Miserable day today but the water is actually still quite toasty. Almost too warm but then I find the air too chilly to still get away with a rash vest. A springy might be still appropriate. I just wear my worn out 3’2’ steamers for now. Having said that, it’s only a matter of time until the water temperature will drop, add a bit of wind chill and you’ll be looking for a proper steamer if you have not already.
Now buying a wetsuit is a pain in the butt. If you’ve never bought one before you may think it’s fun. Shopping in general is, but not wetsuit shopping. I remember trying five to six different rubbers before I found a brand and size that actually fit me. You have to squeeze yourself into the tight rubber thing in a even tighter change room, then you usually have some male sales peeps who are checking you out thoroughly to make sure the wetsuit really fits tight everywhere – in particular across your boobs and bum – and adjust it where necessary. Then you have to get out of the wetsuit again. You would be surprised how hard it can be to get out of a dry wetsuit. Well, kind of dry. Usually, you sweat like hell which might help a bit to slide out of the suit before you hand the damp rubber back over to your lovely sales assistant and start the whole process with another wetsuit. Not my idea of fun.
Good news once you know which size (and yes, that can be different from your normal dress size) and which brand fits you, you have a clearer target next time i.e. might get away with even only trying one or two.
To make your wetsuit shopping experience a bit easier from the start, I’ve put a bit of questionnaire out to some surfing ladies to see what wetsuit works for which body shape. Ok, it may not be statistically valid due to the rather small sample size but it definitely gives you a bit of guidance.
The best fitting wetsuit brands:
Funny enough O’Neill and Ripcurl were also considered the worst fitting wetsuit brands alongside Billabong. This only supports my different body shapes wetsuit theory.
O’Neill wetsuits seem to be good for athletic type girls i.e. with not necessarily massive boobs but a biggish bust due to boobs or broad shoulders. Could be the way to go if you have big guns from surfing. O’Neill was also the most popular amongst average size ladies when it comes to height. O’Neill has also a tall version for the long legged and long armed amongst the ladies.
Ripcurl suits seem to appeal to the more petite women amongst the gidgets. So if you are pretty fit and consider yourself average but a bit on the smaller side of the average spectrum, you might want to try a Ripcurl suit first rather than O’Neill. O’Neill suits did not fare well at all with the small peeps.
Billabong might be the go for you if your boobies are on the smaller side and your bum is one of the voluptuous sorts or you have broader hips. One of the pocket rockets did swear by the Billabong suit as it was not too long on the legs unlike other suits she had tried.
Roxy seems to give a bit more in the chest area and was popular amongst the pocket rockets with bigger boobs. Roxy was also the wetsuit of choice for taller than average women.
I hope that gives you a good starting point in your quest to find the perfect wetsuit. You’ll still have to try them before you buy. If you decide to buy one online, still venture to a shop to try them beforehand. It’s super important that a wetsuit fits you well. The better it fits, the warmer it will keep you. There is nothing worse than an ill fitting wetsuit with water coming in left right and center, making you look like Michelin man. It’s also not very nice if you can’t move comfy in your new wetsuit and you get a rash under your arms.
So when trying wetsuits, don’t buy unless they fit tightly:
- Watch out for creases and folds – usually means a rash or too much water.
- Try air paddling – make sure it’s not uncomfortable under the shoulders
- Make sure you’ve pulled it up properly everywhere.
- Another tell-tale sign that it does not fit is if you have an air pocket in between your lower back and the suit. You can try to get the air out by crouching and stretching forward. Sometimes it sucks to your back but if it does not, forget it.
- Also, if you are not sure between two sizes, take the smaller one. The suits tend to get bigger after a while.
And one of my absolute pet hates…don’t let anyone talk you into a guy’s wetsuit. Some surf shops are not as well stocked when it comes to girl’s steamers. When they run out of girl’s options, they sometimes try to flog man suits to women. I would not even bother trying it they will never fit as well as a girl specific one. I wonder if they sometimes try to sell women suits to guys too….
Good luck with the hunt for a perfect wetsuit. I just got new one today….first try…
PS thanks to all the gidgets who participated in the survey.