A guide to choosing a Sumarpo wetsuit for a triathlon

Man wearing SUMARPO wetsuit and gears in a sprint triathlon

There are so many different wetsuit brands on the market, it becomes overwhelming to figure out just what to buy and how to choose the right wetsuit. Here’s a guide to help you decide.


Why do you need a wetsuit?

Pool swimming is very different than open water swimming. Believe it or not, pool swimming is much easier. In the open water, there are currents and weather conditions that you can’t predict. For example, when I swam a 5.5-mile swim in New York, the organizers of the swim looked at the currents and told the swimmers, there was a push and that the water was flat. On that day, there was no push, and the water was far from flat. I’ve never seen such waves! Having a wetsuit on, made me feel much more comfortable.

Although many of us swim in salt water, which is naturally buoyant, we still need to wear a wetsuit. Wetsuits help keep you streamlined and create less drag than just wearing a bathing suit.

One more point I want to make about this is that wearing a wetsuit can also save you from getting into trouble. A swim coach once said, 'If you feel like you’re in trouble, turn over on your back and float.'


What do you look for in a wetsuit?

Here are some tips:

● Should I buy a long sleeve, short sleeve, or no sleeve?– Most coaches will agree that buying a long sleeve wetsuit is the way to go especially if you want to have aerodynamics in the water. It will make you faster. Some long sleeve wetsuits are restricting. However, the Sumarpo wetsuits all have fewer restrictions under your arms so that you can move freely in the water.

● What thickness should I buy?– How thick is the Neoprene? Is it 3mm or 5mm? What’s the most comfortable? I like a thicker neoprene when I swim in colder water and less neoprene when the water is warmer.

● Should I buy a front zipper or a back zipper?– Some brands offer zippers in the front, but beware, it’s not easy getting into these types of suits. I prefer a back zipper. I have also found that Sumarpo wetsuits are easy to get in and out of for quick entry and release.

● Anything else I need to know?– If you want more of a catch in the open water, then you will want to look for wetsuits with grove-shaped paddles. These are offered on all the Sumarpo wetsuits and make the catch just a little easier.


What Type of Swimmer Are You?

To determine which Sumarpo wetsuit is right for you, you need to compare all four of Sumarpo wetsuits. Sumarpo offers a variety of wetsuits for the beginner to the elite open water swimmer. I use most of them and have been extremely satisfied. (You really can’t go wrong with any of these suits!)


N-Joy Wetsuit -- Sumarpo’s first entry-level suit is the N-Joy. This is a great suit for a beginner or youth. But don’t feel like it’s not for you because you’re not a beginner. I’ve been swimming for six+ years now and am a marathon swimmer and I love wearing the N-Joy, primarily a 3mm Yamamoto Neoprene wetsuit, especially in the heat of the summer because it keeps me feeling cooler in the open water.


Race Wetsuit -- This wetsuit, which is geared for swimmers with 1-3 years of open water swimming experience, is primarily a 4mm Yamamoto Neoprene wetsuit. It’s flexible, great performance and affordable. The Race Wetsuit is great for use at a race or just any time you are in the open water.


Vanguard Wetsuit -- This is the pro-performance wetsuit geared for an experienced swimmer or triathlete. It’s a little more money and higher-end than the other two but it is worth the price. This one has 5mm Yamamoto Neoprene with honeycomb-shaped air cells in the chest is the higher end version of the race. It’s comfortable, flexible, and extremely buoyant. I used this suit all summer and loved it. I kept telling my swimming partner how much I loved the wetsuit!


Victory Wetsuit -- This wetsuit is Sumarpo’s best wetsuit and is geared for the elite swimmer and triathlete. Still less expensive than its counterparts from other brands, the Victory is the crème de le crop. It is made from Yamamoto Aeroatom cells and has Nano coating. It’s a 3D Silicone GSP system and is the luxury of all wetsuits. If you are an elite open water swimmer and do marathon swims on a regular basis, you may consider purchasing the Victory wetsuit.


Buying a wetsuit can be overwhelming but by using some of the tips above, you will find the one that is right for you. Remember, Sumarpo wetsuits have a 30-day exchange policy, so if one doesn’t fit right, send it back and they will send you another one! 


Good luck and happy swimming!