Triathlon Wetsuit Guide – Part 1 – Entry Level Suits


Wetsuits are an important item in any a triathlete’s arsenal. They’re great for beginners who need a bit of confidence in the open water and also season pro’s who are looking to snip seconds off their time.

The main benefits of a Wetsuit are as follows:

Buoyancy: It will ensure you are kept afloat! You’ll be able to focus on your technique without the fears of sinking when you tire.

Warmth: Wetsuits are designed to allow a small amount of trapped water in which will heat up during activity and keep you warm.

Speed: Reduced drag and the improved bouyancy will help keep your body in the optimum position and will help propel you to the finish line.

Energy: Swimming is the first stage of a triathlon so saving as much energy as you can for the forthcoming Cycle and Run is vital. Technique is king but a wetsuit will most certainly help you to avoid expending more energy than you otherwise would do

Picking The Right Wetsuit For You

Fit is critical” says former Team GB Olympic coach Dan Salcido. Too tight and you will not be mobile enough and too loose and the wetsuit will have a constant flow of water. Being able to try on the wetsuit first is ideal to ensure you’re picking the correct size.

We have a wide range of stock at The Edge and stock the best brands and wetsuits on the planet! However if this isn’t possible inspect the size charts, should you fall between two sizes weight is considered a more important barometer than height.

Neoprene is the primary material used to manufacture wetsuits. Wetsuits will come in different Neoprene thickness and quality. Entry level wetsuits tend to be thicker and more buoyant whilst the elite versions thinner and more flexible.

Sealed Neck Lines are pivotal to ensure your wetsuit is not gulping water whilst you swim. A tight yet comfortable neck line will ensure you’re comfortable breathing and also restricts water seeping through

Those of you who are new to Triathlon are likely to want a wetsuit with thick Neoprene (around 5mm) and high visibility for reassurance that you will be easily seen.

Types of Wetsuit

Full Sleeve

Full Sleeve wetsuits are generally quicker and would be considered the norm. They are more buoyant and hydrodynamic than their sleeveless siblings.


Having greater shoulder mobility is the key reason some triathlete’s prefer sleeveless wetsuits, however technology has greatly improved in the last decade or so with manufactures designing wetsuits to a level where the full sleeve doesn’t impact the motion as much as it once did. Even so, the feel of more freedom is attractive to a small contingent of swimmers!

Best Wetsuit For Your First Triathlon


Picking your first wetsuit can be a daunting task with so many to choose from. If you’re looking for an affordable wetsuit with high visibility then you might consider the Orca Open Water.


With bright orange panels you can feel safe in the knowledge you’re visible whilst out in the elements. It is also very thin in the arm and shoulder areas which means you will have good flexibility and your technique will not suffer as a consequence.

It’s also great for those who are more experienced in Triathlon who are looking for a wetsuit for training that doesn’t give quite so much assistance in terms of buoyancy or positioning in the water and allows you to work on your swim technique.

A key drawback would be that it hasn’t got the thickest neoprene (2.5mm in the thickest area) and therefore is not as buoyant or warm as some other options like the Athlex Float discussed below, and has no built in bells or whistles such as extra buoyancy on the hips for helping to stabilise you in the water and improve your roll.  If your primary concern is being visible and not spending too much on a robust Swimming / Triathlon Wetsuit then the Open Water wins hands down.

Here you can find our selection of Orca Open Water Wetsuits

The Orca Athlex Float is the step-up from the Open Water which is  equipped with thicker neoprene and therefore more insulation and buoyancy. With strategically placed thicker neoprene (4.5mm) there is a sizeable difference in buoyancy and warmth which helps those who are not the most confident in the water.  For swimming in Irish waters this is the most suitable Orca entry level option and is available for a very reasonable €246.05.

The Orca Athlex Float can be found in-store or on our website.

If you would like to find out more about purchasing a wetsuit don’t hesitate to contact us in-store, on the phone on 021 432 0522 or via email at [email protected]



Love to cycle, run and swim!

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