So you are going surfing/scuba diving for the first time and you have no idea what to look for. Before you start shopping, here is a quick guide to help you get started.
Step 1: Brainstorming
You always want a general idea of what you want. There are several types of wetsuits, some people look for wetsuits based on the weather, others look for quality or how easy it is to use. You should also have your body measurements for:
Generally speaking, if you are going to be surfing in lower temperature areas, be prepared to pay more for your gear as thicker material would be required to keep you warm. You can read more about this below.
Step 2: Choosing Your Wetsuit
When you shop for wetsuits, you will notice different measurement numbers on different products. These millimeter measurements indicate the thickness of the neoprene. The thicker the wetsuit is, the more warm your body will be. You must also keep in mind that thicker wetsuits tend to be less flexible. If you plan on swimming in cold waters, you will also need to buy a wetsuit hood, booties, and wetsuit gloves. Be advised this also works the other way around. If you will be suring in very hot temperatures in warm waters, a thinner suit is recommended.
Here are the different categories of wetsuits you can choose from:
- "Shorties" - When you are under warmer temperatures, these would be more comfortable to be in. They are usually 2mm neoprene.
- "Springsuit" - Best used on water temperatures between 65F & 75F during windy days. They are more warm than shortes, usually in 3/2mm neoprene.
- "Jumpsuits" - This is for cold temperatures below 65F. Based on how cold the water is, they range from 3mm to 10mm. The more commonly used ones if you are diving in cold temperatures range from 5mm to 7mm.
Step 3: Some other things to consider
Everyone has their own preferences, as some people who are thicker may have higher body temperature than a thin person. The most important thing to consider though, is to protect yourself from cold conditions. Like I said above.. gloves, hoods, booties, wetsuit socks are ideal to have too. If you plan on swimming in very cold temperatures, its always better to get advice from experts who can recommend exactly what to look for.
You can refer to the charts below for a temperature guide: