Now is the time to explore the amazing sea life beneath the surface by snorkeling, or perhaps work on your freediving or spearfishing skills. Make sure and maximize your underwater adventures by buying the proper equipment for your snorkeling or spearfishing adventures.
Whether you are snorkeling around Florida Keys, or spearfishing San Diego, California or free diving in the warm water of Hawaii, a good wetsuit is vital for warmth and protection.
Here are some suggestions for gear and information, to get the best possible gear and outcome for your underwater journey.
Snorkeling Wetsuits and Gear
1. Wetsuits for Snorkeling
A. A short-sleeved neoprene top is ideal in warmer waters nearer the surface. The shorty wetsuit may be appropriate for the exploration of shallow, warm waters. Make sure and wear sunscreen on the exposed arm.
B. A full-length wetsuit would be more appropriate for colder waters. When snorkeling in colder waters. Or when some stingers like jellyfish are about, a full wetsuit may be preferable. A full suit provides extra protection against scrapes and stings from unwanted visitors.
C. Colder waters may require a thicker, 5mm or even a 7MM wetsuit while warmer waters 2-3MM snorkeling wetsuits are more appropriate.
D. Wetsuits for snorkeling may provide additional flotation and a degree of comfort for the adventurer. Snorkeling wetsuits should not be considered an alternative for a floatation device but do provide additional buoyancy and comfort for the snorkeler.
E. Rash guards may be worn under the wetsuit as additional protection against sharp coral or those nasty jellyfish stings.
2. Snorkeling Masks and Snorkels
A. When possible, choose low volume silicon masks for the best seal, and if spearfishing selects a black color for better light protection.
B. Tempered, high-impact glass lenses are the best choice. Mask straps can be replaced with neoprene foam straps for ultimate comfort.
C. Consider a snorkel in a medium-length tube to keep elevated and out of water. Variations include traditional, dry, and semi dry snorkels and are dependent upon your personal preference.
D. A flexible neck snorkel will make clearing water out more easily. An option is a purge valve snorkel, however, some find this feature ineffective and may not be worth the additional investment.
E. For kids and just having some occasional fun snorkeling, you can get a mask that incorporates a snorkel into the mask as a single unit. Although for serious diving and spearfishing, the volume is too large for deep down.
F. Make sure the tube bore is at the best diameter. Too small, the more difficult drawing air, too large, and harder to evacuate water.
G. Make sure the mouthpiece is comfortable and not too far away nor too close to the mouth. Rinse and wash the mouthpiece and tube so it is germ free next trip.
3. Wetsuit Designs and Styles
A. Snorkeling wetsuits come in a variety of styles, but the most popular are full and shorty wetsuits. Spearfishing wetsuits have their style. There is a wetsuit style for women, men and childrens wetsuits (typically ages 10+).
1. Full-length wetsuits ideal for colder temperature waters.
A. Wetsuit protection from 5 – 8MM (cold to very cold) to 3MM (warm) waters.
B. Full wetsuits are superior for coral reef snorkelling protection.
C. Wetsuits come in a variety of colors from aqua to red, black, and
even pink. You can find the perfect color that is just for you.
2. Shorty wetsuits ideal for warmer degree waters.
A. Shorty wetsuits typically are made of 3MM Neoprene.
B. Shorty (or Springsuits) are ideal for warmer degree weather.
C. When snorkeling with a shorty wetsuit a good sunscreen is a must.
3. Spearfishing wetsuits typically in Neoprene with camouflage coloration
A. Designed for spearfishing with low visibility and flexibility.
B. Designed to fit snug yet provide complete freedom of movement.
C. Layered construction provides superior protection to UV rays,
unwanted coral reef accidents, and the dreaded jellyfish or Blue Bottle jellyfish stings.
4. Popular Wetsuit Brands
A. Billabong Wetsuits – Since 1973 Billabong International Limited has been a
leader in wetsuits and synonymous with Australian water sports.
B. O’Neill Wetsuits – Originally founded by Jack O’Neill in 1952 and is
credited with inventing the wetsuit.
C. Rip Curl Wetsuits – Founded in 1969, Rip Curl has become a world leader in
surfing sportswear and wetsuits. One of the “Big Three” surfing outfitters
along with Quicksilver and Billabong.
D. Quicksilver Wetsuits – Founded in 1969 in Australia, Quicksilver has become
a worldwide leader in action sports and designer of wetsuits.
5. Popular Spearfishing Brands
A. Cressi – The Italian brand Cressi, a leader in technology since
1946, is a recognized leader in spearfishing. Their two-piece spearfishing
wetsuit is considered a cut above the average wetsuit.
B. Salvimar – Since 1962 this Italian company had grown to be a recognized
leader in spearfishing wetsuits. At 5.5MM thickness, this brand of wetsuit
provides excellent water temperature protection with superior overall body
C. OceanHunter – This New Zealand specialist in spearfishing wetsuits markets a
spearfishing wetsuit specific for Australian waters. The wetsuit is 3MM and in
a camo style with Australian specific colours of blue and green camouflage.
Snorkeling and spearfishing are an exciting and richly rewarding water sports events with some planning and the correct equipment. With the proper gear, whether snorkeling or spearfishing, exciting underwater adventures can be found.
Make sure and maximize your aquatic adventures with the proper wetsuit, the ocean is calling!