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Unless you are fortunate enough to live in the tropics, you know how important a wetsuit is to your comfort and health when surfing in the chilly waters of the open ocean. There is a wide array of wetsuit types to choose from, as well a range of material thicknesses, allowing you to customize your gear to the water and weather conditions wherever you may be.

Finding the right wetsuit is completely individual and a personal choice. Here are a few things to look out for and bare in mind when sorting out your wetsuit choice.

  • Material / Neoprene: Wetsuits use different grades of neoprene, with their own thickness and flexibility properties. Thinner material may be used around the shoulders for easier movement.
  • Buoyancy: Brands use thicker material to help lift you to the surface of the water, therefore lowering the drag and helping you swim more efficiently and faster. Some suits will use thicker material around the legs for athlete who need to life the legs more.
  • Neck Line: A good seal around your neck is key. Without the seal, the neck becomes a water scoop and the suit will fill with water, however some people think it can feel restrictive on your breathing. It’s therefore key to find a suit with a neckline that feels comfortable and not constricting around your neck. Some suits now have a softer material lining the neck which helps.
  • Zipper: Suits either zip bottom to top or top to bottom. There are advantages and disadvantages to this, and again it comes down to personal preference. A reverse zip (seals top to bottom) can help prevent the cord being pulled down during the swim. It can also be thought to allow for a easier or quicker removal of the suit to save time in races. Whichever zipper you prefer and chose, just practice the removal anyway to speed up your T1 time. It’s something that is often forgotten in training!
  • Taped seams: Most wetsuits these days have taped seams on the wrist and ankle areas. This allows for the athlete to cut the length down to make it easier to get the wetsuit off.

Wetsuits on average last a couple of years – after this time the materials start to deteriorate and the warmth and flexibility of the suit is reduced. What you don’t notice about your suit if you use it a lot are the bubbles that sit inside the neoprene begin to breakdown and this then in turn gives you less insulation.


How To Choose A Wetsuit

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Name How To Choose A Wetsuit



Canada, North America



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