How to Choose a Wetsuit

Unveiling the Ultimate Guide to Wetsuits for Surfing: Everything You Need to Know

When it comes to surfing, having the right gear can make all the difference. Among the essentials, a wetsuit stands out as a vital piece of equipment, providing not just warmth but also protection and flexibility. Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or just getting started, understanding the ins and outs of wetsuits is essential for maximizing your comfort and performance in the water. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive deep into everything you need to know about wetsuits for surfing, from types and materials to fit and care.

Understanding Wetsuits

Types of Wetsuits

  • Fullsuits: Covering the entire body from neck to ankles, fullsuits are ideal for cold water conditions and winter surfing.
  • Springsuits: With shorter sleeves and legs, springsuits offer versatility for mild to moderate water temperatures.
  • Short John/Long John: Sleeveless or short-sleeved with long pants, providing less coverage but greater freedom of movement.
  • Tops and Bottoms: Separates that can be mixed and matched for versatility, with tops offering additional warmth without restricting arm movement.

Materials Used

  • Neoprene: The most common wetsuit material, neoprene provides insulation and flexibility, with thickness varying to suit different water temperatures.
  • Seam Construction: Sealed, blind-stitched, or glued and taped seams prevent water entry, with sealed seams offering the highest level of water resistance.
  • Lining: Interior lining enhances warmth and comfort, with options like fleece or thermal linings common in colder wetsuits.

Choosing the Right Wetsuit

Determining Thickness

  • Thickness Guide: Ranging from 2mm for warm water to 5/4/3mm and thicker for cold water, choosing based on water temperature and personal cold tolerance.
  • Considerations: Balancing warmth with flexibility, thicker wetsuits providing more warmth but potentially sacrificing flexibility.

Exploring Features

  • Zipper: Back zip, chest zip, or zipless options, with chest zip offering better water seal and flexibility.
  • Entry System: Back zip for easy entry and exit, chest zip, or zipless for minimal flushing and maximum seal.
  • Seals: Neck, wrist, and ankle seals prevent water entry, with smooth skin or adjustable closures offering a comfortable seal.
  • Knee Pads: Reinforced knee panels for durability and protection, essential for knee paddling and maneuvers.

Caring for Your Wetsuit

Maintenance Tips

  • Rinse After Use: Removing salt and sand by rinsing wetsuit with fresh water, then hanging to dry in a shaded area to avoid direct sunlight.
  • Proper Storage: Storing wetsuit flat or hanging to maintain shape, avoiding folding or crumpling, which can cause creases and damage.
  • Avoiding Damage: Handling wetsuit with care to avoid tears and punctures, and patching small holes promptly with wetsuit repair glue.


In the dynamic world of surfing, a wetsuit is more than just gear; it’s your companion, keeping you warm, protected, and agile as you navigate the waves. By understanding the different types, materials, and features of wetsuits, you can make an informed decision that enhances your surfing experience. Whether you’re braving icy waters or catching waves in tropical paradise, a well-chosen wetsuit ensures you stay comfortable and focused on what matters most – riding the waves and enjoying the exhilarating sport of surfing. Surfing Where Passion Meets the Waves.