Fisrt Suit/Board Suggestions?

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Fisrt Suit/Board Suggestions?

Postby OctopusPrime » Wed Jul 12, 2017 2:07 pm

Hello everyone. Brand new here.

I have been surfing for a little bit now and since the beginning, I've just enjoyed using rental equipment. I'm sure you've got this question a million times but what would be your top tips when it comes to choosing your suit and board?

I will be surfing in the cold waters of Ucluelet and Tofino. I've surfed about a dozen times.
Just rocking it in Ucluelet,BC:
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Re: Fisrt Suit/Board Suggestions?

Postby surfratzz » Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:46 pm

Sounds like we're in the same position. I actually bought a new o'neill wetsuit, seems to be a good brand but I'm no expert. Been working out great for me though. As far as the board goes, I started out on a softop so you might want to give that a go to start of with. I'm actually looking for my next board to progress on...
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Re: Fisrt Suit/Board Suggestions?

Postby BoredatWork925 » Fri Nov 17, 2017 11:51 am

I'm a beginner at surfing, so I'll keep an eye on the thread for board suggestions. However, I've been windsurfing a few years and diving for much longer, so I can advise on wetsuits. Plus I feel the cold so learning about suits has been crucial for me after some bad experiences early on!

The first thing to bear in mind is that everyone is different. Manufacturers make 'summer suits' and 'winter suits', but these are just guidelines. Look at people walking around outside in Autumn and you'll see some people in hats, gloves and coats and others in jumpers or even just shirts. Everyone's different, so learn what you're comfortable in. I had bad experiences learning to both dive and windsurf, where I wore an average suit rented from the school and I froze - with diving I was shaking uncontrollably for hours afterwards and had to abandon the course, whereas now I dive regularly with no issues because I have the right suit for me.

The second thing to know is that contrary to the popular myth, wetsuits do not keep you warm by trapping a layer of water :lol: , just google "wetsuits layer of water myth" to learn more (or check the Wikipedia page on wetsuits). This myth is counter-productive because it can badly inform a buying choice. Wetsuits actually work because there are air bubbles in the neoprene, and air is a bad conductor of heat; so the thicker the suit, the warmer it is. Essentially, a wetsuit is a way of trapping air, like a jumper or coat, but in the water. Also, water is an extremely good conductor of heat, so water in your suit will make you cold, so fit is critical and a suit needs to be very snug and a bit tight to keep the water out. These are the most crucial things to know about a wetsuit, and the myth of the layer of water runs counter to this and causes some people to ignore thickness in a suit and to buy a suit that's too loose.

Some specific advice:

* Keeping water out. The more water you can keep out, the warmer a suit will be. Advances for this are things like a chest zip, glued seams, blindstitched seams, taped seams etc. Obviously there are downsides; better seams cost take more time to make and cost more money and chest-zip suits are harder to get in and out of.

* Thickness. Usually quoted in millimetres. Most suits are dual thickness, with a figure given for the torso and another for the arms and legs (e.g. 3/2) - some even have three figures, quoting arms and legs separately (e.g. 5/4/3). Most people use a 3/2 in water over 15/16 degrees and a 5/3 or 5/4 below, but it varies enormously. Air temperature also has an effect, because most surfers spend half their time in the air (in the line-up, riding the waves, etc). For an example, I live in the south of the UK and use a 5/3 from June to September and a 6/5 Oct-Dec and April & May. My wife uses a 3/2 and a 5/4 in the same months. Neither of us go in the water from Jan to the start of April.

* Fit: This is the most important thing because it'll affect flexibility and keeping water out. To do both (flexible and warm) requires a perfect fit; most people in 'off the peg' suits compromise one for the other. All brands are different, so the trick is to try a range on and find one that suits you best.

* Flexibility: You pay more for a flexible suit (more flexible neoprene), and it's worth noting that a chest zip gives you a stretchier back than a back zip (obviously). It's not all rosy though - some flexible neoprene isn't as warm.

* Lining: Bare neoprene, like the first suits in the 60s used, is hard to put on, uncomfortable and fragile. For this reason, most suits these days are lined with material on the inside and outside. The downside of this is that the material holds water and cools you down, especially in the wind, so on the outside of the suit some panels may be 'single lined', so they're lined on the inside, but bare neoprene on the outside. This is great, but also fragile, so for surfing suits these panels tend to be just in the chest and/or back, because these areas need to stay warm and are less likely to pick up scrapes. A windsurfing suit is often single lined all over because of the length of time exposed to the wind and out of the water. Triathlon suits and free diving suits are all single lined and they're made from an even more fragile material; this is for streamlining and fkexibility - these suits are not suitable for surfing as they would just rip in contact with a fin or even the side of the board.

Makes: Different makes give different quality, but what matters most is fit, and all makes will be different.

Cost: Generally speaking, you get what you pay for. You can save money by buying out of season.

I hope that helps.
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