As we know, water conducts heat away from the body a lot faster than air (20x faster!), so making sure that we are wearing an appropriate exposure suit is crucial to ensure that we stay warm.
Wetsuits keep us warm by having heat insulating bubbles of nitrogen gas trapped in the neoprene of the suit. These are heated along with a thin layer of water by our body heat and keep us toasty while diving. We often get asked the difference between our freediving suits and our scuba diving suits and what is better. The truth is that they are very different and are obviously made to serve slightly different purposes.
The biggest difference comes down to the density and therefore the size of the bubbles in the neoprene. If a suit is made with large bubbles and thinner walls surrounding each bubble then that suit is what is referred to as low density. This material will be very soft, very stretchy and have strong insulating properties, making for a very comfortable suit.
The disadvantage of low density neoprene is that when taken to depth, is compresses easily. As it gets thinner its ability to hold heat reduces. Because when freediving, spearfishing and snorkelling the majority of time is spent on the surface, the low density neoprene is ideal, being comfortable and warm.
Most scuba diving suits are made from high density neoprene (Smaller bubbles, thicker walls). This allows the suit to maintain its insulating properties while at depth.
The lining on the suits is another distinguishing feature. Most scuba suits are lined on both the inside and the out. This strengthens the suit substantially but reduces the amount of flex and stretch. Most free diving suits have a light lining on the outside for protection but leave the inside unlined. This allows for a better fit to the body and maximises the range of movement.
Bottom line: The suits are as good as each other in their element!
If you would like to find the best suit for your needs, come in and speak to us at Dive HQ Christchurch. You can also try on the suit to get the best fit for you.
Dive HQ Christchurch
101 Durham St South