Wetsuit FAQs Debunked
For many of us in the UK, the wetsuit is a vital part of our kitesurfing setup. It is essential for keeping you warm, providing much-needed protection from the elements. The correct wetsuit is vital for your enjoyment – a cold, leaking suit will do nothing for your mood when the tricks aren’t flowing. On the other hand, finding the perfect one can provide the comfort that can take your kitesurfing to the next level!
There are many things to look out for when it comes to choosing and looking after a wetsuit. If you’re making your first waves in the wetsuit game and want advice on where to turn, we’ve taken a look at some of the most frequently asked questions people have, to help you pick the perfect suit!
What Should I Look For in a Wetsuit?
While all wetsuits may appear similar on the outside, there can be a whole myriad of differences in each. Unfortunately for beginners, many wetsuit providers use technologies that can be hard to understand at first. However, one constant across all brands and the main thing everyone can look out for is the wetsuit’s thickness.
The thickness of the wetsuit mainly impacts the internal temperature when wearing it. Put simply, a thicker wetsuit is more suitable for colder weather and a thinner one for warmer waters. Most providers will describe their thickness in a two-number combination, such as 3/2 or 4.3. These numbers often refer to the millimetre thickness of the suit’s body and limbs. For example, a 3/2 suit would be 3mm thick around the body and 2mm thick everywhere else. Some will use a third number to refer a third thickness of the neoprene.
Should I Choose a Short or Long-Sleeve Wetsuit?
Again, the primary difference between choosing a short and long-sleeve wetsuit is temperature control. However, for the UK, selecting a long-sleeve suit is best.
Some surfers believe they get a better feel for the water and a more regulated temperature by choosing a short-sleeve wetsuit. There is also an argument that short-sleeved suits allow for greater movement of the arms and legs, especially if they stop short of the joints. However, a high-quality long-sleeve wetsuit will be designed to enable your movements, so this shouldn’t be an issue. Meanwhile, a long-sleeve wetsuit can regulate the temperature across your body more evenly. So long as you choose the correct long-sleeve wetsuit, it will often be a better choice than a short-sleeve one.
Should I Wear Anything Underneath My Wetsuit?
Wearing clothes underneath the wetsuit is entirely a question of personal preference. So long as your wetsuit is good quality and well cared for, there shouldn’t be any need to wear clothes underneath it. That being said, many people do wear something under their wetsuit and for many reasons.
A big reason for wearing clothes underneath is changing. There will come the point when you need to take your wetsuit off and, depending on where that is; you may want to have something in place. Other kitesurfers wear clothes underneath to protect from rubbing or chafing from the wetsuit, although a well-maintained suit shouldn’t do this. In terms of what to wear underneath, it’s best to wear something thin and tight to the body. Loose items can get bundled and creased while putting on the suit and may cause discomfort while riding. Female riders tend to wear a swimming suit underneath their wetsuit if they choose, while there are also wetsuit-specific undershirts and shorts available for all surfers, such as rash vests.
How Do I Put on A Wetsuit?
Putting on a wetsuit is something of an age-old trick, and every kitesurfing veteran will have methods they stick to religiously. Beginners may wonder why this is an issue, but they soon discover that entering a wetsuit can be something of an ordeal if you’re not prepared!
For wetsuits, the legs should always go in first. The wetsuit material can be quite sticky, especially when dry, so some surfers put bags on their feet, which can help them slide through. Certain socks can also have a similar effect. Once the feet are through, and the wetsuit is pulled as far up the legs as possible, the arms can enter. If your zip is in the back, it should come with some form of cord which you can pull to zip it yourself. Meanwhile, front zips usually have a section which pops over your head before zipping. While entering a wetsuit can be frustrating, it’s best to avoid using your nails to help, as this could damage the suit.
How Should My Wetsuit Fit?
As you will discover after putting on your wetsuit, they are designed to be quite tight to the body. If it feels slightly constricting but still comfortable, that is often correct. Too tight and your performance may be impeded, but too loose and the suit can’t do its job. Also note that the wetsuit will expand slightly in water, so a little tightness while trying it on is correct.
How Should I Dry My Wetsuit?
Drying a wetsuit is somewhat comparable to drying a pair of leather boots and should be given a similar level of care. Allow the wetsuit to dry naturally; don’t use a radiator or other excessive heat source and also keep it out of direct sunlight.
When drying, the wetsuit should hang broad-shouldered with room horizontally and vertically, so it can keep its natural shape for longer. While some suggest drying wetsuits inside-out, we recommend that our suits are dried the right way round, due to the 3D panels used.
How Can I Care for My Wetsuit?
There are many things you can do to ensure your wetsuit delivers a high-quality surf for as long as possible. Correct drying is one part, but there is much more you can do.
After using the wetsuit at sea, it’s always suggested to rinse it with clean water before drying. Clean your wetsuit using specifically-designed products after every handful of uses to strengthen its properties further. For longevity, it is also best to store your wetsuit in its natural, stood-up shape, as opposed to folding. Rolling up a wetsuit can cause creases which become points of weakness over time, so keeping it flat upright is best.
Hopefully, this guide will give you all the confidence you need to go out and choose the right wetsuit for you. Here at F-One, we have a range of Manera wetsuits for you to discover, so be sure to check them out! If you would like answers to any more questions, let us know either on our social channels or by contacting us – we’re happy to help!