A guide choosing a wetsuit for surfing. What are the differences between certain types of wetsuits? Check out the simple and easy-to-follow temperature chart before ordering your wetsuit online down below
- CARE GUIDE – WETSUIT MAINTENANCE – How to wash, repair and store your wetsuit.
- BOOTS, HOODS, AND GLOVES – Essential wetsuit accessories to maximize your performance in the water. There’s a bunch of different types to choose from – and this article will ease the choice and when choosing wetsuit accessories.
- BEST WOMEN’S STEAMERS – High-end, mid-range, and budget 5/4’s and 4/3’s winter wetsuits reviewed.
- BEST WOMEN’S 3/2 SURF SPRING SUITS – Back-zip and chest-zip models reviewed for women.
- BEST WOMEN’S SURFING WETSUITS – Best models reviewed by the best surf brands of today. Features and technology explained.
- BILLABONG SYNERGY COMPLETE GUIDE – Best women’s surfing wetsuit line on the market. All the models reviewed.
- O’NEILL WOMEN’S WETSUITS – All the O’Neill women’s surf wetsuits reviewed.
- HIGH-END 3/2 SPRING SUITS – 5 best models reviewed.
- SIZE GUIDE – WOMEN’S WETSUIT SIZING CHARTS – 7 best wetsuit brand sizings.
- O’NEILL MENS WETSUITS – A complete range reviewed.
- BILLABONG MEN’S SURF WETSUITS – All the best models reviewed
- ZIPLESS WETSUITS FOR MEN – 2/2, 3/2, 4/3 premium models reviewed.
- SIZE GUIDE – MEN’s WETSUIT SIZING CHARTS – 7 brand references.
- BEST YOUTH’S SURF WETSUITS – Take a look at what there’s to grab from the boys and girls surfing wetsuits.
There is a phase in every surfer’s life – where they realize the importance of the right gear.
SURF WETSUIT 101 Buying Guide
Preparation is something that teaches us, the surfers, to be patient, punctual, and dedicated to making the most of what’s out there. Everyone has a story – where they got off work early, rush to the empty point break to see the glassy waves breaking, and as soon as they are about to grab the gear and paddle in…a sudden realization spikes where they’ve left something behind – a wax, sunscren, boots – or the worst of them all, the whole wetsuit.
We all know how much can the feeling of cold demise our performance in the surf. This guide here is made so that you could make the most of your surfing habits by picking the right gear.
What is a wetsuit?
The wetsuit is a technical garment that keeps the body temperatures to moderation in colder waters. Generally used in waters temperatures anything below 75’F / 24’C.
How it works? All surfing wetsuits let a small portion of water inside the suit which will be heated up by the body. A neoprene has hundreds of thousands of tiny microscopic bubbles inside the garment for insulation. Instead of air, some materials have been using nitrogen gas to fill up the pores for better insulation.
What is wetsuit made of?
Today’s surfing wetsuits are made of three materials:
- Neoprene. Polychloroprene
- Limestone Neoprene. Geoprene
1.) Neoprene is a synthetic rubber.
- 65% water impermeable
- Elastic synthetic rubber with very good insulating properties
The good: Most wetsuits today are made of Neoprene. Neoprene is affordable and durable.
The bad: Neoprene is made based on oil, which is not ultimately what the surfing’s movement is all about: eco friendliness. Some people might be allergic to neoprene or the substances used it as well.
2.) Limestone Neoprene, also known as “Geoprene” is made of Limestone
A more eco-friendlier choice,
- 98% water impermeable
- Warmer, durable
- Less carbon footprint compared to standard neoprene
Limestone is naturally found on the world and there’s an estimate reserves up to 3000 years to last. Limestone is mined from the earth, heated up to 3600 degrees (twice as much compared to petroleum).
The good: Less carbon footprint, warmer. Lowers the amount of oil being used. More warmth out of a thinner suit means fewer resources made in creation of the wetsuit. Due to durability the limestone wetsuits lasts longer which means less suits needs to be made. Great alternative choice for anyone who has allergies against to standard neoprene wetsuits.
The bad: It’s still not that eco-friendly after all.
3.) Yulex is a plant based neoprene
Most eco-friendly which leaves gives less impact on environment. Great choice for anyone who has allergies to neoprene.
Well known by the premium surf brand Patagonia who has designed neoprene free rubber Yulex for a while by now. Yulex is natural rubber, and Patagonia wetsuits are made out of 85% neoprene free material. If you’d ask any knowledgeble surfer which is the best and most eco-friendly wetsuits – they’ll most likely say Patagonia.
What are wetsuits used for?
Wetsuits are designed to insulate the body warmth in the cold water. Most used wetsuits are designed for diving and surfing. There are also wetsuits for swimming and snorkeling.
Well designed and the right brand wetsuit is warm, flexible, and stretchy to keep your body warm for hours.
Types of Wetsuits
Four main types of wetsuits:
- Scuba Diving Wetsuits – Extra warm, durable, but not very flexible
- Swimming/Triathlon Wetsuits – Light, extremely flexible
- Surfing Wetsuits – Flexible, comfortable and warm
- Snorkeling Wetsuits – Just a basic layer
Difference between the cheap and a right brand wetsuit
Beginner surfers might not be as experienced on picking the right technical gear and tend to choose the wetsuit by the price tag only. In reality, cheap wetsuits are cheap. A technical surfing gear, that’s the number one garment around your body that’s help you stay in the water for a long time comfortably. Make sure to get an adequately branded wetsuit – if you want to maximize your time in the surf. Especially in climates, where you´ll need a thicker wetsuit than 2mm.
