Wetsuit Thickness0 comments
How warm you'll be in a wetsuit depends on several different factors. These include the type of wetsuit, the type and location of the wetsuit zip, how the wetsuit fits, and the thickness of the wetsuit. It's important to consider all these variables before choosing a wetsuit. Here we'll look at the thickness of a wetsuit.
Have you ever taken a look at a wetsuit description in a shop, or an online surf shop listing (visit our store!). If so, you may well have noticed one, two or three numbers in the wetsuit description. These numbers represent the thickness of the wetsuit neoprene in millimetres. The thickness of this material varies, dependent upon the part of the body that's being covered. This is why there are often different numbers in the description. The wetsuit neoprene is almost always thinner on the arms and legs, to ensure that the movement of the surfer's limbs are not overly restricted while surfing.
The numbers will be separated with either a '/' or a '0', with each number corresponding to a different thickness. The larger number, usually the first number (the number on the left), gives the thickness of the torso. The second (and sometimes third) number gives the thickness of the neoprene on the limbs.
Heat 6/5/4mm Hooded Full Wetsuit
This is a wetsuit that would be used in very cold water. It has a thickness of 6 millimetres on the torso. The 5 is the thickness on the arms. The legs are 4 millimetre neoprene. A wetsuit with 6 millimetre neoprene all over would be very restricting, and make it hard to paddle and surf.
Epic 2 Ct 5/3 Wetsuit
A cold water wetsuit, the sort of suit that would be worn by a surfer through winter when surfing in England. The torso material is 5 millimetres thick, the arms and legs are 3 millimetres thick.
Heat 3q 302 Full Back Wetsuit
Here's and example of the numbers separated with a "0". This does not mean there is a hole in the wetsuit. (Nice idea though) It's a spring or summer wetsuit, and significantly thinner that the winter, cold water, wetsuit examples above.
Epic 2mm S/S Full Back Wetsuit
This wettie only has 2mm in the description. It is a springsuit and is made of 2 millimeter thick neoprene all over.
So there we have it, the detailed thickness guide. We've even got through it without mentioning girth, which is such a great word! Now you know what the numbers in the descriptions mean, you can choose the right wetsuit for the water temperature you'll be surfing in.
More handy wetsuit guides
As mentioned in the beginning paragraph, there's more to consider than the thickness of wetsuit choosing a wetsuit. Sizing is one consideration, but what about the type of surfing wetsuit you'll need?
If you would like more information about the types of wetsuit stitching and seams (sealed / flatlock), it's explained here.
Take a look at our main wetsuit detail page that explains how a wetsuit keeps you warm.
Don't forget to take care of your wetsuit once you have made the purchase.
Our definitive wetsuit buyers guide, which gives an overview of all considerations.
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- Wetsuits - How they are made and how they work.
- The Different Types of Surfing Wetsuits
- Wetsuit stitching and seams explained in detail
- Wetsuit Sizing Guide from Surfing Waves
- A List of Wetsuit Terms and Terminology
- Taking care of your wetsuit
- Wetsuit Temperature Guide - make sure you get the right suit
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