Yesterday was the hottest day in Calgary this year. My friend Mike had offered up access to his community lake for anyone on our team doing Great White North this weekend. With only two open water swims under my belt this year (one practice swim in June, then my Wasa Lake race) I jumped at the chance. I was looking forward to swimming in the cool water on a hot day, but not really looking forward to struggling into my hot, black, rubber wetsuit!
Many of my friends quickly slipped into their wetsuits and I was struggling to pull mine up. I finally had my arms in and then I felt it.
There was a massive rip along the inside seam of my suit. And did I mention that it is race week too??? I’ll be honest, I knew this was probably my last year with this wetsuit. I bought it used back in 2009 and you could tell it didn’t have a lot of life left in it. No surprise it tore, and thank goodness it didn’t happen on race morning!
I still got zipped up and swam in the lake but I felt like I’d completely forgotten how to swim. My legs were sinking, my chest was tight, my goggles were fogging up. Maybe not quite the afternoon I’d hoped for. I aborted my first lap and called it a day.
Luckily my friend Richelle at Tri-It saw my wetsuit plight on Facebook and offered to pull a few suits for me to try on at lunch today. If they didn’t have something that fit I could borrow a suit from a friend but I was optimistic I’d find something! She sent me a few names and brands of suits that she wanted me to try on so I could research appropriately ahead of time, then made my way there over lunch.
First up I tried the Nineteen Rogue. The tiger stripes look pretty wild!
This suit was a little different because it zips from the top to the bottom. The fit in the chest and arms felt very flexible but I thought the neckline felt like it might have been a bit too high. On to the next suit!
Next up was the Huub Axena. As soon as fellow triathlete buddies found out I was shopping for a wetsuit I heard immediate cries of how much they love their Huub suits so I was keen to try this one on.
It has some very stretchy panels in the biceps and calfs allowing for greater flexibility and range of movement that I really liked. The neck is also very flexible. The critical fit areas on the suit were just as good as on the Nineteen but I liked the fit through the neck and chest better.
Next up was the Orca 3.8 suit, Richelle’s favourite! By now getting wetsuits on was getting tougher (tired hands, sweaty) and I had to hurry back to work for a meeting. I called it a day and decided to go for the Huub as I was really happy with the fit and I’ve heard nothing but glowing reviews from people that already own the suit.
I didn’t want to wear my wetsuit for the first time at the race on Sunday and luckily I had some teammates I could meet at Lake Chaparral for a quick swim tonight. The difference in the Huub versus my old Blue Seventy was amazing. I had so much flexibility in my arms! It didn’t feel like I was choking! I felt like my body position was very close to how I swim in the pool. I loved the suit and felt a bit sad that I only had time for a very quick swim. The verdict so far? Two thumbs up.
Are you still wearing your first wetsuit or have you ever had unfortunate timing on a huge tear prior to a race?