I posted in the HIM forum, but not everyone has access to that.
What's the consensus on full vs sleeveless wet suit? Is it just personal preference?
How should it fit?
Two factors you should take into consideration when choosing between sleeveless and full length.
1) The temperature of the water. The colder the water, the better it is to use full length. This depends on preference. When I did IM-CDA, the water temps were in the low 60s so I had no choice to use a full length.
2) The distance of the race. The shorter the race, the better chance to use sleeveless. Mainly this would be because of the ease of getting off the wetsuit.
Personally, I prefer sleeveless over full length (even though I do own both). The advantage of sleeveless is that you are able to get better shoulder rotation and are not as restricted as a full length suit. All in all, it mainly comes down to personal preference.
The question I've always had is whats the point of wearing a sleeveless in a shorter race at all though? Isn't the small benefit I gain from the buoyancy lost in the time it takes to get it off?
I'm 100% with Hugh on this one. I've only ever owned a sleeveless and it's been fine for every race I've done in the past 3 years (including a lake swim in Alaska). Sleeveless is definitely going to be more 'comfortable' for a swimmer.
Also only crazy people do cold weather races.
A full wetsuit is faster... unless you are a swimming machine like Hugh! I have used by full wetsuit in water temps ranging from about 60 to just below the wetsuit limit of 78 with no problems. Perhaps the decision comes down to if you are a strong swimmer or not.
Agree with Kev. I have a DeSoto two-piece suit. Less restriction to the shoulder (top moves independent from bottom) and never felt too warm, despite temp near cutoff. Also agree with point about strong swimmer.