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Getting a Wet Suit That Fits Correctly

By: Rachel Newcombe - Updated: 1 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
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If you want to have a go at water sports such as surfing, snorkelling or diving, then it’s essential you purchase a wet suit to keep you warm and comfortable when you’re in the water. Here we look at ways of ensuring you get a wet suit that fits correctly.

A wet suit is a key piece of clothing if you’re going to be spending time in the water, especially in the UK where it can get quite cold. When you first start looking, and especially if you’ve never had to buy a wet suit before, it can be quite confusing, as there are so many different types of wet suits in existence. There are wet suits aimed at men and women, others aimed at children, and they vary in style, design and thickness. You can be forgiven for wondering where on earth to start.

It’s best to head for a specialist surfing shop, as they’re much more likely to be clued up on what you need and will be able to provide help and advice as you search for the perfect wet suit. Wet suits are generally made of a synthetic rubber material that’s very stretchy and come as full suits, which cover the whole body, as shorties, which are shorter, and even as suits that have arms and legs that can be detachable.

Other accessories include wetsuit boots, hoods and gloves, which help protect other vulnerable areas of your body. Sometimes you can get chaffed skin from wearing a wetsuit, so you can get a rash vest to wear underneath – this helps reduce chaffing and keeps your skin protected.

The thickness of the suit depends on what type of water and the temperature of water you’re intending to be in. As a rough guide, a wet suit with a thickness of around 3/2mm is suitable for use during the spring and summer months in the UK waters, but if you’re planning on being out during the winter, when the water is much colder, you’ll need a suit with a 4/5mm or 5/3mm thickness.

Getting The Right Fit

All the major wet suit manufacturers will provide size guides to help you know which wetsuit offers the best fit for you. The measurements are usually given in inches and in terms of:
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Chest
  • Waist
  • Hips
  • Neck
  • Inseam
That may seem like a lot of key measurements to know, but the more you’re sure of, the better the fit will be. It’s useful to go armed with at least some of the measurements, but if in doubt, the assistants at the shop should be able to help with any additional measurements needed.

In order for a wet suit to work in the way it’s designed to do, a good fit is required. When you wear a wet suit, a tiny layer of water is trapped between the suit and your skin. Your body temperature helps to warm this water up and keep you from feeling the cold water outside.

Because of how the suit functions, it’s essential that you get a wetsuit that fits snugly.There shouldn’t be any baggy areas, but neither should it be too tight so that it’s uncomfortable. It can be a bit of a bind trying on a load of wetsuits, but if you want to find the perfect fit for you, it’s necessary.

Once you’re kitted out with your wet suit and all your other necessary gear, it’s time for you to head out surfing, snorkelling, diving or enjoying whatever watersport floats your boat!

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