The watersports world has always been alive with technology, a fierce battle between manufacturers to always provide all of the best and latest gadgets to make their product the best performing on the market. This technological warfare is easiest to see in the wetsuit market. For sure hardware such as boards or sails or kites are all very keenly contested, but right now the wetsuit manufacturing and designing is simply on another competitive level.
Different materials and processes, designs and ideas split up the brands and each of them seems to have their own unique approach to giving us what’s best. This is AWESOME news for us as customers as it means that we get to choose from a massive range of simply awesome wetsuits!
Some of the biggest and most obvious changes in the general design of wetsuits has been the introduction of the chest zip, advances in the flexibility of neoprene and seam and entrance seals on the suit to stop water from entering the suit at all. The introduction of the chest zip has been a massive trend setter and many people have been completely converted into only ever wearing chest zip wetsuits. The benefits of having a chest zip suit are that it massively limits ‘flushing’, that horrible sensation when cold water rushes down the neck of a warm suit. Many also argue that the chest zip wetsuits give you more mobility, due to the awesome flexibility and stretch of all suits nowadays this is very hard to tell but if you can find a difference then why not reap the benefits?
Another area of techno-battling in wetsuit design, is the way that the seams are made. Sewing all the way through the seams on a wetsuit is great for the strength of the seams but can let water to pass through the stitching holes, meaning that you are not kept as warm. What many manufacturers are now trying are ways to stop this from happening. Gluing and blindstitching the seams appears to be one of the most popular solutions. By blindstitching the seams there isn’t a hole all the way through the material so the water doesn’t have anywhere to pass through. Manufacturers then glue over the seams to further prevent any water getting through. Other manufacturers such as wetsuit big dogs Xcel, tape their seams on the inside to stop water passing through. Preferences in the wetsuit technology can be disputed for hours but in the end it all comes down to which suit suits you best.
The result of all the new seams and seals and zips and designs is that wetsuits are stretchier, more flexible, warmer and dryer than ever before! What this allows you to do as the wearer in some cases is wear slighter thinner suits in colder temperatures or to be warm in colder and colder temperature waters. Where you may have needed a 5/3 before you could now feel as warm in a 4/3 if you get the right amount of technology.
We have an EPIC range of winter wetsuits from giants of the wetsuit world Xcel, O’Neill and O’Shea. If you fancy getting the very latest and best in wetsuit design then check out the range and make the most of the beautiful conditions offered in our British winters. See you on the water!