After using my old surfing wetsuit for a few years I felt it was time to invest in a proper open water swimming wetsuit, after a lot of deliberation, I finally the Ironman Aqua Sphere Powered Wetsuit – Pro Series. A former Ironman champ uses it so it can’t be bad! Here some of the description from the Aquasphere site:
Designed for the Pro triathlete offering maximum buoyancy, flexibility, and warmth.
The wetsuit was ordered through wiggle, got a great deal and delivery only two 2 days at the most. I highly recommend wiggle, they have never let me down in the past and you even get a wee surprise with your order such as a wee pack of sweeties! A nice touch I thought.
Before you order its best to get the measuring tape out and take exact measurement to ensure you pick the right size of suit, these wetsuits are designed to be tight, but don’t order one so tight that you cant breathe once you have it on!
The Aquasphere wetsuit came in its own carrying case which was a bonus since the coating on the swimming wetsuits is quite fragile and could be liable to scratches if its not protected which being stored. Watch your fingernails when handling them too! Its the special coating these suits have to cover up the stitching and panel joins which is fragile, the actual suit itself is extremely sturdy. Once you get the suit out and unfolded you might think ‘ no way I’m going to be able to squeeze into that wetsuit! A quick search on youtube and I found a video with tips on how to put a triathlon wetsuit on. Always hold the suit with the pads of your fingers, the squidgy bit, not the finger nails, and another tip I’ve taken on board is to use a plastic carrier bag to help get your feet through the wetsuit legs. The best way to describe it is just to watch the video!
Another tip I have realised is don’t try and put the suit on if your hot and sweaty, it just ain’t gonna happen! Have a quick wash and dry thoroughly before you start putting it on and the legs and body will go on much easier.
For me, this suit was a dream in the water, the second I got in the sea, i noticed that I did indeed have a higher position in the water and when I started paddling it was definitely faster! To demonstrate the reduced drag this suit has I did a couple of strokes and just let myself glide, felt like I was never going to stop! The shoulders are super flexible and you dont get any chaffing or tired muscles, I guess this is due to the different materials used for the underarm. A nifty feature I like is the extra grip panels on the forearms, which just helps get a hold of the water on each pull enabling you to go further with each stroke. The neck seals very well, but make sure you get this right before you set off. I turned up for a race only to find the start time had been changed to half an hour earlier! This meant I only had 5 mins to get ready and get to the boats and as a result, I didn’t quite get the velcro matched up on my neck which resulted in the photo above…
Lesson learned! The zip is a nice big hefty one, easier to get someone to pull it up for you and its pretty simple to undo after the race yourself. As for warmth I think this suit is great, and as a result I use it all year round swimming in the Firth of Clyde on the West Coast of Scotland. The sea temperature in these parts range from around 8C up to 13 or 14C during the summer.
So if you want to make the transition from an old wetsuit into a new open water swimming wetsuit I’d highly recommend the Aquasphere Racer Pro Series suit, It fits well, looks good, and most importantly makes you faster!
As with all open water swimming wetsuits you have to take good care of it and avoid the coating getting scratches. If you look after it properly, it’s a great investment. 🙂