What to Wear Under a Wetsuit in Cold Water | Your Guide

Cold water surfing is a relatively new phenomenon. The cold affects you in many ways, but one of the most important things to remember when it comes to your wetsuit is what you are wearing underneath it.

There are many different options, and deciding which one is best for you can be difficult – luckily we have compiled this handy guide.

What To Wear Under A Wetsuit In Cold Water?

Make sure you are wearing the right wetsuit for your body type. Some suits fit tighter than others, so one size may work better than another depending on where they sit on your hips and thighs. Look at a few different styles to see which ones will be more comfortable in cold water.

If possible try them out with under clothes before purchasing or using them – it is often helpful to bring an extra pair of pants along just in case.

When choosing what to wear under your wetsuit there are certain things that should always be taken into consideration: comfortability above all else, warmth, how easy it will be to move around while surfing ,and whether or not these pieces can hold up against being used every day.

Read Also:- How To Buy a Wetsuit For Surfing | The Unabridged Guide

There are many different options to consider, so read on for the pros and cons of some common ones. Make sure you have a high quality wetsuit before thinking about anything else this will keep you warm even if you don’t choose wisely when picking out other items.

The thicker the better (generally speaking) and make sure they fit well and aren’t too tight where any pressure might leave uncomfortable marks after an hour or two in the water.

Long Johns

These are going to be your best friend when it comes to keeping warm in cold conditions. Long johns can feel a little bulky, so try and find a good balance between warmth and comfortability .

If you will be surfing for more than an hour or two look into buying special active long johns that have been designed specifically for use while out on the waves. These types of pants move with your body , allowing you full range of motion without feeling restricted.

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They also tend to come complete with pockets where heat packs can be put inside before getting dressed. This is great if you don’t want anything heavy weighing down your wetsuit or board shorts underneath them.

Many surfers actually wear their long johns under their wetsuit at all times, and then add shorts on top of them when they get in the water. This is a good idea if you want to be able to peel your suit off quickly after getting out without worrying about exposing yourself or feeling too cold while doing so.


This one probably seems like an obvious choice, but many people still forget just how important pants are. Not only do board shorts need to fit well , which can be hard with thicker fabric that will obviously take up more space than normal swim trunks would; it is also very easy for these types of pants to become tangled around foot straps and fins while surfing.

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Even worse, loose material has been known catch onto rocks and coral reefs along shorelines making it very difficult to get back out there and continue surfing . It is also important to remember that these are not just any type of pants they need to be made from a good quality material with the right thickness.

This means cotton or other heavy fabrics will not work, even if you have found some great looking board shorts at your local thrift shop. If possible try them on before purchasing so you know exactly what size to buy for maximum comfortability , ease of movement, and warmth while in the water.

Can You Wear Leggings Under A Wetsuit?

As an avid surfer, I’m sure you are familiar with the confusion that can be what to wear surfing. What wetsuit should I get? How good of a wetsuit do you really need? Can I surf in board shorts or do I need a full on wetsuit? What to wear under a wetsuit in cold water? Do I even need a hoodie if it’s pouring out during my session?

Read Also:- 5 Best Wetsuit For Ocean Swimming- Expert Guide

All these questions and more come into play when trying to figure out what to wear surfing. As far as leggings go while surfing , however, there is only one answer: NO! Now before you start judging me or clicking away, please hear me out. Here are three reasons why leggings should never be worn under a wetsuit surfing, and why you need to trust me on this one.

1)  Leggings are usually made of spandex or nylon which make them water-resistant rather than waterproof. This means that your legs will still feel the cold even if leggings help retain some warmth for yourself.

If the water is particularly cold (i.e.: less than 60 degrees) then wearing anything other than neoprene isn’t going to keep you warm enough for all four hours that you want to be out there surfing . Leggings by themselves will not cut it when it comes to keeping you warm in winter conditions.

Read Also:- 5 Best Affordable Wetsuits for Every Type of Swimmer [Buying Guide]

2) Neoprene has another property that leggings don’t it’s flexible. You can bend and twist, put your feet through the leash, sit down on your board without the fear of splitting the seams. The thing about leggings is that you have a straight cut from top to bottom.

This means that there isn’t anywhere for you to flex which just doesn’t work with wetsuit surfing . Another reason this style just never works is because it eliminates any chance you have of being able to fit into a good fitting wetsuit neoprene . Keep scrolling to see what I mean by this…

3) It’s About Angles… As we’ve already mentioned above, the rigidness of the material in leggings makes them difficult or impossible to fit into a wetsuit. This is because neoprene fits to your body in a way that leggings can’t.

It’s important when shopping for wetsuits , especially if you are still new to surfing, that you make sure the suit fits you correctly or else it won’t work right.

Here’s an example… Leggings aren’t flexible enough to adjust to curvier body types which means your wetsuit shouldn’t be either. Wetsuits should contour around your neck/chest area, shoulders, biceps and then down your legs just like leggings do.

Here you can see how womens’ surfing wetsuit s are contoured at the neck opening. If your leggings have the same cut as this then it’s sure to be a no-go.

Read Also:- Tips for Choosing the Ultimate Wetsuit : What Things Consider While Purchasing A Best Wetsuit?

The key takeaway here is that your wetsuit should fit you just like your leggings would. This means it needs to have the same style cut so they are both tight fitting, but stretchy enough so you can move in them without restrictions.

Wetsuits are made of neoprene which makes them highly flexible while also offering excellent water protection. Leggings, on the other hand, are made of spandex or nylon which offers great flexibility but very little water resistance.

This is fine for land use scenarios where you aren’t submerged in cold ocean water, but not ideal for surfing . Both materials could technically work together when worn correctly, but that’s just not the case with leggings.

When you’re surfing in colder waters, you need a material that is going to work against the pull of flow from the ocean and keep your body heat from escaping. Wetsuits lined neoprene helps this process vastly whereas leggings do not. In addition to wearing a wetsuit for warmth reasons, it also has another function… Aesthetics.

Final Thoughts

To stay warm in cold water, you should wear a wetsuit with the following undergarments. A neoprene undersuit will keep your body insulated and provide buoyancy. You can also purchase an extra layer of insulation for more warmth by wearing fleece or wool long johns underneath the suit.

These items are available at any sporting goods store, so if you’re planning on spending time in chilly waters this winter, be sure to invest in these pieces beforehand.

This article should offer you some helpful tips for what to wear under a wetsuit in cold water. We hope this information helps keep you warm and comfortable during the colder months, but don’t forget that it’s always better to be safe than sorry. If there are any questions we didn’t answer here please feel free to reach out via comment section.

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