Home     |     Show Room     |     Products     |     FAQ     |     Technical Data     |     Contact Us     |     Friend link     |     SiteMap
diving_surfing_wet_suit
 
 

diving surfing wet suit guide
If you ask me, without diving surfing wet suit the world of water sports, the world of surfing, would not be nowhere near to where it is today. Water sports would stay confined to those few warm water places and would never spread all over the world and become popular as they are today. This doesn't sound too bad if you live in one of those places and it probably sounds horrible if you live someplace cold. I know that a few hardcore enthusiasts are ready to endure some really low temperatures and they would say things like diving surfing wet suit are for pussies arrrrgh, but you could count them using only fingers of your hands. So let's learn a few things about diving surfing wet suit. In this guide you will learn how diving surfing wet suit work, how they are made, how to choose the right one for you, what is the difference between a quality diving surfing wet suit and not so good one and more. After reading this you will be better equipped to go out and buy yourself a ticket into the cold water. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.

diving surfing wet suit
diving surfing wet suit is an insulation suit made out of neoprene neoprene_sheetthat is used in water sports for warmth and protection. Wet suits can also be called neoprene suits. One of the first people to experiment with diving surfing wet suit was surfer Jack O'Neill in the sixties. While he was looking for ways to stay warm in the ocean he found that neoprene was the perfect material for this purpose. Neoprene is an elastic synthetic rubber material that has good insulation properties. Of course the quality of neoprene has hugely improved over the years... maybe an interesting fact - usually diving surfing wet suit manufacturers, diving surfing wet suit brands will not tell you this but - most of the neoprene for the diving surfing wet suit on the market today comes from Japan, most of it from the same company :).

Types of diving surfing wet suit, diving surfing wet suit models

wetsuits_surfing_diving_suits
There are quite a few different diving surfing wet suit and/or different pieces of neoprene used as a protection from cold water. We can divide them considering what temperatures they are meant to be used in and how good insulation do they offer/how much of your body do they cover:

- rashguard: this is the lightest piece of clothing for water sports that is not actually a diving surfing wet suit since it is usually made out of lycra. It is used for protection against sun and rash.
- diving surfing wet suit top: really thin neoprene (0.5mm-1.5mm) that covers only your body from the waist up + your arms. It can have short or long sleeves.
- diving surfing wet suit vest: it's similar to diving surfing wet suit top, it can be thicker and it has no sleeves.
- shorty diving surfing wet suit: neoprene covers the body and upper parts of the arms and legs (short sleeves).
- spring diving surfing wet suit: this one has either long sleeves or long legs, but not both.
- short john diving surfing wet suit: a summer diving surfing wet suit that is a cross between shorty and long john. No sleeves for your arms at all and short legs.
- long john diving surfing wet suit: a spring diving surfing wet suit that covers your body and legs, but has no sleeves for your arms.
- full suit: in full diving surfing wet suit neoprene covers your whole body, arms and legs up to your wrists and ankles. This is where warmer diving surfing wet suit models begin. Full suits can have different thickness from 2mm which is basically a spring diving surfing wet suit and 3/2mm diving surfing wet suit that can already be used in cooler water, 4/3 diving surfing wet suit, 5/3 diving surfing wet suit and all the way up to 6/5/4mm thick diving surfing wet suit that is made for the coldest conditions possible (we will explain these numbers later on). Winter diving surfing wet suit are also called steamers. It is also possible that a full suit has an integrated hood that covers your head.

Apart from diving surfing wet suit themselves you also have diving surfing wet suit boots, diving surfing wet suit gloves and diving surfing wet suit hood for additional protection when the water and the air get to cold.

