Buying Your First Wetsuit

Buying Your First Wetsuit

Buying Your First Wetsuit

Wetsuits are an essential bit of kit for any serious kitesurfer…

…and will be something you would be well advised to know a bit about before you splash your cash. We’ll have a look at some of the differences between wetsuits and what you should be looking for in a wetsuit to go kitesurfing with.

The thickness of a wetsuit is an indicator of how warm it is. Most wetsuits designed for surface water-sports will go up to a maximum thickness of 5mm (any more than this and flexibility is impeded).

Wetsuits designed for diving will be considerably thicker as warmth is more of a consideration and flexibility less when your under the ocean. So if you find a 8mm wetsuit, it’s probably not for kitesurfing, though it will be super warm!

What do all those numbers mean?

Wetsuit thickness is often given by 2 numbers, though sometimes 3 are used. So for example a winter wetsuit will be described as a 5/3 while a summer shorty may be a 2/1. These figures relate to the thickness of the wetsuit (in mm) over various parts of the body.

The first figure is the thickness of the suit over your core, i.e. your chest and stomach. As this is the part of your body that contains all your vital organs the suit is designed to keep this part of you warmest.

The second figure relates to the thickness of the suit over your extremities, in this case your arms and legs.

If a third figure is given then this will generally relate to the part of the suit that covers your lower arms and lower legs. So a 5/3/2 suit would have 5mm material over the core, 3mm over the upper arms and legs and 2mm over the lower legs and forearms.

So what thickness suit will you need?

In Europe the general rule in winter is get a winter suit. That is a long wetsuit of 5/3 thickness, this will keep you warm whether your kitesurfing in Spain or Scotland. In Scotland you probably won’t be doing much kitesurfing in the winter but if you were you would wear one of these, along with gloves, boots, coif etc, etc..!

In the summer along the Mediterranean you can get away with a 2/1 short wetsuit (i.e. a suit without lower legs and forearms) or if your lucky no wetsuit at all, just board shorts! Summer in the North of Europe could see you going out in your 5/3 but most people tend to have a slightly thinner 3/2 spring suit (still full length) that they will wear while the weather is more clement. only the brave wear a shorty in the North…or have I just been in Spain too long?!

Is there a difference between Mens and Womens wetsuits?

In general the material used and the wetsuit itself will be the same. The difference will be mainly cosmetic with a women wetsuit cut to accommodate the differences in body shape.

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