Tips for Choosing the Ultimate Wetsuit [Buying Guide]

When you think about surfing, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Maybe it’s the white sand and blue water of a tropical beach. Or maybe it’s the sound of waves crashing against rocks. Whatever your association with surfing is, one thing we can all agree on is:  It’s cold in there.

Surfers need wetsuits to keep warm in frigid waters. But not just any wetsuit will do; they come in many different types and styles for different conditions and activities. We’ve compiled Tips for Choosing the Ultimate Wetsuit.

What is Wetsuit?

A wetsuit is a special suit worn by surfers to provide insulation and keep them warm in cold waters. It’s typically made from high-performance materials, including neoprene and nylon/lycra blends.

The first wetsuits were invented for the U.S Navy: they used them as an insulating layer beneath their diving gear during underwater operations. However, today most commercial wet suits are designed for recreational use rather than military applications.

What Type of Wetsuit Do Surfers Wear?

There are three main types of surfing wetsuits that you’ll find at your local surf shop: spring/summer, shorty (or ‘steamer’), and full suite (sometimes called a “drysuit”). Each suite is best suited for different water and weather conditions.

Spring/Summer Surf Wetsuits:

For the warmest waters, surfers will wear a spring wetsuit (sometimes called a “shorty” or ‘steamer’). These suits are typically made from thicker neoprene than summer-weight suits; they’re designed to provide insulation against cold air as well as cold water.

Their thickness also makes them durable enough to protect you from scrapes and cuts while surfing in reefs and rocky shorelines.

Shorty Wetsuits:

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Surfers wear shorties in water temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. These suits are typically made from a thinner neoprene than spring wetsuits; they’re designed to provide the minimum insulation necessary while still keeping you flexible enough for surfing.

Surfers can also choose lightweight summer-weight suits that work well in warmer waters (60–75 F). The thicker material provides more insulation, but it makes them less flexible on land or board, so check with your local shop about what works best for your favorite spots.

Wet Suits vs. Shorties & Steamer Suit: What’s the Difference? If you’ve ever wondered why some surfers rock wet suites all year long while others only wear shorties, here’s the deal:

Wetsuits are thicker and have more insulation than steamer suits. But they’re also bulkier and less flexible on land-so most surfers will opt for a spring or summer weight suit if it gets cold enough to warrant one.


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As their name suggests, fullsuits completely cover all of your limbs and body –from neck to ankles and wrists to thighs. They’re generally worn by surfers who plan on spending a long time in cold water or wearing a wetsuit for an extended period.

For example, fullsuits are popular among open-water swimmers and spearfishermen who need to stay warm even while resting between dives.

Check out our Review on the Best wetsuits for cold water.

