How To Buy a Wetsuit For Surfing | The Unabridged Guide

Is it time for you to How To Buy a Wetsuit For Surfing? If so, this guide is just what you need. Whether you’re looking for your buying your first wetsuit or an upgrade from an old one, we’ve got all of the information that you’ll need to make sure that your next purchase is perfect.

There are many factors that go into choosing a wetsuit for surfing. Before making any decisions, determine what kind of water temperatures will be prevalent during your most frequent surf sessions.

Then decide if flexibility in arm movement is important to you. Finally, take note of whether or not having extra pockets would be helpful while surfing before purchasing anything.

In this article we cover these Topics well as well.

  • 3/2 vs 4/3 wetsuit
  • 4/3 vs 3/2 wetsuit
  • what size wetsuit should i get
  • what mm wetsuit do i need
  • what does 3/2 wetsuit mean

Things You Need To Consider When Buying A Wetsuit For Surfing

Trying to decide which type of wetsuit to buy for surfing can be a difficult decision. There are 4 main types of suits on today’s market but first it’s important to know the factors that differentiate them from each other.

How these differences affect your enjoyment both in and out of the water should also play a part in deciding what kind of suit you should buy.


Different materials and layers will have an effect on how warm a suit is, as well as how flexible it is. How much flexibility a wetsuit has depends on the type of neoprene used in construction.

What is a 4/3 wetsuit? The more stretch a suit has, the more flexible it will be In general, 4/3 mm suits are made from thicker materials and have solid rubber knee pads to last longer but provide less flexibility for the wearer.

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What is a 3/2 wetsuit? 3/2mm suits tend to give you better range of motion because they use lighter 3mm thick neoprene that’s been glued together instead of welded. This gives them a super elastic feel without sacrificing warmth or durability compared to their 5/4 counterparts.

2mm and 1mm suits are for warmer climates and tend to be the most elastic of the wetsuits because that’s really what they’re designed to provide  tretch.

Our recomended surfing wetsuit for cold water.

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1/2mm This type of suit is made from very light, flexible neoprene. The thickest part of this wetsuit will run up around your waist, but it’ll also have a tendency to lack warmth since there isn’t much material to trap heat in the water.

The benefit? It gives you a lot more range of motion than thicker 2 or 3 mm suits so if you’re looking at surfing in warm waters like those found in Mexico or Thailand then this might be the right fit for you. Keep in mind that these types of wetsuits give you less protection from the elements though, so they’re not for everyone.


It’s important to remember that flexibility is different than buoyancy or stiffness in a wetsuit. You might have noticed that some suits feel very rigid while others are much lighter and easier to move around in. This comes down to how it has been constructed, but also ties into what size you should buy your wetsuit in .

There’s no magically flexible wetsuits out there, yet most companies market their suits with descriptions like “super flexible” or even “high stretch”.

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What this usually means is that the neoprene has been glued together using a more elastic form of glue instead of being weld together with a rubber solution which makes suits stiffer. The more elastic a suit is, the lighter and easier it becomes to wear in the water.


Buoyancy can be an important factor when choosing your next wetsuit for surfing because it varies depending on what kind you have. Wetsuits are typically either “positive” or “negative”.

This means that they will keep you afloat better in open water when compared to another type of wetsuit. So if you’re planning on surfing in deep waters where buoyancy might come into play, then getting a positive buoyancy wetsuit might be beneficial.

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Positive buoyancy suits have air pockets sewn into the lining which help support your body weight in case you get knocked out of your board by a wave. This type of suit is typically 3/2, 5/4 or 7/5 mm thick which allows it to be very buoyant. Negative buoyancy suits are the opposite because they tend to be 2mm or 1mm thick.

This means that they’ll hold you down better in the water so if you’re interested in surfing during winter months when waves can get big then this might be right up your alley.

Types Of Wetsuits For Surfing

2mm Wetsuit

For warmer climates and surfers who just want something simple to wear while out on the water. These wetsuits provide the least amount of warmth compared to other thicker double lined suits but give you a lot more range of motion than thicker 3 or 5 mm suits do. That’s why many body boarders love to wear this in the water when surfing.

3mm Wetsuit

If you’re looking for something that can provide warmth while still giving you a decent range of motion then 3mm is your best bet. This thickness is typically used by surfers who are surfing in waters that are slightly chilly or during colder months. You’ll get more flexibility compared to thicker 5 or 7 mm wetsuits but it won’t be as easy to move around in if you find yourself out on overcast days.

