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How do Wetsuits Work?

 How do wetsuits work

If you plan on spending your summer in open waters, consider buying a wetsuit. Wetsuits keep you warm with the help of thermal insulation during water activities and protect your skin from the sun. This blog post explains how wetsuits work correctly, allowing you to make an informed purchase.

This blog post will provide information about wetsuits necessary for any water-related activity. Wetsuits help keep you warm when wet and provide buoyancy underwater. We'll cover the components of wetsuits, various designs and styles available on the market, and how to select which wetsuit work is the best fit for optimal performance.

What is a wetsuit?

A wetsuit is a special clothing made of foamed neoprene for thermal insulation. The neoprene or rubber, with the help of tiny air bubbles in the insulating layer of neoprene, help conduct heat from body heat into the thin layer of trapped water. It is used in many different water sports like, Surfing, Diving, Windsurfing, Kitesurfing, Swimming, Stand up paddle boarding, open water swimming and Kayaking.

Physicist Hugh Bradner from the University of Berkeley in California invented the modern wetsuit in 1952 for the military. His design inspiration to wear wetsuits came from studying how sea animals survive in cold temperatures. Also, at the same time, Jack O'Neill discovered neoprene and invented the surf wetsuit.

How do wetsuits work?

Synthetic rubber will help insulate you from cold water; water is a better conductor of heat than air so water can cool the body down faster. Even in warm weather, someone can die of hypothermia in warm water, which would not happen in the air. When you wear a wetsuit in the water, the water can seep through any unsealed areas of the suit, such as the neck, ankles, cuffs and seams. A good wetsuit with blind stitching and fluid 0r taped seams can help stop the flush of cold water from entering the wetsuit, and you will stay warm for longer. A common myth is a wetsuit needs a layer of water to work properly. But the tighter fitting a wetsuit is to your body that has is dry is warmer than a wet wetsuit.

How does a wetsuit keep you warm?

Wetsuits have bubbles of nitrogen gas which act as a thermal shield to prevent heat loss. Compared to water, nitrogen has very low thermal conductivity, which helps store the heat in the suit with a thin layer of water, the trapped layer of water between the wetsuit and your body. This feature helps you cool down more slowly. Wetsuits come in different thicknesses of neoprene; the thicker the wetsuit, the warmer you will stay for longer, and a good fit is essential in keeping you warm.

Should I buy a wetsuit or a dry suit?

Drysuits are more common for sailing and not worn for board sports.

You might want a dry suit where no water can get in if you want to go out in icy old water. These are useful for icy waters as you can wear warm thermal clothing inside your drysuit to keep the small amount of air trapped between you and the drysuit warm. The drawback to a drysuit is if you damage your drysuit, it will flood with cold water, and you will get cold very quickly. Also, the suit can become very heavy when getting out of the water.

surfing winter wetsuit

Is a dark-coloured wetsuit warmer than a bright-coloured wetsuit?

Most wetsuits are dark in colour and can therefore absorb more energy from the sun's rays. Thus neoprene additionally functions as perfect sun protection. This also creates an additional heating effect.

Wetsuit material

Neoprene is a synthetic rubber known as chloroprene rubber that is used as the thickest layer in multi-layer wetsuits. It is highly resistant to water and provides thermal insulation by trapping heat due to its foam-like structure. As a result, it creates a buoyancy effect when in the water. The outer and inner layers of the wetsuit can be covered with nylon, which provides better protection from the environment and protects neoprene from rough surfaces. A single-lined or smooth skin neoprene will provide better windchill protection but is more fragile.

wetsuit lining

Thermal Insulation

In recent years, wetsuits have evolved with different thermal lining materials; they help trap air which helps retain body heat, and others to help the water escape. The internal lining of the fabric in a wetsuit has become a very important factor in the warmth of a wetsuit, used more in high-end wetsuits for cold waters to keep your body warm for longer

To select the right wetsuit, factor in the water temperature and your intended activity. This will aid you in selecting the appropriate thickness, style, and design. Before purchasing, try it on to ensure a comfortable and proper fit.

What should I wear under a wetsuit?

To avoid discomfort caused by chafing when wearing a wetsuit, wearing something underneath a wetsuit is recommended. This could be anything from a thin rash guard to a swimsuit or just swimming trunks, swim shorts are ok, but if they are loose, they will ruck up under the wetsuit. It is always best to wear synthetic polyester or spandex, as cotton fabric will absorb and hold water. Additionally, wearing a thin layer of neoprene-based undergarments or a thermal rash vest can increase the warmth you feel in your wetsuit.

wetsuit zip

What are the different wetsuit entries, and why?

There are three main styles of wetsuit entry.

Back Zip: This is the traditional way of getting into a wetsuit. The zip runs from the base of your spine to the neck. Pro: Large opening, easy to get on. Cons: less stretch in the back panel and more water flush through the neck seal.

Chest Zip: This short zip is at the top of the wetsuit, running across your chest. This part of the wetsuit requires a little stretch. Pro: A more flexible wetsuit with less flushing. Cons: It requires a different technique when entering the suit, so some people find it harder to get into

Zipperless: This is much the same as a Chest zip wetsuit but without a zip.


What types of wetsuits are there?

There are different types of wetsuits, depending on water temperature and weather conditions, such thing:

Cold water:

Winter wetsuit 6mm Hooded full suit: Long legs, Long sleeves and integrated hood

Winter wetsuit 5mm Fullsuit/Steamer: Long legs, Long sleeves.


Moderate to Cold Spring, Autumn:

Summer wetsuit 3mm Full suit: Long sleeves, long legs.

Moderate to warm water:

Shorty Wetsuit: legs short, sleeves long

Warm water:

Lycra/Rashguards/Surf Tees, or 1.5mm-2mm neoprene top, vest or jacket

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