How should a wetsuit Fit?
Better fit = warmer suit
As each body is unique, It is recommended to try the brand and model that fits you the most. Many surfers are keen on a specific model for years to tens of years. A wetsuit should fit snug, not too tight or not too loose. Wetsuits are often somewhat stretchy to have a fair amount of giving in them. Different types of zipper-system will allow you to find the best possible model.
Why are most wetsuits black?
As there’s a wide array of colors that what material wetsuits are made of, black seems to be the color you can not go wrong with. Mass-producing different types of wetsuits colors do not have a high rate of sales success in recent trends. Note, that sharks see in black and white, so a color preference is not helping you getting unseen by the men in grey suits. Black colors also have a slimming effect, and it matches with everything!
1. Wetsuit THICKNESS Temperature Guide Chart
Choosing the right thickness is crucial. As the season’s change – so should your wetsuit. You want to feel warm in the winter and cool in the summer. So make sure you find the most suitable wetsuit in the adequate range, as both overheating and freezing are stopping you from having the best time on the surf. Not to mention the dangers.
Do wetsuits keep you warm?
Properly chosen wetsuit (size+type+accessories) will indeed keep your body warm.
Wetsuit stitchings and seams explained:
Wetsuits also have a wide variety of stitching which also determines the final price of the wetsuit. Different types are:
The type of sealing will determine the warmth and durability of a wetsuit. The main types of sealings are: glued, taped, blindstitches and liquid seam.
- Sealed (COLDWATER surf) – The seams are not only stitched but also glued or sealed with liquid tape. This makes the material stronger and nearly 100% waterproof between the sheets.
- Taped (COLDWATER surf) – The Stitches have been taped inside our outside.
- Flatlock (WARMWATER surf) – Two pieces of neoprene are stitched together.
Surfing wetsuit temperature guide chart
Check out the chart to know which wetsuit for which temperature to choose for your needs:
Chapter 2. Wetsuit SIZE Guide Chart
Chapter 3. WETSUIT TYPE Guide
STEAMER – Full-length wetsuit for cold waters. Generally 4/3 to 5/4 thick, with, our without the hood.
SPRINGSUIT – Warm water surf wetsuit. Typically 2mm – 3/2mm thick. Shorties and full suits.
LONG JOHN – Sleeveless, long leg wetsuit for men
LONG JANE – Sleevless, long leg wetsuit for women
SHORTY – Short leg & short arm wetsuit
SHORT JOHN – Sleeveless, short leg wetsuit for men
SHORT JANE – Sleevless, short leg wetsuit for women
RASHGUARD – Also known as the rashie or a top, is a basic layer to protecint against the UV rays and prevents the chest getting a rash from the surfboard wax. Long- and short sleeve models available, without a zip.
Wetsuit JACKET – Up to 0.5mm / 1mm / 2mm layer for that extra core warmth.
Back-Zip | Chest-Zip | Zipless
It is all up to the personal user preference when choosing a wetsuit
- A back-zip wetsuit has the zipper right in the middle of your back. Generally, people prefer back-zip wetsuits due to the ease of use, but dislike them since they were not used to be as waterproof on cold weather, and the water slipped in on constant duck-dives. This is not always the case since most back-zip wetsuits have an extra attachment on the neck nowadays.
+ Larger entrance
+ Adjustable velcro strap
– Chance of the water flush from the neck or zipper area
– Possible neck rash
A wetsuit where the access is through a small hole in the chest area. A chest-Zip wetsuit, or sometimes called the Front-Zip wetsuit is commonly used on cold water surf due to the design that allows minimal water to slip inside the wetsuit. The only drawback might be an unusual way of entering. I think if you are already like a monkey-man and love to surf – you are a stretchy enough so that you would not find that as a problem.
+ Flexible, and oneness of the wetsuit due to fewer panels
+ Less flushing
– Small entrance area
– Can be a loose fit around the neck if not tight enough
Chapter 4. Wetsuit CARE
A wetsuit is a piece of performance clothing that needs proper care to maint is quality. Body oils, saltwater, surfboard wax, and many more factors all soaked together in a waterproof material – does not sound very self-cleansing. Take a look at the recommendations below:
After the surf
- Be gentle when getting in and out of the wetsuit. It is reasonable to take extra time on the process if you don’t want to mess up your zippers or stretch out the seams.
- Once you are done surfing, come out of the wetsuit and leave it inside out.
- Always wash the wetsuit thoughtfully after each session. It is best to leave the wetsuit soaked inside a bucket full of freshwater.
- After the wetsuit has soaked in the water for 10-20mins, take it out of the bucket and rinse it with a hose.
- Try not to use hot water when rinsing, and by hot I mean the one that burns your skin.
- Leave the wetsuit hanging somewhere with enough air ventilation (Out of the sun).
- Also check how do you store your wetsuit, the best one I’ve found is made by thehangpro.
- Once the wetsuit has dried for a reasonable amount of time, turn the wetsuit the right way around so that the outer layers facing outwards. That way the wetsuit dries completely and is ready for the next session!
Shampooing the wetsuit
It’s not a bad idea to wash the wetsuit, boots, gloves, and hoods with the proper shampoo and conditioner. Add 2 cups cleaning liquid and mix it with 1 gallon of water. Leave it there for half an hour, then rinse off the shampoo with clean water. That’s the best you could do to your wetsuit now and then. Probably after every 5-10 times is enough.
Neoprene, a synthetic rubber – that what wetsuits are made of – needs to be taken care of to maximize the lifespan of your wetsuit.