What do you think the paddlesports industry in the United States and Sri Lanka have in common?
(Drum roll please…)
Population, that’s what!
In 2014, 21.7 million Americans (yes, you read that right!) said that they enjoy paddled watersports. For reference, there are nearly 21 million Sri Lankans (as of the latest statistics).
So, now that you have discovered the pleasure and thrill of such activities, as well as the good kayaking can do for your health, what’s next?
Shopping for the best wetsuits!
But what exactly makes a wetsuit the right fit for you?
Don’t worry. We’ll answer this for you, plus steer you towards the direction of the most investment-worthy wetsuits this year!
What’s a Wetsuit and What Makes it the Best?
With its miles of oceans, rivers, lakes, and other ways, it goes without saying that the U.S. takes the lead when it comes to watersports. Take kayaking, for instance – a whopping 492,420 kayaks and canoes were under registration in 2017!
But the “vessels” alone don’t complete these sports. Water can be as dangerous as it’s fun and awesome for your health. That’s why you need a watersport-specific garment.
Keep in mind that the human body starts failing when submerged in water for more than a few days (an accident we hope will never happen to anyone!).
Even when you stay in the water for only a few hours, having no specialized garment to protect you can result in hypothermia. The colder the water, the sooner the body goes into shock.
These special rubber suits let you enjoy being in the water for a longer time than your otherwise bare skin can bear. They’re much like drysuits, wherein they keep you warm, but they also let some water in (between the garment and your body, so yes, you remain dry). This water then warms up through your body heat, cloaking you with extra insulation.
Wetsuits aren’t equal – they can have serious differences when it comes to construction, durability, comfort, and insulation! To ensure you get the best wetsuit, factor in the following considerations:
- The watersport itself (there are the best wetsuits for surfing, and then there are the best wetsuits for kayaking)
- The water conditions (especially temperature!) you’ll expose yourself to
- Which body parts you should cover (torso and upper legs or entire body?)
- Wetsuit thickness (determines the garment’s insulating properties)
- Type of stitching
- Other special features (think double stitching or lining, even more specialized rubber, etc.)
These are some of the most important qualities to look for when assessing your wetsuit options. The best wetsuit brands excel in all them and more, which is why it’s best you keep a lookout for these 2018 must-have suits!
For the Adult Male Surfer: O’Neill Men’s 3/2mm Reactor Full Wetsuit
You don’t want to be singing “I’m on the top world looking down on creation (but feeling super cold)…” do you? But if you end up wearing an ill-fitting or low-qual wetsuit, that’s exactly how you’ll feel (frigid).
Thanks to the O’Neill men’s 3/2mm Reactor Full Wetsuit though, you can ensure you’ll go far out.
Featuring an ultra-flexible 3/2mm neoprene, you can expect the suit to just meld onto your form. Don’t worry about your muscles ripping the sleeves or shoulders, thanks to their greater elasticity. This extra stretch also means the suit is perfect for paddling (yes, kayaking or SUP-ing!).
The torso and back areas have thicker rubber, so that’s even better insulation for you. Especially in water conditions with temperatures falling anywhere from 68 degrees to 79 degrees Fahrenheit.
Concerned about chafing? Don’t worry, this wetsuit’s flat-seam construction will protect you from that too.
For the Female Wave-Catchers: Roxy Syncro 3/2 BackZip Flatlock Wetsuit
Want to be the next Alana Blanchard? Then take a page out of her book and wear the right (and awesome-looking) wetsuit! Specifically, Roxy’s Syncro 3/2 BackZip Flatlock creation.
Boasting of the brand’s proprietary neoprene technology (the F’N Lite), you’ll have as less as 16% rubber weight to carry. It also features the Thermal Smoothie Neoprene in its stitching, which boosts flexibility around the joints.
To top everything off, the YKK#10 Back Zip makes it easy to get into the suit and just as fast out of it.
For Those Who Want a Shorty: Seavenger 3mm Tropical Shorty Wetsuit
The thought of wearing a full body wetsuit doesn’t appeal to everyone. So, if this includes you, then you should check out the Seavenger 3mm Tropical Shorty Wetsuit.
With its soft neoprene, plus its extra stretch in the joint areas, you’ll find swimming or paddling a cinch. It’s also great for kayaking or other paddle sports, thanks to its impressive under-armpit stretch lining.
It also uses Lycra for the waist and neck panels, as well as a full back zipper. These will ensure you remain insulated and comfortable – whether you’re catching waves, coursing through white water, or checking out the magical underwater world from above.
For the Newbie Scuba Divers: NeoSport Wetsuits Full Body Sports Skins
Did you just join the U.S. scuba diving community consisting of more than 3 million members? If so, then put the right foot forward (and into the water) with the Full Body Sport Skin Wetsuit from NeoSport.
The rubber suit made of Lycra ensures a flexible and comfy fit, while its anatomical cut molds onto your body. The foot stirrups and thumb loops attachments also keep it from riding you up while in the water.
Like the Roxy Syncro 3/2 BackZip Flatlock Wetsuit, this NeoSport product also uses the YKK#10 zipper for (although it’s on the front). Durability-wise, you can rest assure the overlock seams will satisfy your standards.
For the Young Rookies: O’Neill Youth 3/2 mm Reactor Full Wetsuit
Watersports are for all ages, which means that you’ll find wetsuits for your little ones. Lucky for you, best-selling brand O’Neill specializes in for-kids and for-teens wetsuits too. Take its Youth 3/2mm Reactor Full Wetsuit, for example.
It’s a scaled-down version of the above-mentioned full wetsuit from the same brand. The only differences: It’s made for kids aged six and older (up to teens!). Best of all, it boasts of a unisex design, so it suits both male and female kiddos.
Aside from all the tech and features you’ll find in the adult version, this for-the-young suit also comes with flatlock stitching. This helps minimize chafing, which then ensures all-day comfort.
Get the Most Out of Your Watersports Activities with the Best Wetsuits
The best wetsuits don’t just keep you safe. They also make watersports – whether surfing, kayaking, standup paddle boarding, or scuba diving – even more fun. Remember this though: Everyone has their own needs and preferences, so make sure you also read as many wetsuits reviews as you can.
For an even more epic time in or on the water, check out our other tips and advice!