A new wetsuit for lake swimmers

A wetsuit just for lake swimmers.

That is the dream of Wanaka design engineer Eddie Spearing.

Mr Spearing is the organiser of the annual Ruby Swim held in Lake Wanaka in the middle of summer.

He believes lake swimmers need a wetsuit that can extend the swimming season further into the cooler months.

Eddie Spearing, of Wanaka, models his freshwater wet suit. Photo: Mark Price
Eddie Spearing, of Wanaka, models his freshwater wet suit. Photo: Mark Price

Mr Spearing said Lake Wanaka varied between 8.5degC and 19degC, but sat mostly between 11.5degC and 15.5degC.

"The numbers of active lake swimmers tends to fall away in those temperatures," he said.

"Traditional swim wetsuits are not really made for any sort of extended time in cooler waters."

The new wetsuits have panels containing a layer of titanium, which helps retain body heat.

The panels are of different thicknesses — from 1.5mm to 5mm — to minimise restrictions on arm and shoulder movement.

And the suits are also more buoyant than salt water suits."To create a streamlined position means altering the swimmer’s buoyancy profile.

"Since there has not been a wetsuit designed with a buoyancy profile specifically for fresh water use, we decided to create one."

The suits are brightly coloured so swimmers can be more easily seen.

"With increasing numbers of open water swimmers and lake craft on the water, this is an important attribute," he said.

Mr Spearing has been working on the project for over a year.

So far, 30 swimmers have put up their hand for a suit on the  PledgeMe website, but another  70 are required to interest a manufacturer.

The suits are being designed with mid-range ability swimmers in mind.


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