Your wetsuit is like a second skin. If it doesn't fit right - you're going to feel terrible. Its going to just hamper all your diving trips and isn't worth it even if its cheap.
Your wetsuit should cling to your entire body. If its loose fitting - so that its looks like you have a flabby waist or a saggy bottom - don't buy it.
The problem with loose fitting wetsuits is that they'll trap air inside your suit - making it extraordinarily hard for you to descent - and they also look ugly.
When you choose your wetsuit - take your time don't allow yourself to be sucked in by a slick salesperson or a clever marketing campaign. The main thing is how it fits on YOU. Buying that wetsuit isn't going to turn you into
Like all things - take your time - do some research - and try several (or many) different wetsuits from various manufacturers to see the fit.
Some wetsuits will use a special Lycra type of material around the joints to enable easier movement. They can be a little bit more expensive, but its worth it.
Body shapes vary. You might be tall and lanky, short and stout, average size etc.. You might have to try different variations to see the best fit. Someone who is tall and skinny might fit better into a Small size with unaltered lengths.
The specifications for wetsuits by various makers also vary. ScubaPro wetsuits are great fits for "average" size people. 140cm - 180cm. Mares and Aquano have a "Northern European" cut - good for tall lanky people; ie 180 - 220cm.
When trying on the wetsuit you think fits - bring along a friend - preferably a person with an eye for detail (usually a female). Don't go there with a "She'll be right" attitude and buy the first thing you try on. And think twice before trusting the judgment of the salesperson - some of them, esp. in Asia - don't care whether it fits you properly; they just want to sell it.
Discovering your wetsuit doesn't fit you properly and is causing buoyancy problems due to air pockets forming when you're out in the deep ocean is a miserable experience. Watch out for the torso region - if its loose there (short of eating yourself stupid and gaining an extra 20kg of fat) there isn't much you're going to do about it. A loose wetsuit will allow air bubbles to get trapped inside - making descent a ridiculously frustrating affair.
If the legs and arms (of your full length wetsuit) are too long - it can be altered. However if they have zippers or tailored ends at the end, they can't be altered- so get one that fits right.
I like ScubaPro. They make good well fitting suits and come in a good variety of sizes. I've got one and it fits me perfectly. Get their catalog - its got a lot of details on their exact sizes and lengths of their products.
My Thermal Tec Scuba Pro wet suit is a full length wetsuit which covers my ankles and my arms. This provides extra protection for your calfs and arms - esp, when you're swimming near coral (and near sea urchins, stone fishes, lion fishes etc..) or climbing up rocks, rough wooden boats etc.. Its also 5mm in the chest area and 3mm+ on the rest of the other areas, to provide extra warmth - which may prove useful if you have to spend a few extra hours in the sea. It also has a special elastic Lycra type material around the joints to enable easier movement. On the downside, its harder to take off than a "shorty wetsuit". But I'd rather go for the extra protection thanks.
And remember - the Salesperson is NOT your mate - he or she is there to sell you their product. That bubbly 17 year old shop assistant or veteran dive shop owner may not have your best interest at heart. The good salespeople know their products and actually do care about customer satisfaction - let me know if you find one. They are as good as gold.
Your choice of wetsuit is also determined by where you plan to do your dives. For people who are diving in colder weather - you have to be using thicker wetsuits (or consider getting a drysuit). For those you are diving in warmer weathers - then you might be able to get by with a 3mm wetsuit. Of course it helps if you know the temperature range of your dive site - don't just assume. Some people go to Bali and dive there thinking that the waters are going to be really hot - but the currents there can turn the water temperature to 17C or 18C - which can be dangerous for your health if you're stuck in the waters for a long time. So research is your friend!
One tip: I went diving in Phuket, Thailand in 2008 and learn there are two wetsuit tailors there. According to what I heard from the dive group, which included Aussies, European expats - they will custom fit the wet suit for you and even put your own logo. I had a look at the wetsuit and it seems alright. As usual, standards can change and a recommended tailor this year may not produce good work the next. So do, ask around, check out the two shops, see their finished products - there may be more now.
Tip 2: Scubapro is apparently made in Hong Kong. And the price there is very much cheaper than in Singapore or Australia. If you happen to be there, you might like to purchase it over there.
Tip 3: My scuba experience in diving has mainly been in warm waters, 25 - 33C. (I have dived in water temps below 19C and found it very, very cold using my Scubapro wetsuit). I have never used dry suits - so my guide only applies to wetsuits. If you intend to be diving in cold waters, please do the training for dry suits and use one.
Scuba Diving Wetsuits - ScubaPro!!!
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26 May 2011
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