Stroke the fury wall
The fast dry linings are gift from God to cold water surfers. They genuinely do dry quickly, keep you warmer and get you back in the sea faster for second or third sessions mid winter. Even some of the suits in the lower price points have high proportions of the hi tech furry bits, so get those suits turned inside out and stroke the furry walls. The more fur the better.
Let’s stay together
In ultra flex wetties one of the biggest problems is getting the seals to last as long as the neoprene. It’s just no fun cartwheeling into the sea and having a mid winter, five degree, flush around your googlies. This year companies are fixing this problem with a wide range of bonds, tapes and glues. Also on the plus side this makes for harder wearing seams which also make our wetties more environmentally friendly (more usage, longer lasting, equals less waste) and will save you money.
Red hot flex
The same ultra flexible neoprene has been with us for a while, so while top end suits push boundaries and get even more flexible, this well-tested tech is now filtering down into lower price point suits. There are some remarkable wetsuits out there from the newly developed rubber right the way through to budget suits. We have picked a few suits up and they are very impressive. As well as super flex, companies also reducing panels. This means less seams, more flexibility which should equate to warmer more durable suits. It’s like win,win,win!
Zipperdy dfo dah
The zipperless wetsuits really do work a treat but if you prefer the ease of entry of zipped suits there are plenty of offset front and batwing back zips out there. There is nothing worse on a winter wetty than an ill fitting neck entry, apart from rolling about in a carpark in the dark unable to get out of an unsuitable neck entry. Badly fitting next entries are uncomfortable and they flush. Contrary to popular sales talk not all entries actually suit all people, so get out there and try a few on. The suits vary in neck height – some people like lower necklines around the throat area, some like the feel of higher lines. Make sure you can get in and out of the suit quickly and comfortably. Minutes getting changed in minus windchill factors play a large part in your winter surfing experience.
One thing I learned only recently is that you can not walk into a wetsuit factory and say, “Our brand would like standard medium wetsuit please”. There is no such thing. Every size across every wetsuit brand is built to specific and different measurements. If you have look at your mates you can see the problem here. Some people have arses closer to the ground than others, some have littler legs, some have longer bodies (particularly crotch to neck). As much as neoprene stretches, some wetsuit cuts just don’t fit some bodies cosily. To get the warmest most effective winter wetsuit for you, try suits on.
Eight quick wetsuit checks to save your winter
1. Check the price range of suits in which you want to invest.
2. Check the best two rival suits in the price range.
3. Check the fit of all three.
4. Check the entry system and seals.
5. Check the neoprene thickness and distribution is comparable to the water temperature and wind chill you will be surfing in.
6. Check the fast dry lining distribution.
7. Check the ankle and wrist seals.
8. Check the warranty.