Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The role of the humble wetsuit in extending the tourist season

At the weekend I was ruminating with my brother, Marhamchurch Man, who returned to one of his favourite themes. In the old days (yes, I am getting on), you didn't see any wetsuits on Cornwall's surf beaches. Nowadays, virtually every one wears a wetsuit when they take a dip in the old briny.

Fair enough. We're a bunch of sissies or, alternatively, we've got some sense.

In the old days however, due to being frozen to death except when the water was warmish, people tended to shy away from surfing on all but sunny days.

As a result, the tourist season in the West Country, which used to last six weeks, has been extended. This is because people now know they can go swimming in the sea even if the weather is a bit dodgy.

It is an interesting theory. Because it comes from Marhamchurch Man, I tend to give it confident credence. And it is excellent news, because in the old days the very short season used to mean that there were some people sitting round doing nothing for all but six weeks of the year. But now, some seasonal employment lasts a little longer than it used to. And places like this can sell lots of wetsuits. Hurrah!


  1. It could extend your life, too. Get into cold water, your peripheral circulation shuts down (especially in you skinny chaps) and your blood pressure rises, which can cause heart attacks, esp in middle aged men. If the insane urge to swim unsuited continues (or you are ever rash enough to fall off a boat), once you get in do nothing for a couple of minutes to let your circulation sort itself out.

  2. Thank you for that comment, Peter. I do enjoy your authoritative advice.

  3. I paid £75 for that Sea Survival course and not (yet) having had to abandon a boat, I've got to get some value out of it, dammit.