You never wore a wetsuit and I want to buy one? OK, then this is the article you should read first!
The first question that comes to mind is why would you even wear a wetsuit?
Why a wetsuit?
Well, wetsuits singlehandedly changed the face of many water sports allowing them to spread to the far and cold corners of the world. Without them, all these sports would still be limited to those few lucky places with warm water and mild weather or to those few overheated lunatics that would enter the cold sea in their boardshorts. But just insulation is not all we get from wetuits. Here are all the benefits of wearing them:
1. We can stay in water much longer and enjoy what we came to do (instead of shivering in cold) – they provide insulation from cold water. Without a wetsuit an average person would survive around 1 hour in 50F (10C) water (water draws heat 25 times faster than air).
2. They protect us from wind if our sport is above the water surface.
3. They give us some protection from the equipment, rocks and other hard objects,
4. They also increases our buoyancy, but are not in any way a replacement for a life jacket – you do have to know how to swim!
My first wetsuit
If you never wore a wetsuit then here are a few tips.
When you put on your first wetsuit, it often feels like it is to small and totally uncomfortable. Partly because it is probably dry (a wet wetsuit is a little more loose) but mainly because people are used to everyday clothes that only touch their skin here and there. But a wetsuit must touch you everywhere:). So there is no room left for cold water (what would you rather spend your energy on – water sport or heating the cold water?). A snug fit is what you want.
The material under our armpits can also by annoying, but it helps us move our arms when surfing, windsurfing, kite surfing etc… Tight collar is also not a mistake – it keeps cold water out.
Oh, and one more thing, that first time wetsuit buyers sometimes do – the zipper on the wetsuit goes on the back not in front. That long cord that hangs from the zipper is used to zip up over your shoulder. So avoid chuckles from the seller and do it right!
Read this article for more in depth tips on how to put on a wetsuit.
With the rising popularity of water sports there is also bigger number of cheap wetsuits that are made from neoprene which contains a lot of rubber. Because rubber does not contain any air bubbles that kind of neoprene has really bad isolation capabilities. Stay clear of really cheap tourist wetsuits.