What to Consider When Choosing a Kitesurfing Wetsuit
Whether you’re an experienced kiter or a kitesurfing newbie, choosing a wetsuit for this adrenaline-fuelled water sport can often seem challenging. With so many aspects to consider as well as a huge variety of wetsuits to choose from on the current market, knowing where to start with this monumental task can be daunting, especially for amateur riders.
Consequently, here at F-One, we want to share some of our kitesurfing wisdom to ensure you pick the perfect suit by offering you our top tips on what to consider when choosing a kitesurfing wetsuit:
Arguably the most important consideration to make, the size of your wetsuit will not only determine its ability to protect you when out in the elements but will also impact how comfortable you are while kitesurfing. Thus, ensuring that your wetsuit is comfortable is vital to enable you to move freely while still providing a good amount of insulation.
A correctly sized kitesurfing wetsuit will fit snugly but not restrictively, sitting closely against each section of your body to keep you warm and prevent flushing - when cold water enters the wetsuit and flushes the warm water out. The length in the wetsuit is also important and must enable a good amount of flexibility to ensure you can move easily when manoeuvring your equipment. If you have bunches at the end of your arms or legs when wearing your wetsuit, it’s too big, and you’ll need to opt for a smaller size to ensure it does its job properly while you’re out on the waves.
Whether you’re buying a summer or winter wetsuit, the fit of the suit should be exactly the same; however, due to being made of thicker neoprene, the former may feel a little tighter!
Another crucial aspect to consider when choosing the perfect kitesurfing wetsuit is the type of conditions you’ll be riding in. Depending on when and where you kitesurf, the season high and low temperatures for both air and water may vary drastically, so it is crucial to determine this information beforehand to ensure you select a suit that will perform effectively in this temperature range.
If you’re an experienced kitesurfer, you’ll already have a good indication of the type of conditions you’ll be riding in and subsequently, what kind of wetsuit will suit you best. For instance, in the very unlikely event that British summer temperatures exceed their peak of over 19 degrees, you may be able to get away with a 3/2 shorty for a week or two. However, for those kitesurfing in the usual temperamental UK climate, a 3/2 full suit will be the minimum you can get away with.
If you’re heading out in the midst of the British winter, when the wind is fierce and the water almost freezing, a 5/3 glued and blind stitched, taped suit with a non-porous exterior will do a sterling job of keeping you warm in plummeting temperatures.
Recommended for wear in water with a temperature of 55 degrees or lower, the stitches in these suits are not only glued but also contain interior seam taping. This greatly enhances the durability of the suit while helping to ensure it is as watertight as possible to lock in your body warmth and prevent flushing.
Finally, if you are new to kitesurfing or tend to be prone to high-speed falls while riding, you may want to consider a wetsuit with drain holes. With strategically placed holes that enable excess water to drain rapidly, these specialised suits ensure that none of your body heat is lost, no matter how many times you bail.
Once you’ve determined the size of your wetsuit and what conditions you’ll be riding in, accessories are the next thing to think about. This is particularly important for winter riders who are going to need all the help they can get when it comes to staying warm and dry on those chilly days, as well as those who tend to feel the cold more generally.
When kitesurfing, our bodies are protected by wetsuits that serve to retain heat by trapping a layer of water next to our skin and using our body heat to warm it up. Our extremities, however, are still on show, meaning they are far more susceptible to the cold no matter what the time of year. Consequently, investing in additional items such as booties, gloves or hoods can make a massive difference to both comfort and temperature while out on the waves.
If you have a limited budget or don’t want to commit to buying all three at once, we recommend starting off with a pair of booties or gloves as not only can they keep your hands, feet and toes toasty, but they can also enhance your grip by preventing your hands from seizing up, helping you to stay upright for as long as possible while you perfect your tricks and techniques!
We hope these tips have assisted you in your quest to find the perfect kitesurfing wetsuit. However, if you’re in need of a little more guidance when it comes to size, our online Manera fitting guide provides step-by-step instructions that are both clear and simple to follow. Alternatively, if you’re still in search of your dream suit, take a look at our fantastic range of Manera wetsuits now!