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A wetsuit is a piece of clothing intended to be worn in cold water, in order to keep the wearer warm. A modern wetsuit is mostly made from neoprene and lined with a nylon fabric in order to make it easy to put on and take off.

A wetsuit works by allowing a small amount of water into the suit, and then trapping this thin layer of water between the skin and the neoprene, which body heat then warms up. The neoprene itself insulates this warm layer against the surrounding water. A close fit is therefore essential in order for the suit to work, as too loose a fit will simply allow the warm layer to flush away.

There is some controversy over who invented the wetsuit. Most say it was Jack O'Neill who started using neoprene, which he found lining the floor of an airliner, to make a simple vest[?]. He went on to found the successful wetsuit manufacturer, O'Neill. On the other hand, Bob and Bill Meistrell[?], a couple of kids from Manhattan Beach, California, claim to have started experimenting with neoprene around 1953. Their company would later be named Body Glove.

Wetsuits come in different thicknesses depending on the conditions for which it is intended. The thicker the suit, the warmer it will keep the wearer, but mobility will be restricted. A wetsuit is normally described in terms of its thickness. For instance, a wetsuit with a torso[?] thickness of 5mm and a limb thickness of 3mm will be described as a "5/3" Different types of wetsuit are available, from a "shorty" (short arms, short legs) to a "longjohn" (full length arm and legs).

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