So, how does a diving surfing wet suit work?
diving surfing wet suit keeps us warm by catching a thin layer of water between our skin and the neoprene. This water is heated by the heat of our body and suddenly we are comfortable in the cold sea that would otherwise cause hypothermia in minutes. Just don't start thinking that water getting into the diving surfing wet suit is a good thing. A small amount of water will get in no matter what. But anything more that that is not welcomed. Why? Because this water is cold. Constant surge of cold water is too much for our body heat to handle and the end result would be pretty much the same as if we were not wearing a diving surfing wet suit. So the better the diving surfing wet suit fits, less cold water will get in and the warmer we will be. Every time we fall, wipe out, duck dive the pressure of water will try to push it into our comfy warm wettie and this is how we get cold.

The second thing diving surfing wet suit does to keep us warm is provide insulation. Thicker neoprene of course means more insulation and thinner neoprene means less insulation. This insulation comes from the fact that neoprene is full of small closed cells that are filled with air. More of these cells neoprene has the better and warmer it is. New technologies allow neoprene manufacturers to put more and more of these cells into the neoprene so it gets warmer and warmer (and lighter). So this is also worth checking when you are buying a diving surfing wet suit. diving surfing wet suit thickness itself is usually given with two numbers like 3/2, 4/3, 5/3, or three numbers like 5/4/3.

What do these diving surfing wet suit numbers mean?
They represent the thickness of the neoprene used in the diving surfing wet suit in millimeters. So for instance a 4/3 diving surfing wet suit is made out of 4 mm and 3 mm thick neoprene. diving surfing wet suit have two or three different neoprene thicknesses to make them more flexible. You usually have thicker neoprene in parts that do not need lots of flexibility - like your body. Parts that are constantly in motion like your arms have thinner neoprene. This makes diving surfing wet suit better suited for sports like surfing, windsurfing, rafting, swimming, kayaking, kite surfing etc... where you need your diving surfing wet suit to be flexible. On the other hand, diving diving surfing wet suit might not have two thicknesses since divers do not move so much that flexibility would be an issue and also - they need to keep their heart rate down so lots of movement is I think not really recommended. A 3/2 diving surfing wet suit is generally suited for summer and autumn and 4/3 diving surfing wet suit or 5/3 diving surfing wet suit are used in winter and spring. For more info check out our chart of water temperatures and diving surfing wet suit thicknesses. diving surfing wet suit that are thicker than 5 millimeters are also used in really cold places like Norway, Iceland, and Alaska etc... but can already be a bit clumsy because of the thickness. Of course diving diving surfing wet suit have no problems with that and can easily be 7 millimeters thick.
On the other hand you also have diving surfing wet suit that are only 2 millimeters thick. They are used for summer surfing.

diving surfing wet suit quality
It is hard to say which is the best diving surfing wet suit on the market because things like your body shape, fit and personal taste have a big part in deciding what is the best diving surfing wet suit for you (check best cold water diving surfing wet suit question). But the main features that make a diving surfing wet suit good or a top of the line diving surfing wet suit are:
- neoprene quality and insulation capabilities
- how stretchy is the neoprene
- what kind of stitches are used and are the seams waterproof
- additional insulation inside the neoprene
- other not so crucial stuff.

We well look at each one of them. Some things improve the warmth of the diving surfing wet suit and some improve the performance. First let's concentrate on what makes diving surfing wet suit warm. If we are talking warmth, the most important thing is to stop the water from coming into your diving surfing wet suit. I already said that we do not want fresh and cold water flushing our diving surfing wet suit while we are in the water. Constant surge of cold water is too much for the body to heat up and it will cool us down and we will start to feel cold. So the most important thing is to look for a diving surfing wet suit that is the right size. Better fit means less room for water and less chance of flushing through holes for your head, hands and feet. This is important! Even the best diving surfing wet suit won't keep you warm if it is too big. We are lucky that the modern diving surfing wet suit are stretchy and fit much better than they used to in the past. You can also check the diving surfing wet suit size guide and a how to put on a diving surfing wet suit guide.

