Surfers often wear wetsuits, as they keep them warm in the more frigid waters of winter. They also protect the body from abrasive sand or rocks when you wipeout on an onshore break. Surfers often wear them year-round, or at least until summer comes around again.
Read on to find out more about the benefits of wearing a wetsuit while surfing.
What Is a Wetsuit?
A wetsuit is a garment worn by surfers and other water sports enthusiasts when they’re in the water. They are usually made from neoprene, which gives them a black color. Neoprene is a synthetic rubber that’s lightweight and flexible, with great insulation to keep you warm in cold waters.
They’re also designed to protect surfers from abrasions as they ride the waves.
The Benefits of Wearing a Wetsuit While Surfing
These garments are designed to protect you from the elements while you’re out on the water. Whether you surf primarily in winter or year-round, these are some of the top reasons you might consider wearing a wetsuit while surfing.
To Keep You Warm
Staying warm is the number one reason surfers wear wetsuits. Otherwise, most would prefer to surf without one.
They are made from neoprene, which is a type of rubber that has exceptional insulating properties. Compared to other materials used for wetsuits, neoprene is incredibly lightweight and flexible.
Neoprene’s ability to trap the air between your body and the suit means it keeps you warm even when you’re in frigid water.
If you’ve never surfed before, you’ll quickly realize how unforgiving cold water can be. It zaps your energy and can even cause hypothermia if you’re not prepared. If you spend a lot of time surfing year-round, getting used to the cold will help you work up an appetite for those hot summer days.
You should also know that wetsuits come in different thicknesses, from 2 to 7 mm (0.08 to 0.28 in) or more. The thicker your neoprene garment, the better it insulates you from cold water.
For Protection Against Abrasions
Surfers might spend a lot of time paddling out into the lineup, waiting for that perfect wave. If you’re trying to get to a specific spot on the beach or in the water, you might have to navigate through some rocks and other sharp objects.
In these situations, it’s crucial to wear a wetsuit, so you don’t get any cuts from abrasions on your skin. If you wipe out hard while surfing, a neoprene wetsuit will do more than just keep you warm.
Many surfers also swear by the pain-relieving qualities of a wetsuit. Even though it’s a tight, insulating garment, neoprene doesn’t fit too tightly against the skin.
In fact, some surfers claim that wearing a wetsuit relieves pain from sore muscles and joints. This is because it’s a compression garment that supports the muscles and joints without being too constricting.
Protection Against UV Rays
Surfers spend a lot of time in the sun. Even when the water is cold, you’re likely to be out for hours and hours at a time riding waves and waiting for that perfect wave. As you can imagine, spending hours in the sun without proper protection can have serious consequences.
You can get a nasty sunburn or even skin cancer if you’re not careful.
Wearing a wetsuit means that you don’t have to worry about getting burned while surfing. The black suit absorbs most of the UV rays before they can reach your skin.
An added benefit of a black wetsuit is its efficiency at absorbing heat, thus providing you with even more warmth.
Comfortable and Flexible
Wetsuits are designed to be quite flexible, making them comfortable for surfers of all shapes and sizes. A good wetsuit won’t restrict your movements as you try to catch that perfect wave.
You can even spend hours out on the water without feeling overly fatigued.
On top of being flexible, wetsuits are made from lightweight materials. Compared to other types of protection like heavy wet suits or drysuits, neoprene wetsuits are incredibly easy to wear for long periods.
Protecting You From Board Rash
If you spend a lot of time surfing, you’ll quickly develop bruises and cuts from the board. You might not feel it at first, but these minor injuries can become quite painful over time.
If you wear a wetsuit, it’ll act as padding, protecting your skin from the hard surfboard. When considering that boards are made of fiberglass or polyurethane, it’s clear that a wetsuit provides significant protection.
Surfing is a water sport that requires the use of buoyancy aids. A wetsuit provides many surfers with increased buoyancy, making it easier to paddle and stay on top of the board.
This is because neoprene rubber foam contains numerous nitrogen air bubbles, which are lighter than water. The foam expands with air, filling the gaps between your body and the suit to help you float even easier on the surface of the sea.
Buoyancy aids are essential for surfers of all abilities because they prevent drowning in case someone gets knocked off their board. This frequently happens due to collisions or wipeouts, so wearing a wetsuit that’s comfortable and buoyant is always a good idea.
Can You Surf Without a Wetsuit?
You can surf without a wetsuit, as experienced surfers often choose not to wear a wetsuit. However, the water temperatures will need to be at least 55°F (12.78°C). Surfers without a wetsuit can also paddle faster because they won’t have unnecessary material weighing them down.
Nonetheless, if you plan to spend an entire day surfing, it’s best to wear a wetsuit for added safety and support.
While surfing is a relatively low-impact sport, it still has its dangers. It’s essential to wear the proper safety gear to prevent cuts and bruises, especially for beginners or anyone who isn’t comfortable with their skills yet.
A wetsuit not only offers warmth and protection from UV rays but also provides buoyancy aid. Combined with your board, you can spend hours in the water without experiencing discomfort.
We hope that this article has provided you with the information necessary to make an informed decision about wetsuits. For more information regarding surf wear and protection, check out our other articles.