Finding a wetsuit that fits, is in budget and suits your stroke can be a headache. Hiring could be the answer. By Jude Palmer
Angus Greenwood of Yonda Sports and Sarah Denness of Tri Wetsuit Hire have a lot in common. Both are from Yorkshire, both run small businesses and both believe that a great wetsuit has to be flexible, comfortable, be of great quality so that it lasts a long time and have good eco credentials.
For Angus, these criteria along with a career in performance materials and a leap from pool swimming into triathlon, led him to set up Yonda and the rest as they say is history. Sarah looks for the same standards but from the perspective of sourcing great wetsuits for her hire customers. She spends her time talking to real life swimmers about what they want and why; helping them to find a wetsuit with a great fit for their body shape and their preferred stroke.
Both also share the belief that by hiring out Yonda wetsuits, they are offering a different more sustainable, affordable choice to buying a wetsuit and are therefore supporting more people to get out swimming and enjoying themselves.
Over a cup of particularly strong Yorkshire tea, they told us why hiring a wetsuit has a lot of advantages.
Trying before you buy
“Wrestling yourself into a tight, rubber suit on land is one way of seeing if it fits,” suggests Angus, “but there is nothing like getting into water to work out on how your shoulders feel or how much buoyancy you have. Hiring means you can do this as many times you like and if you then love your suit you can buy it.”
Dipping your toe without the commitment of owning a wetsuit
According to Sarah, “A wetsuit can be a great investment and lead to many adventures but if you are not sure open water is for you, a short-term hire is much affordable. The same applies if you fancy a spot of winter swimming and want to use a wetsuit but will ditch it for the rest of the year.”
The more times a wetsuit is used the better
“When it comes to sustainability, lots of people using a wetsuit many times over makes it more ecological than lots of people buying individual wetsuits that may not be fully used throughout the year,” suggests Angus. “Whilst at Yonda we use one of the most environmentally friendly neoprenes, Yamamoto, we also recognise that there are other things we can do such as hiring, repairing and recycling wetsuits which support a circular economy. Many of us have unused clothing or equipment in our cupboards and hiring is one way to avoid amassing clutter and means less energy, materials are used in the first place.”
If your body shape changes so can your wetsuit
“For whatever reason your body shape changes, hiring a wetsuit means you can ensure that you have a wetsuit that makes you feel awesome. We take great pride in helping find the wetsuit that does this for someone,” notes Sarah.
One size does not fit all
“There is no doubt that the popularity of open water swimming has grown and at the same time so has the diversity of the swimmers (although we definitely still have a way to go) and range of body shapes.
Taking the time to speak to people has been key,” says Sarah. “We have seen a real shift in the kind of swimming people do outdoors and hiring means we can adapt quickly and also encourage brands like Yonda to meet customer needs, for example, Angus has responded by making an increased size range and wetsuits to suit curves.”
Change stroke, change suit
“Not all wetsuits are equal when it comes to the type of stroke you want to swim,” remarks Angus. “Our Yonda Spook is ideal for breaststroke, as it has less buoyancy making it easier to get a good body position and kick action, whereas if front crawl is more your thing, try the Yonda Spectre. If you change your favourite stroke or learn a new one, hiring a wetsuit can keep you ahead of the game.”
With so many reasons to try out hiring a wetsuit there is only one thing these two don’t agree on and that is the age-old question of, to wee or not to wee in your wetsuit.
“If you own it, go right ahead,” smirks Angus but is quickly overruled by Sarah, “we would prefer you didn’t but we do make sure every wetsuit that leaves us for hire feels like brand new.”
So, if you are in the market for a wetsuit, why not see if hire suits you.
Jude Palmer is an Open Water Swim Coach and experienced swimrunner. When not in cold water you will find her out on the trails. @runsurreyhills