Wet suits

Hi everyone. I am participating in an event in August that requires participants to wear a wet suit. I have never swum in a wet suit before, but finally last weekend I purchased an entry level suit from Xterra and took it for a test swim in Grand Traverse Bay, Michigan, USA. I HATED IT. It was too buoyant; I didn't like the sensation of floating on top of the water. I ended up getting sea sick in it and I felt dizzy and it was a miserable experience. I sent the suit back, but I still need a wet suit for my event. Does anyone have any suggestions for me? Do i just need to keep practicing and get used to how it feels? The other issue is that I probably will never use a wet suit again, so budget is a concern. I don't want to spend hundreds of dollars on gear that I won't need again.


  • PasqualePasquale Antwerp (Belgium)Member
    edited July 2019

    I have same issue, many swim race I do are wet-suite mandatory and even in training openwater I need to wear to comply to safety rules of the license I have. (Yes, in Belgium need a license to swim openwater ) I don't like the buoyancy of the wet-suite, but I am not against it by principle, I like to swim, i am not really a cold water swimmer (yet) and If I have to choose between swimming 1Km without wetsuite or 5K with it I prefer to keep my training and use a wetsuite..

    After some research I purchased an Orca RS1 OPENWATER which is sold in two piece. They claim a more natural swimming sensation and less buoyancy compared to the other standard "triathlon-like" wetsuites. I do not have the experience with many wetsuite to say how natural it feels compared to others, but I think is indeed better even if there is still a little pull up sensation is quite limited and I think it slowly disappear as you spend time in the water and the wetsuite get actually wet...

    Still is not very cheap... But I like it is also very light and compact, easy to transport, used many times to swim in cold waters and races in both lakes and sea and have no regrets...

    Good luck

  • About 10 years ago I signed up for a triathlon that required a wetsuit, and I did not want to wear one (water was in the 60s and I haaaaate that buoyancy feeling you described). So, I bought an xterra speedsuit, which looks just like a wetsuit from afar, but is not made of neoprene and provides no buoyancy. Unless the race directors are specifically checking neoprene thickness on everyone's suit, you can probably get away with a black speedsuit ;)

    I just did a quick search and it looks like the new xterra one is gray and patterned, but other companies may sell something similar.

  • KatieBunKatieBun CornwallSenior Member

    Could you get away with a 1mm neoprene swimskin? I had to do a wetsuit compulsory event once and they argued with me for a while and then gave in because I showed them it was actually neoprene.(Sleeveless and knee length. ) At the very least, you could buy a sleeveless one, which is far less restrictive on the shoulders.

  • ssthomasssthomas DenverCharter Member

    I had a friend selling a two piece wetsuit the other day- it was a tank top and shorts, but two pieces. I'd never seen anything like that. Do you think that would be better and still meet the requirements?

  • @ssthomas said:
    I had a friend selling a two piece wetsuit the other day- it was a tank top and shorts, but two pieces. I'd never seen anything like that. Do you think that would be better and still meet the requirements?

    As far as I know, DeSoto is the only company that sells 2-piece wetsuits. Their marketing touts the benefits of more exact sizing options, comfort options as well. For instance, you can purchase a "bottom" and a sleeveless top....then, later if you find you need long sleeves, you only need get the sleeved top...no need for a separate suit. They also talk a LOT about how much buoyancy their suits provide. So, if you find that the "uber floaty" feeling isn't good for you, you need to decide whether their suits will work. They also have a thing called a "speed tube" that is only the bottom portion (different line than their wetsuit lines). So, your butt and legs will be corks, but your chest can remain bare.

    YMMV regarding whether this information is helpful to you.

  • josbournejosbourne MichiganMember

    Thank you everyone for the responses! I will keep looking for something with minimal buoyancy and sleeveless too.

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