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Buying Your First Wetsuit

By Paolina Allan


What's the best wetsuit is often a question asked by a triathlete. The best wetsuit is the one that FITS YOU THE BEST. It may not be what the professional priathletes are wearing or the fancy advertised one you see on social media.

If you are going to be taking part in triathlon or open water swimming depending on where you live, purchasing a wetsuit will be an investment you will want to make at some point. Do make sure the wetsuit you choose is specific to triathlon, as there are many suits on the market and not all are suitable for triathlon.

Here are a few key pointers to trying on and making your first purchase:

1. The Zipper always goes up the back. I somehow missed this instruction when I first tried one on.

2. It will take roughly 10 minutes to put on a wetsuit properly. Ideally, you want to be wearing your race kit underneath to get a feel of what the suit will feel like against your skin.

3. Do not pull suit up with your nails as this can easily rip in to the neoprene, use your fingertip pads...or if gloves available use gloves to put on.

4. Once you have the suit on and zipped, hinge over from your hips. Now look up at the tops of your thighs and stomach. If you see rolls of neoprene, start rolling, shifting the fabric up to your neck. You may have to do this several times. This will make the fit feel so much better.

5. Make sure there are no wrinkles behind your knees or on the sleeves, if so, keep shifting and adjusting the suit.

6. You should feel like you have a wedgie with a wetsuit on when you are just standing on the spot.

7. Extended your arms up over your head into streamline swim position. At the armpits the neoprene should be touching your skin at the armpit. If not, pull the sleeves further up your arms and around your shoulders. Your shoulders should never feel restricted.

8. You may feel a little restricted at first when you have the suit on - yes, they are tight! The suit should feel like a second skin. Once you are in the water, a little bit of water will enter through the suit - this will act as an insulator and keep you a little warmer in cold open water swims.

9. Wetsuit for triathlons are not dry suits. I learned this the hard way.

Happy Shopping.