Intro & FAQ
Yes, the summer was nice, but I’m sure everyone has been dreaming about the more consistent winter swells. Fewer crowds, more parking spots, and powerful waves mean that the well-favored wild surfing season is right around the corner!
Getting a wetsuit for the right weather and size can be an overwhelming task to some, but fortunately, there are a ton of choices to choose from, when getting a winter wetsuit.
Read our guide to buying a winter wetsuit for women down below:
How to choose a wetsuit?
- Determine how often will you be surfing
- Choose a price range – premium, mid-range or entry-level
- Choose the thickness – 5/4 or 4/3. Check out the water temperatures at your local break
- Choose the model you like – Back-Zip, chest zip or zipless
- Check the right SIZE as each manufacturer has slightly different size charts. Important!
- Enjoy surfing and take care of the wetsuit!
Surf wetsuit is the SECOND-MOST EXPENSIVE gear item after the surfboard
What is the difference between a Springer and the Steamer wetsuit?
The name steamer comes from the steam of hot air that leaves the suit after getting out of it in colder temperatures.
- All steamer wetsuits are full suits – that cover the entire body, while the spring suits range from the short sleeve / short leg / long jane spring suits to full suits.
- Steamer wetsuits have all Glued and Blindstitched seals (GBS) to minimize the water leakage inside the suit.
- Steamer wetsuits have insulated fleece in the torso (sometimes the whole suit) area
- Steamer wetsuit is usually considered from 4/3 thickness and thicker, while a Springer wetsuit is considered from 1mm to 3/2mm. Yes, a 3/2 is considered a winter wetsuit in some parts of the world as well (Winter? Pheh.)
- It is also advisable to wear boots, gloves, and hoodies with a steamer, whereas using a springsuit it’s not that common.
One-piece surf suit or two-piece wetsuit? Most surfing wetsuits are one-piece surf suits, while the alternative cold-water wetsuits for diving are two pieced wetsuit where the pants and jersey come separately. I haven’t noticed any of those models used in surfing, and there’s a reason for that. Diving wetsuits are not as flexible therefore not suitable for surfing but can be used for cold-water surf photographers.
Are steamer more expensive than spring suits? Generally yes, since there are more technology and features involved making one. Although a premium springsuit can cost more than a mid-range steamer etc.
Is it hard to paddle in a steamer? Although the steamers are thicker than springers, the difference is not that noticeable. The better wetsuit you are going to get, the more freedom of movement there is due to premium materials. Premium wetsuits are pricier for a reason!
Ladies wetsuit = Female’s wetsuit = Women’s wetsuit
There’s no wrong answer, but a bigger variety of steamers are equipped with the chest zipper. Especially in high-end wetsuits. Down here you’ll also find a few zipless female wetsuits.
Back-Zip wetsuits are known for their easy exit/entry capabilities, while bigger zipper area creates a bigger area of water reaching inside the suit. Especially after a wipe-out or duck-diving.
Chest-Zip wetsuits are a bit trickier to get in/out of the suit at first but have a more snug fit due to fewer stitchings.
Zipless wetsuits is a new trend that’s sharing a similar conception to the chest-zip wetsuits. Zipless wetsuits generally cost a bit more than your average suit.
4/3 or a 5/4 thickness for winter season surfing?
5/4 = 52’F / 11’C and upwards
4/3 = 58’F / 14’C and upwards
4mm on torso and 3mm on arms and legs are generally meant for water temperatures 58 ‘ 63’F / 14′ – 17’C while 5mm on torso and 4mm and arms and legs hold better warmth around 52′ – 58’F / 11’ – 14’C.
That means, if the water temperatures at your home surf break fall in one of those categories, get a one suited for that. Although, if you aren’t really a big friend of the cold, and as the extra warmth, getting a warmer wetsuit is totally ok!
NOTE: The conditions may vary from different factors such as % of body fat, weather (wind) conditions and person’s physique, metabolism and much more.
NOTE: Xcel wetsuits are a fracture warmer than shown at the average guide here!
What are the best steamer wetsuit brands?
