Tag Archives: wetsuit

Keeping Your Head, Hands and Feet Warm In Water

With the high pressure systems becoming more frequent and the air temperatures warming up it won’t be long till the water temperatures around the UK start to catch up. This can only mean one thing! It’s time to brush off the neoprene cobwebs and prepare for the season ahead. But just remember have you got all areas of your body including your head, hands and feet covered with the right gear?

Due to the lack of warmth over the winter many waters around the country will still be well below 10°C, too cold for just a wetsuit alone. Don’t risk getting cold and cutting your session short with cold hands and feet. Let us give you the knowledge to understand the need and options of different gear for your extremities.

It’s widely known that when you get cold your body’s defence is to divert all heat away from your extremities to your core and vital organs, so just relying on a thick winter wetsuit is not enough in cold water. To give you a better idea of what gloves, boots and hoods you could get it’s important to know what time of year you will be going out in, how much use they will get and your budget.

Hoods & Beanies

Recent research has shown that heat loss through your head of around 45% is a myth and is actually around 10%, never the less it’s extremely important to cover your head in cold water. Despite this myth and lower figure, surfers still regularly wear a hood due to the increased chance of being submerged or covered by a crashing wave. This rapid change in head temperature can lead to brain freeze which no rider wants.

Full Neoprene Hood

Full wetsuit hoods vary in thickness from 2-3mm to provide a perfect balance of warmth and flexibility suited to any condition you may throw yourself into. Most hoods come with a peak this provides two functions; gives extra protection against the crashing waves/spray and gives added protection against the bright sun on those rare days.

O'Neill 3mm Cold Water Wetsuit Hood
O’Neill 3mm Cold Water Wetsuit Hood

Many people ask the question to tuck or not to tuck your hood? The real answer is whatever you feel comfortable with, try both ways and you will soon find out which is best for you and your style of riding.

Neoprene Beanie

When a full hood is over kill a wetsuit beanie could be an excellent alternative, suited to lower impact sports and warmer conditions. The possibility of losing your beanie out in the surf is high so many beanies now come with an attachment strap as standard giving you the confidence to take on some huge waves.

Beanies are generally thinner than full face hoods around 2mm due to being used in warmer water, as a result they have increased comfort and flexibility. For that perfect beanie visit (Link to wetsuit)


Whether you’re planning on spending hours in the water or having fun on the beach being equipped with the right feet protection is important. As a general rule of thumb if you’re wearing a full wetsuit a neoprene boot is best whereas if you’re walking around the beach visiting rock pools a neoprene reef shoe will be best.

Reef shoes are thinner at around 2mm but have a thicker sole perfect for walking across sharp rocks whilst keeping cool at the same time. For extra protection against the cold a full boot 3-5mm thick would be used in conjunction with your wetsuit providing a perfect seal against any water seeping through.

O'Neill Heat 5mm Round Toe Wetsuit Boots
O’Neill Heat 5mm Round Toe Wetsuit Boots

Split or round toe design? Is a frequent question asked by many water sport enthusiasts. The advantage of spilt toe design ensures your feet stay planted in your boot and reduce slipping which could affect your ability to surf. Whereas round toe designs are generally more comfortable and give extra warmth as all your toes are together.

You wouldn’t get the wrong size shoe and wetsuit boots are no different. Too small they rub and feel uncomfortable whereas too big can cause the boot to fill with water.


Head, check. Feet, check. Next is picking the perfect wetsuit glove which can be a daunting prospect with the numerous variations and styles out there! With an item such as gloves facing a lot of punishment, being either single or double skinned is an important aspect. Single skin gloves are generally smoother and repel water more efficiently but less durable whereas double skinned are much more durable and slightly stiffer due to the increased thickness a favourite for many people.

O'Neill 3mm Psycho Single Lined Wetsuit Gloves
O’Neill 3mm Psycho Single Lined Wetsuit Gloves

Another factor to consider is the neoprene thickness, this can vary from 1-5mm the thicker the glove the more warmth it provides but gives less feedback to the user, so finding that perfect balance is key. The Psycho Double Lined (DL) is the thinnest fully sealed glove on the market at just 1.5mm, perfect for most UK waters.

Having a glove that is too small can cause poor circulation and cold hands whereas gloves being too big won’t retain the heat so it’s important you follow our size guide link to help choose the right size for you.

Neoprene Maintenance & Care

As with any neoprene product it is important to clean and store them correctly. To ensure your boots, gloves and hoods stay mould free and last for years rinsing after use in salt water and thoroughly drying is a must! And finally store them in a dry environment out of direct sunlight.

This guide should help you pick all the right gear but if you’re still unsure why not pop into store or give us a call and speak to one of our experienced staff.

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What To Wear Open Water Swimming?

Wetsuits youʼve got to love them! They are an essential piece of kit to wear for open water swimmers and at certain temperatures are mandatory in some open water swims and all triathlons.

So how do we choose a wetsuit and what should it fit like?

Firstly, price is not a good guide alone. Expensive high end suits are almost always designed for the elite end of the sport and will reflect this in terms of buoyancy. Most open water swimmers and especially the majority of triathletes do not kick enough or even at all (you know who you are). Buying a high end suit with little floatation in the legs will not help you swim faster. Check your swim ability and your position in the water and research the suits designed for your swim type. Manufacturers make a range of suits so pick the one that is most closely designed for your swim ability.

Once you have made your choice you need to get the right fit. It should be very snug (even uncomfortable) out of the water. No saggy bits and make sure the suit comes up into the crotch area and the armpits. The small of the back should fit well and when zipped up check for fit by getting someone to pull gently, it should be a suction fit with no gap.

Check out the short video, it shows how to put a wetsuit on.

Fold in half first and concentrate on the legs, slowly ease yourself in and ease the material into the key areas before zipping up.
Check for a good seal around the neck and arms. If the suit is too lose water will flush through and make swimming harder and colder.

Use some lube to avoid chaffing or come up with a good excuse for the ʻlove bitesʼ that your suit will provide if you forget. The best advice is to try before you buy if possible. And remember the zip goes at the back!

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Buying A Wetsuit Guide

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 Wetsuits

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.

lady surfer in summer wetsuit walking on the beach
Ladies summer wetsuit © O’Neill

Winter 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.

surfer sat in the sea
Winter wetsuit © O’Neill

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.

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