Windsurfing Wetsuits: The Wonder Fabric - Neoprene
Windsurfing wetsuits are tight-fitting body suits made of a foamed version of neoprene, essentially a synthetic rubber. When gas cells are incorporated into the material, it becomes an excellent material for insulation against wind and cold. Because neoprene is slightly spongy, it also affords a small amount of protection against rocks and corals. For these attributes, it is widely used in making wetsuits for windsurfing and other water sports like diving.
Types Of Windsurfing Wetsuits: The Long And The Short Of It
Usually sold in the form of full body suits, they are also available in various lengths and thicknesses that are suitable for different sports activities. Several variations are on the market, each suited to a particular type of usage or preference. For example, for colder waters, you'd need a full length suit that covers your arms, shoulders, torso, abdomen and all the way down to your ankles. For warmer climates, a "shortie" wetsuit might be better; this has short sleeves and stops above the knees. It will still help keep your core body temperature within an acceptable range in mildly cold waters. You can also get upper or lower body windsurfing wetsuits, depending on what's comfortable for you, while keeping in mind the safety aspect.
Sizing Up A Wetsuit
There are several sizes of windsurfing wetsuits available so before you go shopping, you'll need to take your chest and waist measurement with a tailor's measuring tape. You'll also need to measure your height and weight. When you go shopping you'll see a sizing chart especially for wetsuits; make sure that what you buy matches the appropriate dimensions on the chart. Don't worry if the fit is snug; it's supposed to be that way to keep water from going under the suit and defeating the main purpose behind wearing a windsurfing wetsuit â€“ insulation. However, if you feel that it's so tight that it may restrict blood circulation, then you might have to go one size up. Don't forget that neoprene suits give a little when they get wet so even if it's a little uncomfortable in the beginning, it should settle down (or up) to a snug feel.
Too Thick - Too Thin - Just Right
The next aspect is the thickness; in order to maintain maximum flexibility, manufacturers use varying thicknesses in different parts of the same wetsuit. Normally, the joints, the crotch, the underarms and any place where movement is required will have slightly thinner grade neoprene. This is just to make sure that movement is not restricted. That being said, there will always be a certain loss of mobility, even if it's minimal. Obviously, the more expensive the windsurfing wetsuit, the better designed it will be (that's what you'd expect), and the better the flexibility and freedom of movement you'll have. Typical thicknesses start from about 2 mm and go up to 7 mm, possibly more. The thickness is usually mentioned on the suit in terms of a number that indicated the mm measurement. For example, in mixed thickness suits you might see 5/4/3 or 3/2.
One Size Fits All...Not!
Your final check list item when buying windsurfing wetsuits should be actually trying it on for size and comfort. For that reason, unless you know your measurements haven't changed, and you've bought that particular brand before, online purchases aren't recommended. You can save a whole lot of time and disappointment by making the trip to a dive shop or sports store and checking it out before buying it.
Before Breaking Out The Big Bucks
Depending on the features of the windsurfing wetsuits, the prices can swing between $100 and well over $1000. If you can figure out your specific requirement, you can hunt around for some great deals. There are a lot of websites that advertise used windsurfing wetsuits for unbelievably low rates, and the best part is, you might be making a windsurfing buddy to boot.