Wetsuit, Which thickness do I need ?

Which thickness do I need ? Shortie or full suit? Are all suits neoprene? These are questions at first. Whether you’re after a cold water session or just fancy a summer suit you need a wet suit.

Choosing the right wetsuit may seem complex at first, but I am going to help you choose the right suit for the right conditions. The type of wetsuit that you need will generally be decided by a combination of two major factors, neoprene thickness and wetsuit design. These key features will determine how warm the wetsuit will keep you in varying water temperatures and how flexible the wetsuit needs to be for your optimal performance.

Wetties are an important addition to your equipment providing spearos and divers with a range of benefits. A good wetsuit will provide environmental protection from the sun, give warmth when needed and prevent abrasions from coral, reefs, wrecks or even your own catch. The spines of a large or even small fish raked up against your skin can cause some nasty cuts.

Choosing a wettie can be a daunting task as there are so many styles and materials to decide upon so here’s the lowdown to make it easier.


Wetsuit Sizing

Wetsuits are sized in a two dimensional manner to ensure the user has a snug fit, no matter what their body shape is. Wetsuits are measured in both body width as well as body length. With regards to width – regular clothes sizes such as small, medium, large and extra large apply.

When submerged in water the body looses heat 20 times faster than in the air so you don’t have to be a serious freediving enthusiast to feel the need to keep warm. Wetsuits reduce heat loss by putting a layer of insulating foam neoprene over your skin. A wetsuit should form a seal all over the body, with particular emphasis on the torso, a snug and comfortable fit. Water can enter at the neck, wrists, ankles and is trapped between your skin and the suit. Choosing the correct size of wetsuit will improve the overall insulating benefits of wearing a wetsuit. You should use the measurements on the size charts provided as a guide to overall fit, taking into consideration the height, chest and waist measurements.


Wetsuit thickness overview

The colder the water, the thicker suit you’ll need. Neoprene thickness is measured in millimetres and listed in most product names as numbers separated by slash: /. The first number relates to the torso and the second to the limbs. For example, a 4/3 wetsuit is 4 mm thick on the torso and 3 mm on arms and legs. Usually, the material around the torso is thicker, while it is thinner around areas of the body, which require more mobility. This combination guarantees the ideal mix of warmth and flexibility.





Water temperature Wetsuit style
Over 23°C Rashguard and boardshorts
19 – 23°C Springsuit or shorty
15 – 20°C 3/2 wetsuit
12 – 17°C 4/3 wetsuit + booties
9 – 13°C 5/3 or 5/4 wetsuit + booties + hood
under 9°C 6/4 wetsuit + booties + hood

Types of  Wetsuits

Wetsuits designed for freediving usually come in two pieces and include a hood, which stops water from entering into the collar. They also traditionally do not come with a zipper, which provides less opportunity for water to trickle in, and are more flexible, allowing more room to move and breathe.


Double-lining wetsuits are made of neoprene with nylon covering the inside and outside of the wetsuit. This is the most budget-friendly freediving wetsuit to purchase.


Single-lining wetsuits offer nylon lining on the inside or outside of the suit. Some can be reversible and have different advantages and disadvantages based on how you wear them. They are more durable than no-lining suits but less durable than double-lining suits.

Single-lining outside (also called open cell wetsuits)

Open cell refers to naked neoprene. This wetsuit is the most popular for spearfishers and recreational freedivers.


Single-lining inside (also called smooth skin)

Smoothskin refers to the treatment placed on naked neoprene, where the open cells are smoothed over and closed, which makes the wetsuit more hydrodynamic. This is a popular wetsuit for competitive freedivers.


No-lining wetsuits have an open cell inside and smooth skin on the outside. This is one of the most expensive types of wetsuits to buy, usually only used by professional freedivers.

Wetsuit Colour

This is a matter of preference.

  • People diving of spearfishing in clear, blue water tend to want a blue or blue camouflage wetsuit.
  • Those hunting crayfish in rocky terrain tend to go for the browns.
  • Divers or spearos on the reef might just go for a bit of a mix-up or multicoloured suit.

How to Take Care of Your Wetsuit

It’s important to take care of your wetsuit as they are not cheap. As mentioned open-cell and smooth skin wetsuits can be fragile and may get a small cut in them now and again. Adreno sells neoprene glue to repair a small cut or even a larger rip.

Wetties, especially the ones made of closed-cell neoprene, can also harbor bacteria and smells. A wetsuit wash, which we sell, will help prevent any smells or bacteria building up, prolonging the life of your wetsuit.

Proper care of a wetsuit can make a huge difference in the lifespan of your suit and really only requires a few easy measures. These tips will leave you with a wetsuit that looks and feels better for longer. The biggest way you can make sure your suit stays clean and feeling fresh is to properly wash and dry it as soon as possible after each session. By following these three steps, you will maximize the life of your suit.


After each use, it’s important to wash your suit out thoroughly with cool or lukewarm water (hot water will actually dry out the neoprene, reducing the wetsuit’s flexibility). Taking your suit into the shower or spraying it down with a backyard hose after a session will help to wash off the salt water. Letting the suit dry while still covered in salt water is hard on the suit and unnecessarily ages the neoprene.

Prepare to Dry

Next, it’s important to properly prepare your suit to dry. Placing it inside out on a wetsuit-specific hanger is ideal. Using a normal clothes hanger will stretch out the shoulders of a wetsuit, as it’s especially heavy when wet. We recommend checking out the Hang Pro wetsuit hanger as it is thicker and hangs the suit without placing unnecessary stress on the shoulder.

Dry and Flip

Hang your wetsuit inside out and in the shade. Direct contact with the sun will age and fade the neoprene of your suit. By hanging it inside out first, it will be less damaged by UV rays and will make sure the inside of your suit will be dry the next time you put it on. After the inside of the suit has become dry to the touch, you should reverse it again and make sure the exterior of the suit is dried as well.


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