Can You Scuba Dive In A Surfing Wetsuit?


Are you ready to hit the water and go scuba diving, but are unsure if you can wear your surfing wetsuit?


Generally, surfing wetsuits are much cheaper than scuba diving wetsuits, and if you already have a surfing suit, then do you really need to buy another?


While you can use a surfing wetsuit for scuba diving, it is not recommended, and I am here to tell you why.



 

Can You Wear A Surfing Wetsuit, Scuba Diving?


Yes, you can, however, there are a few limitations you should be aware of before you decide to use one.


There are many differences in the design and manufacturing between surfing wetsuits and the ones we use when scuba diving.


The two main differences are:



1. Flexibility


If you have ever been surfing before, you will know you need a suit that offers full flexibility. Generally, scuba diving wetsuits are not as flexible as surfing wetsuits because of designs such as robust zips and stitching.


When scuba diving, you will use your legs to propel yourself through the water, therefore, you do not need much movement in your arms, which is why scuba diving wetsuits do not offer much flexibility around the shoulders.


If you were to wear your scuba diving wetsuit while surfing, you may feel warm, but you will have difficulties ‘popping up’ onto your board and paddling out. This is why surfing wetsuits are specifically designed for surfing because they offer easy shoulder movement.



2. Zips


Zip placement is also another difference between scuba diving wetsuits, and those worn when surfing.


Many scuba wetsuits place the zip at the front of the wetsuit to prevent your scuba tank from rubbing, pressing, and catching on the zip.


If you were to go surfing with the zip on the front of your wetsuit, not only would it be very uncomfortable when you lie on your surfboard, but it could also damage your surfboard.


 

Comparing Scuba Diving & Surfing Wetsuits


In addition to the above differences, here is a summary comparing to help you decide which type of wetsuit you wear scuba diving.


However, because of these differences, it is best to get a wetsuit for each hobby!


Scuba Diving Wetsuits

Surfing Wetsuits

Should be less buoyant to allow you to sink below the surface.

Should be more buoyant, so you can float while paddling on your surfboard.

They should be thick - made of robust neoprene to prevent underwater compression and to keep you warm at greater depths.

They should be made of flexible neoprene to aid with movement such as paddling out and standing up.

Ideally, the zip should be at the front to avoid the tank from rubbing, or catching on the zip.

Ideally, the zip should be on the back, or above the chest.

The stitching should be blind stitched, so that the suit is water-resistant.

The suit should have flatlock stitching to allow more flexibility.


 

Do You Need to Wear a Wetsuit When Scuba Diving?


Whether you wear a wetsuit when scuba diving, completely depends on your comfort and the temperature you will be diving in. For comfort and safety, it is critical to not get too cold while scuba diving, as this can lead to hypothermia, and it also increases the chances of decompression sickness.


However, if you have a little ‘bioprene’ like myself, you may not get as cold as others when underwater, so you may opt for a thermal vest and shorts, or a shortie wetsuit.


Or, if you are a keen diver, but you hate wearing wetsuits, check out scuba instructor Serena’s tips for alternative scuba diving wear!


If you do want to wear a scuba diving wetsuit, below are the recommended wetsuit thicknesses according to water temperatures:


Water Temperature

Type of Wetsuit

>30 °C/ 85 °F

Swimsuit/board shorts and a rash guard

27-29 °C/ 80-85 °F

3 mm shorty or a 2-3 mm full wetsuit

23-26 °C/ 73-79 °F

3-5 mm full wetsuit

19-22 °C/ 66-72 °F

5-7 mm full wetsuit

10-18 °C/ 50-65 °F

7-9 mm semi-dry wetsuit or a drysuit

<10 °C/ 50 °F

Drysuit (with a thermal layer underneath)


 

The Best Scuba Diving Wetsuits!


With so many styles, colours, and brands, selecting which scuba diving wetsuit to buy can be a challenge!


In no particular order, here are the top 10 scuba diving wetsuits (according to 2020 data from recreational and professional scuba divers):


  1. Scubapro Everflex Steamer

  2. Henderson Greenprene Men’s Jumpsuit

  3. Henderson Thermoprene

  4. Mares Graph-Flex

  5. Bare Velocity Men Full Suit

  6. Henderson Thermoprene Pro Hooded Semi-Dry Jumpsuit

  7. Cressi Playa Flex 2.5 mm Women’s Shorty

  8. Fourth Element Proteus

  9. Cressi Bahia Flex 3 mm Women’s Jumpsuit

  10. Aqua Lung AquaFlex (for men, for women)



 

Summary


So, there you have it, you can scuba dive in a surfing wetsuit, as long as you know the limitations and differences.


Surfing wetsuits are thinner and more flexible, so they will not keep you as warm as wearing a scuba diving wetsuit, and they may not last as long due to the compression underwater.


If you already have a surfing wetsuit, and you only scuba dive on the odd occasion, a surfing wetsuit will do, but investing in a proper scuba diving wetsuit is highly recommended for both your comfort and safety underwater.


 


Written by Darby Bonner




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