For those of you who are novices to the world of wetsuits, you’ll no doubt currently be unfamiliar with what flushing even is. Flushing is the term used to describe that unpleasant sensation you can get, particularly if your wetsuit doesn’t fit you correctly, where cold water enters and flushes with the layer of insulated warm water that has been keeping your body temperature regulated.
It can be a real shock to the system if a sudden and unexpected blast of cold water enters your wetsuit and give you quite the chills so stopping wetsuit flushing is usually high on the list of concerns of divers and especially surfers. The most common areas where flushing can happen are at the neck, the front of the chest, or the ankles, particularly if your suit is a little bit on the baggy side in any of these places.
The best way on how to stop wetsuit flushing is to make sure that you really do have the best fitting wetsuit possible but there are also some other tips and tricks you can try which will further help to prevent this common phenomenon.
We’re talking wetsuit hoods that will prevent water from coming in at the neckline and also additional vests to go over your wetsuit that will form a further watertight barrier. Investing in a wetsuit that has reliable and robust zippers and carefully constructed seams should also help stop wetsuit flushing.
The four key attributes to look for when buying a wetsuit
There are essentially four key factors that you need to be primarily concerned with when purchasing a new wetsuit, and if you properly address these, then you should be able to prevent flushing from happening. We’re talking fit of course along with flexibility, durability, and warmth.
A wetsuit, even if it’s a dry suit, will still get you wet! You’re in the water after all. So the most important factor, especially when you are out in the open cold water, is to make sure that you are warm and that your suit fits correctly so that flushing doesn’t happen.
The importance of flexibility
You need your wetsuit to be stretchy so that it still provides you with plenty of mobility, especially if you are surfing or kitesurfing where you’ll be performing more advanced maneuvers. It’s also in these very activities where flushing is far more likely to happen as you get inadvertently pommeled while riding that wave.
So flexibility is essential for movement and the thicker the neoprene, the less flexible it will be, so you need to get the right balance according to the principal purpose for wearing a wetsuit in the first place.
If you are a triathlete you’re going to want a wetsuit that is really quick and easy to get in and out of whereas if you are a deep diver, you are going to want to go for more warmth and a thicker, more protective and durable level of neoprene.
Talking of durability
Again, this is going to have an important part to play in preventing flushing from taking place as it’s at the seams and openings where that cold water is most likely to enter. You want your wetsuit to really be the best quality one that you can personally afford and to have durable and dependable seams and sturdy construction.
You can also take extra measures to reinforce your seams to make them even more watertight if you’ve had to buy a lower grade wetsuit or yours is starting to show some signs of wear and tear, but you’re not quite in the market yet for a full replacement.
Making sure that you are adequately warm
Making sure you are warm is vital as no-one wants to be cold and uncomfortable as well as wet! That would just make for an all-around miserable experience. The level of warmth you need will be determined by the type of activity you are undertaking and the water conditions that you are in too.
The thicker the neoprene, the warmer the suit will be, but you should also consider the internal lining as this will additionally help to provide further insulation. It will hold that layer of warm water that is going to help regulate your body temperature inside your wetsuit.
Let’s also look at how important the correct fit is to ensure that wetsuit flushing is minimized.
Fit should never be overlooked when it comes to your wetsuit. It’s critical to your comfort, performance and your warmth, and absolutely will help deter unwanted flushing. Buy a suit that is too small, and it will just be uncomfortable and restrict your movement.
There also won’t be enough room for that crucial layer of warm water that helps to keep your temperature regulated. Invest in a wetsuit that has too much room and gaps at the seams will encourage cold water to enter and that’s what causes flushing to take place. So fit is of vital importance to enhance your diving or surfing experience.
Finding the right wetsuit for you can be a challenge, and you might, unfortunately, experience the hard way that you’ve not in fact purchased the right one. Spend some time in the water, and you will soon know. So do your research and really spend the time to make sure that you have the correct fitting wetsuit for your particular requirements to ensure that flushing doesn’t bother you.
A final thought on chest zips over back zips.
Whether you prefer a wetsuit with front or back access will primarily be down to your own personal preference, and they do each have their relative merits. Rear zips can be easier to get in and out of because of their longer length and therefore are popular with professional sports like triathlons where every second matters.
On the other hand, chest zips are generally less prone to flushing so if this is a concern then bare that in mind. That said, if you’re about to get totalled by a huge wave, it won’t really matter where your zip is; be prepared for a white out and a total and complete flushing too!