Spearfishing Wetsuits 101 — Different Types and Styles

The underwater hunting experience calls for good protection, and that’s what spearfishing wetsuits are for.

But you can’t just pick the first one you see without knowing the type of spearfishing wetsuit you need for your dive. 

spearfishing wetsuits 101
A good quality wetsuit makes for a great experience. Source: Ismail Hamza POLAT

Spearos know that hunting for fish is challenging and not a quick endeavor. Here’s a quick guide on what your wetsuits can do to make your hunt bearable. 

If you’re looking into purchasing the best spearfishing wetsuit, check out our guide: 7 Best Spearfishing Wetsuits for 2021

Listen to More Spearfishing Tips on the Cast & Spear Podcast

Spearfishing Wetsuit Material

Spearfishing wetsuits use a neoprene material, which traps a lot of nitrogen bubbles to help insulate and keep you warm. Wth the neoprene being quite fragile despite being a good insulator, depending on the style, you’ll need to be extra careful when putting it on and taking it off.

There are two types of neoprenes styles for suits – open-cell and closed-cell. 

  • Open-Cell Neoprene– This style has raw neoprene without any covering and serves as a lining inside for better insulation. 
  • Closed-Cell Neoprene– This neoprene style has a nylon covering, adding strength and durability to the material and decreasing stretch. It won’t provide as much warmth as open-cell, however.

Why Do You Need a Spearfishing Wetsuit?

Environmental Protection

When you decide to go spearfishing, you should know that you will be exposed to a brutal environment, such as the sun, rocks, and reefs. With this knowledge, you get to prepare for it and pick the right wetsuit for your dive.

Your wetsuit will protect you against the sun, as your sunscreen can only protect you to some extent. Plus, wetsuits are made to be abrasion-resistant, so you won’t be worried too much if you are exposed to rocks and reefs.

Thermal Protection

If you’re lucky, you live in a warm water area where you can throw on some sunscreen some board shorts, and grab your spearo gear, and have the best time ever.

For everyone else, you’re going to need a wetsuit as it protects your body from cold water and reduces your risk of getting hypothermia. 

Gear & Fish Protection

Many spearfishing wetsuits come in camouflage colors, and this helps you stay hidden from many species underwater. This prevents you from spooking your target and protects you against animals that sting like jellyfish.

Once you’ve speared a fish, you want to brain it, and sometimes, the fish invokes revenge by thrashing around. Your suit will serve as your protection from slices and pokes your fish could give.

Additionally, your suit has a chest pad or loading pad that protects you from your speargun when you’re loading it. 

Types of Wetsuits

Two-Piece Wetsuit

Two-piece spearfishing wetsuits provide more warmth at your core because they tend to have an overlap of material between the leg piece and the upper body piece.

These suits are way too comfortable, making them common to many spearos! You can choose between a high-waisted design and a farmer john style, depending on your preference.

They tend to be open-cell neoprene, which means you’ll need lubrication to get on, but once they are on, they’ll feel like a second skin.

One-Piece Wetsuit

The one-piece full-body wetsuit is similar to that of a surfer’s wetsuit, but they differ in padding. Most surfing wetsuits have a little knee padding but not much else. Make sure your wetsuit has the chest pad for loading your roller speargun; otherwise, you’re going to be having lots of bruises.

This suit is more common when you’re spearfishing in warm water, as it doesn’t tend to protect you from cold water. The zipper in the back allows entry of water into the suit easily, and you don’t have the hood and thicker wetsuit feature that adds to your protection from the cold. 

Listen to More Spearfishing Tips on the Cast & Spear Podcast

Farmer Johns vs. High Waisted

Open-cell neoprene two-piece suits come in two styles: Farmer John and high waist.

Farmer John’s is an overall style, meaning the bottom portion will be held up with two shoulder straps. This piece covers a majority of your body even before the top is put on. This provides extra warmth for the diver.

The high-waisted style has the bottoms come up around the belly button and is not held up with anything except friction from your skin. This style will provide a bit less warmth, but it’s easier to take off if you need to use the restroom compared to the Farmer John style.

Insider Advice

It’s almost always wise to throw on a wetsuit. Water pulls heat away from the body more efficiently than air does.

Therefore, even though you don’t feel like you’re cold, water colder than your internal temperature still makes your body work harder to maintain body temperature, which makes you tired.

Jon Stenstrom
Founder & Angler
Jon Stenstrom is a fishing enthusiast. He has over 25 years of fishing experience, and 6 years of spearfishing experience, and is currently learning how to boat. Jon has his Open Water PADI Certification and FII Freediver Level 1 Certification. Jon has traveled the world to fish and dive, most notably in the Great Barrier Reef, Baja Mexico, Thailand, and Malaysia. More Articles
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