Should I Buy a Specialist Open Water Swimming Wetsuit?

Supported by Orca.


Whether or not you should buy a specialist open water wetsuit depends on your specific needs and circumstances. Here are a few things to consider before and whilst purchasing: 


Frequency of Open Water Swimming
If you frequently swim in open water, especially in colder conditions or during colder seasons, a specialist open water wetsuit can provide you with insulation and help regulate your body temperature, keeping you comfortable and safe. 


Water Temperature
If you swim in open water where the temperature is significantly lower than your body temperature, a wetsuit can help retain heat and prevent hypothermia. However, if the water is warm, a wetsuit may cause overheating, so it may not be necessary. 


Distance and Duration of Swims
If you participate in long-distance open water swimming or endurance events, a wetsuit can provide buoyancy and reduce drag, allowing you to swim more efficiently and conserve energy. 


Safety Considerations

Open water swimming can present challenges such as currents, waves, and unpredictable conditions. Wearing a wetsuit, especially one designed for open water swimming, can provide some added safety by increasing your visibility and buoyancy. 

Personal Preference
Ultimately, the decision to buy a specialist open water wetsuit is a personal one. Some swimmers prefer the added buoyancy and comfort that a wetsuit provides, while others may prefer the freedom of swimming without one. 


Here are some additional points to consider when deciding whether to buy a specialist open water wetsuit: 


Fit and Comfort

When choosing a wetsuit, it's crucial to find one that fits you properly and feels comfortable. A well-fitting wetsuit should provide a snug but not restrictive fit, ensuring that it doesn't impede your movement or cause discomfort during your swim. Look for wetsuits with flexible materials that allow for a wide range of motion.


Buoyancy and Performance

Specialist open water wetsuits are designed to provide buoyancy, which can improve your swimming position in the water. By lifting your body higher, a wetsuit can reduce drag and make you more streamlined, allowing you to swim faster and exert less energy. This can be particularly beneficial for longer swims or competitive events. 


Visibility and Safety

Open water swimming can involve sharing the water with boats, jet skis, or other watercraft. Many specialist open water wetsuits come with bright colours or reflective panels to enhance your visibility and make you more easily spotted by others. This can be especially important for your safety, particularly if you swim in areas with heavy boat traffic. 

Confidence and Peace of Mind

Wearing a wetsuit can give you an added sense of confidence and peace of mind while swimming in open water. Knowing that you have the insulation, buoyancy, and protection that a wetsuit provides can enhance your overall swimming experience and allow you to focus on enjoying the water. 

Remember, while a specialist open water wetsuit can offer several advantages, it may not be necessary for everyone. Consider your swimming goals, the conditions you typically swim in, and your personal preferences before making a purchase. If possible, try on different wetsuits or consult with experienced open water swimmers for their recommendations.


Need some more info about open water swimming?

Check out our other posts in collaboration with Orca…


A Guide to Choosing a Wetsuit for Open Water Swimming

How to Care for your Swim Wetsuit

9 Essentials for Open Water Swimming

WSO | What’s the Difference Between a Swim Wetsuit and a Surf Wetsuit?

A Beginner’s Guide to Competitive Open Water Swimming

9 Training Tips for your First Triathlon

Orca wetsuit guide


Shop the full Orca range - HERE
Shop the full Orca wetsuit range - HERE

Updated on 28th March 2024

Originally published on 5th March 2024 in Swimming

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