1. How can I keep warm out on the water whilst wind surfing?
Wind surfers need to combat heat loss through both water and wind chill. The best way in which you can stay warm out on the water is to wear a good quality wetsuit. Wetsuits are designed to trap a thin layer of water against your skin. This water is then warmed to a comfortable temperature by your body heat. A good fitting wetsuit will help to prevent flushing, which is when cold water seeps into the wetsuit flushing out the warm water and reducing thermal insulation. If you do feel the cold then you could also try using a thermal poly fleece lining or rash vest to increase heat retention on your torso area.
2. Can I wear a shorty wetsuit for wind surfing?
You can wear shorty wetsuits for wind surfing in warmer water conditions, however you will need some protection on your knees as you climb onto your board. You will also need to think about sun protection for your arms and legs with shorty wetsuits. These stop just above the knees and elbows so if you are wind surfing in tropical conditions you can get sunburn on the exposed areas. Make sure if you are wearing a shorty suit in sunny weather you apply waterproof sun cream at regular intervals. Shorty wetsuits will not be appropriate for colder conditions as they will not provide enough thermal insulation in most cases to keep you warm.
3. What wetsuit thickness do I need for summer wind surfing?
The thickness of your wetsuit will affect its thermal insulation properties. The thicker the neoprene the warmer it will be when you are out on the water. Thickness is also relative to flexibility and the thicker the material the less movement it will provide. Wind surfers need a lot of flexibility in the arms, shoulders and upper body section of the wetsuit. If you are out on the water in the summer then you can choose a thinner suit as you will not require as much thermal insulation. Most wind surfers choose 2mm wetsuits for tropical conditions and 3/2mm options for other warm conditions.
4. What does 30% super stretch neoprene mean?
Wetsuits can be made from different mixes of neoprene. Super stretch neoprene is a more expensive option but it does provide the additional flexibility and freedom of movement that wind surfers and other water sports enthusiasts need. 100% super stretch neoprene can be very expensive so manufacturers mix this with standard neoprene to combine flexibility with affordability. A 30% wetsuit has standard neoprene on the body and legs and super stretch neoprene on the shoulders, back and arm sections. This provides flexibility in the upper body area which is essential for wind surfing and also provides a more affordable wetsuit.
5. Do I need sealed seams for my wind surfing wetsuit?
Another major factor to wetsuit warmth is seam construction. If you do a lot of wind surfing in cold water conditions then you will be much better off with sealed seams. These help to keep the warm water inside your suit and prevent cold water from decreasing heat insulation. If you are wind surfing in the UK or Western Europe during the winter then the water conditions typically fall under 15 degrees centigrade. You may need to invest in a suit with sealed and taped seams which offer additional reinforcement to prevent cold water from seeping into the suit.
6. Are no-zip wetsuits suitable for wind surfing?
Zipperless wetsuits can be a bit more tricky to get into but they do provide additional flexibility and freedom of movement that can benefit wind surfers and other active water sports enthusiasts. Zippers can also be one of the key areas of wetsuits that suffer breakages so you will not have to worry about this with no-zip wetsuits.
7. How do I keep my wetsuit clean and fresh?
Chemicals and bacteria in the water can degrade the synthetic neoprene material wetsuits are made from so it is important to wash them thoroughly after every wear. This will also help to keep them clean and fresh for the next time you want to use them. You can buy proper wetsuit wash which will remove any chemicals, dirt and grime from your wetsuit before you put them away. Don’t forget to make sure they are completely dry as damp wetsuits can encourage mould and fungus growth.
8. Do I need reinforced knees in my wind surfing wetsuit?
You can use most types of sport wetsuits for wind surfing, but it will help if you choose one designed for this sport with reinforced knees. Climbing on and off your board can take its toll on your knees after a while, especially if you do a lot of wind surfing. Reinforced knees offer additional protection and help to prevent sore points from forming on your knees.
9. How can I find out how cold the water will be?
Water temperatures around coastal areas stay fairly constant throughout the year in most locations. It is important you know what the average water temperatures are before you go on a wind surfing trip so that you will know what sort of wetsuit to wear. Getting cold whilst you are out on the water will spoil your wind surfing experience so it is a good idea to check this out before you leave. As a general rule the following areas have these coastal water temperatures in the summer:
- Tropical and Mediterranean – the waters will be hot during the main summer season and at least 22 degrees centigrade and above. Lightweight wetsuits (0.5 to 2mm) and shortys will be ideal for these conditions.
- UK and North West Europe – in the summer the coastline around this area can get reasonably warm, around 17 degrees centigrade and above. 3/2mm wetsuits will be good for these conditions, although if it has been a cool summer you may need a thermal vest if you are staying in the water a long time.
10. What exactly is neoprene?
Nearly all modern wetsuits are now made from a synthetic rubber material called neoprene. This foam like material contains small bubbles of nitrogen. This has excellent thermal properties and traps heat to help keep you warmer in the water. The nitrogen gas also assists with buoyancy.