Water sports, whether rigorous or not, require the use of the proper equipment and outfit. Wetsuits are one of these and it takes more than just looking into the design, style and feeling the material of a suit to choose the best one. Taking time to choose the best wetsuit for any water sport can make a difference between getting protected from the elements or being prone to accidents.
The first step involved in choosing a suit for any type of water sport is to know more about the different types of wetsuits. When it comes to length, there are full suits or steamers, shorties or springs suits and Farmer Johns. Full suits, like an O’Neil wetsuit, cover the whole body from the neck down with the exception of hands and feet. Shorties have shorter sleeves only reaching the elbow area and cover the legs only up to knee level. Farmer Johns on the other hand, are sleeveless suits that can either reach just above the knee level or cover the whole leg.
To know which type of suit is best for you, consider the kind of water sports you will be participating in. Full suits and shorties are all around suits that can be used for kayaking, diving and paddling. Farmer Johns are best for surfing since they allow more freedom to arm and leg movements. But the latter type of wetsuit can also be used with sleeved tops like rash guards.
Next, consider the area where your chosen water sports will be held. When scouting the area for surfing, paddling, kayaking or snorkeling, take note of the terrain. Particularly check for sharp objects like rocks and boulders. The presence of these objects will indicate the need for a suit like a full Xcel wetsuit that will protect feet and arms from abrasions. If you choose to wear Farmer Johns, make sure to use the suit with a rash guard for added protection.
When it comes to scuba diving, you should additionally check the temperature of the water of your diving spot. Colder temperatures require thicker wetsuits; usually a 5mm or 7mm thickness throughout and a combination of accessories like O’Neil wetsuits tops and bottoms. Scuba divers can be properly protected in a 5mm thick full suit or shorties in warmer waters. However, temperature that is lower than 10 degrees centigrade will require a dry suit and not a wetsuit.