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CHOOSING YOUR WETSUIT

OVERVIEW:

Whether abroad or in UK waters if you want to enjoy a prolonged period of activity, in or on the water, wrapping yourself in neoprene is the way forward ! When submerged in water the body looses heat 20 times faster than in the air so you donít have to be a serious water sports enthusiast to feel the need to keep warm. Wetsuits reduce heat loss by putting a layer of insulating foam neoprene over your skin. A wetsuit should form a seal all over the body, with particular emphasis on the torso, a snug and comfortable fit. Water can enter at the neck, wrists, ankles and is trapped between your skin and the suit.

Wearing a Rash Vest/Rashie under a wetsuit will provide a smooth surface to aid the donning of a wetsuit, helping to make the suit more comfortable by reducing any rubbing particularly around the neck, and will also provide an extra layer. If extra warmth is required consider a Thermal Rash vest/base layer or neoprene top/vest, worn under the wetsuit. We stock a wide range of women's and mens rash vests and rash vests for children as well as thermal rashies and neoprene vests and thermo tops

Choosing the correct size of wetsuit will improve the overall insulating benefits of wearing a wetsuit. Parents, please note, a wetsuit with two years growing room will provide little thermal benefit initially but may help with sun protection. You should use the measurements on the size guides charts provided on our site as a guide to overall fit, taking into consideration height, chest and waist measurements. Click here for a 'how to measurements guide'

wetsuit types image

Technology is constantly evolving and manufacturers now aim to produce ever lighterweight neoprene with greater warmth to weight ratio, with less water absorption properties while ensuring the neoprene provides optimum warmth and remains the most flexible it can be staying true to the roots of the freedom of being at one with the sea and the elements. However, there is now greater emphasis within the industry placed on sourcing ethical materials and researching new ways of recycling/re-processing used/old neoprene.

Wetsuits come in a variety of options and thicknesses for a variety of water sports activities from just standing knee deep watching the youngsters splash about in the surf, having a go at bodyboarding or surfing, to the more avid surfer, open water swimmer to competitive triathlete, scuba diver or sailor.

We sell a variety of wetsuits for multisport use including snorkelling, surfing, diving, swimming, dinghy sailing, snorkelling, kayaking, canoeing, stand-up paddling, virtually covering all water sport uses. Our wetsuits come from some of the largest manufacturers in the surf, sailing, dive markets including Mares, Cressi, Gul, Gill, C-Skins, Waterproof wetsuits for Men, Women and children toddlers and babies to Juniors and Teenagers. See them all in our Wetsuits Warehouse together with an extensive range of neoprene footwear, including wetsuit socks, and wetsuit gloves and hoods.

We now sell a vast range of Open Water Swimming wetsuits and Triathlon wetsuits available at TriathlonStore.co.uk where we stock a range of cycles/running shoes/cycle apparel and all things triathlon related.

Shorty Wetsuit

A FEW DEFINITIONS:

Shorty Wetsuits

Short arms, finishing just above the elbow and short legs, finishing just above the knee or on the thigh. Shortie’s are ideal for the hotter summer days.

Check Out Our Shorty Range :
Full Suits/One piece/Wetsuits/Steamers
Full Suits/One Piece Wetsuits/Steamers

Often referred to as steamers – a one piece wetsuit with long arms and long legs. There is also short arm wetsuits, short arms finishing just above the elbow or a convertible steamer which has the option of attaching long sleeves to create a long sleeve full suit. Wetsuits are ideal for anyone who would like to be in the water longer and at any time from Spring to Autumn.

Check Out Our Full Suit Range :
Semi-Dry
Semi-Dry Wetsuits

A full suit with inner ‘seals’ usually around the wrists and ankles to create a more secure seal to reduce/virtually eliminate water flushing through the suit. A longer seal provides a greater reduction in flushing. Usually associated with higher spec suits, thicker suits and for activities requiring less freedom of movement, where retaining thermal protection is critical such as diving.

Check Out Our Semi-Dry Range :
Open Water/Swimming/Triathlon Wetsuits
Open Water Swimming/Triathlon Wetsuits

These wetsuits are specifically designed for swimming being made with a different type of neoprene and geared to providing the swimmer with thermal protection, buoyancy, superb flexibility and additional ‘glide’ through the water. The neoprene used is generally softer and lighter with specific features to provide the swimmer with the optimum wetsuit for swimming.