Maybe this is also the time to mention that when you are trying a diving surfing wet suit it will probably be dry (if you're not buying it from someone's back lol). Dry and new diving surfing wet suit feels tighter that wet one. Neoprene loosens up in the water. So make sure that the diving surfing wet suit really hugs your body everywhere – snug fit. Just don't go to far... if you can't stand up straight it's to small :)!

There are three ways how water can get into the diving surfing wet suit:

- Obviously through holes for your head, hands and feet
- Through stitches that keep the diving surfing wet suit together
- Through the zipper

The right diving surfing wet suit size
You solve the first one by choosing a diving surfing wet suit that fits you well (we already covered that) and a diving surfing wet suit that has a good seal on you wrists and ankles. Things like silicone cuffs or silicone bands on the inside of your wrists and ankles make diving surfing wet suit stick to your skin and less likely to open up to the water. If you are thinking why not also use silicone on your neck? You would get one hell of a rash! Wrists and ankles are static but your head turns around all the time and silicone would rub the skin off your neck in no time.

diving surfing wet suit zipper
The next thing is zipper. Zipper helps us get in and out of our diving surfing wet suit. Long zipper makes it easier but also lets more water into your diving surfing wet suit. Zippers are not watertight! There are two things diving surfing wet suit manufacturers do to keep zipper flushing to a minimum:
- winter diving surfing wet suit usually have shorter zippers
- special size and shape of the teeth on the zipper that makes zipper more water tight.

Since we are talking about zippers let me also mention that metal zippers are more durable than plastic ones (the sliding part that is, the teeth of the zipper are always plastic). And also if you are diving surfing wet suit beginners - that small Velcro safety belt on the top of the zipper is there to stop the zipper from opening. Close it after you are zipped up.

Bat flap / bat wing / drain hole etc

wet suit details
Another way to stop the water from coming into your diving surfing wet suit through the zipper is bat flap / bat wind / drain hole etc... There are a few names for this, but the concept is the following - put an additional piece of thin neoprene under the zipper. This neoprene membrane is so thin and stretchy that it doesn't bother you when you are putting on a diving surfing wet suit. But if the water comes into the diving surfing wet suit through the zipper this membrane will stop it and direct it back out through the drain hole at the bottom of your zipper.

Zipperless diving surfing wet suit
The last solution to this problem is - eliminate the zipper! :) Almost every diving surfing wet suit company has their own zipperless diving surfing wet suit system that more or less successfully lets you into the wet suit. A big plus here, besides no flushing is better fit and better flexibility of your chest, back and shoulders. The design of the diving surfing wet suit can be different and the neoprene can be better sculptured to fit your body. And the downside of a zipperless diving surfing wet suit? Squeezing into a diving surfing wet suit through some ridiculously small hole can be tricky. This also usually relies on the stretching of the neoprene around the entry hole. So the neoprene around it takes a lot of abuse and can become stretched out in a season or two.

Now we come to the most important thing that makes diving surfing wet suit a warm diving surfing wet suit - stitches. The deal here is simple – to stitch neoprene together you need a thread and a needle. Needle makes holes in neoprene. Water and wind use holes to get inside the diving surfing wet suit. Less holes through the neoprene – warmer diving surfing wet suit.

So even if your diving surfing wet suit fits you perfectly and if you have the latest short zipper and batflap cold water will slowly trickle into your diving surfing wet suit through the stitches. Lets take a look at the types of diving surfing wet suit stitches and why and when are they used.

diving surfing wet suit stitches
Over lock stitch
This is the most simple and basic way of sewing diving surfing wet suit and is a thing of the past. You can maybe find it in cheap, thin tourist diving surfing wet suit. Overlock stitch is very strong but it is uncomfortable because the stitches stick out into the diving surfing wet suit and press into your skin. And by using this sewing technique you get a lot of holes through the diving surfing wet suit and lots of flushing. Conclusion: cheap diving surfing wet suit, durable, strong, for summer diving surfing wet suit, for beginners (not very flexible).

