Buying Your First Wetsuit: Our Top Tips

A beginner surfer walking to the sea in a wetsuit and carrying a surfboard

So, you have decided to take to the water for a new sport and now require the equipment needed, including a wetsuit.
With many wetsuits available, knowing which one is right for you can feel overwhelming, especially when looking to buy wetsuits online!
Luckily, we have put together our top tips for buying your first wetsuit, so you can leave this blog knowing what to look for.

 

Think About What You Will Use Your Wetsuit For

 

If you are new to water sports, you will likely be under the impression that all wetsuits are the same. However, the world of wetsuits is vast, and there are specific wetsuits designed for different watersports.

For example, a wetsuit for swimming is very different from one you would use for surfing.
If you are hoping to surf in your wetsuit, the suit’s focus will be on keeping you warm! These wetsuits are designed to trap and heat a thin layer of water between the suit’s neoprene and your body to help you stay warm in colder waters. Additionally, these suits are heavier as you are not required to swim in them.

If you hope to compete in a triathlon, the wetsuit you will require will be much lighter than a wetsuit used for watersports such as surfing and bodyboarding. Competitive swimming wetsuits are created purposely to prevent the water from leaving the suit and to assist with your swimming performance.

So the first step is to determine what you will be using your wetsuit for and researching the type you will need. Here at Wetsuit Centre, we stock wetsuits for a whole range of sports, including surfing, swimming and sailing. If you are unsure of what you need, our friendly team will always answer any of your questions!

 

Determine When and Where You Will Be Using Your Wetsuit

 

Once you know the type of wetsuit you will need, you will need to consider what thickness is most suitable for you. Figuring out which thickness of wetsuit you require depends on when and where you will be using it.

Wetsuits come in a range of different thicknesses to regulate your body heat according to the water's conditions and temperature. For example, wetsuits used for surfing are available in summer, winter, and midseason thicknesses to meet the varied water temperatures that change throughout the year.

Our infographic below offers a general guide for wetsuit thickness and water temperatures:

Wetsuit Centre infographic explaining what thickness of wetsuit is appropriate for different water temperatures

Think about when and where you will be predominately wearing your wetsuit. If the answer is the UK, you need to consider the weather, especially the cold winter months.

Take Into Consideration UK Winters

With the temperatures dropping hugely during this period, you should opt for buying a wetsuit with a 5:3 or more thickness than you would require for the warmer months.

Summer Wetsuits

However, if you will be using your wetsuit mainly during the warmer months and not venturing in the sea in the winter, a summer 3:2 or shorty wetsuit will be a much more suitable option.

As long as your wetsuit is suited to your water-based activity and fits you correctly, you should be able to remain warm.

 

Ensure the Wetsuit Fits Correctly

 

The number one rule of wetsuits is if a wetsuit doesn't fit correctly, it will be useless. Even if you buy the most expensive wetsuit and it is too big, it will be a complete waste of money. Fit is everything, and to ensure you don't feel any nasty shocks of cold water you need to get the size right.

A wetsuit should fit like a second skin. The wetsuit needs to heat a thin layer of water evenly around your body to regulate your body heat. Therefore, it needs to be tight to your body to work. If there are any gaping spaces, these will fill with water and cause you to feel cold.

Fitting Tips

When you try on the suit, don’t be taken aback by the tightness that the suit presents. Although it may feel a little snug at first, this is how it should feel when dry.

  • Once you go in the water for the first time, the neoprene will loosen as it gets wet. This is why the wetsuit needs to fit tightly when dry. Over time, you will adapt to the suit and feel more comfortable the more you wear and train in one.
  • The wetsuit should not pull down on your neck and shoulders or restrict your arm movement. If you can't move freely, it is most likely too small.
  • The most important place for a wetsuit to fit is the torso. A great place to check the fit of the suit is in the lower back. If you can pinch the neoprene here and there is a lot of excess, the wetsuit is too big.
  • If you are sizing a wetsuit for kids, ensuring that the torso is tight to the body is more important than the length of the wetsuit.
  • When you pull the wetsuit on for the first time, ensure it is pulled up correctly. Do a section at a time, making sure the suit's legs are pulled up correctly to the knees, and the knee pads (if the wetsuit has them) are in the correct position. Then work the suit up to your waste, checking the positioning, then body and shoulders and so on.

 

Choosing the Right Size

 

Buying a wetsuit online has its challenges as you can’t try it on then and there. However, there are plenty of resources to help, and it is always best to check the sizing guidelines issued by the wetsuit manufacturer. For more top advice on choosing the best fitting wetsuit, check out our guide below. If you are still unsure, remember you can always get in touch with us, and we can assist you.

Wetsuit Centre CTA button to wetsuit sizing guide with a woman surfer in background riding a wave

 

Look for Quality Features

 

The stitching of a wetsuit is a massive giveaway in the overall quality of the suit. Therefore, when you choose your wetsuit, it is of paramount importance that you look at the stitching.

The panels on a wetsuit are fastened together in a particular way. This helps to enhance flexibility and movement of the arms, making sure that there is no restriction when you take to the waves. So, buying a cheap wetsuit from a supermarket will only provide you with a poor-fitting suit and may result in the material rubbing your skin and causing unnecessary irritation.

 

Knowing How Much To Spend

 

Aside from when and what you will be using your wetsuit for, budget is the next biggest decider in which wetsuit you should buy.

Many people assume that only expensive wetsuits are of high quality, but this is simply not the case. An entry-level wetsuit will provide you with everything you need to get you started.

As you advance in your watersport, you will understand what you require from your wetsuit over time. However, try not to skip ahead too much at the start as you may choose something not quite right for you and your experience in the water.

Hopefully, these six top tips will help you when you come to buy your first wetsuit soon. If you require more help, let us know at Wetsuit Centre! We have over a decade of experience in the online wetsuit industry and can help you choose the best wetsuit for you!