Do you need an expert to choose the right foam?
If you are not fortunate enough to live and surf in tropical waters, you will always need the right wetsuit for surfing and streaming. How to choose a surfing wetsuit? We hope that this article will dispel any doubts and help you choose your new wetsuit.
Even though it is an obligatory element of the surfer’s equipment, the knowledge about wetsuits and their choice is low. We all care about surfing, even too much.
The company or the color of the foam does not matter, its function is important.
A surfing wetsuit or steamer wetsuit must be very tight so that it keeps you warm. It is made of a material called neoprene that is permeable to water. In surfing, we use wet surfing wetsuits, not dry steamer wetsuits, as in spearfishing because they are more flexible. However, neoprene stretches over time, so if you buy a streamer wetsuit that is very easy to put on in a store, you can be sure that after a few months of surfing the wetsuit will stretch significantly. As a result, it will be loose in certain places, which will allow a lot of water to flow through and thus wear away its thermal properties.
If you are able to squeeze into a surfing wetsuit or steamer wetsuit in less than a minute in a store, this wetsuit will be too big for you, even if you look good in it at the moment.
How to choose a surfing wetsuit?
- It all depends on the water temperature you will be surfing at.
- Foams have a thickness measured in millimeters and the most common numbering is 6 / 5mm, 5/4 mm, 4/3 mm, 3/2 mm, and 2 mm.
- For example, a 4/3 mm foam is a 4 mm thick foam in the cage and on the back, and the legs and arms will be 3 mm thick. The smaller the thickness of the neoprene, the easier it is to move around in it, so legs and arms tend to be thinner.
- In the Canary Islands, the water temperature is around +20 degrees Celsius all year round, which means that you will need a 3/2 mm surfing wetsuit all year round.
- In Europe, we have a clear decrease or increase in water temperatures depending on the season of the year.
- You do not want to buy two wetsuits (surfing wetsuit or steamer wetsuit), buy one that will be suitable for most of your surfing trips.
Sizing guide, how to choose a surf wetsuit?
- Each producer of foams will have its own size. Men’s wetsuits come in sizes S, M, L, and XL, but there are also versions for tall surfers, e.g. a person of M size, but tall ones will look for MT (medium tall) wetsuit.
- Women’s sizes of surfing wetsuit or streamer wetsuit are marked with numbers, such as clothes 6,8,10,12,14, there are also models for tall women, e.g. 8T (8 tall).
How to take care of a surfing wetsuit or streamer wetsuit for several seasons?
- Buy a rubber bucket to take to the beaches and use it to change clothes, thus preventing the foam from being damaged by gravel or asphalt in the parking lot. When you get home, you will use this bucket as a container to rinse the salt off the foam.
- Always use cool, fresh water to rinse the foam. Hot water will reduce the flexibility of the neoprene over time, so this should be avoided.
- Do not hang the streamer wetsuit in the traditional way like clothes (such as hanging a shirt) as the weight of the wet wetsuit will stretch the streamer wetsuit in the arms and this cannot be repaired. Hang the streamer wetsuit on the handrail or waist hanger so that the legs and arms hang down on both sides.
- Dry the foam in the shade! Most novice surfers do not consider this advice as they want to keep their surfing wetsuit dry for the next session. The sun and UV radiation will destroy the neoprene very quickly, the foam will start to crack and become less elastic.
- It is worth rinsing the foam from time to time with a special foam washing liquid. You can buy such a product in any online surf store.
- Don’t pee in the foam! The urine is acidic. Not only is it not hygienic, but after a few sessions, it will completely destroy your streamer wetsuit.
- Put the surfing wetsuit on and off slowly, it is worth asking someone for help to open or close the zipper on the back.
- If you have trouble putting on the surfing wetsuit or streamer wetsuit, use a surfing trick and use a plastic bag to squeeze your foot or hand through a tight leg or sleeve.