Flat lock stitch
This is the replacement for over lock stitches. Here the thread and the stitches are on the outside. That makes it much more comfortable but also more exposed and easier to tear. Also the amount of holes through the neoprene is the same or even bigger so you get a lot of flushing. Conclusion: pretty cheap diving surfing wet suit, strong and durable, for summer surfing, good performance for demanding surfers (flexibility).

Blind stitch

wet suit details
This is how all warm diving surfing wet suit are stitched. There are more versions of this one and they each have their upsides and downsides (warmth, durability, flexibility and price). If the diving surfing wet suit is sewn with blind stitches the seams are waterproof and this kind of diving surfing wet suit is called a steamer.

Blind stitch & glued

wet suit details
The trick in blind stitch is this: first the neoprene is glued together and then the sewing beings. The needle that is used is curved so it brings the thread through the neoprene on the same side where it went in and it never fully penetrates the neoprene - no holes! This is how you get a watertight stitch with no holes. Unfortunately theses stitches are not very durable because neoprene is much more flexible that glue. So the glue can crack up (salt water also helps) and stitches open up. Conclusion: warm diving surfing wet suit, flexible, variable durability and higher price.

Blind stitch, glued & spot taped
If you tape the main stress point of the diving surfing wet suit you can stop the stitches from opening. Usually you can find the stress points where three or more stitches come together. Durability is still not the best.

Double blind stitch & glued
Double blind stitch means that the neoprene is sawn twice (using blindstitch). Once on each side. This makes the seams much stronger but less watertight. Why? If you make holes from both sides sometimes these holes connect all the way through the diving surfing wet suit and once again - you have flushing. So this is used with some cheaper winter diving surfing wet suit. Conclusion: warm diving surfing wet suit, flexible, durable and not to expensive.

Blind stitch, glued & fully taped
If you cover all the stitches with a special tape that is applied together with glue at a high temperature you again get waterproof diving surfing wet suit. This process was expensive because it was very time consuming and diving surfing wet suit companies today use something else (read on…we will get to it). Conclusion: very warm diving surfing wet suit, OK flexibility, durable and expensive.

Blind stitch, glued & fully taped with neoprene tape
If you use neoprene tape instead of the "ordinary" tape you don't loose any flexibility when you tape over the stitches. So you get a diving surfing wet suit that is very warm, flexible, durable and also very expensive. Since the invention of the next type of seams this one is also pretty rare today I think.

Liquid taping

diving suit details
There are a few different names for this, but this is the best thing that happened to diving surfing wet suit seams in a while. In the beginning it was only found in top models, now it made its way down to the intermediate models. Cheap ones are usually still without this. So what is it? A special liquid rubber is used when sewing the neoprene to seal the inner or/and outer side of the stitches. This rubber makes seams stronger and closes all the possible holes from the double blindstitching. You get durable, flexibly and 100% waterproof seams!

If I sum this up - remember two things here: look for double blindstitched diving surfing wet suit and liquid seal if you want a good winter diving surfing wet suit. You can easily recognize liquid seal on the seams. You will know it when you see it.

I need to mention another solution to the stitches problem – if you use less of them you have fewer holes, fewer problems... How can you use fewer stitches? By using fewer neoprene panels in your diving surfing wet suit. Generally more panels mean that the diving surfing wet suit fits you better because it is better adapted to the body shape. But by using some cool techniques you can shape the panels in such way that they still make a great diving surfing wet suit. I think the neoprene panels and the diving surfing wet suit models design it a bit shady field because it is hard to compare different diving surfing wet suit, it's hard to say what work best. This is also why I kind of left out this feature.

