CHOOSING THE RIGHT WETSUIT FOR YOU
Cornwall is known for its stunning surfing conditions, pristine beaches and picture-postcard locations, making it a popular location for lovers of the sea. Whether you enjoy a spot of surfing, enjoy body boarding or just enjoy a fresh sea paddle, then you’ll know how chilly the British waters can be.
If you’re planning a getaway to our spa hotel in Cornwall and want to enjoy the thrill of a dip, then you’re going to want to invest in a wetsuit. Not only does a wetsuit keep you warm and insulated as you splash about in the waves, but it will also make the waters seem a lot milder. Keep reading for some top tips and things to look out for when trying to find the right wetsuit for you, it isn’t as simple as it may sound!
We spoke to Ian from West Cornwall Surf and he explained the importance of finding the right wetsuit in a little more detail: “It is all very well saying you like the look of this wetsuit, the design of that wetsuit, but if it doesn't fit properly then it is not doing its job! For the above reason, we would always recommend going to a 'bricks and mortar' store to receive first-hand expert advice. We do have an e-commerce store but would always prefer to see the customer face-to-face. It is all very well going off size charts and so on, but unless a customer actually gets to try on a wetsuit and then receive an expert opinion on the fit, you are literally 'shooting in the dark' and could potentially waste hundreds of pounds.”
You should try and pick a wetsuit that fits you properly, but there are certain areas and things you should look out for when trying on some of your favourite designs. You should try and look out for extra or added design features, where the zip is fitted and if it is ¾ length or a full-length suit.
“The right wetsuit for the right job is important,” says the team at North Coast Wetsuits. They continue and explain some of the things you should look out for when trying on wetsuits: “Whatever you plan on doing with it there’s a neoprene suit for you. Your wetsuit should fit correctly – snug, but not tight to the point of cutting off your circulation. Ankle, wrist and neck seals should be solid with minimal water flush. A degree of flexibility needs to be built in, even with the suit being snug. It’s no good being warm if you can’t move! Durability should be given consideration. Poor quality neoprene, bad stitching/glueing will nick and tear easily. The entry point makes all the difference. Back zips tend to flush water more whereas mini chest zip entries can lock this out (as long as your wetsuit fits correctly!).”
Signs of a good fitting wetsuit:
• Ankle, wrist and neck seals should be solid
• Snug but not cutting off circulation
• Flexible buclonot loose
• Warm and comfortable
• Good quality
Especially in the UK, the time of year you are planning to don your wetsuit should impact the sort of suit you buy and the thickness of the material. If you are planning to enter the waters from later autumn to mid-winter then you are going to need a considerably thicker wetsuit than those planning to just enjoy the summer water, this is something the team at North Coast Wetsuits also explained when we spoke to them.
“Seasonality should be kept in mind. A thicker wetsuit, for instance, will be required for late autumn/winter than during the summer.”
Most surf shops or stockists will be able to show you a variety of summer and winter wetsuits to suit your needs and the conditions you will be using them in, so make sure you ask for advice before buying.
Knowing what sports or activities you want to enjoy before buying your wetsuit is a great idea. Some designs will have been manufactured specifically for surfers, or those who enjoy coasteering and will all have different features to one another. Miles from Ocean Sports is an expert when it comes to fitting wetsuits and this is something he recommended.
“It is important to get the right wetsuit for you as it will keep you warmer which allows you to enjoy your sport or hobby for longer and in more comfort. Decide on what sport and time of year you are going to use a wetsuit. Then go into a shop, speak to the staff for advice, they can show you the different types and prices they have and why one is different or dearer from another. Then it’s important to try a wetsuit on to find the best fit for you.
Speaking to staff for advice will help you find the perfect wetsuit or manufacturer for your needs and the sports you will be using it for. Some sports will require specific movements that other sports may not, so it is better to be safe than sorry, as North Coast Wetsuits explains.
“What activity will you be doing? Are there specific movements needed? E.g. surfing is mostly upper bodywork so the wetsuit in question should accommodate. Will you be mainly submerged in water or more so on top/out of the sea as with coasteering? Different types of neoprene react differently in the air and can heighten or lessen evaporative cooling. If you’re out of the water more than in it, evaporative cooling will increase, potentially making you colder quicker.”
If you’re soon to be visiting St Michaels resort and you and the children are planning to brave the waters, then getting your own wetsuit is something to consider and hopefully, these tips will have given you some guidance to choose the right one. For more articles like this, then head to the St Michaels blog.