Wetsuit question

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Anonymous's picture

I know this is a cycling forum, but I'm there are lots of triathletes that post here. I just tried out my new Orca Predator 2 wetsuit for the first time today in the pool. I definitely felt some water get in through the back, a little in the arms and a little in the legs. Are wetsuits supposed to keep you completely dry, or is it normal for some water to get in? Thanks.


Anonymous's picture
Michael Casey (not verified)
it's normal

The wetsuit traps a thin layer of water between it and your skin. Your body heat warms the water and you don't turn into a popsicle.

Anonymous's picture
Evan Marks (not verified)
Even a drysuit isn't totally dry inside

A wetsuit uses your body heat to warm up the water inside it - the thicker the suit, the more heat is retained at the price of decreased flexibility. The tighter the seals around the openings (wrists, ankles, and neck) the greater the heat retention but also with a price - discomfort. It's common practice to pee in a wetsuit to warm it up after it initially fills with cold water - people who've never worn one think this is disgusting.

Drysuits use tight seals around the openings to prevent water entry - the suits can be loose and flexible, you can wear clothes underneath, but if water gets past a seal it doesn't get back out the way it does with a wetsuit.

Anonymous's picture
Judith Tripp (not verified)
Wetsuits and peeing

"I have been a triathlete since 1994 and never heard that! I don't think people pee in it to warm it up, and yes I think that's disgusting as well. People go if they have to go. Personally I usually find it difficult and wait for the port-a-potty on the beach or wherever. Wetsuits don't ""fill up with cold water"". They are supposed to fit closely and water seeps in but it seems to warm up fairly fast, I have never thought about it and don't think it is an issue, certainly not worth peeing about."

Anonymous's picture
Banana Guy (not verified)
Who put the P in pool?

I believe our esteemed colleague, Evan, was referring to cold-water divers.

Anonymous's picture
Judith Tripp (not verified)
Well perhaps he was!

I don't know. But Tim is not a cold water diver, he is apparently a triathlete. Anyway, Tim, you made a great choice of suit. I have never had an Orca but they are among the best; a lot of pros wear them, they're top of the heap. (Don't make a habit of wearing it in the pool. Chlorine does funny things to them. OK to just test it out once though.)

Anonymous's picture
Evan Marks (not verified)
cold water windsurfing, actually

The same, but different. The first time you get launched over your sail you find out that wetsuits, and sometimes even drysuits, do indeed fill up with cold water. In a hurry.

Spending a long day in a wetsuit (hours and hours, rather than one leg of a triathlon) changes your ideas about what you're comfortable with, especially when the wrestling matches of getting in and out of a damp wetsuit are taken into account.

You should also know about sea urchin stings, something else that can change your mind:

(4th paragraph)

Anonymous's picture
Yogi (not verified)
Bodily Fluids in the bike portion.

Don’t tell me this is going to crossover to the paceline :-/

I’d take shrapnel from a Snot Rocket any day.

Anonymous's picture
mike (not verified)

peeing in a wet suit is a favorite tradition , you don't have to if you don't want to, but you dont know what your missing

Anonymous's picture
Fred Cohen (not verified)
Triathlon peeing

"This whole triathlon peeing issue is confusing at best.

I did my second triathlon a couple of weeks ago, the Sunday after Ivan.

The air temperature was very cold, so I scurried into my wet suit(also an Orca) for warmth, got it all zipped up and then realized I had to go.

Thinking I would pee in the water, I jumped in and swam around a little, and then tried to do the wicked deed. But years of training to not pee in the water made it impossible.

Then the race started. The official race notes described the sea conditions as a ""washing machine"".

So for a 1 mile swim, I got tossed around like a cork, had other swimmers dumped on top of me by the swells, and felt like my bladder was going to burst.

In retrospect, I wouldn't have had it any other way.

Finally, I got to a (truly disgusting) porta potty, and then with much relief, started the bike leg.

I guess this is all part of the experience.

By the way, has anybody got the sock thing figured out?


Anonymous's picture
Judith Tripp (not verified)
Sock thing?

What sock thing, Fred, ask away, I've been doing this for years, all distances, have seen everything and done most of it.

Anonymous's picture
Fixer (not verified)
Sock it to me!

"The ""sock thing"" is an old trick usually employed by ballet dancers and rock stars. It makes you look more... um, masculine.

What it's got to do with peeing in the pool I'll never know, but those tri-boys are a funny bunch."

Anonymous's picture
Fred Cohen (not verified)
Not that sock thing!

Talk about a miscommunication!

I'm just looking to enhance my TRIATHLON experience. (And I don't mean by impressing some ballet dancer)

Do you wear socks for the bike?

Do you wear socks for the run?

How do you keep your toes from getting bruised?

This sport can get complicated, even without fixers (unnecessray - thank you very much) helpful suggestion.

Anonymous's picture
Judith Tripp (not verified)
Other sock thing

Some crossed posts here, as we sort out the sock thing. It's personal preference, Fred, I put on Smartwool socks and wear them for the bike and the run. Some people do not put on socks for the bike but they do for the run. Experiment. As for bruised toe nails, much written on this topic. I never used to get them, but now, for the last 5 years or so, they are a permanent fixture on one foot. You can try larger shoes, and/or lacing your shoes tighter so your feet don't push into the front of the shoe, etc.

Anonymous's picture
Yogi (not verified)
Tri D's Socks

Yes, I figured it out few years ago. The sock always goes on before the shoe, it’ll take minutes off your time in transition( :-)

Don’t pee in your socks either, it’s not anymore comfortable.

Anonymous's picture
Fred Cohen (not verified)
Women are from Venus

Hi Judith:

Why are men so obsessed with the size of their socks?

Anonymous's picture
Judith Tripp (not verified)

"I meant to put in my post ""unless it is a really specific male thing"" . . . which I might not then know about . . . and no I have never heard, not even from my male triathlon friends, about any ""sock thing""!!!!"

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