What else do you need to know about diving surfing wet suit?

diving suit details
You will also hear expression single lined and double lined neoprene. What does that mean? In the past, way back when first diving surfing wet suit were made the neoprene was not lined with anything. This made it so vulnerable that you could tear it just by pulling it to hard when you were putting it on. It was also very sticky...well it was a whole other type of neoprene, nowhere near the neoprene we have today. Anyway - one of the better diving surfing wet suit improvements was lining the neoprene with nylon. Nylon is also very stretchy (still not as stretchy as neoprene, but we are getting there) and if you line the neoprene with it - it protects it and makes it much more durable. Now you can probably see what single and double lined neoprene means in a diving surfing wet suit.

Double-lined neoprene is surrounded by a layer of nylon on both sides and single-lined neoprene has nylon only on one side. Single lined neoprene looks smoother on the side that is not lined.

Mesh skin / sharkskin / smooth skin / glide skin / and any other skin
This is where surfing and windsurfing diving surfing wet suit differ the most. All those names represent some type of single lined neoprene. Why is it used? Single lined neoprene is as I said smoother and it makes the diving surfing wet suit warmer since it repels water (it runs off the diving surfing wet suit quicker) and wind and it doesn't get wet. If it is lined with nylon the nylon gets wet and cools you down. The other benefit is that it can be sticky. So it is used in places where you want the diving surfing wet suit to stick to your skin - like wrists and ankles. Since neoprene is also more elastic that nylon single lined neoprene is more flexible. But since there are many types of neoprene this is hard to generalize. For instance - windsurfing diving surfing wet suit use lots of single lined neoprene since windsurfers stay out of the water in the wind. But the neoprene used in windsurfing diving surfing wet suit is less flexible and more durable than one used in surfing diving surfing wet suit.

Additional diving surfing wet suit insulation
There are a few things that make a diving surfing wet suit even warmer. One of the older additions to the diving surfing wet suit was titanium. A layer of titanium is placed between the neoprene and the nylon and it helps reflect the body heat back into the body. I read that a test proved that a titanium diving surfing wet suit is 24% warmer. Since the technology improves we also have second generation titanium that works the same way but is even more effective.

Aero core / fire skin / air lite / air something etc
The inside of the diving surfing wet suit can be also lined with materials that:
- have really good insulation capabilities and
- don't get wet.

We are mostly talking about some sort of hollow fibers that are made of polyester and contain large amounts of trapped air. Air is one of the best isolators out there. These kind of fibers are also light, they can't get wet, the dry quickly and are pretty stretchy. So they are perfect for diving surfing wet suit. Or you can even go the natural way - Patagonia diving surfing wet suit use wool as insulation.

Super elastic and stretchy and x-stretch diving surfing wet suit

wet suit details
Which diving surfing wet suit brand has the stretchiest, the most elastic, and the most flexible neoprene on the market? Though call. A few of them claim that. I always found Rip Curl diving surfing wet suit to be really stretchy but since I never tried all the latest diving surfing wet suit models from all the diving surfing wet suit brands it's hard to say. What I can say is that today's stretchy neoprene is way more flexible and comfortable than it used to be and that you can not even compare it to the old non stretchy neoprene. At the beginning this kind of neoprene was only used in top diving surfing wet suit models but now only the cheaper ones are not using it. Today it's more about different levels of stretchiness. So what is the point of this flexible neoprene? The point is that a 4/3 diving surfing wet suit can fell like a 3/2 diving surfing wet suit used to feel. You loose less energy, there is less resistance to your movements, and the diving surfing wet suit fits you better, is warmer, and more comfortable because of that.

Reinforced diving surfing wet suit knees
If you are just starting out or if you are going to use your diving surfing wet suit in sports that include lots of throwing yourself on the rocks (like canyoning or surfing shallow reefs :) ) then one more thing to check out are the reinforced diving surfing wet suit knees. If you are learning how to surf you will spend some time on the knees and some padding here helps. Some diving surfing wet suit only have anti-skid print on the knees, some have a patch of neoprene sewn onto the them, and some have knees reinforced with Kevlar. The efficiency of protection kind of rises in that order too.

