How to Buy a Wetsuit

How to Buy a Wetsuit
Wetsuits are worn to help surfers and scuba divers avoid getting overly chilled when they're in the water. Most wetsuits are made primarily of neoprene, a synthetic rubber material. To appeal to personal preferences and meet the demands of different marine settings, wetsuits come in a variety of styles and thicknesses, which are measured in millimeters. A wetsuit that fits well and features quality workmanship will provide the greatest overall comfort and warmth for surfers and scuba divers.


Difficulty: Easy


Step 1
Choose a wetsuit that is thick enough to keep you warm. Many surfers and divers wear 3-millimeter wetsuits when water temperatures are 70 degrees or above. Most individuals will opt for wetsuits with a 5- to 7-millimeter thickness if water temperatures dip into the 60s or cooler.
Step 2
Pick a wetsuit style that meets your personal preference. Choices include full-body suits that provide the most warmth, Farmer John or Farmer Jane suits with full legs and no arms that work well for paddling and shorty suits with cut-off legs and arms that allow for maximum freedom of movement.
Step 3
Try on different suits to find one that fits snugly. A wetsuit that is too small will feel uncomfortable. Suits that are too big will allow excess seepage, which greatly diminishes their ability to keep an individual warm while in the water.
Step 4
Examine seams and zippers. In high-quality wetsuits, the seams should be sewed and/or glued in place, and then sealed on the inside by a strip of material. Avoid wetsuits with seams that have visible humps or exposed stitching. Zippers should be heavy duty but function smoothly.

Tips & Warnings

If you can afford it, a wetsuit with 100 percent super stretch neoprene provides the greatest flexibility and snuggest fit. These suits also are among the most expensive.

Article Written By Kirk Brown

Kirk Brown is an award-winning freelance writer with two decades of diverse media experience. A former newspaper reporter and editor, he also was managing editor of an acclaimed scuba diving magazine. Brown has written scripts for more than 50 half-hour TV programs focusing on technology and health topics.

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