Wet Suit Fit

I’ve tried on the NRS Ultimate in both small and medium. The small is “pretty tight” and a tad small in the crotch area. The medium has the right torso length but is a little loose down by the knees and across the back. I have the torso length of a medium but the “diameter” of a small.

My question is…“Is it better to go a little smaller or go a little bigger”. I manage to stay upright most of the time and wear a skirt so 90% of the time I’m using it for warmth from the air temperature but it’s the other 10% of the time I want to help postpone hypothermia that worries me.

Thanks for the input from anyone.

Tighter is better
Tighter is better as long as you are not uncomfortable. The Idea is to keep water from flushung through the suit.

It will loosen up when you get wet
or cold I guess too.

Full Wetsuit…?

– Last Updated: Oct-25-06 5:59 PM EST –

as in with long sleeves as opposed to farmer john? If one piece, get a surfing wetsuit instead. Granted that I haven't gotten neo gear from NRS in a couple of years, the neoprene of today's surfing wetsuits are much lighter and flexible than the stuff used by NRS a couple of years ago.


Sing can you…
give me some websites where I can take a look at what your talking about? I was talking about a farmer john type but then I still need a spray/wind top. With the long sleeves I could get by with just the wet suit. It might be a little more practical for most of my needs. Thanks

you want to go into a surf shop and try it out personally because each brand has a slightly different cut. Brand names include: Body Glove, Rip Curl, Oneil, Quicksilver, Billabong, Excel.

If you don’t mind dealing with a possible return, sierra trading post has some suits on sale. Make sure it’s a surfing and not a diving suit. The Body Gloves are okay (made more for thinner folks than me) but I have 3/2 BodyGlove Matrix that works fine for me in spring/early summer an early fall. 4/3 is into the fall. (Can extend both by putting on a drytop over it.) I believe the Vapor is a later model than the Matrix and the Axis is an earlier model. The later models used more flexible neoprene (thus higher cost too).



Farmer Johyn is much more comfortable.

Just a note. I got a gear bags full of old wetsuits that don’t fit me anymore. You might want to leave some room to “Grow”

Thanks Sing
I’ll check em out.

when purchasing a relatively expensive wetsuit to stay in shape! One is to be able to wear it longer. Two, to actually look a human rather than a walrus out there! :wink:


The Walrus Look
Want to avoid that Elephant Seal look, especially during Great White season

It’s nice to know I’m not alone…

A loose wetsuit is NO wetsuit
The wetsuit must fit like a second skin (also a trademark). It’s not like a jacket. It’s more like long underwear.

Strange, but you don’t actually feel wet in a wetsuit. The best way to describe it, is that slight warm clammy feel when you wear long underwear in the winter. Its also surprising how dry you are after you remove the wetsuit.

To function, the wetsuit must be in contact with your skin. As soon as the fabric loses contact, water (frigid water) floats across your back, groin, etc. This effect is quite pronounced.

The most difficult area to get a decent fit is the middle of your back. Your back actually curves inward, making contact difficult. For example, rolling from your stomach to your back can loosen the skin contact. You may be feeling warm and toasty, then all of a sudden you get a rush of cold water down your back! With a loose fitting wetsuit, you would ALWAYS feel this way. It HAS to be in contact with your skin to work.

I had fit problems after going on a diet. Well, I blew that, and the wetsuit fits properly again.

So, if your wetsuit fits a little too loosely, just gain ten pounds!

Actually the suit must allow
water in. Your body then warms the water and it acts as an insulating barrier to keep you warm.

Wet Suit Fit
I agree with bmach1 and michigansnorkeler as, you don’t want skin tight as you need an insulating barrier of water and body heat. If the suit is to big it allows too much water in for the body to heat. It’s a wet suit which means you get wet and michigan snorkeler described the feeling properly, but stay warm with the bodys temp. warming the water between the skin and suit.

You really have to try them on and find comfortable movement, if you can’t move freely it’s too tight.

Another important factor is the water temperature you’ll be in and the thickness of the neoprene you’ll be purchasing. The different thicknesses are for different water temperatures.


– Last Updated: Oct-27-06 6:41 AM EST –

"Actually the suit must allow water in. Your body then warms the water and it acts as an insulating barrier to keep you warm"

if it's loose there is more infiltration and flushing. You keep warming water that gets flushed out and replaced by coldwater, especially when you are moving around in a swim. The insulating factor is the air bubbles in the neoprene itself. That's why one wears 2 mm in the summer, 3/2 in late spring/early fall, 4/3 in spring/fall and 6/5/4 in the winter. There are different thicknesses for wetsuits for a reason. the neoprene is the crucial insulating factor.

A well fitting wetsuit is a skin tight one. Skin tight wetsuit will still let in water, hopefully a very small amount so you don't waster body resources trying to warm it up.

Again, the newer neoprene is very, very flexible. It hugs your body but still allows you to move. It's almost like a second skin with varying layers of fat built in.

