A Brief Guide to Wetsuits

Triathlon & Open Water
Written by: Arena at 8 October '22 0
You are reading: A Brief Guide to Wetsuits

Learn about the technological neoprene makeup of a wetsuit, the various benefits of wearing one, and the recommended instances of usage across sports and bodies of open water.

How a Wetsuit Works

Wetsuits make it possible to tackle the open water. They’re built to help you withstand the cold, keeping you warm even when submerged in temperatures ranging from 15 to 20 degrees Celsius (50-70 degrees Fahrenheit).

The technology works by trapping a thin layer of water between your skin and the rubber-like material which is called neoprene. From there, your body warmth works to heat the stored water to a temperature of about 37 degrees Celsius (98 degrees Fahrenheit), which in turn keeps you warm and helps to prevent hypothermia.

Wetsuits are available in a range of silhouettes and styles. Full coverage ones offer protection of the limbs, reaching to your ankles and wrists. ‘Shorty’ wetsuits cover the torso and typically have shorter sleeves and legs.

The type of wetsuit that is recommended is based in part on the temperature that you anticipate plunging into. The ‘shorty’ cut is ideal for activities in warmer waters (such as warm surf beaches), while added coverage and an increased thickness of neoprene is desirable for colder conditions.

Benefits of a Wetsuit

No matter the style you choose as most suitable for your intended activities, the benefits of a wetsuit go beyond temperature regulation. Let’s dive into a few examples of ways that a wetsuit can make your next open water adventure more enjoyable and safer!

Neoprene is naturally buoyant, and this added level of flotation in the water translates to less resistance. Moving through the water will feel slightly easier since effort is not being wasted on levelling out your body position. This is particularly important for triathletes or open water swimmers who are focused on speed and endurance.

The layer of coverage that these suits offer also helps to protect the body from the various forms of sea life that you might encounter underwater. The wetsuit acts as a shield against potential threats such as jelly fish stings and prevents cuts and scrapes against rocky reefs or shallow land.

Wetsuits require a tight seal to allow the trapped water to warm up against your body. As such, they have a compressive fit that serves to keep your muscles and joints activated, helping you to perform better and for longer durations.

Most neoprene used in the construction of a wetsuit is given a layer of coating on the external surface. This helps to increase your glide through the water, increasing speed.

Lastly, since open water activities often require you to be out under the sun for long periods of time, UV protection is built into many wetsuits to protect your skin from sun damage.

When & Where to Use a Wetsuit

Given the range of benefits that a wetsuit offers, it’s no wonder that it’s used across so many water sports. In fact, newer models such as arena’s Explorer use a varying distribution of neoprene thickness. This allows for the core to be ideally supported, while leaving the arms and legs the freedom of motion to bend, pull, and move in whichever way you choose to play!

Test out this flexibility in the sea with activities such as swimming, surfing, snorkelling, scuba diving, free diving, or stand-up paddle boarding. Or opt to take the Explorer’s waterproof and durable construction out on a river or lake to partake in sports like kayaking, wind/kite surfing, canoeing, rafting, and swimming.

With a multitude of water sports to choose from, we’ve got your gear covered so that you can focus on making some waves!


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