I'd like to swim and surf in the Pacific, but the water a bit too cold for me to be comfortable. I used to rent wetsuits but due to Covid and in order to save money I am thinking of purchasing my own.
The problem is that I am apparently chunkier around the waistline than the average wetsuit model. When I look at size charts, my chest will typically be M or L, while my waist will fall into 1-2 sizes larger (L or XL). It seems like my options here are:
- Buy one that matches my waist and accept that the chest will be a bit loose (if it lets a small amount of cold water I can accept that)
- Buy based on my chest and accept that squeezing my belly into it will take some effort (and optimistically hope that the problem will take care of itself)
- Try to get something in the middle, so that BOTH the chest AND the waist measurements are off, but either one is less off than if I had tried to match one measurement exactly
Which one of these is the more logical option for a 3/2 or 4/3 mm wetsuit? Does it matter (as far as fit) if I wear a vest under the wetsuit?
My recent experience with rentals has been pretty good. My belly would fit fine and my chest would have a small amount of slack, but the water in that chest slack would stay warm and I wouldn't have cold water getting in. Getting in and out of the suit was not unusually difficult. Unfortunately I didn't pay much attention to the measurements of my rental suits -- I just let the rental shop look me over and guess my size, and they've tended to be right.
I understand that the ultimate way of resolving this is to simply try some suits on and see what fits best. Unfortunately, due to Covid I am not willing/able to do this. I am willing to simulate the process by simply ordering a few sizes online and returning what doesn't fit, but of course I cannot try dozens of suits in this way. So I want to narrow things down a bit. If I end up picking one company I could of course get the 2-3 sizes that match me, but approach might not work if I want to compare the fits of different manufacturers.