What do you wear under your wetsuit?
Wetsuits are such an essential piece of kit, what would we divers do without wetsuits? Still they are not exactly the most comfortable bit of wearable equipment for divers, surfers and swimmers. Even the most technologically advanced form of lined neoprene can not change that, although we've come a long way from the stiff, ill fitting suits of our pioneer divers. What you wear under your wetsuit can also make a difference to your level of comfort underwater.
So, what do you wear under your wetsuit and why?
The obvious answer would be "as little as possible" but that might not always be the case if you are a scuba diver. Water temperature, the thickness of your wetsuit and where you kit up can help you determine what is best for you to wear under your wetsuit.
Warm water / 3mm wetsuit / boat or dive centre
It's an easy job. The wetsuit is thin and it will be easy to stretch it along your legs and arms.
Guys, those long board shorts look cool before & after a dive but they can badly bunch up under a wetsuit...wear something a bit tighter for comfort, even if those Speedos are not that fashionable these days.
Girls, remember you'll have to perform some gymnastics to get in & out of your wetsuit and you might not like to be too exposed in a skimpy bikini. A proper one-piece swimsuit will give you enough cover and support.
Even if it's hot and sunny, consider wearing a lightweight rash guard
with thumb-holes. Not only it will make donning your wetsuit easier bit it will also protect you from the sun.
Moderately warm water & colder water / 5mm & 7mm wetsuit / boat or dive centre
Thicker neoprene means hard work.
Wearing a soft rash guard with thumb-holes is a great help for pulling sleeves up.
The rash guard also protects you from the sun if you need to lower your wetsuit down, for example, on the journey back from a dive on a tender. The only drawback of the rash guard is that it's got to be fairly dry when you wear it. A cold and dump rash guard is pretty awful to wear and if it's wet from seawater it could be pretty itchy too…which actually make you wonder why it’s called a rash guard at all.
The legs part is tough. Some people used to swear by a plastic bag wrapped around their foot but in my opinion it doesn't work. I haven't seen anyone using that trick in years and honestly, plastic bags should not be seen near the sea anyway.
So you simply have to pull hard and be done as quickly as you can.
If you're someone who needs some extra warmth the best is to wear a thin under-suit. The one from Lavacore stays warm even when wet, dries quickly and it's a delight to wear.
Still guys have to watch out for those bunched up shorts and because it takes longer to get out of your suit those tight Speedos become problematic, they just make you feel a bit exposed. Not many people look good in those and most likely you'll soon reach for a towel, or some other shorts, to avoid feeling funny.
Some guys wear Lycra cycling wear, still pretty tight but offering more coverage and much more forgiving.
Girls will know that the gymnastics to get in and out of your 5mm or 7mm can be serious. On a boat full of guys the last thing you'll want is to feel half naked whilst you try to pull your suit off your legs. Again, not good if you're wearing a bikini, so why not try some light short that cover the top of your thighs and a lightweight sports bra. That way you'll have coverage and support.
At Divesangha we gave some thought to the issue.
We designed shorts for guys that are neither too tight nor too loose and are lined for support. They bunch up a lot less under a wetsuit and you will not need the physique of an Olympic swimmer to look good.
We have shorts for girls inspired by hot yoga shorts that will give you enough coverage but are still lightweight and feminine.
Our rash guards have built in thumb-holes and have been added with a zip to be easy to put on and take off. They have a hood to protect your neck and head from the sun or to keep your hair in place.
Our Hung Dry system makes sure that you can easily hang all your garments to dry using a pole or a line, no pegs needed.
Our fabrics are quick dry and give you 50+ UV protection. They even feature ECONYL recycled nylon, so they help protect the sea.
We also have a changing poncho if you need to get changed in privacy, even on a boat. The poncho comes in a bag with wet and dry compartments.