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Are you setting off for your very first scuba dive? You likely have a lot of questions regarding dive gear. The first thing you’ll need to get comfortable in the water is your wet suit. With endless wetsuits to choose from, how will you know which one is best? We have scoured the internet to provide you with these answers and more before you slip into your first suit.
A surfing wetsuit cannot be used for scuba diving. Wetsuits are specifically designed for their sport, using materials that influence the suit’s thickness and durability. You should, instead, choose a wetsuit created just for scuba diving.
There are various suits to choose from in the diving world. Keep reading as we discuss the difference between surf and dive wetsuits, the specifics of diving suits, and reveal which suit is the best for your diving adventure.
Are Diving And Surfing Wetsuits The Same?
You could be diving in the warm Caribbean on a reef or going to maximum depths out in the blue open water. In all diving scenarios, you will require a wetsuit. A diving wetsuit is designed to protect and warm you. This barrier between you and the water also protects marine and aquatic life around you.
There are a few differences between a wetsuit made for diving and one made for surfing, including:
Let’s take a closer look at each of these considerations.
Scuba diving and surfing are very different sports. While diving, you are completely submerged in water and make little movement to conserve energy and protect aquatic life around you. If you are surfing, you will be active while constantly going up and down and paddling on your board. These differences make you more prone to cold temperatures when scuba diving.
Your scuba specific suit will be thicker and warmer to protect you from the cold, while a surf suit is thin and not made for warmth. The thickness of your wetsuit will directly impact your temperature regulation.
While diving, you will be subjected to pressure changes often. A diving wetsuit is specifically made to compress under pressure. Neoprene is the material used for diving specific suits. This material is sturdy and less flexible than a suit made for surfing. The material’s stiffness is no concern for a diver because you make small, slow movements during a dive. The high activity of surfing requires a suit that allows for more movement and protection from wind.
You have a wide array of equipment on top of your wet suit as a diver. Your suit will have constant wear and tear from the rubbing of this equipment. Diving wetsuits will have higher durability throughout the entire suit versus a surfing suit with extra padding on the areas touching the surfboard. Your suit’s durability will hold importance, especially if you are doing multiple dives a day or diving in cooler temperatures.
What Thickness Of Wet Suit Do You Need For Diving?
Which thickness of wetsuit to choose for your dive will rely heavily on the temperature of the water you are diving in and your tolerance to the cold. Please refer to these guidelines to decide the ideal thickness of your suit:
- Water temperature >77 F, suit thickness of 1/8″ (3 mm)
- Water temperature 70-77 F, suit thickness of 3/16″ (4 mm)
- Water temperature 59-68 F, suit thickness 1/4″ (6 mm)
A diving wetsuit keeps you warm by allowing a thin layer of water to pass through the suit that is heated by the body. Making the process of losing heat slower. The thickness of the suit affects this process because it correlates with the amount of insulation you have. These guidelines are specifically for wetsuits. If you are heading off into the water with a temperature lower than 59F, you should start inquiring about semi-dry or dry suits rather than a wetsuit.
Can You Sink In A Wet Suit?
Wearing a wetsuit does provide some degree of buoyancy but not enough to keep you afloat on its own. While a wetsuit can help you with floating, you can still sink while wearing one.
If you place a wetsuit in water by itself, it will float. Everyone’s body is different; when wearing a wet suit your body will change the suit’s disposition, adding a factor to its buoyancy.
How Many Dives Does A Wet Suit Last?
The longevity of your wetsuit will depend on many factors, such as:
- Quality of the suit
- Diving conditions
- Overall care of your suit
A high-quality suit will hold up longer than one of less quality. Ensuring you wash your suit in fresh water after a day of diving will help avoid any damage from saltwater or bacteria.
It is hard to say the number of dives your wet suit will last. Taking these different variables into consideration, your wetsuit should last you 4-6 years of diving adventures.
What Is The Best Wetsuit For Scuba Diving?
Your wetsuit will provide comfort, insulation, and warmth. Matching up the thickness of the wetsuit to the water temperature you will be diving in is crucial. Which diving wetsuit will be the perfect one for you? Let’s take a look at some best-rated suits.
Aqua Lung HydroFlex
This is an eco-friendly suit designed for warm water diving. The Aqua Lung hydroFlex suit is made with a 3-mm thickness of non-petroleum neoprene, making it a smooth and sturdy suit. An adjustable neck is one of the many benefits of this suit. This brand comes in styles for men and women.
Fourth Element Xenos
This suit is 5-mm thick, with a smooth lining covering the arms and legs. Having quick-dry capabilities and ease getting on and off, this suit is ideal for days with multiple dives. The Fourth Element Xenos suit will keep you warm with its extra thermal layers with little to no friction.
If you are looking for maximum comfort and flexibility, this wetsuit is for you. This suit’s fit is based around an ergonomic design, paying extra attention to the shoulders and neck. This suit is available with a material thickness of 3-, 5-, and 7-mm.
You’ll want to keep in mind the number of dives you plan to do in a day, the conditions of the environment, and your expectations of comfort when choosing your wetsuit. A high-quality diving wetsuit will be worth the investment. PADI or the Professional Association of Diving Instructors list what they deem the best wetsuit for diving here.
Surfing wetsuits cannot be used for diving. Luckily, there are a plethora of diving suits to fit each of your needs. Picking out the right suit will last you years of your diving career, creating comfort with every plunge. We hope you found this article helpful. Happy diving!
Do you plan to hike to your diving destination? Check out “How To Hike Without Getting Tired.”