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Let us talk about diving surfing wet suit

The Three Most Important things in a diving surfing wet suit:

A suit is next to useless if it does not fit properly. It should be taut to avoid 'flushing' you should not be able pinch up any excess neoprene except possibly a small wrinkle behind the knees and elbows and under the armpits. It should look as if it has been "sprayed" on. You should wear very little underneath the suit, no shorts and t-shirt. When putting it on, leave you socks on to aid entry or even plasitc bags on your feet will help! And a man should wear a man's suit and a ladies a ladies so as to get the best fit, they are made differently. It is however acceptable to wear a rash vest, there are some very good one's on the market capable of adding a layer of warmth and to stop the dreaded diving surfing wet suit rash.

The Seams and the thickness

It is generally accepted that for 3/2mm is summer thickness and 5/3mm is winter thickness. Many people want just the one suit that can do it all however so growing in popularity is the 5/4/3mm. It is important to understand right from the start that there are currently two main types of seam.


Cheapest is Flatlock... No glue involved, 4 rows of stitches perforate the suit so the seams are not watertight. Seams allow "flush" when you fall in. This type of seam is often seen in cheap suits and tend to leak, its common in cheap 2mm/3mm suits since in warm water it won't matter, in cold you will notice it very quickly!

diving wet suit details

After this you get "blindstitched and glued" this is where neoprene panels are glued together. These seams are then sewn with a curved needle which brings the thread back out the same side without penetrating right through the neoprene. This creates a totally waterproof seam which will prevent flushing. This "double" process obviously adds to the cost.

diving suit detailsdiving wet suit details

The first picture shows the outside of the suit while the second shows the indside.

Saltwater and general use can unlock the glue and cause water to penetrate the suit and cause flushing, though in reality the seams will generally outlive the suit. To be on the safe side however, better suits now have their blind-stitched seams "liquid-taped". This is basically a flat silicon bead applied to the seams which will ensure that it remains watertight whilst retaining the stretch properties of the neoprene. This can be applied to the seams either inside or outside of the suit. Superstretch Neoprene and Liquid taping are the best thing that has happened to the diving surfing wet suit industry in years and have revolutionised the comfort, fit and warmth to a level unimaginable a few short years ago. Liquid Taping will normally last the entire life of the suit however it will rot at the crotch if the suit is pee'd in. Though peeing in your suit is a good way of keeping warm sometimes and often necessary due to hassle of removing the suit it can have a detrimental effect on the suit in the long run, and as for a number 2...... Hold it in!

Other terms you may hear

TITANIUM- A titanium layer...usually a metallic powder mixed into the glue bonding the neoprene to the nylon lining. This helps reflect body heat back into the suit. One independent test rated titanium neoprene 24% more thermally efficient. Some people think it's a gimmick. At least one major diving surfing wet suit Company refuses to use it.

ZIPS- Zips with metal heads far more reliable than plastic. Remember it's just the zip head (slider) we're talking about here, the teeth will always be plastic. There should always be a strip of velcro positioned to stop the zip coming undone (the "zip-stop") unless the neck design caters for this problem in some other way.

Cheaper suits often have a simple screenprinted "knee-pad". This is adequate but only just. Learners especially are heavy on the knees so again a good reason to spend a little more, even from the outset. Some suits use a different, harder sort of neoprene for the knee and then print on top of that, a good solution but not one that the untrained eye would spot. For Canyoning it is best to get as much protection on your elbows, knees and bum I know someone who went out in his brand new suit only to find the bum looked like it had been ravished by a tiger after only the morning in a gorge!


Some of the better suits will have a smooth skin seal round the cuffs and the feet while others will have a collar system to prevent flushing, I have such a system and it does not always prevent it, especially when lying on your back floating downstream.

How do I decide between a Full suit and a Sleeveless diving surfing wet suit?

Although we feel there are good arguments for both full suit and sleeveless models, warmth should be a very important part of this decision. With a Full suit, you gain additional warmth and buoyancy in the arms, but give up a little of that "free" feeling that comes with a sleeveless diving surfing wet suit. Sleeveless diving surfing wet suits give the best freedom of motion, but aren't as warm. If most of your swimming is in waters above 65 degrees a sleeveless diving surfing wet suit should be fine. If you swim in water from the low 60's to low 70's you can probably use either style. If you swim in water that is consistently below 65 degrees, a full suit is probably your best choice. (Adjust these temperatures if you know you run warmer or cooler than most people.)

