The Value of a Good Wetsuit

A common complaint that I hear from divers new & old is “I hate being cold” when they are out on one of our charters. I would have to agree, no one likes being cold but after 30 years of diving &  lately I have been spending 3 to 4 days a week in one of my wetsuits I have come to see the value of a good wetsuit. Wetsuits are a lot like regulators & masks in the sense that you will get what you pay for. You don’t have to spend a fortune but if you go cheap plan on being cold.

When I am looking to purchase a wetsuit I really want a suit that fits well. A suit that has a tighter fit allows less water in and provides for less flushing, allowing water to enter & exit the suit. I have a cold water suit that lets very little water in, so much so that my swim trunks are usually damp but not dripping wet at the end of a dive. Ever see a diver remove his suit and see a large amount of water pour out of the lower leg portion of their suit? Not with my suit.

The second feature that I look for in a suit is one that is easy to take on and off. Every brand of suit has some sort of “super stretch” neoprene and that is what I am looking for. Easy on and easy off with an almost custom fit. Some people complain about this type of neoprene, saying that it is not as warm or as durable. I have found that statement to not be valid. I push the temperature envelope of suits routinely, diving 3mm full suits in 60 degree water and found that my better suits keep me warm.

Other features that I look for is double glued & blind stitched as well as taped seams if it is for cold water use. Another feature that I really like in a cold water suit are cuffs that can be tucked into my boots or gloves with the outer part of the suit going over the boots of gloves. This feature greatly reduces water transfer. I recently went on a dive in one of my cheaper 3mm that did not have some of these features and I could tell right away. With this suit my legs were immediately wet once I got in the water. My better 5mm suit prevented an immediately flood of the suit, keeping me much warmer.

By the way we don’t sell one brand of wetsuits. Suits are kind of like your favorite pair of jeans, some people like brand L and some like brand W. Without trying a suit on it’s pretty hard to find what fits you best, better fit equals a warmer more comfortable suit.

In closing this is a brief overview of what I look for in a wetsuit, a good fit that easy to get on & off along with some of the extras. Remember you get what you pay for, buy cheap and you are going to be cold.

Stop by the shop and I would be happy to talk to you about wetsuits!