Wetsuits are an essential piece of equipment for water sports lovers, offering insulation, buoyancy, and weather protection. Whether you’re a surfer, diver, paddleboarder, or any other type of water explorer, the appropriate wetsuit can substantially improve your experience on the water. With so many different types of wetsuits on the market, it’s critical to examine many criteria before making a purchase. Here’s a complete guide to what to think about when purchasing wetsuits.
The first and most critical factor to consider is the water temperature in which you’ll be using the wetsuit. Wetsuits come in different thicknesses, and the thickness directly impacts the level of insulation they provide. For colder waters, you’ll need a thicker wetsuit with more insulation, while for warmer waters, a thinner wetsuit will suffice. Understanding the temperature range of the water you’ll be in will help you choose the appropriate O’Neill wetsuits to stay comfortable and safe. Wetsuit thickness is typically measured in millimetres and varies from 1mm to 7mm. The thickness is distributed differently across the wetsuit, with thicker panels in the torso and thinner panels in the arms and legs to allow for flexibility. As mentioned earlier, choose the wetsuit thickness based on the water temperature. Keep in mind that thicker wetsuits offer more warmth but may restrict movement slightly.
Wetsuits come in different styles, including full suits, shorties, spring suits, and tops. Full suits provide the most coverage and are suitable for colder waters, while shorties and spring suits offer less coverage and are ideal for warmer conditions. Tops can be paired with board shorts or wetsuit bottoms for added warmth in mild waters or as an extra layer under a full suit in colder waters. Choose the wetsuit style that aligns with your water activities and preferences.
A well-fitting wetsuit is essential for comfort and performance in the water. A wetsuit that is too loose will allow water to seep in, reducing its insulation properties, while one that is too tight may restrict movement and cause discomfort. Try on different wetsuit sizes and brands to find the one that provides a snug but not overly tight fit. Pay attention to the fit around the neck, wrists, and ankles, as these areas should be sealed to prevent water from entering.
The material and construction of the wetsuit greatly impact its performance and durability. Neoprene is the most common material used for wetsuits due to its insulating properties and flexibility. High-quality neoprene, such as Yamamoto neoprene, offers superior performance. Additionally, look for features like sealed seams and reinforced knees for added durability and protection against wear and tear.
Wetsuits come with different zipper types, including back zippers, front zippers, and chest zippers. Back zippers are the most common and easiest to get in and out of, but they may allow a small amount of water to enter. Front and chest zippers provide a more secure seal, reducing water entry, and are often favoured by surfers. Consider the zipper type that best suits your needs and comfort preferences.
When investing in a wetsuit, it’s essential to choose a reputable brand known for producing high-quality products. Research different wetsuit brands, read reviews from other customers, and check for any warranty or customer support offered by the manufacturer. A well-regarded brand with positive reviews is more likely to deliver a wetsuit that meets your expectations.