Tuesday 22 May 2012

Information on choosing the perfect wetsuit

Choosing a wetsuit (For the UK)

Types of wetsuits

Shortie - Comes with  short arms, usually finishing just above the elbow and short legs – they will mostly finish just above the knee or on the thigh. Shortie’s are the perfect wetsuits for the hotter summer days. Lightweight and easy to get into. Ex.: The Cressi Playa Men's Shortie Wetsuit with Front Zipper , Cressi - Playa Ladies Pink Shortie Wet Suit - Frontal Zipper Style

Wetsuit Full Suits/One piece/Steamers They are often referred to as steamers – and consist out of a one piece wetsuit with long arms and long legs. It’s also possible to have a short arm steamer -  with the 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. Full wetsuits are ideal for anyone who would like to be in the water for a longer time and can be used at any time from Spring to Autumn. Ex.: the Cressi - Men's Lui 2.8mm Front Zipper Quality Full Length Wet Suit , Cressi - Ladies Lei 2.8mm Front Zipper Quality Full Length Wet Suit

Drysuit -  A dry suit is a full-body waterproof suit containing rubber neck, wrist, and ankle gaskets which serve to keep the water out. Dry Suits are used in several water activities like kayaking, rafting, canoeing, waterskiing, and scuba diving. They are designed so that the person wearing them is kept dry and warm. Ex.: The Typhoon 100g Dry suit undersuit with Breathable Ree Tech

Neoprene thicknesses:
3mm, 3/2mm – This is the industry accepted standard neoprene thickness for warmer summer activities or high energy activities that require a greater degree of flexibility. There is also a degree of 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 they do provide  a greater degree of flexibility.

5mm, 5/4/3mm, 5/3mm – This is the  industry accepted standard neoprene thicknesses for all year round activities, winter activities or activities in cooler waters. These suits can also have a combination of these thicknesses to create greater flexibility for certain partes of the body and thus  to provide greater freedom of movement for higher energy activities. Thicker neoprene provides greater warmth but because of this comes with less flexibility. Ex.: Beaver Marbella Scuba Diving Men's 5mm Semi Dry Wet Suit - Black, Beaver Sports - Marbella 5mm Ladies Semi Dry Scuba Wet Suit

7mm, 7/5mm - This is the industry accepted standard thickness for all year round activities, winter activities, activities in colder waters or any watersports activity requiring greater thermal protection. The thicker neoprene provides, as can be expected,  a lesser degree of flexibility. Ex.: Waterproof - W2 5mm or 7mm Men's or Women's Scuba Diving Wetsuit

Types of Neoprene

Single lined neoprene/mesh neoprene Neoprene with nylon lining on one side, usually the inside, this provides  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 it functions as an aid to improve water run-off and helps cuts down on windchill.

Double lined neoprene – Neoprene with nylon lining on both sides, inside and outside – for protection, durability and warmth. Wetsuits that are designed for use in multiple sports are usually constructed using the majority of double lined neoprene. Ex.:Cressi Playa Men's Shortie Wetsuit with Front Zipper

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 will have the greatest influence on the overall warmth of the suit.

Seam construction
Flatlock Stitched Seams 
Flatlock is created by stitching neoprene together, thus creating a flat seam. This finish is extremely comfortable and durable but can only be used on neoprene up to 3mm and therefore tends to be used on lighter weight wetsuits.

Blindstitched Seams Blind Stitching is produced by gluing neoprene together and then being stiched across the seam. This way there is no penetration of the neoprene which further prevents water from entering the wetsuit.. Sometimes tape will be added to stress points to provide extra strength and prevent rips from occurring. This is generally considered a warmer finish. Any wetsuit thicker than 3mm can only be constructed using this method. 

Taped Seams  
Most of the top of the line wetsuit these days have Liquid or Fluid taped seams. This wetsuit technology combines a liquid neoprene or fluid tape with a glued and blind stitched seam to produce an very durable  seam for ultimate performance.  The taping reinforces the strength of the seams, helping prevent any tears or leaks in your wetsuit. You can't go wrong with a suit that uses this technology. 

Front or Back Zip  
A full suit offers you the best protection, both thermally and physically. Although you can get 2-piece suits in this thickness, most of them are of the 1-piece variety. So the only decision you’ll have to make is whether you want a front zip or a back zip. There’s no difference in warmth, but suits with a back zipper usually have a higher collar which may provide a little added warmth. However, if you have a sensitive gag reflex, you may find the higher collar too restrictive, and prefer a front zip with a slightly lower cut. 
If you have any further Questions concerning wetsuits or just in general, just hit us with a message and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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