I run a surf shop in Tramore, Co Waterford, We stock a huge range of wetsuits with over 25 models to choose from, but we dont stock any triathlon suits, up until now people made do with wetsuits for the triathlons and i dont know very much about tri suits except there more bouyant and completely made from the shark skin material, most people have said our superstretch suits or shorties were perfect for what they wanted but now alot of people are not happy with the suits and saying they have been told to buy tri suits instead, so what im hoping to find out from you is how good wetsuits and shorties are compared to triathlon suits so i can give people like you proper advice when you come to my shop and also what brand/model should i sell if i organise to stock the suits!
I think the biggest difference is in terms of flexibility (apart from the smoother lining). The triathlon wetsuits are usually much more flexible around the shoulders than surfing wetsuits. It depends a little on what people will be doing what to recommend- if it's a 750m swim say, and once off triathlon, most people will probably get by with a well-fitting surfing suit they might already have. The problem is the triathlon wetsuits wear very quickly if they're used for anything else like surfing.
Big brands are Orca, 2XU and Blueseventy. They all make triathlon wetsuits and "trisuits" which are those one piece things you wear under the wetsuit and keep on for the rest of the race.
Hope that helps. Some of the others should have more info for you too!
This has come up a couple of times e/g/
Thanks for the advice
Be careful to understand the difference not only between wetsuits for tri and wetsuits for surfing, but also between wetsuits and trisuits.
As Mr Creosote points out above, a trisuit is a swimming costume type garment with padding on the seat that is worn under the wetsuit and worn right through to the end of the race. It dries quickly, prevents chafing and gives some comfort in the ass region on the bike.
Triathletes really need both items (wetsuits mandatory for open water events in Ireland, trisuits are optional but anyone who has an interest in making a time will need one), its not a case of either / or.