What different diving suits and wetsuits are there?

Diver guide
What different diving suits and wetsuits are there? -
Lady in a Waterproof W50 5mm Wetsuit

Wetsuits are an indispensable part of water sports

The material properties of wetsuits make them ideal for use in water sports. Made from a special rubber mixture, foamed and mixed with various additives to make it more durable and elastic, wetsuits are absolutely resistant to salt water or chlorine. Diving suits, surfing suits, swimming suits and wetsuits for water sports in general are therefore made from neoprene and have different designs and features depending on the intended use.

Neoprene Shortys

Short wetsuits for snorkelling, surfing, swimming and other water sports

The Shorty is a classic in water sports suits, as it is suitable for almost any type of water sport in warmer waters. A Shorty provides minimal thermal protection and allows for a great range of motion, making it very popular as a surfing suit, swimming suit, for rowing, SUP, and any type of water sport.

The upper body area is optimally protected against wind and sun exposure with a shorty – but not so optimal is the injury protection, one of the reasons why a shorty is not as popularly worn as a wetsuit. Another reason is the often inadequate cold protection, as it can get quite chilly while diving, even in tropical waters, and a shorty with only 2 or 3mm neoprene on the upper body does not provide enough thermal protection for a diver.

Neoprene Wetsuit 3mm

Thin diving suit for tropical waters and lightweight water sports suit

In the 3mm Wetsuit category, you will also find many wetsuits that offer only 2.5mm neoprene, therefore this wetsuit category, depending on the model, is classified in thermal class C or D, definitely suitable only as a wetsuit for warm waters.

A 3mm wetsuit protects the entire body from injuries caused by abrasions on the reef or stings from marine life, and provides sufficient thermal protection to be taken seriously as a wetsuit.

Being very lightweight and elastic and not seriously restricting freedom of movement, a 3mm wetsuit is definitely popular in many water sports, for surfing, swimming, triathlon, or SUP.

3mm Neoprene Wetsuit

Classic diving suit, the most popular all-rounder among divers

“Which wetsuit should I buy first?” - This is the question every novice diver asks when looking to buy their first wetsuit. If you're looking for a suit that won't make you feel overdressed or underdressed while diving in warm waters on holiday or in German lakes in the summer, then the 5mm wetsuit is the right choice! You won't sweat in the water while diving, so the 5mm wetsuit is not too thick even for tropical regions – it may get warm outside the water, so you should be mindful of perfect timing when putting it on (don't put it on too early before the dive to avoid waiting in the sun for too long), but you can dive comfortably with the 5mm suit even in water temperatures close to 30°C. In the Mediterranean or in local lakes, you can also dive comfortably in the summer with the 5mm wetsuit, and if it gets chilly, you can wear a hooded vest over it for added warmth, creating a nice, warm wetsuit combination that will allow you to dive well into autumn.

7mm Neoprene Wetsuit

The warm, thick wetsuit for cold dives

When the 5mm wetsuit is no longer warm enough, even with a hooded vest, the thick 7mm wetsuit comes into play. Classified into thermal class A or B, depending on the model, the 7mm suit is designed for cold waters and is usually equipped with warm lining and tight, double cuffs.

Semidry Diving Suit

Diving suit with double cuffs for better thermical insulation underwater

If you want to add an extra layer of cold protection and choose the wetsuit that offers the best thermal insulation in the respective neoprene thickness, you should opt for a semidry wetsuit. What exactly a semidry wetsuit is is explained in detail in our guide in a special section. It is a suit that, with very tight or double cuffs on the arms and legs, still allows water into the suit but prevents rapid water flow. This means that the water inside the suit warms up and stays inside without draining out, keeping your body heat from being carried away and the wetsuit retains warmth much better than wet wetsuits of the same material thickness and is definitely one of the warmer wetsuits in its thermal class.

Drysuits

The diving suit for ice diving, deep diving and industrial divers

We also have a special section dedicated to this topic in our guide, as the drysuit is definitely in a class of its own. These suits are designed to prevent water from entering as they are equipped with very tight-fitting cuffs. These suits, also known as "drysuits" or "drys," are intended for very cold dives such as ice diving, deep diving, or for professional divers, and they provide high thermal insulation because you can wear thick, warm undergarments underneath the suit that do not get wet and keep your body warm even in icy water.

Using a drysuit requires special equipment and also specialized training.

Neoprene swimming suits and triathlon suits

Neoprene overalls, neoprene shirts and neoprene shorty for many water sports

For triathlon or swimming, one often needs tight-fitting and very thin wetsuits like the 1mm Definition 1, which is exclusively intended for water sports and not as a diving suit. Such suits are also popular among surfers, as they provide maximum freedom of movement, are lightweight, and protect the entire body against sun, wind, and injuries.

Alternatively, you can simply use a neoprene shirt with long sleeves or a neoprene top with short sleeves to protect only the upper body, or neoprene shorts, which are also very suitable for all water sports and even as neoprene swimming trunks.

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