Wetsuit restrictive?

I’ve been wearing a 3.0 farmer john over a 1.0 hydroskin with a paddle jacket for the past month or so. Hasn’t felt in any way restrictive or uncomfortable even on 3+ hour paddles.

Yesterday, I did a short but really hard 5k and was much slower than before and also felt some fatigue in my shoulders. Felt generally overheated and uncomfortable too.

At first I thought maybe I had just gotten out of shape over the winter, but now I’m beginning to think it may be the wet suit. It seems that relaxed paddling doesn’t cause any discomfort, but pushing the edges does.

Has anyone else noticed this effect?

a little bit
Generally speaking. Same feeling when I’m wearing cold-weather gear under my drysuit. And I hate overheating in winter.

It’s like this…
if you are paddling with the arms, I can see a farmer john being a tad restrictive, but if the force is mainly from the torso, I don’t believe it should.

This is one of those things where there are a few possible factors, all of which, added together, can add up to performance issues.

Out of shape+change in technique+hydration+small weight gain+first time out+a year older… You probably get the drift. Added together, it becomes a performance killer. I probably wouldn’t worry too much about the loss of speed.

The overheating, in conditions where you’ve not overheated before, however, could possibly be a physiological change of some type. If you’d been paddling, and in shape, and suddenly found this type of change, it might be something to have looked at. Since you haven’t been paddling, it could just be a lack of fitness (for paddling - muscles that are used in paddling may not get the workout they need from, say, swimming, running, cycling, etc.).

If this remains a trend of all your paddling sessions, I might have one of those white coated mechanics take a look at the engine (ie. you).


spray or Glide stick may help.

I never feel a Campmor 1.5mm ? top/bottom unless using it 3 days at 6 hrs/day then I sausage with red skin spots.

It sounds to me like it my all be related to the overheating. That came first, and then your body was feeling uncomfortable/restricted because it wanted out of the hot stuff.

If you can rescue yourself well, you could try a lesser layering next time you do the 5k. Or try getting yourself wet to cool down in the middle of the exercise.

Probably not the wetsuit per se
First of all, you might simply have had an off day, or maybe you’d taxed your shoulders the day before without realizing it.

Second, I could swear that the spine and back get a little longer in effect as they become fitter. I say “in effect” not meaning that you actually grow, but that the muscles and ligaments become more supple and can stretch out more. And if you then lean even a little bit forward to make sure you’re getting the full benefit of your paddle stroke, your now-more-supple back becomes, in effect, longer. Which means that your clothing has to stretch more also.

In other words, your body might have changed while your wetsuit did not.

Suggestion. After putting on the
wetsuit make sure it’s fitting comfortably. ie: you can twist and stretch with comfort. If areas of the suit have a big wrinkle or gap anywhere while doing these things, try adjusting the material about your body.

You may be surprised at the adjustments needed. How do I know? Been there, done that.

I’ve never met anyone who’s in the water in neoprene all winter that doesn’t feel freed up and flexible when it comes off late spring. It’s a wonderful feeling to shed that stuff.

As above, I think it’s great for helping to isolate your arms from the body rotation of the forward stroke. But everything is restricted a little bit. It’s just more noticeable in the arms than the torso. And even with the perfect forward stroke, your arms are moving around pretty significantly in the whole scheme of things. And as you mentioned yourself, a lot of perceptions will come down to how a person pushes themself.

Neoprene is a very good insulator. When you work hard, you will warm up really fast. Even thin neoprene on a cold day, when you get your heart rate up, a lot of that heat sticks with you.

It’s always been worth it to me to be more safely out in the cold water. And when you go to the latest and greatest in neoprene flexibility, it’s quite a difference maker. When it comes off in the warm weather, it does make you feel much more flexible, and maybe even youthful for me.

Rule # 1

– Last Updated: Feb-08-15 11:58 AM EST –

Drink plenty of water--even if you're not thirsty. You will lose a lot of body fluid while paddling--especially if your wearing a wet-suit. You can easily become dehydrated without any warning signs. Even moderate dehydration can be very dangerous.

After I started using a dry jacket or a drysuit I sold my neoprene top. Never goin’ back again. Neoprene bottoms don’t bother me but tops do. Clammy and restrictive.

Think about it
With neoprene, you’re wrapping yourself in rubber. If it fits properly, meaning “snug”, then of course it’s going to resist your movements. Yes, it will stretch as you rotate your torso, but you have to work against the elasticity of the material, which takes energy that would otherwise be transmitted to the paddle.

Personally, I find neoprene to be hot, damp and uncomfortable (I don’t like "stewing in my own juices), so I don’t use it for anything other than hoods, boots and gloves.