The main surfing brands that manufacture surfing gear for women are:
- Rip Curl
All those brands listed above have divine knowledge and experience making proper technical gear for surfing and can be trusted no matter what.
Does Vissla make women’s surf wetsuits? No, or should I say not yet?
Difference between the wetsuits?
Budget/Entry level $150–$200 / Mid Range $200–$250 / High End $250–$500
It’s up to the person’s preferences when choosing a wetsuit. By the end of the day, it’s usually the price that decides the selection. Non-surfing brand wetsuits do not have strategically placed seams, inner jerseys and the premium fit you’d need from a surf wetsuit. Especially on a steamer wetsuit!
1.) If you’d like to get just anything to surf a few times a month for a short period, and don’t want to spend too much money (on the most important gear in cold-water surfing!) – a budget/entry-level wetsuit might be the one for you. Although there are many budget surf wetsuits for women, in this article I will be still reviewing the cheap ones from the best surf brands out there! Price range: 150-200$. I Wouldn’t really call them budget wetsuits though.
2.) A mid-range wetsuit is great for an intermediate surfer who values the quality, longevity and premium features of their technical gear. Getting a mid-range wetsuit by a well-known surf brand is a way to go if you are after maximizing your capabilities in the surf. Price range: 200-250$ Good choice for dedicated surfers who want to progress and enjoy the time in the water.
3.) Premium wetsuits are for wahines who want to get the best product that’s out there and like to perform with maximum insulation and flexibility. Premium wetsuits cost a lot of money, but for a good reason. They dry quicker, feel better and last longer – if taken proper care of. Price range: 300$. Whenever you have a chance, feel the premium wetsuit material so you should know the difference!
NOTE: There are always wetsuits on sale by known brands. Either online or at your local surf store. The reason why the wetsuits are discounted is usually that the need for end-of-season clearance, and over time the neoprene materials start to lose their qualities just hanging. Although, it is something not worry too much about as the materials have been updated each year for a long-lasting lifetime!
Best Women’s 5/4 and 4/3 Surf Wetsuits
Best Premium Wetsuits
- Rip Curl
Best Cheapest Steamers
- Rip Curl
Best Mid-Range Steamers
- Rip Curl
Number Of Wetsuits Models
Rip Curl: 4
The number Of Premium Models:
Rip Curl: 2
Scroll down to find more about the Women’s Surf Steamer models, prices, and sizing
1.) O’Neill Women’s Wetsuit
O’Neill is the oldest wetsuit manufacturer offering a wide variety of wetsuits for female, male and the youth. There’s plenty of sizes, color-schemes, and different types to get. Hard to go wrong picking the wetsuit by O’Neill.
Sizing chart can be found HERE
4, 6, 6 small, 8 small, 8, 8 tall, 10, 12, 14, 16
Psycho Tech Hooded (Chest Zip) 245 – 480 USD – Available on AMAZON
Psycho Tech (Chest-Zip) 380 USD
Psycho One (Back-Zip) 320 USD
Hyperfreak (Chest-Zip) 290 USD
O’Riginal (Back-Zip) 240 USD
O’Riginal (Front Zip) 240 USD
Epic (Chest Zip) 210 USD
Epic (Back-Zip) 200 USD
O’Riginal (Back zip) 230 USD
O’Riginal (Chest Zip) 230 USD – Available on AMAZON
Epic (Chest Zip) 200 USD
Epic (Back Zip) 190 USD – Available on AMAZON
2.) Billabong Women’s Wetsuit
Billabong has some very good wetsuits for women, both chest and back-zips.
Sizing chart can be found HERE
0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14
Furnace Carb (Chest Zip) 320 USD
Salty Dayz (Chest Zip) 175 – 250 USD – Available on AMAZON
3.) Roxy Women’s Wetsuit
Roxy wetsuits for women are noticeable by the wide variety of fun color-schemes, models and sizes to choose from!