What else?
As far as I am concerned those were the most important things when it comes to choosing a diving surfing wet suit. Other features are either so diving surfing wet suit brand specific that can not be generally described here or are things that are cool but not really that important. I'm talking about key pockets here and stuff like that.

So are you ready to buy a diving surfing wet suit?
I think you are. The first you need to ask yourself is - where are you going to use it?! Find out what is the usual water temperature for the place where you want to surf (or go into the water) at the time of the year you will be mostly in the water. This will determine if you need a shorty, full suit or a thick steamer with booties, hood and gloves. Or maybe you do not need a diving surfing wet suit at all. If you want to travel it is impossible to be prepared for all the possible condition that can be found around the world. From my experience, you are best prepared for travel if you have a 4/3 full diving surfing wet suit. I think it covers the widest range of water temperatures and if I would only own one diving surfing wet suit I would own a 4/3. If you will be in the water a lot and if this is an important part of your life you will probably have more that one diving surfing wet suit. A thicker one for colder water and colder days and a thinner one for warm times. Even if 4/3 is a great all-round diving surfing wet suit it still feels much better if you have just the right (not to thick) diving surfing wet suit.

Next you need to decide what is important to you, how much money do you want to spend and how "into" the water sports are you. If you will be in the water a lot, invest a little more money and get the best diving surfing wet suit there is. You won't be sorry. If you will need it only once in a while then it's up to you, if you have the money get a good one, if not, just get whatever fits your wallet (off course keeping in mind all that you learned here!).

How to choose a good diving surfing wet suit?
If you read the whole diving surfing wet suit guide you should now have a pretty good idea what works and what to look for. Maybe I'll just point it out again:
- get a stretchy diving surfing wet suit, the more flexible the better,
- get a diving surfing wet suit that has neoprene with lots of air bubbles - it will be lighter and warmer,
- double blind stitch + liquid seal are a must,
- make sure it fits,
- try different diving surfing wet suit brands since their diving surfing wet suit are shaped differently and diving surfing wet suit from one brand can fit you better than diving surfing wet suit from another brand,
- go somewhere where they have more than one diving surfing wet suit brand, this way the advice from the people working in the shop will be more unbiased,
- if you use diving surfing wet suit for a while you probably have a brand and a model that works for you, so you can just get the same size and same model every time your old diving surfing wet suit wears out, this way you can shop online and save some money,
- some fancy expressions that diving surfing wet suit companies use can describe simple unimportant things :) don't be fooled.

If you need some more info - try how to buy a diving surfing wet suit guide.

There are two things I would like to address at the end of this diving surfing wet suit guide.

First - my diving surfing wet suit experience comes mostly from surfing and using diving surfing wet suit. If basically all diving surfing wet suit are made the same - from neoprene, when it comes to features and details they can be quite different. Every water sport activity has its own demands. Some are so similar that you can easily wear a diving surfing wet suit from one sport and use it in another and others can be a bit less appropriate to be used across other sports. Diving surfing wet suit would be an example here. Still wearing a diving surfing wet suit beats not wearing one or staying out of the water altogether so... Anyway, while this diving surfing wet suit guide is written with diving surfing wet suit in mind most of the things you read here also stands for diving surfing wet suit, swimming diving surfing wet suit, triathlon diving surfing wet suit, windsurfing diving surfing wet suit...etc. In my opinion surfing is the most demanding sport when it comes to diving surfing wet suit (check my rant on surfing diving surfing wet suit) and surfing diving surfing wet suit are the best suits on the market so what works here probably works everywhere.

And secondly - if this guide seems similar to another diving surfing wet suit guide that you can find on the internet it's because it is :). They were both written by me so this one (or that one) is not a ripped off copy. But this one is updated so its better!

Hope you enjoyed this diving surfing wet suit guide. If you did, please do not hesitate to contact with us

Copyright©2000-2017,PEAK DIVING EQUIPMENT All Rights Reserved