Friday, November 09, 2012

How to buy a wetsuit?

It's about that time of year when JP becomes Uncle JP and starts making lists of present ideas.

One possibility is a wetsuit for a dinghy sailor, something for south coast Britain sea temperatures and those pesky little Lasers that keep tipping over.

I've never bought a wetsuit before so I'm looking for pointers and thought - why not ask those readers who actually have one to tell all.

So, please, let me know what did you buy and why?


Tillerman said...

My wetsuit is so old and so unfashionable that I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.

One of the recent developments in wetsuits for dinghy sailors, especially Laser sailors, is for wetsuit systems that include separate hiking pads that can be worn inside the wetsuit. If I was buying a new wetsuit I would definitely go for one of those.

In the USA, Zhik is one of the most popular brands (although not cheap.) I think it's available in the UK. See here. (There is a model designed for women too.)

In the UK the Rooster brand is highly regarded too. See here.

The style of wetsuit is to some extent a matter of personal preference, but I think these sleeveless farmer john styles are probably the most suitable for dinghy sailing. You can then add different kinds of tops to suit different weather conditions.

JP said...

Thanks for that - I'll look into those brands and options. Maybe I ought to get one for myself too!

Noodle said...

This time of year the most important thing to ask for is a nine mm ;-)

JP said...

A "nine"? Very cryptic - either the coffee hasn't hit its spot this morning yet or maube its a Danish thing. said...

I have two loverly wetsuits - one is an ebay special which is 3mm and gets cut down more and more every year (these are the ones they sell in supermarkets and petrol stations all over the summer for about 40p)- but my 'good' one is a Gul - I find the things that rock about it (and therefore things you should look for) are -

1. It has pink bits on it. Makes you go faster

2. It has a windproof front and back bit - really nice for those days where a spray jacket to block the wind is too much, but a wetsuit not enough

3. I can bend over and touch my toes with it feeling snug, but without strangling me

4. Think about what you want to wear under it - a rash vest is good an makes for a comfier experiance - will also help you slide down those close fitting sleeves.

5. Reinforcement on the knees. I used to have very pretty knees. My knees are now ugly - and its all dinghy sailings fault, but these are great as you don't feel as much of a prat as you do walking around with full kneepads on.

Re thickness mine is a 5mm which I think is a good weight, warm enough in the winter (as long as you are an active sailor!) but not too thick for our English summer (bearing in mind Kielder is generally colder than the sea when you are tipped in). You can get thicker, but it's a trade on flexibility.

Alternatively I could knit you one, but it may take some time and I 'm not sure it would fit goin gon recent track record....

JP said...

Thanks a lot - useful advice which I'll bear in mind. Sounds like a Gul 5mm is a good place to start googling.

It might not be in pink: we'll just have to take the risk of going slower!