As in all sporting activities that take place in the water, even in the practice of steaming or surfing the heat loss of the body is an important element. Underestimating this aspect means running into problems with cold, lack of resistance, muscle stiffening, difficult digestion, etc. The risk of hypothermia is also always lurking, not only in the cold season but also due to the so-called wind chill, ie the body cooling index. The wind that blows at a certain speed increases the perception of cold in the human body: if for example, the wind blows at 17 knots and the external temperature is 4 degrees, the steamer exposed to that wind will have a perception of the external temperature. (the wind chill in fact) equal to -10 degrees.
Protect yourself from the cold and “wind chill”
Overcoming cold and bad weather during a steaming session is only possible by equipping yourself with the right equipment, that is, a warm, comfortable and seasonal neoprene steamer wetsuit. Steamers need to protect themselves from the cold but also be free to move and therefore wear elastic and light garments. Here are some suggestions for choosing the steamer wetsuit model that best steamer or surfing wetsuit for your needs.
Neoprene steamer wetsuits do not isolate the body from the water, on the contrary, they are called “wet” precisely because they remain wet, as well as consequently the skin of the body. However, this does not prevent these technical garments from being effective even in conditions of intense cold. How do they work then? In practice, the very adherent steamer wetsuit allows a thin layer of water to filter through, which is immediately heated by the body’s heat and reduces the sensation of cold. Furthermore, when sailing, the splashes of water flow away on the outer layer of the suit without penetrating inside. The only “difficult” moment is when you enter cold water for the first time and it creeps between the skin and the suit, but as soon as the body begins to heat the liquid, what you feel is pleasantly moist heat.
In addition to the classic neoprene, current steamer wetsuits are flanked by materials such as titanium that reflect body heat, increasing the perception of heat up to 40 percent more than a traditional steamer wetsuit. Under the steamer wetsuit, on the skin, it is also possible to wear an additional thermal jersey in Lycra while above there are those who wear a so-called spray top.
In addition to protecting from the cold, the steamer wetsuit softens any bumps and abrasions against the board, rocks, sand, and anemones. It also promotes buoyancy and in case of problems extends the stay in the water waiting for rescue.
Types of wetsuits
Many types of a wetsuit (steamer or surfing wetsuit) vary in both shapes (short or long sleeves and legs) and the thickness of the neoprene. A surfing wetsuit should be chosen according to the season. Generally, it would be better to have two surfing wetsuits, a short one for mid-season and a long and heavy one for the winter. The thickness of the surfing suits is indicated in millimeters. For example, 3/2, 4/3, or 5/4, etc. What do they mean? A 5/3 surfing wetsuit means it is 5mm thick on the torso, chest, and back and 3mm thick on the arms and legs to ensure good stretch. The same logic applies to the 4/3 and 3/2 surfing wetsuits which use thinner thicknesses and therefore are not as hot.
The choice of which thickness to choose therefore depends on the season in which you plan to use the steamer wetsuit, the water temperature, the wind speed, and also how much you suffer from the cold. This outline can help you better understand:
- If the water temperature is below 15C °, we recommend a full steamer suit with a thickness between 4 / 3mm and 5 / 3mm (the latter is called a steamer).
- If the water temperature is above 15 ° C, a shorty or long john steamer wetsuit with a thickness between 3 / 2mm and 4 / 3mm is recommended.
Choose the right size
The choice of size is a decisive element for the effectiveness of the surfing suit: too tight prevents movement and creates problems with blood circulation, quickly becoming real torture; too large, vice versa, allows the entry of too high a quantity of water that does not have time to heat up and generates a continuous feeling of cold. Gender differences should not be overlooked either. The surfing wetsuits now differ in male and female surfing wetsuits, that is, modeled and sewn according to the anatomical differences, evident between the body of men and women.
Back Zip vs. Front Zip
Another factor that characterizes the neoprene steamer suit is the position of the zipper. A new generation chest zip steamer wetsuit is generally more expensive than a traditional one with a back zip and is not only warmer but also softer, less irritating to the skin, and more waterproof. The Back Zip surfing wetsuits can create some difficulties in closing the back zip to which a tape is usually tied to solve the problem and in general they are less expensive.
Protect hands, feet, and head
In addition to the full neoprene steamer wetsuit, during the winter season, it is essential to have good protection for your hands, feet, and head as well. It is, in fact, these extremities that disperse body heat faster. On the head, you can wear caps or headbands in thermal fabrics such as fleece or a mix of wool and acrylic lined in breathable fabric. There are also neoprene hoods on the market which are a valid alternative.
In conclusion, the surfing wetsuit for children, women, and men must above all enjoy a high fit. We advise you to always be calm and never buy a surf wetsuit in a hustle but to go to specialized shops and online stores to try different wetsuits and feel which one is the most suitable to fulfill your needs. Pay close attention to the rubbing points and freedom of movement, which must be fluid and natural.