Sizing can be found HERE
2, 4, 6, 6 tall, 8, 8 tall, 10, 10 tall, 12, 12 tall, 14, 16
Syncro HD CZ Hooded (Chest-Zip) – Available on USOutdoor $240
Syncro Hooded (Chest Zip) 180 – 190 USD – Available on AMAZON
Syncro (Chest Zip) 190 USD – Available on AMAZON
Syncro (Back Zip) 180 USD – Available on AMAZON
Performance (Chest Zip) 340 USD – Available on AMAZON
Syncro Plus (Chest Zip) 210 USD – Available on AMAZON
Syncro (Back Zip) 160-170 USD – Available on AMAZON
4.) Rip Curl Women’s Wetsuit
One of the most technically advanced surf wetsuit manufacturers out there. Rip Curl is a surf brand with premium women’s steamer wetsuits in their arsenal. There’s plenty of different performance suits to choose from!
Size charts can be found from HERE
4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14
Women’s 5/4 and 5/3 Steamers
Dawn Patrol (Back Zip) 200-210 USD
Omega (Back Zip) – 160-18 USD – Available on AMAZON
Omega (Back Zip) 170 USD – Available on AMAZON
5.) Xcel Women’s Wetsuit
Surfing and diving wetsuits are what Xcel specializes in, so a guaranteed trust right there. Also, Xcel wetsuit’s are generally warmer compared to other wetsuits!
The size chart can be found at Xcel
2, 4, 6, 6 tall, 8 short, 8, 8 tall, 10 small, 10, 10 tall, 12 small, 12, 14 small, 14, 16
Water temp: 46-53’F / 8 – 12’C
Infiniti 267-340 USD – Available on AMAZON
Drylock (Chest Zip) 320 USD
Axis (Back Zip) 140 – 230 USD
Axis Water Inspired (Back Zip) 200 USD
6.) Hurley Women’s Wetsuit
Since Hurley’s focus on surfing is mainly towards the warm-waters, there’s only one distinctive steamer to choose on their whole winter-wetsuit range.
Sizing chart: Hurley
4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14
Advantage Plus (Chest Zip) 295 USD
- Strategically positioned seals away from the underarms, shoulder blades and inner leg
- 80% neoprene 20% nylon
- Exoflex neoprene fabric is lightweight and incredibly stretchy
- 0.5mm split neoprene tape hand-glued to each seam for durability
- Covert external key pocket on the lower leg
- An innovative toggle fastener lets you secure the chest opening with 1 hand, so you can cinch and go
- Insulated Hollow-fiber fleece helps traps heat while Smoothskin in the paneling reduces wind chill and retains 0% water
- Lightweight kneepads feature a jersey construction to retain less water, keeping the suit lightweight when in use
- Updated details include lighter, less-absorbent kneepads and a more streamlined silhouette.
7.) Patagonia Women’s Wetsuit
The most advanced manufacturer on this list. Patagonia uses a completely different material called Yulex. A choice for the maximalists!
Sizing chart: Patagonia
2, 4, 6, 8, 8 tall, 10, 10 tall, 12**, 14
- 100% external seam sealing, internally taped
- Supratex kneepads and ankle cuffs for maximum durability and anatomic fit
- Floating, asymmetrical front-zip with corrosion-proof Salmi® zipper provides a better seal and extends suit’s lifespan; unlike other designs, the zipper is replaceable
- Adjustable hood opening with cord lock and an easy-access key loop
Women’s Patagonia Full Suit Steamers
R2 Yulex 459 USD
55 – 60’F / 13-16’C
R3 Yulex Back Zip / Chest-Zip 475 USD
48 – 55’F / 9 – 13’C
R4 Yulex Chest-Zip Hooded 550 USD
37 – 48’F / 3 – 9’C
Buy from PATAGONIA
In order to take care of your wetsuit and make the most out of it’s expected lifespan, check out our ARTICLE about it.
Essential things to know
- Always rinse wetsuit after use in clean water, inside out
- Dry on the shaded area (Keep out of direct sunlight)
- Use a proper wetsuit hanger
- Never use the drier
- Hand wash
What else do I need?
Depending on the weather, a hood and a proper pair of boots, gloves are a must when the weather turns really cold.
Do you already have a wetsuit storing bag?
Is there an intensive sun even during the winter? Check out the Surf Screen article covering everything to get you protected!