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How to choose a wetsuit for ocean swimming

If you’re anything like me, the thought of running into a chilly ocean to swim in just your cozzies is about as entertaining as running naked down a ski slope in a blizzard.

At this time of the year, the water temperature never quite matches the warm sunny weather we experience so it can come as a bit of a shock when you hit the beach for a leisurely swim.

I’ve had a lot of enquiries lately from swimmers looking for advice on buying the right wetsuit, so I thought I’d share my hot tips with everyone (+ offer you an amazing discount on your next wetsuit purchase – see below!).

Wetsuits that are fit for purpose

Not all wetsuits are designed and made the same. There are wetsuits made especially for open water swimming, just like there are wetsuits for surfing, diving, sailing etc.

Watch this video lesson to learn the difference.

Full wetsuit or a top?

A full wetsuit will keep you warmest, so if you’re swimming in cooler climates more often or you really feel the cold then that’s the way to go.

I wear Zone3 wetsuits, the beginner-level Advance for training and the Vanquish for race day.

If you’re looking for something just to keep the chill off, then you can’t go past a wetsuit top. You can get tops with long sleeves, short sleeves or singlet and they are fantastic for all-round ocean swimming.

I wear a De Soto T1 long sleeve wetsuit top and it’s easily one of my 3 essential ocean swimming accessories! To complement the top, there are also wetsuit shorts, long bottoms and vests available in this range – quite the combo.

The right fit

Getting the right fit is really important; too loose and the water will flow through your wetsuit and create extra drag, too tight and it’ll feel suffocating.

The key here is to try before you buy. Head into a store and try on a whole heap of different wetsuits with a knowledgeable staff member who can help you choose the right wetsuit for your body shape and swimming needs (within a budget of course!).

Ease into it

Choose a calm day at the beach or head to the pool to try your wetsuit for the first time. Get used to the tight fit, the increased buoyancy and the warmer core temps as you swim.

Related links

Video: Choosing a wetsuit

Wetsuits: To wear or not to wear

What to look for in an open water swimming wetsuit

Video: Changing into a wetsuit

Andre Slade

Andre is the owner of OceanFit with over 20 years in the swimming education, lifeguarding and coastal safety industry.

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