Wetsuits are basically tight, insulated onesies worn by surfers and divers to keep warm while they are in the water. They work by keeping a thin layer of water close to the body that is warmed up from the heat of the body.
But since they are so tight (and SO hard to shimmy on and off,) how tight should they be? When is it too tight, or not tight enough to keep you warm? A wetsuit should fit snugly around your body, and it should be pretty tight. Of course, you should still be able to breathe perfectly fine. If you can’t, then your suit is far too tight.
You do not want your suit to be so tight that the water cannot enter it either. The water needs to be able to enter it so that it can be heated and you can stay warm during your dive. You should still have plenty of mobility in your arms and legs. If you are not able to do basic things in your dive, or worse, feel claustrophobic and panicked since you can’t move, your suit is too tight.
However, on the contrary, if your suit has baggy or sagging areas that fill with water and leak, then your suit is too big. With a suit that is too big, you can run the risk of the water inside the suit not being able to stay inside long enough to get warmed, leaving you cold and unhappy.
Buying a big wetsuit is never a good idea. Although it might be a tiny bit easier to get on and off, it is not worth the cold water seeping in and ruining your dive! Check to make sure that your suit is not bagging or slouching around your back, knees, chest, and armpits. If you see noticeable sagging, then that suit is too big. To check to make sure the wetsuit you have picked fits, try doing these tips!
- Bend your knees, crawl, crouch, swing your arms and legs. If you feel like the suit is restricting you, you will probably need to size up.
- You should be able to close the suit without the zipper reopening. If the zipper slides down, it is too tight, and you should size up. You want the zipper to snugly secure the suit, not squeeze you in.
- If large air pockets form when the suit is pulled away from the skin, then it is too big and will leak and get cold during your dive.
Keep in mind, however, that wetsuits feel much tighter on land and dry than when they are in the water.
Do not be afraid to ask your local dive or surf shop for help on finding the right size suit for you! You will want to be comfortable during your dive and they can help make sure you pick out the right suit for you, that actually suits you!