How long do diving surfing wet suits last?

Neoprene tends to lose some of its flexibility as it ages, so athletes who use a diving surfing wet suit just a few times a year will probably find that their diving surfing wet suit never wears out, but after 5-10years, it won't feel as good as it did when it was new. If you are lucky enough to swim in a diving surfing wet suit a lot, you can expect to get 250-300 swims in a diving surfing wet suit before the neoprene slowly starts to degrade. Consistent exposure to Chlorine, Salt Water, and Sunlight will all shorten the life of neoprene.

How to care for your diving surfing wet suit.

Although diving surfing wet suits are mostly maintenance free, there are a few things you can do to extend the life of your diving surfing wet suit. If using the diving surfing wet suit in salt water, rinse the diving surfing wet suit with fresh water and drip dry on a wide hanger (plastic or wood). Do not leave your diving surfing wet suit drying in the sun, as the sun will age the material. Do not leave your diving surfing wet suit in the car on hot days, as this may cause your seams to weaken. Excessive use in chlorine (afterward...rinse with fresh water) may also age the material. Obviously over time your diving surfing wet suit may well become damaged and even torn, you have to decide whether it's worth buying another and throwing the old one away or trying to repair the one you have. The smaller jobs you can do yourself the bigger one's you can send your suit either back to the manufacturer or to a specialist repairer. You can buy diving surfing wet suit repair glue such as stormsure, neoprene adhesive and even cement to help fill the holes. There are shampoos to help you clean it, follow the instructions and if in doubt ask an expert, come to our forum or go to the manufacturer.

How do diving surfing wet suits keep you warm?

A diving surfing wet suit is a snug fitting neoprene rubber suit designed to insulate you in cold waters. When you first submerge, differences in pressure force a thin layer of water between you and the diving surfing wet suit. Your body heats this layer, while the neoprene insulates you from the outside cold. In a diving surfing wet suit under normal use, you will be completely wet on the inside…hence the term "diving surfing wet suit".

Is all diving surfing wet suit material waterproof?

A common misconception is that some diving surfing wet suit materials are not waterproof. diving surfing wet suit material (also called neoprene) is a closed-cell product. It is completely waterproof. All diving surfing wet suit material comes laminated on the inside with a jersey for strength and ease of getting into. Some diving surfing wet suit materials come laminated with jersey on both sides. This is the material that causes misunderstanding as the neoprene (closed-cell and waterproof) is hidden between the two layers of jersey. In a diving surfing wet suit you may get completely wet, but this is not a result of water coming through the material.

How do diving surfing wet suits make you float?

Neoprene material is filled with bubbles of gas. Besides providing insulation, these bubbles give neoprene incredible buoyancy. You can float in a diving surfing wet suit because the neoprene lifts you into a higher position in the water. In this higher position you displace less water. It also gives you the added bonus of being able to swim faster.

The Right diving surfing wet suit?

While just about any diving surfing wet suit will keep you warmer in the water, diving surfing wet suits built for one sports don't always work well for another. A triathlon suit is made for swimming and swimming alone whereas surf suits are there to give you more protection on the knees for when you jump up on the board, while diving suits can be different again.

Non-Specific Swimming diving surfing wet suit Design

Restriction: Most diving surfing wet suits aren't designed with the arm mobility you need for swimming.

Water Exchange: Some diving surfing wet suits look similar to swimming diving surfing wet suits, but don't have the special necks or armhole seals.

Wrong type of seams: Less expensive diving surfing wet suits use seams that can chafe, leak, and add drag.

Wrong Materials: Swimming diving surfing wet suits use special neoprenes not found in other diving surfing wet suits.

Result of Poor Fit:

You will tire quickly from working against the diving surfing wet suit.

Water flowing into the diving surfing wet suit slows you down, and makes you cold.

You'll be uncomfortable, colder and slower.

Even if you don't care about speed, the flexibility of swimming diving surfing wet suit neoprene is unmatched.

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