Knowing how to size a wetsuit isn't that difficult once you know what to look for. It is important though to get the right fit so you aren't wasting your money and getting cold in the water anyway. For the nail biters among us who worry about buying the right size, initially renting a wetsuit might be a good plan to get an idea of how the suit feels dry versus in the water. Here is how to size a wetsuit for surfing or scuba diving:
- Try it on. Yes, this is the all important first step. Not as easy as putting on a party dress but it can be done, even by yourself. Make sure to put it on correctly with no twists or unnecessary gaps in all the wrong places.
- Use the manufacturer's size charts. Don't assume that just because a wetsuit seems too small that the next size up is the right answer. If you are tall and thin then you may need a tall, small size.
- Check arm and leg lengths. To size a wetsuit correctly, it should be long enough to go all the way down your arms and legs. If you will be scuba diving you will have booties and do not want a gap to let cold water in.
- Go for a snug fit. The wetsuit should be tight enough that it won't let a lot of cold water in. Important places to look for gaps are in the wrists and ankles. These should definitely be snug fitting and stay close to your body. The only gap should be a small one in the curve of your lower back. Look for areas like behind your knees, your upper back, armpits and crotch for excess space or neoprene.
- Move around and see how it feels. Test out how the wetsuit is fitting on every part of your body by bending, twisting and raising your arms.
When you size a wetsuit, it should be taut and slightly restrictive, but not too much that it causes breathing difficulties or prevents mobility. Your wetsuit will loosen up and give you more freedom of movement once you are in the water. The key is to give yourself a comfortable fit and steady temperature in the water.