Wetsuit Up!

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Wetsuit Up!


Picking up the right wetsuit is no easy thing due to the vast amount of products that can be found out there and the technical jargon used by the manufacturers.

Whether you’re a seasoned rider or you’re just starting out in watersports, it is vital you get a wetsuit to stay warm and you can’t just buy one randomly.

Here are 6 things you need to consider:

1-      Budget

2-      Looks

3-      Gender

4-      Type of wetsuit

5-      Entry/closure system

6-      The kind of neoprene it made of

TYPES OF WETSUITS


There are two main types of wetsuits:

• Full suits
Full suits cover the entire body except for the tips (hands, feet). Some full suits are available with short sleeves.

• Shorties
Shorties are wetsuits with short legs (often right under the knees) with either short or long sleeves. They are also thinner than regular wetsuits and they are obviously used in warmer conditions.

TYPES OF CLOSURES


• Back zip:

Back zip closures have some drawbacks. To begin with, zipping a wetsuit up or down is always harder when the zipper is in the back. Besides, back zips are located across the backbone and create a stretchless area that hinders a bit your freedom of movement because you use your back muscles to paddle.


Back zip néoprène

• Front zip: 

The zipper is located in the neck area. Even though they’re harder to put on, front zip wetsuits are warmer than back zip wetsuits because they let less water in.



Front zip néoprène

• Zipless:

Well… the name says it all! These wetsuits are like a second skin. They’re especially convenient for the everyday riders.


zipless néoprène

NEOPRENE

Wetsuits are designed to prevent water intrusion. However, they let a thin layer of water in, between your body and the suit. The water is warmed by your body and becomes a source of heat. 

Technologies, materials and types of linings change almost every year so we won’t get specific about them. 

NEOPRENE THICKNESS


Thickness depends on water temperature and also your personal resilience to cold. The thicker the suit, the warmer it is so the colder the water, the thicker the wetsuit. 

NB: Depending on water temperature, wetsuits are made up of neoprene panels in different thicknesses. Wetsuits are thicker on the torso/back area and thinner on the arms, shoulders and legs. For instance a 5/4 wetsuit has a 5 mm core and 4 mm on the arms and legs.




SEAMS

Seams are also critical because water can get in and out of the wetsuit through them. Watertight seams will keep you warmer obviously. Wetsuit manufacturers come up with many different seam technologies such as liquid tape seams or Overlock seams to provide better levels of insulation, comfort and warmth. 



Overlock:

Overlock seams are used on Entry-range wetsuits. They are less efficient when it comes to keeping water out.


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Flatlock:

Flatlock seams are more stretchy and comfortable than Overlock seams. Flatlock stitching consists in laying one neoprene panel edge over the other, then stitching though the neoprene.



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Glued and blindstitched seams:

These seams are used on high-end wetsuits and provide unrivalled comfort and flexibility. Two neoprene panels are glued together and then stitched on the inside. Wetsuits featuring GBS seams are a bit more expensive but also more durable. They’re a must for surfing in cold water.


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One last thing you have to look for is mesh neoprene. Mesh neoprene is warmer and smoother than traditional neoprene and it is particularly appreciated by wind sports enthusiasts.

At the end of the day, your personal preference and above all the conditions in which you will use your wetsuit are the main factors that will dictate your choice. So slip a wetsuit on, grab your board and head out to the water!

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