Wetsuits areessential if you plan on participating in any water sport which involves beingsubmerged in cold water. Advancements in wetsuit technology have helped watersports users to keep warm in cold water for extended periods. It is nowpossible to participate in water sports throughout the year with a well madewetsuit, even in winter. If you want to keep warm in the water throughout thewinter months it is essential that you purchase a good quality winter wetsuit.
Winterwetsuits are made up of thicker neoprene compared to summer wetsuits, thisthicker neoprene helps keep in and insulate the body’s heat. The neoprene worksby trapping a thin layer of water in-between the neoprene and your body. Thislayer of water conducts the heat from your body and provides warmth within thewetsuit. If you wear a summer wetsuit in the winter it is most likely you wouldget extremely cold and end up with painful cramps in your muscles. This is becausethe neoprene is too thin to effectively keep the water inside the wetsuit warm.Making sure the wetsuit fit is just as important as getting the thicknessright. If the wetsuit is too baggy it will let in excess water and your bodytemperature will find it hard to warm the extra surface area of water. Awetsuit really should feel like a second skin and you should be able to movefreely within the wetsuit without any pinching or tightness.
Winter wetsuits are made with different thickness of neoprene ranging from 4mmto 6mm. Depending on how cold the water is will determine which thickness ofwetsuit you should use. Below is a guide which will help you decide whichthickness wetsuit you will need to buy.
20C’22C 2mm Shorty
18C’20C Short or 3mm
15C’18C 3mm Full
12C’15C 4mm Full
9C-12C 5mm Full
9 C ‘ Below 6mm Full with Hood and Gloves
As you can see if you are the colder the temperature of thewater requires a thicker wetsuit and in water below 9c you will need to wear a wetsuithood and gloves. The wetsuit hood insulates the head and helps stops essential heatescaping. Also the wetsuit hood prevents ‘Ice cream headaches’ when beingsubmerged under the cold water. The wetsuit gloves are used to stop the coldwater from physically hurting the hands through coldness and to give themwarmth.
Choosing a winter wetsuit also may depend on how prone tocold you are and if you find yourself getting cold you could wear a thermalrash vest to go underneath your wetsuit. A thermal rash vest is normally madefrom a material called ‘Polypro’. This material is like a close knit fleece andprovides and extra layer of insulation underneath a wetsuit.