I'm doing San Juan HIM next month and am finally getting to that part where I figure out what I plan on wearing. The races is virtually guaranteed to not be wetsuit legal.
What are your thoughts on skin suits? Do they offer much of an advantage over just wearing my tri shorts (or a tri suit)? Being a regular age grouper with no plans of placing, I'm not terribly concerned about something that may shave off a small amount of swim time, especially since i'll have to shed it in T1?
Look at the results of the Olympics in the brief moments that they were allowed. You are looking at milliseconds or tenths of a second per 100 meters over a 100-800 m event. Out in the open waters over a HIM distance swim in a triathlon, I would say that the advantage is negligible. Whatever that you may gain is negated by the time it takes to disrobed and put away your skin suit in T1.
All the pros wear skinsuits at Kona so there must be an advantage. However that advantage may be somewhat reduced with the WTC rule change allowing only textile skinsuits. Nevertheless, I plan to get one for IM Louisville! The general rule for most triathlon equipment: buy it if you can afford it.
I think the advantage they add is that, while they don't provide any buoyancy, they are slicker through the water than your tri suit. Especially if your tri jersey fits a little loosely or if you've got pockets on the back the provide drag.
I have the cheapest Xterra speed suit and it comes off WAY EASIER than a wetsuit.
If you can afford it, go for it. I think I got mine on a sale for ~$125 and it was worth it. If nothing else, I just felt a little faster and it was good for my confidence.
i second what everyone else says.
if you have the disposable income and can easily afford it more power to you buy it!!! and then give us a product review so that others can consider whether its worth it or not.
on the flip side,
if you don't have the money or its going to put you in a financial bind of sorts to buy it, take heart in that almost all of this "go fast" equipment usually gives the user slight/minimal gains or no gain on race day and you are not "losing out" to other competitors in the long run.
My personal opinion is that most of the gains are mental gains that are the true source of going faster, ie, you go faster because you "think" you can go faster on better equipment (but hey i could be wrong).
good luck with whatever you do.
Thanks for the advice all.
I think for San Juan I am going to stick with my Tri Shorts and see how I feel. I'm taking a leap and going for the full in November so I can re-evaluate for that race as to whether I "need" one.
This way, I'll also have given my bank account some time to recover from my recent bike purchase!