water from seeping into the suit through the seams. Different methods are used for sealing. Completely sealed suits are ideal for surfing in water below 54 degrees Fahrenheit. Sealing can be done through:
The panels are glued together prior to stitching, strengthening the seams.
A tape is attached on the inside of seams to keep water away from the body. In some suits, only critical parts are taped while in others, all the seams are sealed.
A liquid rubber material is applied on the inside of a seam to make it 100% waterproof. It is the best sealing method.
Closely look at these factors whether a wetsuit is meant for a man, woman or kid surfer. The expectations of a wetsuit are the same despite the age and gender of surfers.
Contact us to find out more about surfing and learn how to choose the best wetsuit for you and your loved ones.