Can I wear a wetsuit for the triathlon? – Triathlete

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of course you can wear a surf suit for the triathlon. There are no rules against it, unless it happens thicker than 5mm– and literally thousands of triathletes have done so in the sport’s relatively short history. As long as you don’t care about a few critical stares from triathlon elitists, a surf suit will do a great job of keeping you warm in temperatures as low as 55 degrees F. But that’s about all you need. she will do for you. If you’re looking for buoyancy, flexibility, and a quick T1 exit, maybe it’s better to have no wetsuit than a wetsuit.

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When you should consider wearing a wetsuit during a triathlon

Let me tell you a little story about my good friend Marcus. When we were both 25, he came to live with me in San Diego for a month so he could train for his first Ironman in Arizona. Like me, he was a former collegiate water polo player, so he had no worries about swimming, but he had to hurry to get his cycling and running in order.

The problem was that he also wanted to learn to surf as he was moving to New Zealand. The day he arrived, he bought a surfboard and wetsuit on Craigslist, and I really didn’t see him much for the next four weeks. He surfed more than six hours a day and spent the hours in between road biking at various beaches with his board and wetsuit in a small trailer he also found on Craigslist. He didn’t run once during that month.

On race day in Tempe, Marcus had no money for a tri suit and thought he would be slower in the surf suit, so he entered Tempe Town Lake as one of three people not wearing a wetsuit (water temp was in the low 60’s). Given his solid swimming background, I expected him to be out of the water in about 55 minutes, so I started to worry once the clock hit 1:05. Then I was really worried at 1:15 a.m. and started scouring the decks for him.

At 1:35 a.m., his massive 6ft 5in figure stumbled out of the water and collapsed under a stampede of volunteers. Marcus is usually very pale, but every inch of his skin was as red as a raspberry. He was suffering from hypothermia, and not a mild case either. Someone grabbed towels and blankets to wrap him up and asked him if he wanted to go to the medical tent. I let him know that entering the medical tent would mean his day was over. It took him a good minute to speak. “No, just let me sit here and warm up and I’ll be fine.”

RELATED: How to Prepare for a Cold Water Triathlon

About 15 minutes later he made his way to T1, and 10 minutes later he was on his bike and his skin was beginning to regain its typical lack of pigment. In total, his small episode of hypothermia cost him about an hour. If he had just used the surf suit, he might have lost a few minutes due to the lack of flexibility, but it would have been significantly less uncomfortable than hypothermia.

That was a long way of saying that the only time you should consider doing a triathlon in a wetsuit is if the water is cold enough to cause hypothermia, and that’s your only option. Some wetsuits will actually do a better job of keeping you warm. Otherwise, triathlon wetsuit brands have done a great job of introducing affordable entry-level options in recent years, and most will cost less than a sprint run.

If you plan to wear a surf suit in a triathlon, a few tips…

“Before you think about doing your first wetsuit triathlon, I suggest you get in the pool or open water and swim at least 500 meters to see what it feels like,” said Marcin Sochacki, wetsuit engineer. with 30 years of experience and the founder of Rocket Science Sports. “It won’t give you much buoyancy, but if you’re not too restricted and just trying to stay warm, there’s no need to invest in another wetsuit.”

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Wetsuit for Sorting: A Better Option

The difference between a $250 wheelset and a $2500 wheelset is huge. The difference between a $150 wetsuit and a $950 wetsuit is relatively small, especially for someone new to open water. The fact that there are several triathlon wetsuits on the market right now for over $1,000 seems crazy, but these are designed for the top 1%, or the 10% who want to pretend to be the top 1% rich.

“Wetsuit brands saw where the triathlon market was going a few years ago and they adapted,” Sochacki said. “Many brands, including ours, have discovered that it is possible to make a really good wetsuit and sell it for $150-$175.”

If you don’t want the discomfort of a wetsuit and don’t want to end up like Marcus, there are plenty of options for under $200.



Rocket Science Sports ONE Fullsuit


The Rocket Science Sports One wetsuit is a good alternative to wearing a surf wetsuit during a triathlon

Zone3 Sleeveless Vision


The Zone3 Sleeveless is a good alternative to wearing a wetsuit for a tri

Post Scriptum

After later wearing a surf suit in an Ironman swim, Marcus completed Ironman Arizona in just over 15 hours. He now divides his time between China and Cincinnati (as we do), working as a rock climbing and white-water rafting guide. He’s a phenomenal surfer.

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