Buying a wetsuit?If you are looking to buy yourself a new wetsuit, the terminology, and huge range of options, can sometimes be a bit confusing. This is designed to be a general beginners guide, to help you figure out which wetsuit will suit you...
1. Wetsuit Styles
Here we will cover some of the typical surfing wetsuit styles and their uses...
A vest or wetsuit top, covers only your upper body and provides the least insulation. Ideal for a summers day surf, when there’s a cool wind or slightly cooler water. Usually either 1mm, 2mm or 3mm thick.
A springsuit, goes a step further and includes your upper legs with variations for sleeve length. For that spring or autumn day, or slightly colder summers day. Usually either 2mm or 3mm thick.
A steamer, extends down to your ankles and also has variations for sleeve length. Suits for winter surfing, with many available features for different cold water conditions. Usually either 2, 3, 4 or 5mm thick.
2. Sizing and Fit
Sizing is a very important aspect to consider when buying a wetsuit. If your wetsuit does not fit properly it will not be able to keep you warm or allow you the flexibility you need for your sport. It needs to fit tightly but comfortably to your body, in order to keep a thin layer of water between your body and your suit. If it is too loose, too much water will flush between your suit and your body, and it will be ineffective in keeping you warm.
- After you have your wetsuit on there should be no excess room, including the torso, crotch, shoulders, and knees. A proper fitting wetsuit will be somewhat hard to put on when dry.
- Lift your arms up and stretch out your shoulders. If you feel a lot of pressure during this, then the suit is too small. You should be able to squat down and move your arms easily too.
- Each brand/model has a slightly different fit; make sure to shop for your body type and check out the sizing charts of the specific brands you are interested in for a perfect fit.
3. Seams and stitching
As you might expect, there's a little more involved in wetsuit construction than just a needle and thread, just in case you thought you were ready to knock one up for the weekend session. It's not just a great fit that ensures a wetsuit is nice and warm.
Flatlock stitch (FL)
Blind stitch (BS or GBS)
Do brands really matter? Well, not really. The mainstream manufacturers all use top quality materials and construction techniques. The choice of suit should be down to fit, stretch and suitability, not who made it. In general, you'll have to pay more for the surf brands than you will for a no-name brand from a discount store, but this is a reflection on the quality of the suit.
Buying a snowboard?If you are looking to buy yourself a snowboard, the terminology, and huge range of options, can sometimes be a bit confusing. This is designed to be a general beginners guide, to help you figure out which snowboard might suit you...
1. Riding Styles
The snowboard that you end up choosing, depends on what kind of riding you want to use it for...While you can ride any snowboard on any type of terrain or in any snow condition, there are specialised snowboards for specific terrain, conditions and applications. And while it's easy to over analyse the multitude of offerings available today, the following descriptions give you a good sense of the broad categories into which snowboards are divided.
FREERIDE / ALL MOUNTAIN
PARK / STREET
FREERIDE / POWDER
Of the different snowboard styles, Freeride or All Mountain snowboarding is probably the most popular. Snowboards designed for All Mountain use, feel at home on groomed tracks, side country powder, park runs and almost anything in between.
Riding the park is all about performing tricks, like airs, spins, grabs, slides etc on terrain such as parks and halfpipes. Park/Street/Freestyle Snowboards have limited edge grip and stability, and are not the best for carving turns or cruising fast.
These boards are typically directional boards with setback stances designed for riding at higher speeds in natural snow conditions such as powder. Often these boards have tapered shapes, which means that the nose is wider than the tail; this difference in widths allows the nose to float higher than the tail in powder, resulting in a surf style feel..
2. Snowboard shapes
TRUE TWIN TIP
Directional boards are designed to be ridden predominately in one direction. They are often stiffer in the tail and softer towards the nose to help maintain stability while carving at high speed. Typically, the binding inserts are set back giving you a longer nose than tail.
True twin is completely symmetrical with identical tip and tail measurements and flex pattern. Bindings will be mounted in the center on a twin tip snowboard. Often found in freestyle snowboards the twin shape has the ability to ride in either direction, ideal for terrain parks, street, halfpipe etc
A combination of a twin and directional snowboards, directional twins feature a similar size nose and tail but the nose is more flexible than the tail. Directional twins are most at home on all-mountain/freeride and freestyle terrain.
Camber is the traditional profile for snowboards, and still popular among high-level riders because it offers maximum control, energy and pop. A cambered board has a smooth arch underfoot and touches near the tip and tail when unweighted; when the rider’s weight is added, it provides a long, evenly pressured running surface and edge.
A rocker board side profile is the opposite of a camber board, with a smooth downward curvature to it and less edge contact when the board is weighted. Reverse camber boards float well in powder and are at home in the park. More forgiving than a camber board, reverse camber boards are often used by beginners, also called : ROCKER
Some companies try to utilise the advantages of different profiles by combining them together in countless different arrangements. Many different combinations of Camber, Reverse Camber and Flat profiles exist, which all have slightly different characteristics.
4. Snowboard Sizes
Back in the day, traditional snowboard sizing meant you stand next to the snowboard and if the top hits your chin, great, it fits! While that may be a good place to start, weight is also a very important factor in determining the appropriate board length. And another important consideration is the type of riding you plan on doing. So, for example, if you are going to be mostly freeriding consider getting a slightly longer board for more stability and speed. If it's a freestyle tool you are looking for, consider smaller sizes that will be easier to spin and maneuver in the terrain park or half-pipe. Remember, the length is as much personal preference as anything, so don’t get too hung up if you like a longer board or a shorter board. Need a starting point? Use the Snowboard Size Chart below as a general guide. Use the values that are closest to your actual measurements...
|Height (cm)||Weight(kg)||Snowboard Size (cm)|
- Riding primarily in the park or freestyle, pick a shorter board.
- Riding all mountain, powder or freeriding, consider a snowboard on the longer side.
- Above average weight consider a longer snowboard.
- Beginner aim for a shorter board in your size range
5. Snowboard Flex
The amount a snowboard flexes varies significantly between boards. Snowboard flex ratings are not necessarily standardised across manufacturers, so the flex may vary from brand to brand. Many manufacturers will give a number rating ranging from 1-10, 1 being softest and 10 being stiffest.
Do brands really matter? Well, not really. The mainstream manufacturers generally use top quality materials and construction techniques. The choice of board should be down to fit, style and suitability, not who made it. Most of the time, you'll have to pay more for a well established Snowboard brand than you will for a no-name brand from a discount store, but this is a reflection on the quality of the snowboard.