Buying a Wetsuit – It’s That Time of Year Again.
What’s better than having a nice strip of beach to yourself with no other surfers to your spot, or any tourist swimming in the best breaking areas? Surfing in the wintertime can make that all possible, but to make wintertime surfing possible, you need to keep warm while in the water. Wetsuits are the one and only way to surf in cold waters and cold air temperatures. They keep you warm and insulated enough without sacrificing too much mobility and comfort. When selecting a wetsuit its extremely important to know what time of year you want to surf, the temperatures of your chosen times, and find the right fit for your body shape. To know these three factors will help you select the right wetsuit for you.
The most important thing to do when selecting a wetsuit is to get the right fit. The way a wetsuit works is by taking in a thin layer of water between you and the wetsuit, the body heat warms the water and keeps your body heat insulated. If you get too big of a wetsuit, the warm water cannot stay inside the wetsuit and will quickly be replaced by cold water, which means you can’t retain the heat you need. Too small of a wetsuit, and its downright uncomfortable.. The best fit is a nice snug fit that you can still move in well, but not shave “wrinkles” in areas like your armpits and crotch. The best way to get the right size is to go to a well-stocked surf shop and try on different wetsuits with an employee who knows what he/she is talking about. They can help you find the right wetsuit just for you. Just remember that no two brands fit the same.
Its also very important to understand the thickness of a wetsuit. “Warmer” cold waters require less thickness than very cold waters. For example: in October the best wetsuit thickness would be a very thin wetsuit, around 3/2 mm (3mm on your chest and back/2mm on your arms and legs) would be good. The water isn’t freezing yet and your biggest temperature threat would be the wind blowing on you. But as you get farther into the fall and winter, thicker materials are required to surf comfortably and not freeze your butt off. As you start rolling into winter, 4/3 mm or 5/3 mm will work the best in waters about 60 degrees or colder. Remember that what is comfortable in October will not be the same thing you would wear in February, so when you’re selecting a wetsuit, have an idea of how far into the winter you want to be surfing.
Wetsuits are what make surfing in the wintertime possible and enjoyable. They are what keep you toasty while you’re shredding it up in November, or out surfing in the snow in January. Be sure you get a wetsuit that fits you right and has the right thickness for whatever temps your surfing. And also remember, take good care of your wetsuit; rinse it off with freshwater, hang it up in a spot out of the sun, don’t just toss it in the corner of the garage. Because if you take good care of it, it will take good care of you when it counts the most.