Wetsuit Buying Guide




General information about Wetsuits

Wetsuits are generally made  from neoprene, an aerated rubber material, which gives them a slight positive buoyancy.

They work by trapping a thin layer of water between the body and the wetsuit which warms up to the temperature of the body giving a warm environment. This enables the wearer to enjoy a longer exposure  in the water than would normally be physically comfortable.

Wetsuits come in a variety of styles and thickness – the most commonly used are either a full suit covering the whole body, legs and arms from the shoulders down or a shorty where the suit is usually short sleeved and ends just above the knee. The thickness of neoprene used in a suit is measured in millimeters.

A good quality suit will be at least minimum 3mm in thickness and give excellent freedom of movement . They are ideal for warmer weather conditions such as those experienced around the shores of the UK in the height of summer.

5mm suits are used for cooler water conditions and where the wearer will be exposed for extended periods where little body heat is generated. Quality 5mm suits are usually butted and blindstitched to minimise water ingress , increase thermal insulation and provide maximum comfort.

Basically the colder the environment, the thicker the wetsuit will need to be. Session time will also be a factor especially in colder water.A long session of use will usually require a thicker wetsuit.Another important factor to take in to consideration is the actual activity the suit will be used for.If dynamic movement is involved with prolonged session time use such as surfing then the suit ideally will be very flexible and warm. If the suit is intended for general water use, then depending on budget, a less specalised suit would be suitable.

As with most things there is no substitute for quality. A cheap and thin neoprene will offer little warmth or protection and will show wear quickly. The suit will also generally be more difficult to get in and out of as there will be little ‘give’ or ‘stretch’ in the neoprene. However you don’t have to break the bank to get a quality suit and for an excellent examples of affordable, quality wetsuits View our wetsuits. Use of wetsuits for general beach / watersport use has increased dramatically over the last few years as we become more aware of  UV damage to skin. Shortie wetsuits are particularly popular for children offering maximum UV protection for covered areas as well as prolonging active water play. Suits also tend to include bright colours which are easilly spotted on beach.


How will you be using your wetsuit?


The best way to get the wetsuit that’s right for you is to think about what you want out of a wetsuit. Are you visiting Scarborough for the summer and just need something to keep warm in the  North Sea, or do you want to take the first steps to becoming the next pro surfer? Or maybe you’re after the top of the range suit full of all the latest technology? No matter what you’re after we can make sure you get the right suit and most importantly look like you know what you’re doing.

The Fit


A good tip is to leave your socks on! This will help you easily slide your feet through the legs of a full suit. Take your time putting the suit on . A slow and proper fitting will ensure you get the maximum performance and comfort from your wetsuit. If you have long fingernails do not apply too much pressure to the neoprene when pulling it on as your nails may damage the neoprene. Turn the upper body inside out so you can step in to the suit like a pair of trousers. Put your legs into the suit. Let the rest of the suit hang inside out down to your knees. Pull the legs up starting at the ankles by pulling up a section at a time. Do this by gripping a section or fold of rubber and pulling it up. (Where possible grip on to the inside fabric surface instead of the smooth outer surface). Grab and pull from the bottom of the legs one section at a time every few inches upward until the legs are on. NOTE: The legs are on properly when the crotch is as high up as it will possibly go. If the crotch is not sitting high, or there is an air pocket between your legs, then repeat the process by pulling up small consecutive sections from the ankles up until the fit is high in the crotch. It does not matter so much where the ankles of the suit finish. Having the legs pulled up as high as possible is the first and most important key to a proper fit. Continue this same ‘section by section’ upward process through the body. Place your arms in to the sleeves once the body has been pulled as high as possible.. In the case of full-sleeve suits, repeat the same process by pulling the sleeves high, starting at the wrist up to the shoulder, until the sleeves bunch slightly on the top of the shoulders. There is usually a thin panel of material that is positioned underneath the zipper running the length of the back. Be sure that this is flat and flush against your skin and beneath the zipper. This is an important element to minimise water entry.


Have I Got The Right Fit?


The suit should feel like a second skin. Snug and comfortably form- fitting. The suit will become supple when you are in the water. Stand straight and pull the neoprene at the abdomen away from your mid-section. you should feel suction. If the suit is too large, folds of neoprene will be evident in the mid section, rear or crotch areas. if the suit is too small there will be an uncomfortable tightness pulling down on the shoulders and up in the crotch area. Movement will be restricted. You should be able to comfortably raise your arms above your head and bend at the waist to touch the knees/toes.


Summer/Winter Suits


There are different suits for each season as well. Most suits come in a summer and winter styles, the only difference being the thickness of the material. Summer suits will be 3/2, this being 3mm in the main body, keeping your main organs warm (the important bits) and 2mm in the arms and legs (the bits that move the most). Where as winter suits will be 5/3 or 5/4/3, so 5mm in the body and 3 to 4mm in the arms and legs. You can also get shorties which are just the summer suit styles with the arms and legs chopped off so you can get more freedom to move. Also spring suits which have full length legs and short arms, so a bit of both!


Price ranges

Basic Entry Suits: If you’re after a suit that will keep the chill off while you have fun in the water, then the basic entry suits are just for you. Starting from around £60 for adult sizes, these suits are widely used by the surf schools for their great value and performance. Normally they incorporate bright colours to ensure you’re seen in the water. This is great if you’re just starting out, as life guards and instructors can always see where you are. They are constructed using “flat lock stitching” on the seams of the suit. This is where the neoprene material is overlapped and the sewn together. This type of stitching ensures durability and comfort.

Mid Range Suits: Next in line we have the mid range suits. These suits are ideal if you’re planning on spending that little bit longer in the water while you’re practicing to become the UK’s next pro surfer. The good thing about these suits is they incorporate some great technical features while still not breaking the bank. One of the main features is the stretch panels used on the suit. These are made from a stretchier neoprene material and are normally found under the arms and on the legs, which means they don’t give any resistance and stretch with the movement of your body. This enables you to become less fatigued while paddling and moving around in the water, so you can put all you’ve got into becoming a pro!
The stitching used on these suits is called “blind stitch”. This is done by gluing the seam together and then stitching part way through the neoprene. This prevents water entering through the stitching, keeping you warmer and in the water longer. All this technical stuff coupled with some great styling and brilliant value makes these really good suits.

Top End Suits: Then we have the top end suits, the cream of the crop, the big daddies. These suits offer it all and are ideal for those who really love the surf. The technology used in these suits can enable you to stay in the water for quite a while giving you all the time you need to perfect your style. A large majority if not all of the panels on these suits are made from the super stretchy neoprene really making it feel like a “second skin”, giving you a lot of freedom and a brilliant fit. The stitching used is very similar to the blind stitch but has an added advantage. A water resistant tape is applied on one side of the stitching or on some suits both sides! This “fluid seam” doesn’t allow water flow in the suit and can keep you warm for ages. Some other added features can include inner back panel (or batwing) which protects you from water entry from the zip or neck, stash pockets to keep your wax comb or keys, extra comfort on the neck and wrist seals and loads more. Each suit is different and offers different extra features.


If you are still not sure what’s best for you or just need some helpful advice then get in touch.

Email us on info@dexterssurfshop.com

Call us on (01723) 377565

Or just call in store

Unit 5 Kepwick House Peasholm Gap Scarborough YO12 7TN

The team are always happy to help!