September 14, 2022 2 min read
WHY DO SURFERS WEAR WETSUITS?
The primary purpose of a wetsuit is to provide warmth and body heat retention. Surfers, divers, and swimmers wear flexible neoprene wetsuits to allow them to stay comfortable in cold water for longer durations. In 1953 the founders of Body Glove, Bill and Bob Meistrell, developed the first commercially viable wetsuit with the primary purpose to allow surfers and divers to enjoy playing in cold water longer.
Today, the reasons and purposes surfers wear wetsuits reach beyond just the warming factor. The best wetsuits also offer excellent protection from the elements including sun protection, wind protection, and impact protection. Even in warm water situations, many surfers choose to wear a wetsuit to protect them in the event of a wipeout in which they may make physical contact with the ocean bottom – reef, rocks, etc., and sometimes even collisions with their own surfboard. In addition, a protective wetsuit can help assist surfers from feeling the effects of jelly fish, sea lice, and other ocean organisms that may otherwise deliver a painful, stinging sensation to bare skin.
Wetsuits come in a variety of coverages and thicknesses to meet the needs of surfers all over the world. For warmer climates, surfers prefer “shorty” wetsuits commonly called Spring Suits which generally feature neoprene thicknesses of 1mm to 2mm. In colder climates, surfers prefer to wear Full Suits, some with integrated hoods, in thicknesses ranging from 3mm to 7mm. Thick wetsuits are critical for surfing in cold water climates, particularly to help protect and prolong the onset of hypothermia, a life-threatening low body temperature condition.
In recent years, with an increased focus on big wave surfing, wetsuits have evolved to include floatation panels, taking surfwear to a new level. These popular wetsuits are commonly called float suits. By adding foam panels in strategic areas, the wetsuit can double as a life vest, aiding the surfers rise to the surface in large surf.
When making the decision to purchase a wetsuit, it’s important to match the wetsuit’s coverage and thickness with the climate and temperature of water you will be predominantly surfing. As a new surfer, consider these benefits when choosing a wetsuit.
Whether a beginner or a pro, soak up the sun and hit the waves with the perfect wetsuit for all your adventures. Need more help? Explore our selection of wetsuits and surfboards designed for every moment in the water. Learn more about fit and style with our Wetsuit Guide.
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