The gulf coast of Texas typically has mild weather most of the year, but at times we experience a phenomenon where the air temperature is lowering but the water temperature remains relatively warm. There are also plenty of times where the water is pleasant but a blowing cold wind will make you shiver in the line up. Much of the time I counter this by wearing a 2mm surf shirt because having long sleeves is an asset in these kind of conditions. Yet when the water temperature dips slightly more, a little more coverage would be nice but it is still not time to put on the fullsuit. For me the typical springsuit with short arms and legs does not do the job either.
The short legs of the springsuit are fine because even when the water temperature is in the low 70s my legs don’t get that cold. I do find that even a light breeze will make me feel chilled in the line up and I would rather be able to stay out until I am too tired instead of coming in because I am too cold.
Today I tried on a long sleeved springsuit for the first time. I really did not know what to expect since I equate long sleeves with either my surf jacket or my full suit. In both cases the long sleeves are associated with a restriction of movement that makes paddling a greater effort.
The springsuit I tried was the Xcel Women’s Xflex 2mm and I really liked it. I was a little leery about trying on a wetsuit. Being a veteran of many a putting on the fullsuit battles I was expecting this to be a bit of a chore. Not at all. The sleeves are a combination of neoprene and what they call SmoothSkin and they stretched remarkably well. The back zip was fine and the suit fit snug but not restrictive.
The lower half of the suit is flexible material and although it was not restrictive in the seat I found the legs a little too snug. The legs were shorter than my springsuit but thankfully longer than some that are made like single piece swimsuits. The legs hit about the upper mid thigh range for the regular size. Unfortunately that is the thickest part of my thigh so they sort of dug in. I suppose that tight fit would keep out water, but I think I would prefer a different length or a looser fit. I would have tried on the larger size but this surf shop had poor selection. The suit also comes in a tall version which they did not have. I would suppose the tall version might hit me a little closer to mid thigh. The size I tried on would work, but according to the size guide on the suit I probably might do better with the next size higher or maybe the tall version of that size.
So I left the shop without the springsuit but now I can keep my eye out online and shop for either the tall version or the next size up. What I liked most about it were those long stretchable sleeves.