That autumnal feel has just started to kick in so alongside talk of the impending mini ice age there’s it’s time to think of of thicker neoprene, well bonded seams and toasty wetsuit boots are hot topics.
Get yourself prepared for those winter sessions with a well thought out action plan. There are two broad areas that you can change to positively affect your winter performance: Body and Kit.
You can prepare your body by starting to get in to good habits now. Eat well, exercise 3 or 4 times per week, (Get your hands on The Complete Guide To Surf Fitness here) use sport specific training to focus on the areas that need to be kept fittest and cut out bad habits like boozing, pasties and cigarettes.
Preparing your kit is way more fun. Whip out that magic plastic card and treat yourself to the warmest set up that you can lay your hands on. Not only will it last longer than its cheaper rivals, it will likely fit better, flush less and most importantly of all, keep you in the water for longer and more comfortably.
The winter wetsuit guide will take the pain out of the shopping experience a little. Take a look at the stretchy new neoprene, the well thought out entry systems and the flush free seals. Then head to your local surf shop armed with the info to make an informed choice.
Linings & Materials
Alder has used their Aerocore lining and ‘X’ Stretch fabric in the EVO Fire wetsuit to create a material that combines fantastic properties for trapping air and warming it while also offering four way stretch. Team rider Mark Boyd has been testing it in Thurso’s Arctic temperatures and rates it as the best that he’s used.
BodyGlove are using 100% Vapour flex repellent technology throughout their Vapour Slant Zip 5/4mm suit. The water tends to turn in to droplets on the neoprene and runs off rather than absorbing – just like me mums settee when she sprays Scotchguard on it – impressive stuff.
When the winters swells hit, we all want to surf our brains out, but getting in to a wet wetsuit is enough to put off the most hardcore UK Keen bean. Rip Curl’sFlash dry lining funnels the water rapidly out of the suit once it’s hung up. No more breathless moments as your toes go down your wettie leg – result!
Patagonia’s use of Merino wool creates a greenhouse effect in your suit. While the wool wicks away any water, your body heats it up.
Animal have included their A-flex pro neoprene in the paddle zone areas of the Animator series. When you’re feeling the burn on those long winter paddle outs, you’ll really enjoy the benefit.
The boffins in the Xcel design lab have introduced their new Quick Dry Fibre Technology (QDF) which reduces water absorption on the surface of the wetsuit, giving increased warmth to keep you cosy for longer.
How to buy the right wetsuit for you!
When you hit the surf shops, make sure you go in with a game plan. Speed the process by knowing your height, weight, where you will be using the suit and during which months. Be well researched on the features that you like. Is it a front zip entry that you’re looking for? Do you require single lined material on your suits lumber panel? Know what you want rather than going in blind.
• Your standard sales assistant will be well versed in the suits that they’re selling. They’ll have likely had some sales training from the manufacturer and they’ll be ready to translate your info in to a suit sale as quickly as possible.
• You shouldn’t need to be trying on more than three suits. If you are, then either the sales assistant aren’t doing their job properly or you have changed your mind too many times. By the time you’ve tried three winter suits on in a hot changing room you’ll be a hot, sweating mess.
• Remember, knowledge is king, so enter the shop armed with your trusty SurfGirl winter wettie guide rolled up in your back sky rocket!
For more tips on how to buy a wetsuit and other gear related info get a copy of The Surf Girl Handbook it’s stuffed with invaluable tips and advice and you get a free Ted Shred’s air freshener when you buy it at the Orca Shop.
• Quiksilver’s Fuseflex suit has a Hydro-lock dry chest zip which gets the zipper off your back to increase flexibility, but also locks out water leakage through the zipper for maximum warmth. It’s easy to climb in to and effortless to get out of.
Suits You Sir
• A made to measure service isn’t something that you hear much of these days but it still has the unique appeal of a comfortable fit, no rubs, no flushes and more flex in the right areas. Snugg’s service also has the bonus that if you happen to change shape (perhaps after one too many mince pies at Christmas) you can have your suit altered. Tailored to perfection.
• O’Neill’s super seam weld is 60% lighter than other seams available. The new seam is low profile so it offers greater comfort, stretch and durability. Less is more in this case for sure.
• Billabong are utilising a new stitchless welded seam construction in their SGX Xero model. Less seam restriction, more warmth, all good!
• Circle One are offering a unique easy entry system. You don’t appreciate how easy they are to get on until you try them and zips are a thing of the past!