4mm Wetsuit

These wetsuits are meant to keep their wearer warm and supported while surfing so they tend not to have any type of buoyancy built into them at all which makes them heavier than thinner 1mm versions.

Read Also:- Top 10 Best 4/3 Wetsuit For Surfing

They’re great for colder waters and can be worn by surfers who are on the fence about what thickness they should get.

5mm Wetsuit

If you’re surfing in cold water then this is likely the wetsuit that you want to go with. This thickness is good for use all year round because it doesn’t inhibit your range of motion like thicker 3 or 4 mm suits might do but still gives a lot of warmth compared to a thinner 1 or 2 mm suit.

7mm Wetsuit

You’ll find that this type of suit will usually have a noticeable amount of buoyancy built into them which means you won’t need to wear a weight belt if your going out past 10 feet deep. 7mm- These types of wetsuits are meant only for the toughest storms.

Read Also:- Top 6 Best Wetsuit for Swimming in Cold Water

They are thickest of them all so they’ll be the most restrictive to movement which isn’t ideal if you’re planning on surfing or body boarding. If you find yourself out on overcast days during winter months then this would be perfect for your needs because it keeps its wearer extremely warm and buoyant. Because these suits are so thick, surfers only wear them in colder climates that have rough waters.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

How Tight Should A Wetsuit Be For Surfing

After you’ve determined what kind of suit will be best for your surfing needs, it’s time to look at how tight or lose the wetsuit should fit. Most surfers want a tighter-fitting suit that is flexible in arm movement and isn’t overly baggy.

However, if you’re new to surfing then having an oversized suit might not be a bad idea. The biggest mistake that most people make is wearing too tight of a wetsuit for surfing; this will cause more stress on your body and can lead to fatigue or even injuries such as muscle tears.

Surfers should always look at the flexibility in arm movement when trying on potential suits, but also consider how much flexibility they might need in their ankle and knee joints. A more flexible suit for surfing will give you more range of motion while on the board, but it can also be dangerous if too loose or baggy.

What Do You Wear Under A Wetsuit Surfing

Most surfers will tell you that the best wetsuit for surfing is one that fits your body perfectly. That being said, there are different options to consider when it comes to what kind of undergarment should be worn underneath a suit while surfing in cold water.

A thin lycra rash guard might work well if you’re just getting started, but for more experienced surfers then a wetsuit undergarment might be the best option. Wetsuit undergarments are designed to trap an insulating layer of air between your skin and the suit itself creating added warmth while surfing in cold water.

How To Break In A Wetsuit For Surfing

Breaking in a wetsuit for surfing is an essential part of owning one. A new suit will never fit you perfectly, but by breaking it in slowly and carefully you can ensure that your body gets used to the pressure put on it while wearing the wetsuit. That way when you do surf with your brand new custom-fitted wetsuit for surfing, you’ll be getting the full benefits that come with having a suit that fits your body perfectly.

The best way to break in a wetsuit is by wearing it while doing non-water-related activities such as watching TV or reading books. Wearing your suit around and not just when you’re going to surf will prevent it from being overly stretched out by water.

Read Also:- Top 6 Best Wetsuit For Open Water Swimming

When taking your suit off, do so slowly and carefully to avoid ripping the seams of the wetsuit. Stretching the neck opening of a wetsuit too far can cause tears or damage that is expensive to repair, which usually isn’t covered under manufacturer warranty.

Once you have broken in your wetsuit for surfing, be sure to always use a bucket or shower stall when getting out of the water. If you stand up too quickly after being in cold water then your legs can easily cramp and cause injury.

Remember that a wetsuit is not supposed to fit perfectly right away; this will only happen once it has been broken in properly.

Final Thoughts

What Size Do You Need? How to buy a wetsuit for surfing? Hopefully this guide has helped you decide on what type of wetsuit is right for your board sports activities. Keep in mind that any water sport can place a lot of stress on your new suit so make sure not to go cheap when buying one as quality matters more than ever.

From knowing how flexible each type of thickness is to what type of buoyancy your suit should have, it’s important that you take all these things into consideration before making a purchase.

Have any questions about the different types of wetsuits for surfing? Let us know in the comments below!

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