What to look for when buying a wetsuit

If you are going to compete in triathlon events regularly, you will need a wetsuit. For some of you, a wetsuit is an absolute life-saver as it literally aids your swim performance

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These suits however come at a cost. If you are new to the game, you won’t have a clue on what to look for and what brand/s to chose from. We have listed below a few check-box items which you should take into consideration when buying your 1st or even next wetsuit

PRICE RANGE

  • Most brands will offer an entry level suit/mid range and then top range suit as options
  • Each of these levels will differe in price (R3000/R5000-R6000 and R10000+)
  • The more expensive the suit, the more pliable the material and the more detail is put into the make-up of the suit
  • For the majority of triathlon swimmers who will swim a 100m in a gym pool in and around 1:45-2:00 minutes per 100m, the entry-level and mid range suits are probably good enough. If you have the money and want the very best, then buy the top range but 9/10 it will not improve your swim performance over say the mid range suit. The only thing you are guaranteed of is a dent in your bank balance
FIT
* A Wetsuit (any) in general when 1st trying on is somewhat restrictive.You will need to get used to swimming in a wetsuit, no matter which model you buy BUT some suits do feel better than others when you 1st try on. So use your own discretion and if one suit feels better than the other comfort wise, its probably best to go with that choice over say a more pliable, more expensive suit for example
* Make sure the wetsuit is easy to put on when trying on. Some triathletes battle for 20+ minutes putting on a suit. A good wetsuit should not take you longer than 2 minutes to put on.
* The wetsuit must not feel like its choking you (too tight around the neck area). For the claustophobic person, this might be an eternal issue but a comfy fitting neck area is a priority. You will suffer some nasty chaffing if the neck area is too tight and does not feel comfortable.
WEAR TESTING
* If you are able to test the suit in a pool/dam/river/sea, make sure the suit lets in a minimal amount of water. Too big and the suit will flood. Too small and you will not be able to swim in it.
* Test the neck area and make sure it does not chaff you, some suits require lube but a really good suit will ensure you dont suffer from a chaff each time you swim in the wetsuit
* Getting off the suit when wet is equally as important as getting it on quickly. You need to be able to get that suit off in a hurry as you make the change from swim-to-bike. An ill-fitting suit will sit tight around the ankles and wrists and this might waste some precious time in the transition zone
* Make sure the zipper shuts tightly and easily as well as un-zipps when taking off. Some zippers work better than others, test that out and make sure you are happy with the on-off when it comes to the zip
We tested the AROPEC FLYING FISH wetsuits recently (their top of the range that retails for R5500 including delivery)
– Very easy to get on
– the Reverse Zipper works better than most in this zipper design
– The 2mm and 3mm rubber that the suit is made from is extremely pliable which makes for a very compfy fit but perhaps not suit to the heavier triathlete over say 75-80kgs
– The neck line is higher than on some suits but for us, it worked out nicely, just check this if you happen to try on an aropec and make sure you are happy with it
– The suit felt great to swim in, the only negative being the size MED we tested, felt a little tight on the forearms. We might have needed to test a LARGE or compare the test suit to another MED sized suit in the same range. We all know (just like shoes) that some sizes (even though the same) fit better than others
– To get the suit off, was easy, We were actually a little surpised at this fact. On quickly, even faster coming off
– Overall at 5.5k for a top range suit, this is a nice buy when you consider that some suits sell for between 10 and 12k.
– There are some other players in the market around this price range so shop around and use our tips when buying that next wetsuit
Aropec sell of their website
www.aropec.co.za
Good Luck
Team TP
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