scuba wetsuits vs surfing wetsuits?

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Lee12

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Can anyone tell me the difference between scuba wetsuits and surfing wetsuits in similar weight (ie 4/3mm) and construction (ie double blind stitch, glued, etc) and why I could or could not use a surf wetsuit for scuba?
Thanks for your help.
 

ScubaSparky85

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This is a pretty good comprehensive guide on wetsuits in general: COMPLETE WETSUIT GUIDE - 360Guide

There's no difference between sizing, weight, and construction of surf & dive suits (although there are MANY different options to choose from, usually reflecting in the final price) - they may just have some different features.

In some light of it, a surfer moves around a LOT whereas divers try to maintain the same position (for the most part). Therefore a surfer would have a greater desire for a super stretchy suit that's easy to move in. They also get banged up a lot more than us divers, so they might want some extra padding/protection (knee pads, elbow pads (etc.) and a more rubbery chest to help stay on the board as well. I think the seals are also a little more important when surfing because with all the movement, it can be easy for water to come in through the neck, wrists, ankles, and zipper. Besides surfers also dealing with cold water, they have to put up with the windy topside conditions as well.

It is my opinion that the surf industry leads the way when in comes to design philosophy and technology in wetsuits - mostly because they have a greater consumer base and in general needs a more demanding suit.

All in all, the most important thing is that the suit fits. Neoprene is neoprene and stitching is stiching. I guarantee most of the material all the companies use probably come from the same few warehouses in china. Also consider the conditions you'll be diving in. The super stretchy neoprene offers a great fit (which means better warmth and easy movement) but it also known to compress quicker and easier at great depth. If you're a frequent deep diver, this may pose an issue. Other than that issue, I can't really think of anything that differentiates a surf suit to a dive suit. You could use either one. Find one with the features you want, fits good, and looks good on ya, and you can't go wrong.

As for reccomendations of the best brands, thickness, stitching, zipper style, etc. etc., it really is all personal preferance. One person may get colder than you, one may prefer a 2 piece vs the 1 piece, attached hood or no hood, blah blah blah. And since conditions always change or you may travel around, multiple suits will probably be needed anyway. My best advice to you is to go to a store and try a ton on until you know what is comfortable for you.

Things like 3/2, 5/3, etc. just means that the core of the suit (body) is thicker than the limbs. With a 5/3 suit for example, the core would be 5mm thick and the limbs 3mm. It's most important to keep your core warm, and the thinner limbs allow for better movement. This all has to do with personal preference as well.

Lastly, welcome to ScubaBoard!!
 

Kilili

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Inaccurate to say "neoprene is neoprene". I have suits made in Bali, and they have different types, e.g., more resistive in compression vs flexibility.

That said, surf suits tend to be more oriented towards flexibility, with little emphasis on compression resistance [since the suit is used on surface only]. Still, it depends on who makes the suit, and what types of neoprene they use. For more definitive answer, write to specific suit manufacturer.
 

ScubaSparky85

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Well, thank you for correcting me (/sarcasm). Did you happen to read the rest of that paragraph?? Notably the "super stretchy neoprene offers a great fit (which means better warmth and easy movement) but it also known to compress quicker and easier at great depth" part?

I think you are being nit-picky. Neoprene is neoprene. There are just different 'grades' of it. And by that I mean it either: has a lot of air cells (stretchy and easy to compress) or not so many air cells ('stiffer' and harder to compress). It is still the same neoprene material, just with different amounts of air pumped into it. As to suits being more durable than others, I think that lies in the placement of seams and method of fusion.
 

Rhone Man

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I have always found that surfing wetsuits give superior diving performance to diving wetsuits.

I don't know why, but I would guess (i) tougher knee pads, and (ii) more resistant to flushing.

Just my 2 psi.
 

Tanked

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I have a 3mil O'neill that I used to use for surfing (prior to having kids) that I still use for diving in warmer waters. I see no problem with it.
 

ScubaSparky85

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I'm actually in need of a new suit, and since it's on my mind now I was just checking some out online. When you look at some of the product lists, some manufacturers put some of the same suits under both their surfing and diving tabs. So ah ha, there we go... no difference. It probably has more to do with which audience they market to.
 

Splitlip

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I have both surf and scuba wetsuits. There are differences. From an earlier thread:

"The neoprene itself CAN be the same, but, dive suits generally have a denser neoprene blend. This density adds some durability as it is less easy to tear, but, chiefly the more dense stuff retains it's characteristics (read warmth) better after repeated compressions.

The real difference is in the nylon or other fabric weave that is layered over the neoprene on the inside and outside. The strength, thickness, and resistance to abrasion and tearing are what really set dive suits apart. Surfers really only come into contact with equipment (a board) in a couple places (butt, chest) so most of a surf suit can be light on the nylon layer cause there aren't a lot of rough edges to rip and tear at fragile neoprene. This light stretchy layer gives surf suits more stretch. Stretch is good if you're surfer, but, not so important for the relatively more sedate motions of divers in their element.

Dive suits on the other hand have burlier nylon because they have to contend with belts, buckles, boat gunwales, backplates, straps, etc etc. Your typical surf suit will be beat all to hell from 50 dives. Supposedly dive suits also have more attention paid to the seals at the neck, wrist, and ankles."


Advances in the industry have made dive wetsuit more comfortable and it may nod so obvious at first when using a surfing wetsuit for diving, but you will really feel it using die wetsuit for surfing.
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/perdix-ai/

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