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Buoyancy, the key to better positioning in the water and to saving energy

Buoyancy is a factor that can help you to correct your posture in the water or conserve energy.

A material's buoyancy is its ability to float to the water's surface. In wetsuits, this can benefit us in different ways when swimming.

For swimmers who need more support at their skill level, buoyancy can help them correct their form in the water, since the wetsuit's buoyancy raises the position of their body. In models such as the Apex Flow and Athlex Flow, Orca incorporates maximum buoyancy into the legs, so that swimmers who struggle to keep their legs elevated on their own can improve their kicking technique and achieve a more hydrodynamic position that increases their speed.

For swimmers with strong technique, the buoyancy of a wetsuit can help them maintain their natural form without using up too much energy which can weaken and slow down their kick. The Apex Float and Athlex Float wetsuits allow these swimmers to maintain their positions in the water without expending excess effort.

Orca caters the buoyancy of its wetsuits according to each type of swimmer's goal by combining different thicknesses of neoprene, specialized constructions and inner linings.

Material Thickness

The panels that make up a wetsuit have different thicknesses, depending on what the suit is meant to achieve. The thicknesses alter the buoyancy of the wetsuit, that is, the thicker the panel, the greater the buoyancy of the material in that area. The thickest panels used by Orca are 5 mm thick, which have the highest buoyancy, and 4 mm thick, with a slightly lower buoyancy than the former. In most cases, both are placed in the leg area. 

3 mm-thick panels are usually placed in the chest and back areas, and 2 mm ones in the arms. To achieve greater elasticity, the minimum thickness of 1.5 mm is chosen and used in the shoulder and armpit areas. 

Different thicknesses can be combined and applied to any part of the suit to achieve the desired benefit in each specific part of the body.


Construction

The different constructions of each panel can also alter the wetsuit's buoyancy. A combination of specific types of neoprene, fabric and foam can reduce the density and water absorption of the material, giving it greater buoyancy. 

Orca has developed its own technologies and constructions that enhance the buoyancy of its wetsuits. Aerodome 2 technology combines an outer layer of neoprene, a middle layer of foam and another inner layer of neoprene, improving the buoyancy of the suit. The Athlex Flow wetsuit uses this technology in the lower body, helping to improve the swimmer's posture.

Exo-Lift technology starts with a similar construction, but uses a specific fabric between the neoprene layers that prevents water from saturating it, resulting in 0% absorption and maximum buoyancy. This technology is used in the leg area of the Apex Flow and in the torso of the Apex Float.

In addition to these two technologies, Orca uses another series of constructions to complement them and combine with them to achieve the desired buoyancy. 


Inner Lining

A suit's inner lining also plays an important role in its buoyancy. To achieve the greatest possible buoyancy, it is important that a wetsuit repels water and that its density remains intact, preventing it from sinking. 

Exo-Lift technology has a special coating that allows it to achieve 0% absorption, in addition to a middle layer between the two neoprene layers, as we have already seen. Aerodome 2 technology, on the other hand, has thinner coated layers, which manage to reduce water absorption to 3%, compared to the average 10% absorption of typical neoprene.


Within the Orca product range, you can choose from several options depending on the level of buoyancy and other characteristics you're looking for:

Triathlon:

Apex Flow: High buoyancy, elasticity and performance.

Apex Float: High buoyancy and performance.

Athlex Flow: Buoyancy and elasticity.

Athlex Float: Buoyancy.

Open Water:

RS1 Thermal: Buoyancy and cold-water swimming.

RS1 SW: Buoyancy and confidence.

Perform: Buoyancy and FINA-approved.

RS1 Sleeveless: High buoyancy in the lower body and freedom of movement in the upper body.

Core TRN: Neutral buoyancy and versatility.

Core Hi Vis: Neutral buoyancy and high visibility.

 

Having the right buoyancy, according to your level of swimming technique, will allow you to perform at your best in the water and give you the confidence and assurance you need in order to face your next open water or triathlon challenge.  

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For best results, take your measurements with no clothing on

Place the measuring tape over the widest part of your chest.

Hold one end of the measuring tape in place and circle your chest, keeping the tape straight, until the tape reaches your starting point.

Get a book, a hand mirror and a pencil.

Take off your shoes and anything you wear on your head.

Look for a level surface to stand on with a smooth wall behind you.

Stand in front of the wall with your feet together.

Balance the book on your head and press it against the wall. Use the mirror to check that it is in a horizontal position and well centered. Mark the position of the top of your head on the wall with pencil.

Once the mark is made, step away and use a measuring tape to measure the distance from the ground to the mark you just made with pencil.

Step on the scale, without clothes or accessories, and write down your weight.

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