The Ultimate Guide to Wetsuit Selection and Usage

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Getting Started: Choosing the Right Size Wetsuit

When it comes to enjoying water activities such as surfing, diving, or swimming, a wetsuit is an essential piece of gear that provides insulation and protection. However, finding the perfect wetsuit can be a challenging task. In this guide, we will walk you through the process of choosing the right size wetsuit, step-by-step instructions for putting it on hassle-free, insider tips for ensuring a perfect fit, pro techniques for effortless wear, and common mistakes to avoid.

person wearing a wetsuit in the water

Understanding Wetsuit Sizing

Choosing the right size wetsuit is crucial for comfort and functionality in the water. Here are some steps to help you determine the correct size:

  1. Measurements: Take accurate measurements of your chest, waist, hips, and height. Different brands may have slightly different size charts, so refer to the specific manufacturer’s guidelines.
  2. Refer to Size Charts: Once you have your measurements, consult the size chart provided by the wetsuit manufacturer. Match your measurements with the corresponding sizes to find the best fit.
  3. Consider Your Body Shape: Take into account your body shape and proportions. If you fall in between sizes, choose the size that accommodates your largest measurement.
  4. Try It On: If possible, try on the wetsuit before purchasing. Pay attention to the fit around your shoulders, chest, and crotch. It should be snug but not overly tight or restrictive.
  5. Consider Thickness: Consider the thickness of the wetsuit based on the water temperature you will be in. Thicker suits provide more insulation for colder waters, while thinner suits are suitable for warmer conditions.
  6. Seek Expert Advice: If you’re unsure about sizing, consult a professional at a local surf shop or dive center. They can provide personalized recommendations based on your needs and body shape.

Step-by-Step Guide: Putting on a Wetsuit Hassle-Free

Putting on a wetsuit can sometimes be a struggle, especially if you’re new to it. Follow these step-by-step instructions to make the process easier and more efficient:

  1. Prepare Yourself: Ensure you are dry and free from any lotions or oils. These substances can damage the wetsuit material over time.
  2. Fold the Waist Down: Fold the waist of the wetsuit down to create a band around your hips. This will make it easier to slip the wetsuit on.
  3. Start with Your Legs: Begin by inserting one leg into the wetsuit. Use your hands to slowly slide the wetsuit up your leg, ensuring it is pulled up evenly.
  4. Repeat for the Other Leg: Insert your other leg into the wetsuit and repeat the process of sliding it up evenly.
  5. Pull Up the Torso: With both legs in the wetsuit, pull the wetsuit up towards your waist. Use your hands to adjust the fit and make sure it is snug but not overly tight.
  6. Pull Up the Shoulders: Reach behind your back and grab the wetsuit material near your shoulders. Pull it up towards your neck, adjusting the fit as needed.
  7. Secure the Back Zip: If your wetsuit has a back zip, carefully pull it up and secure it using the provided zipper leash or cord. Make sure it is fully closed to prevent water from entering.
  8. Adjust the Fit: Once the wetsuit is on, take a few moments to adjust the fit. Ensure the arms and legs are the appropriate length and that there are no wrinkles or bunching of material.

Insider Tips: Ensuring a Perfect Fit for Your Wetsuit

Achieving a perfect fit for your wetsuit goes beyond choosing the right size. Here are some insider tips to ensure maximum comfort and functionality:

  1. Neck Seal: Check that the neck seal is snug but not constricting. A tight neck seal can cause discomfort and restrict movement, while a loose one may allow water to enter.
  2. Arm and Leg Length: The arms and legs should reach the wrists and ankles respectively, without excessive bunching or sagging. If necessary, consider alterations for a more tailored fit.
  3. Shoulder Mobility: Flex your shoulders and perform a range of motion exercises to ensure unrestricted movement. The wetsuit should not impede your ability to paddle, swim, or dive.
  4. No Gaps or Excessive Compression: Check for any gaps between your body and the wetsuit, especially around the lower back, chest, and crotch. At the same time, ensure there is no excessive compression that restricts blood flow.
  5. Avoid Overstretching: While a snug fit is important, avoid overstretching the wetsuit material when putting it on or taking it off. This can lead to premature wear and tear.
  6. Consider Different Styles: Different wetsuit styles, such as full suits, shorties, or spring suits, offer varying levels of coverage and insulation. Choose the style that suits your water activities and preferences.

Pro Techniques: Effortless Ways to Put on Your Wetsuit

Experienced water enthusiasts have developed some pro techniques to make putting on a wetsuit even easier. Here are a few techniques to try:

  1. Plastic Bag Method: Place your feet inside plastic bags before inserting them into the wetsuit legs. This reduces friction and allows your feet to slide in smoothly.
  2. Wetsuit Lubricant: Apply a small amount of wetsuit lubricant or water-based lubricant to your skin before putting on the wetsuit. This reduces friction and makes it easier to slide into the suit.
  3. Squat and Slide: Squat down and slide into the wetsuit legs using a rocking motion. This can help create space and minimize resistance when pulling the suit up.
  4. Use a Buddy: Enlist the help of a friend or fellow water enthusiast to assist you in putting on the wetsuit. They can provide guidance and make the process faster and more efficient.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Putting on a Wetsuit

Even seasoned wetsuit users can make mistakes when putting on their gear. Here are some common pitfalls to avoid:

  1. Using Fingernails: Avoid using your fingernails to grip the wetsuit material when pulling it up. This can cause tears or damage to the neoprene.
  2. Forcing Zippers: Be gentle when pulling up zippers, especially if they are stuck. Forcing them can lead to zipper damage or breakage.
  3. Incorrect Alignment: Ensure the seams and panels of the wetsuit align properly with your body. Misalignment can cause discomfort and restrict movement.
  4. Not Taking Your Time: Rushing the process can result in a poor fit or damage to the wetsuit. Take your time and follow the step-by-step instructions carefully.
  5. Neglecting Care and Maintenance: Proper care and maintenance of your wetsuit are essential for longevity. Rinse it with fresh water after each use, hang it to dry away from direct sunlight, and store it in a cool, dry place.

By following these guidelines, you’ll be well-equipped to choose the right size wetsuit, put it on hassle-free, ensure a perfect fit, utilize pro techniques, and avoid common mistakes. Enjoy your water activities with confidence and comfort!