How To Choose The Ultimate Surfing Wetsuit

Table of Contents

When it comes to surfing, having the right wetsuit is crucial for both comfort and performance. As water temperatures vary across different locations and seasons, it’s essential to choose a wetsuit that suits the conditions you’ll be surfing in. In this article, we will provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to choose the right surfing wetsuit based on water temperature. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced surfer, understanding the key factors involved will ensure you stay warm and protected, allowing you to focus on catching those waves.


What are the different types of wetsuits available?

Choosing the right wetsuit starts with understanding the different types available. The most common wetsuits include full suits, spring suits, and rash guards. Full suits cover the entire body and are suitable for colder temperatures. Spring suits are shorter, covering the torso and arms, making them ideal for milder conditions. Rash guards, on the other hand, provide protection against sunburn and chafing, but do not offer insulation. Knowing the purpose and features of each type will help you make an informed decision based on the water temperature you’ll be surfing in.


What is the significance of thickness in wetsuits?

Wetsuit thickness plays a crucial role in providing insulation and comfort while surfing. It is measured in millimeters (mm) and varies across different parts of the wetsuit. Thicker neoprene is more effective at retaining heat but can restrict movement. Thinner neoprene offers greater flexibility but sacrifices some warmth. Typically, wetsuits have varying thicknesses in the chest, back, and limb areas to cater to different temperature needs. Understanding the appropriate thickness for your desired water temperature is essential to ensure optimal comfort and protection.


How do you determine the right wetsuit thickness for specific water temperatures?

To determine the right wetsuit thickness, you need to consider the water temperature of your surfing location. The following guidelines can help:

  1. Warm Water (above 75°F/24°C): A wetsuit with a thickness of 1-2mm or a rash guard is recommended to protect against sunburn and skin irritation.
  2. Mild Water (65-75°F/18-24°C): A wetsuit with a thickness of 2-3mm or a spring suit is suitable to keep you comfortable in moderately cool conditions.
  3. Cool Water (55-65°F/13-18°C): A wetsuit with a thickness of 3-4mm is ideal for maintaining warmth in cooler waters.
  4. Cold Water (45-55°F/7-13°C): A wetsuit with a thickness of 4-5mm, possibly with built-in hoods and boots, is essential to stay warm in colder temperatures.
  5. Very Cold Water (below 45°F/7°C): A wetsuit with a thickness of 5mm or more, along with additional insulation like hoods, boots, and gloves, is necessary for extreme cold conditions.

Remember that individual preferences and tolerance to cold may vary. It’s always better to err on the side of caution and opt for a slightly thicker wetsuit if you’re unsure.


What are the key features to consider when choosing a surfing wetsuit?

Apart from thickness, several other features are crucial when selecting a surfing wetsuit. These include:

  1. Seams: Look for wetsuits with reinforced, glued, and blind-stitched seams to minimize water leakage and enhance durability.
  2. Zipper Type: Back zippers are common, but chest zip and zipless wetsuits offer better flexibility and reduced flushing.
  3. Material: Neoprene is the most commonly used material due to its insulation properties. High-quality neoprene provides better warmth and flexibility.
  4. Fit: A well-fitting wetsuit is essential for maximum comfort and insulation. It should be snug but not overly tight, allowing for a full range of motion.
  5. Durability: Consider the quality of construction, reinforcements in high-stress areas, and brand reputation to ensure your wetsuit will last longer.
  6. Brand and Price: Research reputable brands known for producing high-quality wetsuits. While price shouldn’t be the sole determining factor, investing in a good-quality wetsuit will offer better longevity and performance.


How should you properly maintain your surfing wetsuit?

Proper maintenance is vital to prolong the life of your wetsuit. After each surf session, rinse your wetsuit with fresh water to remove salt, sand, and other debris. Hang it to dry away from direct sunlight to prevent fading and damage. Avoid using a washing machine or dryer, as they can degrade the neoprene. Additionally, periodically clean your wetsuit with a wetsuit-specific cleaner to remove bacteria and odor. Store your wetsuit in a cool, dry place, preferably on a wide hanger to maintain its shape. Regularly inspect and repair any small tears or damage to prevent further deterioration.


Are there any additional accessories to enhance your surfing experience in different water temperatures?

In colder water temperatures, consider additional accessories to enhance your comfort and protection. These include:

  1. Hoods: Wetsuit hoods provide insulation for your head and ears, preventing heat loss in extremely cold waters.
  2. Boots: Insulated boots protect your feet from cold temperatures, sharp objects, and provide traction on slippery surfaces.
  3. Gloves: Wetsuit gloves keep your hands warm and provide grip while paddling and handling your surfboard.
  4. Rash vests: Worn underneath your wetsuit, rash vests offer an extra layer of warmth and prevent chafing.



Choosing the right wetsuit for different water temperatures is crucial for an enjoyable and safe surfing experience. By considering factors such as wetsuit types, thickness, key features, and proper maintenance, you can select the ideal wetsuit that offers the right balance of insulation, flexibility, and durability. Remember, everyone’s tolerance to cold varies, so prioritize your comfort and safety when deciding on the appropriate wetsuit for your surfing adventures. Stay warm, catch those waves, and have an incredible time in the water!

Josh Mitchell

Josh Mitchell

"I live and breath boardriding"

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