But, my unequivocal opinion, is that a drysuit is safer for most tour paddlers in more extreme cold water temps than a wetsuit becuase one doesn't lose heat through contact with water. Water conducts heat away something like 25 times more efficiently than air. That's why one prefer to have minimal water contact in an immersion. But, the well fitting wetsuit that minimizes the amount of water infiltration, can be a viable (though not as effective) alternative for those who don't have nor want to spend the money.

A drysuit, with the right insulating layers will keep you warmer. The insulation thickness that is needed in the drysuit will be thinner than for a neoprene wetsuit to deal with the same temp. The reason is for that is that there is no water to warm up and suck away through flushing. But, the techology involved in a drysuit makes it generally more expensive (unless you buy a urethane coated nylon one with cheap zippers) than a wetsuit for the same conditions (don't forget the costs of the insulating layers under a drysuit). Someone new to paddling may not want to expend the money and/or figure they don't paddle enough in cold temps to warrant the expenditure. But, in my experience of it, a drysuit, with the right underlayers, offers the best immersion protection. I can say this as the owner of two drysuits (top of the line Kokatat Meridian Goretex and Palm Stikine with a breatheable coating) and a bunch of wetsuits. I choose wetsuits for a limited application -- when I surf paddle on a waveski at rocky places. The tight fitting wetsuit sticks my butt firm on the waveski and allows me better control (all important when surfing not with straight diagonal runs but actually incorporating radical direction changes) of the waveski. Secondly, as a matter of safety, I would rather risk a tear in my wetsuit on a rocky break in the winter -- which would be uncomfortable -- as opposed to a rip in my drysuit which could be catastrophic.


You are correct!

– Last Updated: Oct-27-06 8:23 PM EST –

A drysuit will protect you in much colder temperatures, and it will be more comfortable than a wetsuit.

You are correct that the wetsuit should be skin tight. The air bubbles in the neopreme suit fill with water that becomes isolated in the wetsuit material. This water warms up and more or less stays put. This trapped layer of water along with the wetsuit material insulate you FROM the outside water. You don't want loose water swishing throughout the suit.

You don't want water to enter the suit. There are gaskets at the wrists and along the sleeves to prevent such movement of water. The water will seep through the neopreme sure enough.

True, you don't want it so tight that it is uncomfortable. But it should be skin tight.

Go rent two wetsuits, on loose and one skin tight. Then jump into a cold lake. You will learn this fast enough!

Question regarding name brands.
Sing - -

When I aquired my sea lion, it came with a farmer john made by Oceanic. Do you know much about this brand?

Haven’t gotten to try it out, and I’m in no position to learn rolling yet, but I had contemplated going out in the next couple weeks on one of the local rivers

Since I’m completely new to these suits, Do you folks wear ‘anything’ under these?? I have to assume sans natural’ / suit/ anything else you wear.

I would thing based on the thermal charactoristics implied that it’s gotta be pretty snug to work efficiently.

Since I’m in no position to afford a wetsuit, I’m thinking my season is done pretty soon around Ohio.

Under a wet suit.
Depends on the time of year. I wear a rash guard top most of the time because it prevents chaffing from the arms and at the waist where you move around a lot. As the water gets colder I start wearing a nylon swim suit, and then switch to a thin neoprene surf trunk made by Oneil. I also have thin tops that are neoprene that I add to when the water is it’s “coldest” in California.

Wearing a rash guard and a speedo or a divers brief makes putting on the wetsuit on cold mornings easier and keeps the wetsuit smelling nicer. Another good trick in cold weather is to have a hot bottle of water and pour it into your wetsuit when you climb in. I met a guy in the UK who surfs in frigid water, comes in pours hot water in suit, and then goes back out … that’s a little nuts.

Under And Over…
I don’t consider a Farmer John a true wetsuit. More like neo wear rather a wetsuit because it doesn’t offer full protection as would a surfing wetsuit because of the large arm and neck openings. So, depending on the water and air temp, I could have on a rash guard, 5.mm neo top - short or long sleeves underneath, and definitely a dry top over that – short or long sleeves.

With my surfing wetsuits, I wear nothing underneath.


I’m considering it to be added safety
In the colder temps, I’m not looking to attemp rolls and get into any wave action. I’m not ready for that yet. I’m considering it to be that little bit of added safety measure in case I do something stupid and have to wet exit etc. At the rate I’m going this year, there is probably little to no chance of me being in an area I can’t stand up and walk out. I’m not hitting lake Erie until next year - thats for sure. I’ve only got apx 10 hours in this sea lion, and all virtually by myself, so I’m not stupid enough to go anywhere I’m not prepared for. (I may be crazy - ain’t stupid)

You just don’t go to the local sporting goods store and ask for a wetsuit, The try to sell you a camo poncho or a rain suit - - It’s for wet you know. LOL Hence my question regarding Oceanic farmer john