Spearfishing Wetsuits: The First Fishers
Originally, spearfishing wetsuits were made of human skin. Well, not really but it's just more sensational to say that. Now that I have your attention, let's look at the evolution of wetsuits from early days to the modern spearfishing wetsuit. There's an element of truth in saying that the original wetsuits were made of human skin, that. Spear-fishermen of yore didn't have easy access to the "Gap" store or a local Reebok outlet so they had to make do with going topless. Skin is actually the best suit if you think about it. It's fairly watertight, dries quickly, is smooth enough to reduce friction under water and, best of all, it wears well so you don't have to get a new one each time. But as the sport became a 'sport' rather than a means to feed the flock, wetsuits became more common.
Stealth Is To Spearfishing What Surprise Is To Battle
Today spearfishing is a highly advanced sport with all sorts of modern gear to provide the fisher with added (and often undue) advantage over his prey. Wetsuits have also evolved accordingly, and now look like something that a cross between an infantryman and a navy diver would use, camouflage and all. And it's not that surprising either, when you understand that stealth forms an important part of surprising fish that are coming round the corner of a reef. Gotcha!
To Swim Like A Fish
Most often, because spearfishing requires you to be agile under water, the design for spearfishing wetsuits is quite similar to the ones used by triathletes. Quick movement in water is hampered by bulky neoprene suits used by divers, so the natural evolutionary juggernaut has thrown up some interesting modifications. One such adaptation is the use of very thin neoprene (about 1-2 mm) under the arms and in the shoulder area to give that added flexibility. Another innovation is the use of smoother, Lycra-like finishes to reduce drag coefficient under water. Some spear-fishers may actually want rougher material on the arms because it gives them forward drag that helps propel themselves faster through the water.
Colder Equals Thicker
Varying thicknesses of wetsuits are used for spearfishing, depending on prevalent water temperatures; the colder the water or the deeper the dive, the thicker the wetsuit must be to help maintain static core body temperatures. The usual approach for colder climates is the use of multiple thicknesses of neoprene in the same wetsuit, which gives the fisher the right balance of agility, warmth and buoyancy. Suits are usually marked by their thickness: for example, a 5/4/3 suit means there are three thicknesses of material used. Similarly there may be 3/2 and other combinations.
Fit To Spearfish
Getting the right fit is essential when you're shopping for a spearfishing wetsuit. If this is a first for you, get a tailor's measuring tape and measure your chest, waist and weight. Also check your current weight; armed with this information, consult a sizing chart at the store where you're shopping, and pick the one that will be the best fit for you. The suit needs to be snug but not too tight. Remember that it will usually stretch out a bit when its wet, but it shouldn't be so tight that your circulation is affected. Choke-free collars are best if you're uncomfortable with normal collars. Probably the most important fit is at all the potential entry points for water getting into the suit â€“ the wrists, ankles and neck. If there's any slack or sag at these points, pick another suit, because it's useless unless it keeps the cold water out.
How Much To Spend On A Spearfishing Wetsuit
Spearfishing wetsuits start at around $150 for a decent branded pair. Cheaper ones are available but they may not last as long, and you might have to buy several of them during the year, making them more expensive in the long run. Naturally, the upper pricing cap is well over $1000 but these usually come with additional proprietary and trademarked features. A good average would be around $300 or so. Though not expensive per se, the sport itself might cost you a bundle in terms of boat charges, powered spearing equipment, and soap to get the smell of fish off you.