HOW TO CHOOSE A WETSUIT FOR SCUBA DIVING

Which wetsiut is the best for you.

A wetsuit protects your body from excessive cold temperature when you are diving. As you go deeper, water absorbs heat from your body up to 25 times faster than air. Adequate protection from cold is necessary to prevent hypothermia, which usually happens when your body is exposed to water temperature below 32° Celsius (90° F). Wetsuit comes in many different varieties, and here are some features you need to consider.

Adequate Thickness

The first line of defense against cold water is the wetsuit, and its ability to withstand cold is determined by many factors including thickness. As a rule of thumb, a 3mm thick wetsuit should be good for everyone, but you can do better than that. General guide to choose wetsuit thickness in relation to water temperature is as follows:

• Water temperature above 29° C (85°F) – 2mm wetsuit
• Water temperature between 21 - 29°C (70 - 85°F) – 3mm wetsuit
• Water temperature between 15 - 21°C (60 - 70°F) – 5mm wetsuit
• Water temperature between 10 - 15°C (50 - 60°F) – 6.5mm wetsuit
• Anything below – dry suit

Cut, length & style

Versatility and warmth are affected by style as well. Irrespective to any extra feature, you have three popular options available:
 
• Full body: it covers your entire arms and legs. Typical full body suit has long back or front zipper and it is available in various thickness options as well.
• Shorty wetsuit: it has short-sleeve and knee-length cover. Your torso is perfectly covered.
• Two-piece wetsuit: it is the most popular option of the three due to double insulation forms. You can also use each piece separately when needed.

Material

All wetsuits are made of neoprene material. It is a synthetic rubber material popularly known for its ability to maintain flexibility over a range of temperatures. Not all neoprene materials are created equal. For wetsuits the best type is gas blown and it contains thousands of nitrogen bubbles. Neoprene is not built to last forever, so it will eventually wear out regardless of how durable the construction is. However, the gas blown type is the most durable of them all.

Construction

Besides the type of neoprene, durability is also affected by the construction. The following types are NOT recommended:
 
• Glued Stitch: characterized by a glued tape over the seams, this is the least durable yet inexpensive. For beginners who dive once or twice a year, glued stitch is adequate, but all its seams will wear out soon.
• Over-lock Stitch: another inexpensive option is a wetsuit that uses over-lock stitch to join neoprene and seams. The stitch joins the edges together.
• Inside Ridge: when the seam is stretched to its maximum limit, water can enter. Inside ridge is also not so comfortable.
 
The strongest wetsuit is the blind stitch type. Construction starts by applying glue to the material which then stitched at one side. Advanced techniques make it impossible for the stitching process to pierce the material, preventing the existence of water entry point. Stitches on both sides interlock each other, providing very strong seam. You can find these characteristics on higher-end wetsuit.

wetsuit seams guide
image source: www.kingofwatersports.com

Comfort

A wetsuit should make a perfect fit, but never to the point where it restricts movement or breathing. Wearing a wetsuit can feel quite weird at first. The catch is it can be both a sign of a perfect fit or simply the wetsuit is one size too small. As long as it is snug enough yet you can move freely and don’t feel discomfort, the wetsuit fits.

Diving in Bali

When diving the dive sites in Bali, we at OK Divers use 3mm wetsuits all year round and provide them to our guests for free as part of the diving equipment. We find them adequate for most of the year. However from Jun to November the water gets colder in general and we recommend the divers to bring an extra layer – whether a dive hood or a rash guard, neoprene vest or shirt.

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