Check Out Our Open Water Swimming & Triathlon Wetsuits at Triathlonstore.co.uk:
Warm Temperature

EXAMPLES OF NEOPRENE THICKNESS:

3mm, 3/2mm

The accepted standard neoprene thickness for warmer summer activities or high energy activities requiring a greater degree of flexibility. There is also a degree of industry accepted tolerance for this thickness of neoprene. Neoprene thicknesses of less than 2mm are designed for high energy activities or tropical environments where less thermal protection is required but naturally have a greater degree of flexibility.

Medium Temperature
4/3mm, 5/4/3mm, 5/3mm

The accepted neoprene thicknesses for year round activities, winter activities or activities in cooler waters. These suits can also have a combination of neoprene thicknesses to create greater flexibility, where required arms/shoulders/legs, providing greater freedom of movement for higher energy activities. Thicker neoprene provides greater warmth but less flexibility.

Cold Temperature
5mm, 7mm, 7/5mm

the accepted neoprene thicknesses for year round activities, winter activities, activities in colder waters or any watersports activity requiring greater thermal protection although resulting in lesser degree of flexibility eg: scuba diving, snorkelling.

Single Layer Neoprene

TYPES OF NEOPRENE:

Single lined neoprene/mesh neoprene

Neoprene with nylon lining on one side, usually the inside, to provide a comfortable finish and aid donning of a wetsuit. Also called mesh neoprene. Usually found on chest and back panels providing a warmer finish as the external surface improves water run-off resulting in reduced windchill.

Double Layer Neoprene
Double lined neoprene

Neoprene with nylon lining on both sides, inside and outside – for protection, durability and warmth. Multisport wetsuits are usually constructed using the majority of double lined neoprene.

 
Titanium Lined neoprene

Titanium added to the majority of neoprene utilised on the main body panels to enhance thermal properties of neoprene less than 5mm thickness. Most neoprene these days has a degree of titanium lining but ultimately the overall neoprene thickness, seam construction/finish and fit has the greatest influence on the overall warmth of the suit.

Blindstitched Seams

SEAM CONSTRUCTION:

Flatlock Stitched Seams

Flatlock is created by stitching neoprene together, creating a flat seam. The seam can be double or triple stitched for greater strength and overlap. Flatlocked stitched seams are extremely comfortable and durable but can only be used on neoprene up to 3mm and therefore tends to be used on lighter weight, Spring/Summer wetsuits and shorties.

Blindstitched Seams
Blindstitched Seams

Blind Stitching is produced by gluing two edges of neoprene together, followed by stitching across the seam, so not piercing the neoprene. Any wetsuit thicker than 3mm can only be constructed using this method. Tape can be added to stress points for extra strength. Wetsuits with Blindstitched seams produce a warmer wetsuit as the seams are less permeable to water. Wetsuits with Blindstitched seams are usually 3mm or more thick neoprene and so usually feature in wetsuits providing greater thermal protection, Spring/Winter steamers/wetsuits, diving wetsuits.

As wetsuit technology has developed there are now virtually ‘stitchless’ suits. Seams can also be double and/or triple sealed using liquid neoprene reducing materials and making suits increasingly lighter. Neoprene is also evolving providing lighter wetsuits, which hold/absorb less water which makes a suit less dense when wet, more comfortable and quicker to dry as a result. These innovative features tend to be associated with top-end surfing wetsuits but eventually work through to a wider range of wetsuits.

Neck Seals/Wrist Seals/Ankle Seals can be finished using a smooth rubber finish eg: glideskin and is designed to help reduce water flushing in these critical areas. This type of finish is virtually always around the neck seal and in the case of semi-dry suits also around the wrists and ankles.

WHAT TYPE OF WETSUIT SHOULD I WEAR?

3/2mm, 3mm, 2.5mm Shorty Wetsuits
  • Fun in the sun, beach watersports, swimming, multisport use
  • Warm Water Snorkelling
  • Tropical Scuba Diving water temp over 27°C
  • Summer Windsurfing, Multisports, Kayak, dinghy, jetskiing, swimming, in fact most water sports etc.
3/2mm Full Wetsuits
  • Fun in the sun, beach watersports, swimming, multisport use
  • Summer boardsports water temp over 15°C
  • Summer Snorkelling water temp over 15°C
  • Tropical Scuba Diving water temp over 25°C
  • Summer Windsurfing, Multisports, Kayak, dinghy, jetskiing, swimming, in fact most water sports etc.
4/3mm, 5/4/3mm, 5/3mm, 5mm Full Wetsuits
  • Boardsports water temp over 10°C
  • Snorkelling water temp over 10°C
  • Warm Water Scuba Diving water temp over 20°C
  • Also: Winter/Spring Surfing, Sailing, Windsurfing, Kitesurfing, Jetskiing and possibly Winter Swimming
5mm 2 or 3 Piece Wetsuits
  • Snorkelling water temp over 10°C
  • Scuba Diving water temp over 15°C
  • For these activities wearing a hood, gloves and boots are also beneficial
7mm 1 Piece or 7mm 2 Piece Wetsuits
  • Scuba Diving water temp over 10°C
  • Not bad for cold water snorkelling
  • For these activities wearing a hood, gloves and boots are virtually a necessity

Please note: the above temperatures/suit thickness offer general guidelines based on our experience gained over the last 25 years. There are a number of external factors that may also be considered, e.g. general ambient temperature, your own physiology or your own requirements.

