Surfing Guide - The Ultimate Wetsuit Guide
Wetsuits are essential for serious surfers
Wetsuits are crucial to a serious surfer. Water removes body heat 25 times more efficiently than air, meaning that an unprotected person might suffer from hypothermia (less than normal body temperature, causing mild to strong shivering and loss of muscle coordination) even in warm water on a warm day. As surfers are normally out for two-three hours, they are prime hypothermia candidates.
The wetsuits are normally made of foam neoprene, a type of synthetic rubber which contains small bubbles of nitrogen gas. Their main function is preserving body heat; this is done by trapping a layer of water between the suit and the skin. This water is then naturally warmed up by body heat, and thus acts as an insulator, minimizing loss of temperature. The suit must be a tight fit to work properly, if the suit is too loose it will allow excessive water loss, thus exchanging the warm water with colder water. Wetsuits also work by improving the wearer's buoyancy and hydrodynamic curve.
When a suit is described as being 5/4/3mm thick, this means that the neoprene is 5mm thick at the chest, 4mm at the back and 3mm at arms and legs. The reason why this thickness is varied is to allow a more flexible and larger spectrum of movement. The two most popular wetsuit thicknesses are 5/4mm and 3/2mm. 5/4mm are generally considered winter wetsuits, whereas 3/2mm are summer wetsuits.
It is difficult to name one main founder of the wetsuit. However, credit should be given to the man who is considered the original inventor and "father of the modern wetsuit": Hugh Bradner. In 1951, he had the insight that a thin layer of trapped water could act as an insulator. Bradner started working with an oceanographic engineer, Willard Bascom, who suggested neoprene as a material that could be used for Bradner's invention. They tried selling their invention to the US Navy, for supplying their swimmers and frogmen, but the navy turned it down, based on thoughts that it would make it easier to detect them on enemy sonar. The first documentation of Bradner/Bascom's invention was in a letter dated 21.june, 1951.
Traditionally though, most say that it was Jack O'Neill and his brother Robert who first started experimenting with neoprene and invented the wetsuit. It was said that the O'Neill brothers found the neoprene lining the floor of an airliner. However, this has been disputed by some aviation experts as neoprene is not a fire retardant material, and thus has never been used in any passenger aircrafts. The O'Neill family started their first successful wetsuit factory in 1952. They later moved the factory to Pleasure Point, Santa Cruz, California in 1959. Their sales motto: "It's Always Summer on the Inside"
Hope you have found this article informative. If you have any questions, please use the comments field. Thank you. ...·¨¯(_....
More by this Author
9 exciting, tasty juice recipes which will boost your immune system (and impress your friends) Here is a list containing 9 recipes for making exciting, tasty, freshly mixed juice. Fruit juice is a exciting, tasty,...
Surfing Durban, South Africa. Durban Surfing guide. A surfing guide for surfing Durban and its surf beaches. Durban is the second largest city in South Africa, only beaten by Johannesburg in terms of population numbers....
Fixing Adobe Media Encoder Export Failure in Premiere Pro CS5 on Windows 7. I recently invested in Premiere Pro CS5 and was having all sorts of fun editing my HD files (.m2ts) using this magnificent video...