7 Tips for Choosing the Ultimate Wetsuit

  1. Use a sizing chart to measure your body and get the right size. If you’re surfing in cold waters, then go for a thicker wetsuit. A good rule of thumb is that if it’s below 60 degrees where you live, then opt for at least three millimeters on your suit. Always buy from reputable brands when shopping around because they have been tested by other people before being put up on sale so their quality will be better than buying something random online or out of a store with no brand name attached to it. Make sure you always dry off after using your wetsuit because wet neoprene doesn’t insulate nearly as well as dry neoprene does. Keep in mind any accessories such as hoods and boots too.
  2. Be mindful of the kind of waves you’re surfing in. If it’s super choppy, then you’ll want a smooth-skin suit because they won’t get caught on anything as much when the water is moving around so quickly. On the other hand, if your local break has cobblestone or barnacles, opt for a rougher skin wetsuit instead to prevent tearing up your new purchase. Water temperature also plays an important role here. if it’s colder than 60 degrees where you live, don’t be afraid to spend more money on something thicker like neoprene because you’ll really need that extra insulation and wear time out there. You can always cut open fingertips or toes on your suit to make it more comfortable, but you can’t always sew them back onto the neoprene if they tear off.
  3. Consider buying a full suit if you’re prone to getting cold easily. Booties and gloves are great for keeping your body warm, but sometimes the water around your feet or hands is really cold too so it can suck all of the heat out of you in no time. And remember: only wear clothes underneath that wetsuit because wet neoprene won’t insulate nearly as well against other types of fabric like cotton will. If it’s super sunny where you live then go with something lighter like nylon instead because they dry much faster than thicker suits do which also makes them more comfortable to wear on warmer days (and easier for putting on/taking off). If there’s not much sun though, opt for something thicker like neoprene instead because it will not only be warmer but last you longer as well.
  4. Shorty suits are much more popular than full-length options because they’re easier to put on/take off. But if you live somewhere with colder water temperatures, opt for a long sleeve wetsuit instead. That extra insulation will be worth it in the end when winter comes around and you don’t want your arms freezing off while surfing. Blend into crowds by going with something simple like black or dark blue so no one can see how cold you feel out there. Bright colors draw eyes though which is why some people prefer them (mostly surfers who need to make sure other boats know where they are). Neutral tones like grey or white also work well too since they go with most outfits easily without drawing as much attention.
  5. Don’t forget to buy a hood and some booties too. They both help keep you warm in general, but the boots are also useful if your wetsuit tears because they’ll protect at least one of your feet from getting cut on rocks or barnacles out there. Always try them on before buying though so you don’t end up with something that doesn’t fit right or is uncomfortable overall. Gloves can come in handy as well for keeping your hands warmer since it’s harder to adjust neoprene against bare skin instead of fabric like nylon which dries faster. Always make sure everything fits properly even after taking measurements because no matter how closely you follow those step-by-step instructions online, there’s always a chance things will come out different on your suit. If it doesn’t fit, you won’t enjoy surfing so always go with something that feels more comfortable instead of looking good in photos.
  6. It’s not just the brand name attached to wetsuits either but also how they’re made. For example, some suits are glued together while others are stitched which is far less popular because they can easily tear compared to glued seams which hold up better over time (and keep water from getting inside). Some people don’t mind tearing them though since then they can get new ones every year or two without spending too much money overall. It all depends on your personal preferences and budget as well. Always dry off your wetsuit before putting it away because if you don’t then mildew will form and smell which isn’t good for the neoprene over time. If you have a large enough laundry room or garage door, hang them up on hangers to dry instead of laying flat on top of each other. That way they won’t be as likely to get stretched out which can happen if left lying down sometimes too.
  7. Drysuits are becoming more popular lately even though most people still prefer “regular” wet ones since they’re not nearly as thick or warm but offer paddlers some insulation at least when water temperatures drop below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. They also make great insulators under drysuits so consider getting one yourself next winter (or whenever your wet suit starts to get worn out and needs replacing). Take care of your wet wetsuit by washing it with mild soap or detergent after each use (especially if you didn’t rinse off saltwater thoroughly before taking it off). If water still gets inside, the material will stretch/weaken over time which makes them easier to tear. Most people like shorter suits because they dry faster than longer ones but remember that’s the only advantage in warmer months when there isn’t much fun. In winter, go with a long sleeve instead for added warmth so no one has to see how cold you are while surfing.

what do you wear underneath a wetsuit?

Always wear sunscreen underneath your wetsuit even if conditions aren’t hot enough yet since UV can penetrate through the neoprene and damage your skin. Sunburns not only hurt like crazy.

But also makes you more likely to get sick after surfing which is why some people always wear rashguards underneath their wetsuit or board shorts no matter what the temperature outside.

what to wear under a wetsuit in cold water?

As for what to wear under a wetsuit in cold water, that depends on the temperature outside. If it’s warm enough to go without anything at all, most people find board shorts are best since they dry faster than pants and don’t hold in as much moisture overall when wet which can lead to chafing or rashes.

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Otherwise, wearing nylon running shorts underneath your wetsuit is the best way to go for colder weather since they’re lightweight and dry pretty quickly too. Just don’t wear cotton or denim because those take forever to dry out which can lead to hypothermia if you stay in them for too long without moving around (especially with the wind blowing against your wet suit).

If you must wear jeans or sweats, make sure they’re 100% cotton and not the blended kind because those don’t dry nearly as easily which can lead to problems.

what to wear under a wetsuit for warmth?

For extra warmth under your wetsuit, wear a thin pair of long underwear underneath with nylon running shorts on top. They’re lightweight and dry quickly which makes them great for warmer water but also give you some insulation too without being too bulky or uncomfortable to move around in (which is essential when surfing).

You can’t go wrong wearing the same thing every time you go paddling since it’s always worked for other people in the past. But if you want to switch things up, wearing something different (just don’t wear cotton or denim) is a great way to experiment with new styles and materials that might work better than what you’re currently using.

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Remember though that wetsuits are meant to fit tightly against your body so make sure you try on your undergarments before going surfing in them.

If they’re too loose, the material can get caught between the neoprene and pull it out of shape which will reduce its effectiveness when helping keep you warm or safe from injury while surfing (especially if a wave knocks you off your board).

Final Thoughts(Tips for Choosing the Ultimate Wetsuit)

Wetsuits are a type of thermal insulation for water. They help people stay warm in cold waters, which is especially important if you’re scuba diving or surfing in the winter months. A typical wetsuit consists of neoprene (a synthetic rubber material) and spandex (used to make elastic clothing).

There are different types of wetsuits with varying degrees of thickness depending on what activity they’re designed for. So before you go shopping for your next wet suit, it’s worth considering these factors so that you can find one that will work best for your needs.

We hope this article has helped you. If you want help with anything, feel free to contact us at any time.

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