Hello freedivers :)
I recently had a few questions regarding wetsuits for freediving so I thought I would do a blog post to share a couple of my opinions and thoughts and also to direct you to a very useful guide to choosing your first freediving wetsuit.
Here are 5 useful tips about freediving wetsuits that you might not know or have considered:
- A specific freediving wetsuit will be WAY better than what you used before: If you are just used to a zipped and lined scuba or surfing wetsuit a proper fitting, two-piece freediving wetsuit with integrated hood and open cell neoprene will be a revelation and you will wonder how you ever managed without.
- Consider custom made: It always sounds very extravagant and expensive, but if you do not fit into the normal size spectrum of S, M ,L, XL etc, it's really worth getting a customised fitting wetsuit, and it's not much more expensive (though usually with a bit of a wait time while it is made to your specifications). Better to get it right first time.
- Don't get too hung up on the types of neoprene: It can be confusing hearing about all the possible options available, but go back to point one.... Even the 'basic' neoprene will beat what you used before. Also, more expensive doesn't mean better for what YOU want and need. For example, the most expensive neoprene will be super stretchy but as a consequence also super fragile. I've see people tear and ruin a wetsuit like this, putting it on the first time.
- Think about where you will use it: Will you be diving in the tropics or in the arctic circle? You will not get one thickness wetsuit for all occasions so don't bother trying. Again, back to point one. A freediving wetsuit will be way better (and warmer) than what you have used before. As a general guide for me: 15-22c = 5mm thickness, 23-28c = 3mm thickness. Also it's easier to cool down in the water than warm up.
- Maybe it doesn't have to be black: Again, sometimes the choices can be endless. Choose thickness and neoprene type/lining first then ask about colour! Silver, red, blue, green and even orange (yes I've seen it), might all be a possibility. Or even stitching or logos in different colours might be an available option. Obviously not the most important thing, but can make you stand out from the crowd a little :)
I hope this was helpful, let me know your thoughts on the topic!