How to Put on a Wetsuit
If someone told you that you don’t know how to dress yourself, you might be insulted. When it comes to wetsuits, it just happens to be true in many cases and is not meant to be an insult, simply a statement of fact. Even many people who get custom suits labor under the mistaken idea that the suit was made wrong and does not fit properly. To understand why this happens, we need to understand the primary differences in the way the fit of our clothing varies from the fit of a wetsuit, and other differences.
Our clothing hangs on our bodies and touches at certain strategic points and makes casual contact at other ones. Shirts, blouses, and jackets hang from our neck and shoulders and usually hang away from our bodies in most other areas. Pants and skirts are drawn about our waist and often hang loose around our legs. There are a few exceptions and some people do wear tight clothing. Spandex is much like a lycra dive type skin. Those who prefer it should remember that spandex is a privilege, not a right (smile or laugh if you like, this was meant humorously).
Wetsuits differ greatly from this loose hanging concept. A properly fitting wetsuit will make contact over most of the area it covers, leaving as little space as possible between it and your skin. The lesser the space, the less there is for water to enter and carry away your body heat. Spaces where the wetsuit does not follow the contours of your body, such as along one’s back, can be filled in with options such as spine pads. Water cannot enter a space that has already been filled.
The greater thickness and tensile strength of neoprene, coupled with its much closer fit, makes it more resistant to sliding on your arms and legs and over your torso than clothing. This often results in people getting their suits on but not pulled up in vital areas that throws off the fit for the rest of the body. This is the root cause of most people believing their suit does not fit, even if it was custom made to their specific dimensions and measurements. This problem is often worse for women as their breasts and different proportions makes it harder for them to get comfortable unless the suit is worn properly.
Fortunately, there is an easy way to make sure your suit fits you properly and to get it to do so. All you have to do is pull it up and in at various times as you put it on. Using a jumpsuit as an example (a one piece suit that covers all but the hands, feet, and head), you would pull the legs up once you had the suit on your lower legs. As you pull it up over your thighs, make sure it is pulled up snugly into the crotch. If your crotch area is sagging, the suit will feel too tight at the shoulders and chest and you are going to be uncomfortable.
At this point many people will insist the suit was made improperly and is too small. They are likely to be wrong. As you pull the sleeves on, be sure to pull them up once on your lower arms, similarly to what you did with the leg portion. Once on, make sure the armpit area is pulled up snug, similar to the crotch. If not, your chest area is likely to feel cramped from the bunching of the excess material under your arms and from the pull on top of your shoulders and across the back.