Wetsuits vs Drysuits: What's the Difference?

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Wetsuits vs Drysuits: What's the Difference?

There are a lot of things that go into a good session on the water. One of the most underestimated but essential pieces of gear is your wetsuit, especially in British waters! The wetsuit is an integral part of any surfer’s kit, as a high-quality suit can help take your game to the next level.

If you’re looking to upgrade your current wetsuit or buying one for the first time, you may come across drysuits. These are very similar, yet both serve notably different roles in the water. Here, we explain the difference between the two, to ensure you’re getting the right thing for your sport!

What Does a Wetsuit Do?

First of all, it helps to explain what role wetsuits play in your surfing experience. The wetsuit’s primary purpose is to provide a layer of warmth while in the water. It does this by allowing a thin layer of water to come into contact with your body, which then warms it, creating a shield against colder waters.

In the UK but also across the world, submerging yourself in the sea will drastically lower your body temperature if you’re not prepared. Therefore, a wetsuit protects your body from sudden temperature drops while surfing. However, wetsuits provide a selection of extra benefits to the wearer while out on the water. The neoprene material protects from abrasion against the board, while it can also protect against UV rays and stings from marine animals!

A kitesurfer on the water with F-One equipment wearing a wetsuit

Differences Between a Wetsuit and a Drysuit

At first glance, a drysuit can look almost identical to a wetsuit and performs a very similar task. Like wetsuits, drysuits fulfil the primary role of keeping the wearer warm while in the water.

Their respective names evidence the main difference between wetsuits and drysuits. Wetsuits are designed to allow water through the suit and into contact with the body. Drysuits, meanwhile, are designed to keep water outside. Seals at the ends of the suit, including the wrists and neck, create a completely protected environment for the wearer.

To allow air to dwell inside, drysuits tend to be loose-fitting, in contrast to the tight nature of wetsuits. The air pocket also enables a degree of extra buoyancy in drysuits which can be controlled depending on the preference of the wearer.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Drysuits

Drysuits come with several advantages over a wetsuit, with the main one being its added insulation. By stopping water entering the suit, the wearer’s temperature stays much higher than someone wearing a wetsuit. This advantage makes drysuits popular for people operating in extremely cold waters, such as scuba divers. Drysuits also tend to be particularly sturdy and can have a very long lifespan if cared for properly.

That being said, drysuits tend to be uncommon amongst watersports users. One reason is that they are slightly loose compared to wetsuits, which can cause drag if travelling through the water at speed. Drysuits can take more time to put on due to their watertight properties, while that advantage tends to make them notably more expensive compared to wetsuits.

A smiling kitesurfer wearing a wetsuit and F-One equipment

Choosing the Correct Equipment for Your Watersport

Drysuits tend to be the option of choice for scuba divers, as their buoyancy and insulation properties can provide real benefits while deep in cold waters. However, for the average watersports athlete, a wetsuit is the option of choice.

The primary reason for this is the tight-fitting nature of wetsuits over drysuits. While famously challenging to get into, wetsuits allow a level of manoeuvrability that drysuits cannot match. Moreover, a good-quality wetsuit provides the insulation you need for normal seawater at a much better price than drysuits.

Here at F-One, we supply a range of Manera wetsuits designed to provide the best in manoeuvrability and comfort while on the water! If you want to learn more before your purchase, why not check out our wetsuit FAQs?