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January 27th, 2016
Posted In: How-to
A wakeboarding and waterskiing wetsuit with a good fit and the right mix of features will allow you to hit the water year round (or at least comfortably extend your season.)
For your reference, wetsuits will not keep you completely dry. The idea is to allow a small amount of water inside, your body heat will take care of the rest.
We will attempt to take a step back from the technical stuff and present you with the four most important aspects of wakeboarding and waterskiing wetsuit construction.
#1: Wetsuit Thickness
You’ll see 2mm, 3/2mm, 4/3mm, etc. in front of a product name on our website. That mm is the wetsuit thickness measured in millimeters and it impacts the warmth of the wetsuit. Less neoprene is used in the extremities to increase flexibility. Basically, thickness increases warmth and decreases flexibility.
Check out this Water Temperature Guide:
#2: Neoprene Type
Neoprene types impact flexibility and there are two types for windsurfing and kiteboarding wetsuits: Standard and Super stretch.
Manufacturers use varying degrees of these neoprene types, so for windsurfing/kiteboarding, you need at least 30% super stretch neoprene in your wetsuit. Seasoned surfers and boarders prefer wetsuits with 60% to 100% super stretch neoprene for the ultimate in flexibility and fit.
30% stretch = the back, shoulders, and arms have 30% super stretch neoprene while the other 70% of the suit is made with standard neoprene.
100% stretch = entire suit is made with super stretch neoprene for the ultimate in fit and flexibility.
The video below talks more about neoprene types:
#3: Seam Construction
What holds the suit together? Seams! Seam construction impacts the warmth and comfort of the wetsuit and can be broken down into three types.
Flatlock: Great for warmer water temps (62F & up), flatlock seams look like railroad tracks and the interior and exterior look the same. The interior is flat and is comfortable against the skin. Some water seeps in through this type of seam.
Sealed (Glued & Blindstitched): This type of seam works well in cold water (55F & up). The seam is constructed by being glued first and then stitched. The exterior is similar to flatlock seams, but the interior is glued. Very little water will seep through this type.
Sealed & Taped (Glued Blindstitched & 100% Taped): These seams work well for really cold water (55F & below). It has the same construction as Sealed, but has taping on the interior and exterior. This tape reinforces seams for added durability and prevents any water from seeping in.
Watch the video below for more information on seam types!
Extra internal and external features will enhance the performance of your wakeboarding and waterskiing wetsuit.
Poly fleece and quick dry poly fleece are internal linings that provide a quick drying time and keep you warmer, longer.
Surfing wetsuits can come in a variety of zipper types and are offered as a back zip, front zip (or chest zip), or zip free.
Full-Zipper provides your standard entry.
Short-Zipper increases flexibility and limits water entry though the zipper.
A chest zipper increases your flexibility and is becoming more popular and prominent in the surfing wetsuit industry.
Zipper barriers are great for flushing water out of the zipper area!
Learn more about zippers with the videos below.
Smoothskin/Wind Resistant Neoprene
Smoothskin neoprene a.k.a smoothy is a rubberized coating applied to the outside of neoprene that helps block wind, and resists water absorbtion into the wetsuit. Smoothy is typically found on the chest of a wetsuit. Specialized windsports wetsuits feature more smoothy for better windblock.
Pros: wind resistance, better “cling” to a surfboard, blocks some water from entering the suit. Cons: adds a little extra weight to the suit, smoothy is delicate and shows nicks/cuts easily.
Below is a quick video on smoothskin:
Key pockets or key loops are added as a convenience to most wetsuits. See the brief video below to learn more!
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