WETSUIT CONSTRUCTION 101
WETSUIT CONSTRUCTION 101
Making sense of wetsuit lingo...
How many times have you been baffled by the marketing and industry terms like GBS, fluid seam weld, flatlocked seams, taped seams and double blind stitch just to name a few? If your not up to speed on this we suggest you start here. The mesurf Wetsuit construction 101 is a brief guide telling you about the different chatter that you might encounter when next purchasing a suit.
Blindstitching is a process whereby the needle does not pass all the way through the neoprene, reducing the number of holes in a wetsuit and therefore less chance of water penetration. A common stitched used in today's wetsuits and offers strength as well as good flexibility.
DOUBLE BLIND STITCHED
Using the same method as the blindstich described above, only this time the suit is turned inside out and blindstitched again, making for a stronger bind. This does add restriction to the suit and is not that common in the world of winter wetsuits.
You'll hear this thrown around a lot, and it means Glue Blindstitched. A common seal used in wetsuits these days and is a combination of the Blindstitch described above with a fusion weld. The seam is first glued together to minimise water penetration, and then blindstitched for added strength. Probably the most common of the all the construction types.
Flatlocked stitching creates an extremely tough yet fairly flexible seam. Found mostly on wettie tops and skins, and not so common in the higher end steamer ranges. The reason for this is it does not form a water proof seal and will allow water penetration.
We found that there are a few variations on this, and not all suits are using them. We believe they're a must! The suits that have the best reinforcement tape are Patagonia and Rip Curl. You can check out the shots of the suits in the mesurf WINTER WETSUIT GUIDE where we photographed each suit inside out.
FLUID SEALED SEAMS
Slick seals keep cold water out and warm water in. Sealed seams prevent water penetration through seams, retaining interior warmth for longer. They have the disadvantage that they perish in sunlight and over time, however if you take care of your suit you will be dearly rewarded.
TAPED SEAMS (SOMETIMES KNOWN AS FUSION SEAM)
This is an alternative method to the fluid sealed seams. Tape has the advantage that it won't corrode like a fluid seam, however it can pull from the suit as it is glued on. Different suit manufacturers have their own preference.
So what's the better seal option?
We here at mesurf have used both over time, and it's a much of muchness. If you look after your suit and keep it out of the sun then we prefer the fluid seals, if however you're lazy and don't care for your gear then go for the taped seals. However, you want to choose a suit that has the best fit, the seal type is down the list of preferences.
While most wetsuits are similar, it's the finer details that set each apart. Sure people will tell you they all come out of the same factory, that might be true for materials, but every wetsuit we've looked at to date is different. Different seals, different construction, different closure systems, the list goes on. What you need to do is have a good understanding of wetsuits, know the different pieces, know what you want out of a wetsuit (longevity, lightness, flexibility, warmth) and then head in store and find your match. Every little piece of the suits have their advantages and disadvantages, so make sure to read up through mesurf on all that is the wetsuit and you'll be stoked.
If you want to know more on any of this, please get in touch with the knowledgeable madmen at email@example.com
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latest wetsuit reviews, articles and clips at mesurf WETSUIT GUIDE
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