Choosing the proper wetsuit:
When choosing a wetsuit it is important to know the water temperature and weather conditions of where you will be using the suit. The single most important feature is how the wetsuit fits.
Different wetsuits can/should be used based upon the season of the year.
If you are not sure visit your nearest beach and ask a few of the kitesurfers about what they wear and when.
Suit types available include, 2/3/4/5mm long/full suits and 1/2/3mm shorties/spring/summer suits.
A wetsuit will not keep you completely dry. A small amount of water will enter through the seams, zipper, neck, arms or legs. Your body temperature will heat this thin layer of water trapped between your body and the material, which may take between 3 to 10 minutes depending on the construction, materials, water temperature.
The thicker the suit the more warmth and buoyancy you have, though thicker than 5mm then this maybe too restrictive for kitesurfing.
Titanium - A coating of titanium oxide which is applied to the wetsuit rubber on the inner side of the suit before the nylon and neoprene are bonded. This helps reflect body heat back into the suit.
Polypropylene - Used as an inner lining for the newest wetsuits. This material is hydrophobic (repels water) and is supposed to help keep you drier.
Wetsuits with reinforced knee pads/knee protection are ideal for when you you get dragged down the beach.
The different types of seam construction and Manufactures Temperature Recommendations
Overlock Stitch for warm water. > 20°C (65°F)
The seams are stitched on the inside and stitching is not visible from outside of the suit. Water may seep in through these seams.
Flatstitch or Flatlock for warm water. > 16°C (62°F)
Seams can be seen from outside the suit which look like railroad tracks. Both interior and exterior seams look the same. The interior seam construction is flat making it more comfortable against the body.
Blindstitch for cold water. < 16°C (62°F)
The seams are glued and bonded together before they are stitched. This seam is similar to the Flatstitch but is narrower in the width. sometimes known as GBS
Blindstitched with seam taping/liquid seam. < 10°C (50°F) and below. The seam construction is the same as above accept the inner seams are reinforced or covered with nylon tape which is heat sealed onto the stitching. Very little water if any will seep through these seams.
Seams are double fluid seam welded - no stitching, which makes the suit seams fully waterproof.
Suit has a nylon lining on the outside and inside of the suit.
Suit has nylon laminated onto the outside of the suit or has a solid rubber outer coat.
Smoothskin - The solid rubber outer coat, helps reduce windchill.
Photos of the different types of stitching can be found here
How to tell if it is a good fit?
When trying on a suit for the first time you may find it a bit of a struggle. Once the suit is done up, relax and let the suit ‘creep’. Circulate your arms and move about a little until it has settled, after which it should feel very firm.
Open the back zip and if the two sides come apart by more than 4cms around the chest area, it is too tight, and you should choose the next size up, or go for a made to measure. If the wetsuit feels loose or you are able to pinch the neoprene between fingers and thumb, it is too big, which will encourage water flushing and drag when swimming. The most important feature to be able to turn the arms in a full circle without constriction. water flushing - is where the already heated water in the suit is replaced by cold water which enters the suit.
How to put on/take off your wetsuit.
Putting on your wetsuit
1. Pull the legs of the wetsuit about 1" above your ankle.
2. Raise the wetsuit up around your waist. Work the wetsuit rubber towards your crotch area until all air pockets have disappeared. For an ideal fit, the wetsuit should feel snug and almost tight around the waist and legs.
3. Lift the wetsuit up around your arms or shoulders depending on the wetsuit model purchased.
4. Pull the sleeves 1" past your wrist. When pulling on the sleeves, pull on the rubber between the elbow and shoulder.
5. To maximize range of motion and comfort in the water, it will be important to take your time fitting the arms. Raise your arms to the sky and work the material towards your shoulders. The wetsuit fit is correct when there is no gap between the wetsuit and your arm pit. Excess rubber should reside above the shoulder.
6. The wetsuit should feel tight around your neck causing the wetsuit to move with the neck.
7. A proper fitting wetsuit should feel almost uncomfortably tight out of the water. The suit will naturally expand and become more comfortable once in the water.
Removing your wetsuit
1. Unzip your wetsuit and pull inside out as you pull it down your arms.
2. Repeat for your legs. Do noy stand on your suit to help as this may damage the material.
3. Rinse with fresh water as soon as you are able, and every few months wash with wetsuit shampoo.
Always wash your wetsuit in fresh water after use.
Hang on a padded hanger to dry and allow plenty of air to circulate around it.
Never roll up your wetsuit and store it this way for long periods of time.
Don't leave your suit in direct sunlight for long periods of time when not in use.
Urine breaks down the molecular structure of wetsuit material.
Salt is a corrosive that destroys neoprene.
If a lubricant is necessary, use a non-petroleum-based lubrication (Bodyglide), as a petroleum base lubrication will eat away at the rubber. Additional lubrication can be put around the neckline, or if you have a sleeveless wetsuit, around the shoulders, to help prevent chafing.
Every few months of regular use give your wetsuit a shampoo bath. (special wetsuit conditioning product ) Don't use anything else.
Minor repairs can be done with a small tube of neoprene glue.
How to fold your wetsuit for traveling purposes:
a. Fold legs up
b. Arms over in X motion
c. Remaining legs fold up
Repair Adhesive & Sealant is a unique urethane rubber compound providing superior adhesion, wear resistance, flexibility and waterproofing. AQUASEAL Repair Adhesive & Sealant .
Seal Cement: Fix those pesky fingernail pock marks and other rips or tears in your wetsuit.
Iron Mend: Fix bigger holes and worn-thin areas with this patching system.
Wetsuit Shampoo: Extends the life of your wetsuit by cleaning and conditioning the neoprene.
Silicone Pump: Lubricates and protects your wetsuit.
Mirazyme Odor Eliminator: Eliminates odors cause by mold, mildew and bacteria.
Zip Care Zipper Maintenance: Ensures that your zipper is clean and lubricated
BodyGlide: Protects against chafing and rash and it makes wetsuit entry and exit easier and faster.
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and many others....
- Size Chart Guide
Size Waist Chest Height
xs .... 28" .. 32"-34" .. 5'2
s ..... 30" .. 35"-37" .. 5'5
sm .... 32" .. 38"-40" .. 5'6
m ..... 32" .. 38"-40" .. 5'8
mt .... 32" .. 38"-40" .. 6'1
ml .... 34" .. 40"-42" .. 5'8
ls .... 34" .. 41"-43" .. 5'8
l ..... 34" .. 41"-43" .. 5'11
xl .... 36" .. 44"-46" .. 6'2
xxl ... 40" .. 47"-49" .. 6'4
xxxl .. 42" .. 50"-52" .. 6'5
Size Hips Chest Waist
xs .... 8 .. 34" .. 30" .. 23"
s ..... 10 .. 35" .. 32" .. 24"
m ..... 12 .. 36" .. 33" .. 25"
l ..... 14 .. 38" .. 35" .. 27"
xl .... 16 .. 40" .. 37" .. 29"
xxl ... 18 .. 42" .. 39" .. 31"