Saturday is the start of The Royal Life Saving Society’s (RLSS) Drowning Prevention Week. To help promote the event Tallington Lakes staff have been wearing one of the RLSS bright yellow swim hats or #TopHat during the many water sports activities available at the lakes!
If like us you enjoy your Watersports; then water temperature will play an important part! With British water temperatures ranging from below a chilly 15°C to a warm 20°C, and the body loosing 30 times more body heat in water than in air, buying a wetsuit is a necessary piece of kit. However, you must choose an appropriate wetsuit, which fits, for it to work.
Buying A Wetsuit
To help choose the correct wetsuit it essential to know what you are going to be doing in it, what time of year it will be used, how much you’re plan on using it, and finally a realistic budget. If you are looking to spend only a few hours every week, in the hottest days of summer, it’s likely you will get away with an entry-level suit. However if you plan on riding in the coldest of conditions, all year round, then a thicker more technical suit will probably be necessary.
However, either wetsuit will need to fit correctly for it to work. Basically a wetsuit is made from neoprene which is made up of thousands of tiny air bubbles; these air bubbles create an insulating barrier to keep you warm. An ill-fitting suit will be prone to flushing (keeps re- filling with cold water) because water enters the suit from the neck, sleeves or ankles. This will instantly decrease your body temperature and shorten your time in the water. Also a poor fitting wetsuit will restrict mobility and prevent you from participating in your water sport effectively.
Summer suits are typically made from a combination of 3mm and 2mm neoprene across the core and limbs, respectively, to give the best balance of warmth and flexibility. Buying a short sleeve or leg wetsuit (shorty) is a personal preference and will most likely be a decision based on activity. The wetsuit is constructed with flat-lock stitching to prevent chaffing, and various design/construction methods give the suits a different degree of stretch and conformability; such as lady specific wetsuits.
Winter suits are designed for warmth; this of course involves using a thicker cut of neoprene to trap more air. Most winter suits are constructed with 5mm panels on the torso to maintain core temperature and 3mm on the limbs for better movement. Seams in-between the neoprene are often welded using a special rubber bonding solution to prevent any water flushing; which essential when the water is sub 10°C.
What size Wetsuit Am I?
To help get the right fit we suggest you measure your height, waist, chest and weight and use the appropriate brand’s size guide; because they know what they are talking about!
Wearing A Wetsuit
This applies to anyone buying any type of wetsuit no matter what time of the year. There are a few simple rules we like to follow to make sure that you are wearing the wetsuit correctly. At the end of the day only you can tell if the wetsuit is comfortably snug, but here are some tell-tale signs of a good fit:
Kneepads: Make sure that the centre of the kneepad is position directly over the kneecap, not doing this can lead to tightness over the shoulders.
Crotch: You must work as much material you can from your legs inch by inch up to your waist so that there is not a gap in the crotch of the suit. This would hold water and cause the suit to sit too low.
Sleeves: The end of the sleeve doesn’t have to sit on the wrist! However it is important that the shoulder of the suit is located correctly over your shoulder, by working the sleeves up inch by inch.
Zip: Don’t make the ‘schoolboy error’ of putting the suit on the wrong way round. If the zip is vertical it will need to be at the back; and if the zip is horizontal near the top it will need to be at the front. You shouldn’t have to pull the zip cord too hard to do it up; but if you not a yoga master and are struggling to reach the zip – just ask someone for a helping hand.
Neck: All done up in your suit but you still feel like there is some tension pulling down on your neck? It might be that you have to work some more material up from the waist up to your shoulders. Once this is all done you should have good movement in your neck and shoulders with little restriction.
Lumbar: I you can get someone to grab the material at the base of your spine/lumbar and they can grab an inch or more the suit is likely to be too big. What will happen is that water will pool in this area and cool your body – we suggest you try the next size down.
This wetsuit guide will help you fit a suit correctly, but if unsure come in-store and try some on.
Board shorts, trunks, swim shorts, boardies, surf trunks, jammers, swim trunks; you can call them what you want but at the end of the day if its performance and comfort you crave then stretchy boardshorts are the answer!
Obviously if you are just sunbathing the only requirement of your boardshorts is they look good! However if you participating in a watersport activity such as wakeboarding, water skiing or surfing you be expecting a bit more from your boardies.
Unlike traditional board shorts made from 100% polyester, the latest boardies are typically polyester mixed with between 5-15% elastane, spandex or lycra. This allows the material to stretch and gives a greater range of movement. The amount of stretch varies and generally the more you pay the more stretch you get; so how much stretch do you get?
This allows for stretch in only one directional plane and will provide comfort and movement for those on a tighter budget. Check out the Hurley Surface boardshort.
Multi-direction stretch for a free feeling; these boardshort will move with you whatever direction you take. This is the benchmark in stretch fabrics, providing ultimate performance and comfort. Check out the Ripcurl Mirage or Hurley Phantom boardies.
6 way stretch
Don’t worry these will not contort you into positions you don’t want to be! Generally these board shorts will comprise of different panels of 2-way and 4-way stretch material. Not sure whether this better than 4-way; but generally the front panel may be 2-way while the back 4-way! Check out the Volcom V6 Pixelator shorts.
Other features may include hydrophobic coatings. Yes you are in water, so of course your shorts are going to get wet, but they don’t have to stay that way. A Hydrophobic coating on the material means that it doesn’t hold onto as much water, so once you are out of the water they dry much faster. Taped seams are more durable and provide a chafe free seam for superb long lasting comfort, such as the O’Neill Hydro Freak boardshorts.