How does a wetsuit work? By keeping you wet, of course! When the suit gets soaked, it traps a thin layer of water between you and your suit. Your body heat warms that water and the suit traps in the heat to keep you warm. Pretty neat, right?
So now that we know how it works, the question is, do you need to wear a wetsuit while surfing? The short answer is no. There are plenty of options of things to wear while surfing such as board shorts, swimsuits, jammers, dry suits, rash guards, and others. The most important things are that you are comfortable, confident, and appropriately dressed for the temperature of the water.
With that said, wetsuits are an excellent choice for surfers of all ages and ability levels, but there are also some things to consider before donning one. Here are the pros and cons of surfing in a wetsuit:
- it keeps you warm in cold water
- it stays on even if you fall off your board
- it absorbs some impact when you hit the water
- it can help you float
- it looks great on many body types
- it is flexible
- it has many styles for different coverage
- it might cause a reaction on sensitive skin when worn
- it can be expensive
- it has special care instructions - no washing machines!
- it is not ideal for swimming
- it is not easy to take on and off
So, do you think a wetsuit is right for you? Before buying one, here are a few tips you should know:
- Pay attention to the stitching. Overlock/flat stitch/flatlock is for warm water. Blindstitch/seam taping/fluid seal for cold water.
- Consider the thickness. Wetsuit material varies in thickness. Thicker suits are better for cooler water.
- It is not like buying regular clothes. It might feel weird at first, but it should feel snug and not be constricting. Take measurements of your body and ask people at the store for help.
If you've found the right one, you can finally decide which one of our surf lessons to take to learn the sport.