A wetsuit is a very important garment if we want to carry out an aquatic activity in cold waters and maintain our body heat thanks to this thermal insulation. In addition, it is something that has to last as long as possible, because its prices are not for constantly changing wetsuits. Therefore, we give you some advice on how to choose the perfect surfing or steamer wetsuit that best wetsuits you, the different types, seams, and brands.
1. Neoprene fit
When it comes to choosing a surfing wetsuit, the fit and adaptation to the shape of the body are essential. A low-quality but anatomically-fitting surfing wetsuit will always work much better than a high-quality but poorly-fitting surfing wetsuit. Therefore, feeling that it fits us properly is very important, especially in the torso and the length of the arms and legs.
The surfing wetsuit must fit completely to the body to be effective, without any wrinkles or folds, but it must also be comfortable and easy to put on and take off. Before buying it, try on several sizes until you find one that you feel comfortable with and that fits well with your body. There are special surfing wetsuits for men and women, with the characteristics that best adapt to the body of men and women. Girl surfing wetsuits are usually wider at the hips and chest.
2. Types of wetsuit
Surfing and steamer wetsuits can be found with different combinations of sleeves and legs. The most common is with long arms and legs, but there are also those with short arms and legs (short wetsuit), with long arms and short legs, and with long legs and short arms.
3. Neoprene thickness
An important characteristic of neoprene steamer wetsuits is the thickness of the neoprene plates that compose them, which is usually between 1 and 6 millimeters. A difference of 1 millimeter in the thickness of a steamer wetsuit can make a big difference in the water since the more millimeters the better it will protect from the cold, but it will also be more uncomfortable and difficult to move with it.
The following table can serve as a guide to know what type of surfing or steamer wetsuits you need according to the temperature of the water.
4. Wetsuit seams
There are many ways to sew surfing wetsuits. One of the most basic is the Quicksilver Cell, where there are fewer parts and fewer seams than on other surfing wetsuits, to reduce water ingress through the seams. It also features a high level of stitch precision throughout the neoprene. Another noteworthy surfing wetsuit is the O’Neill Psycho.
It will depend on the seams that more or less water enters the interior. Basic surfing wetsuits are usually made with flat seams, which allow a lot of water to pass into the surfing wetsuit. Mid-high range surfing wetsuits are manufactured with a gluing and blind seam system, that is, first the edges of the neoprene sheets are glued, and then they are sewn on one side without the seams going through the sheet of neoprene. neoprene, thus preventing water from entering through the seams. The high-end surfing wetsuits also have the seams sealed with a special rubber, which achieves even more tightness.
5. Neoprene with zipper and without zipper
There are two systems when putting on and taking off the surfing and steamer wetsuits. The zipper system on the back (which is the most common) and the ‘neck’ or no zipper system. In the latter, the steamer wetsuit is put on by inserting the body through the neck of the neoprene, made of a super-flexible material that stretches enough for it to pass without difficulty.
6. Special characteristics according to brand
Neoprene manufacturers try to improve the experience of surfers by introducing new materials that prevent rashes or chafing on the skin. Rip Curl introduced the Batwing system a few years ago for its steamer wetsuits, with which it intends to maintain heat above all in the surfer’s torso since the water that filters through the back zipper make that part cool down before. So he added an extra layer of neoprene for extra protection.
7. Price of neoprene
How much do you want to spend on a steamer wetsuit? There are whole wetsuits that fit all pockets, it all depends on the brand and the thickness of the steamer wetsuit.
In addition to the surfing wetsuits, there are neoprene accessories to protect the feet, hands, head, and chest from the cold. The bootiesare neoprene ankle boots that, in addition to protecting from the cold, are very useful for walking on rocky or volcanic bottoms. There are also neoprene gloves and hats to protect yourself from the most intense cold. And the overalls,which are like neoprene shirts that protect you from the cold when the water is not yet cold enough to wear a surfing wetsuit.
If your wetsuit is not ready then do not practice surfing without the rest of the appropriate equipment or without organizing the trip to the sea including the documents required for the destination, informing you about the waters and the routes, and carrying surf insurance.