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If you’re new to the water sports world, chances are you’ve tried wearing a wetsuit. One common question that new wetsuit wearers might ask is, “Do you get wet if you wear a wetsuit?” The short answer is yes.
In this article, we’ll provide a detailed explanation of why wetsuits get you wet. We’ll also cover the water amount the suit should trap and the common causes that make the diving outfit fill up with too much water. So, stick around!
Do You Get Wet if You Wear a Wetsuit?
Yes! As the name implies, the whole purpose of wetsuits is to get you wet. But why? Well, that’s to keep you warm. Almost all wetsuits are made of neoprene, a stretchy synthetic rubber that provides insulation.
Thanks to its flexibility, neoprene allows a thin layer of water to enter the suit, making you wet. Generally, ocean water is colder than the human body. That’s especially true as you dive deeper into the bottom since little sunlight reaches that area.
Because the body temperature is higher, heat transfers from it to the thin layer of trapped water, making it warm. Consequently, you maintain a high body temperature. However, the wetsuit magic doesn’t stop there.
Neoprene has insulation properties owing to its foam-like structure. Typically, foam rubber has tiny chambers that trap gases, particularly nitrogen gas. The former doesn’t conduct heat. As a result, your body remains warm while you dive into the cold ocean water.
How Much Water Should a Wetsuit Fill Up?
As mentioned earlier, a wetsuit fills up with water so that your body heats the liquid and keeps you warm. But how much water is too much?
Ideally, the wetsuit should feel like a second skin layer outside the water. Once you’re in the water, the diving outfit will feel a bit loose. Still, it shouldn’t trap more than a thin layer of water.
Your wetsuit shouldn’t billow or even have air bubbles. If that’s the case, seawater will flush in and out of the suit, which is a big problem. Why? For one, it’ll replace the heated water, cooling your body.
Additionally, your body won’t warm up that large volume of water, so you lose the thermal protection your wetsuit provides. Not to mention, excess water will weigh you down.
As a result, you lose buoyancy. Sure, a wetsuit won’t make you float like a life jacket; still, the added weight can impair your movement.
Even for water sports that don’t need buoyancy, like scuba diving, the excess water weight can be a problem. That’s because you need to adjust the weight you wear on your belt to achieve neutral buoyancy.
What Causes Your Wetsuit to Fill Up With Too Much Water?
Several factors can cause your wetsuit to be ineffective and let a lot of water in. Those include improper wetsuit size and maintenance. Wear and tear due to low-quality materials and seams can also cause the wetsuit to fill up with excess water.
Here’s a detailed explanation of each reason:
1. Improper Wetsuit Size
Choosing the right wetsuit size can be a pain in the neck. The problem is that your wetsuit will be useless without proper fitting, as it’ll fill up with a lot of water.
Luckily, figuring out your wetsuit size is pretty straightforward. After taking your measurements, compare them to determine the correct fit. Next, try on the suit and check for any excess material.
Wrist and ankle lengths are usually the easiest way to tell if a wetsuit is too big or small. If you see any folds near those areas, your wetsuit is a size up. Similarly, excess material near the knee cap, shoulders, and armpits all indicate the wetsuit is too big.
In contrast, your suit is a size down if it’s too short at the extremities or too tight.
That said, manufacturers can make wetsuits that fit perfectly but are extra long around the arms and legs. In that case, you simply need to trim the length a bit.
2. Poor Maintenance
Neglecting your wetsuit, such as not washing it enough, can cause it to fill up with too much water. That’s because all the salt, sweat, and sea debris can accumulate over time.
Consequently, the buildup wears the suit out and causes tears that allow water to seep in and out of the diving outfit.
All you need to do is rinse your wetsuit with fresh water after every use to maintain its quality. Additionally, soak it up in soapy water once the suit becomes smelly and stiff. However, avoid using harsh chemicals or hot water, as they damage the neoprene.
3. Low-Quality Neoprene
On average, a wetsuit can last between 4 and 10 years as long as it’s made of high-quality neoprene.
This synthetic rubber is typically made of chloroprene. The former is a compound that comes in powder form. Manufacturers then add other additives to produce neoprene. The fewer impurities those additives have, the higher the quality of the synthetic rubber.
High-quality neoprene is found in most high-end wetsuits because it’s lightweight, flexible, and durable. Of course, neoprene made of cheap materials tears easily. That results in too much water entering through the rubber holes.
Aside from neoprene’s quality, the type of seams also plays a role in how wet a wetsuit makes you.
Generally, low-end suits contain an overlock or a flatlock stitch. While the latter is better than the former, as it’s more comfortable and durable, both stitches still create numerous pinholes.
As you might have guessed, the tiny holes allow too much water to enter the wetsuit.
To overcome that problem, opt for a wetsuit with blind-stitched seams. That’s because those stitches don’t puncture the neoprene all the way through.
So, do you get wet if you wear a wetsuit?
Yes, as the entire purpose of the diving outfit is to trap water to keep you warm. However, that’s only possible as long as the wetsuit is in good condition and holds a thin layer of water. Not only is an overfilled wetsuit uncomfortable, but it’s also ineffective at warming your body.
The good news is that with the right fitting as well as proper care and maintenance, you can extend the lifespan of your wetsuit. That way, you can rest assured that the suit will keep you warm as you enjoy different water sports activities!