Wetsuit Fitting Help Guide

wetsuit fitting guide image

Choosing the correct size of wetsuit is key to ensuring you benefit from the insulating benefits of wearing a wetsuit. You should use the measurements on the size charts provided as a guide to overall fit, taking into consideration the height, chest and waist measurements. To help guide you to choosing the most appropriate wetsuit size, you should firstly take these key measurements: Your Height (normal height measurement, top of head to ankle/heel), Your Chest, Your Waist measurements.  When you have this information you can properly refer to the manufacturers sizing guides. Every wetsuit manufacturer produces their own size range of wetsuits and has their own way of referring to those sizes. Some manufacturers will use numbers to identify sizes eg 1, 2, 3 etc. some will use letters eg M, MT, L, LS, etc.

Occasionally a manufacturer who produces a large range different wetsuits may have a specific size/measurement guide for certain types/designs of wetsuits within their range - for example an entry level basic wetsuit compared to a high-spec surf suit made with different neoprene.  As a result you may not always be a (L) Large in every different design/style/brand of wetsuit. Neoprene stretches in all directions and tends to conform to the body shape. A 3mm neoprene wetsuit will fit/feel quite different compared to a much thicker 5mm or 7mm neoprene wetsuit as the flexibility of the neoprene will affect how the neoprene forms over your body shape.

Putting on a wetsuit is not difficult but requires a little patience and technique.  The thicker the neoprene the more awkward/tighter it may seem.  A wetsuit is designed to be a snug fit in order for it to work efficiently.  The below information assumes a back zip wetsuit.

  1. If you are putting on a full suit wear socks as this will help the suit slip over your feet/ankles. Open up the wetsuit, put one foot in, point the toes, and ease the opening over the foot and heel. The bottom of the leg should be just on or above the ankle. Pull the rest of the leg up over the calf to about the knee. Put the next foot/leg in.
  2. The top of the kneepatch on the suit should usually be positioned just sit just above the knee – the majority of knee protection falling below the knee down on to the shin area.  Once the legs are up to the knees, continue working the wetsuit up each leg alternately, use a technique we call pinch ‘n’ pull – with the pads of your finger tips (not leading with your nails).
  3. Ease the suit up the thighs and gradually, over the hips and bottom, and gradually up the torso. Try to avoid having a saggy skate boarders crotch.
  4. If you have a gathering of neoprene around the lower leg/ankles – this will mean less neoprene for your upper body and may feel like the suit isn’t long enough or too small.  So you must work any excess up the legs, over the hips and potentially into the lower torso, which will provide more flex for the upper body/chest/back and even shoulders.
  5. Once your torso is in and the wetsuit is up to your chest, put ONE hand/arm in at a time – this will then keep one hand/arm free to help work the suit up the other arm.  Ease any excess neoprene from around the wrist all the way up the arm and over the shoulder – pinch ‘n’ pull.  Then put the other arm in, making sure you continually work any excess up the arms to cover the shoulder.  Once the arms are in and the shoulders fully covered - You will have the suit on !
  6. If you have a gathering of neoprene around the wrists – this will mean less neoprene on your shoulders and may feel like the suit is too small.  So you must work this excess neoprene up the arms and over the shoulders.
  7. It is always advisable if someone else is able to zip the suit up for you – with a back zip.
  8. DO NOT use the zip to pull the two halves of the suit together if it is not on your shoulders/arms properly.
  9. DO NOT pull on the zip if it meets resistance – you may have something caught in it.  The inner flap that sits under the zip should lie flat so that it forms a seal underneath the two halves of the zip – if it doesn’t it may stop the zip.  The zip will ‘run’ more easily if it is as straight as possible – so if possible hold the neck seal together or top of the rear zip while you use the webbing zip puller with the other hand.

Finally, to ensure the suit is on properly, by using the pinch ‘n’ pull technique virtaully 'walk' any excess neoprene up the legs/arms/body to take up any slack and get the suit comfortable.  It should form a ‘seal’ all over the body. Remember also a wetsuit will feel different in the water. Oh, and do remember to take your socks off.

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