No matter where you surf, a good surfing wetsuit will make a big difference in your comfort and how long you can be out on the waves.
Even in warm temperatures, like my native Southern California, wetsuits are still needed if you’re going to be in the water for long periods of time.
Surfing wetsuits don’t keep you completely dry; they let a little bit of water in through the suit and then your body heat keeps that water warm and insulates you even more. When looking for a good surfing wetsuit there are many things to consider.
The thickness of a wetsuit is measured in millimeters and expressed like this “3/2 mm”. The first number represents the thickness of the body area and the second number represents the thickness on the arms and legs.
The thickness of wetsuit you’ll need depends on the activity you are doing and the water temperature. Check out this quick water temperature guide to get a good idea of what will suit you best.
Wetsuits come in a variety of lengths. There are two main kinds of wetsuits when it comes to length. Full wetsuits cover (wait for it) the full body; they have full length legs and arms for the most coverage and warmth. “Shorty” wetsuits have short length arms and legs and are far more popular in warm weather climates.
Surfing wetsuits are made from a variety of neoprene types. There is regualr neoprene, super stretch neoprene and other varieties. Generally speaking, the stretchier the better.
For surfing you need at least 30% super stretch neoprene. This covers the back, arms and chest. 60% is preferable as that covers the upper body down to the knees. If you have the money and need then 100% super stretch is the way to go.
There are other considerations like seam construction, extra features and zippers to consider too but the above features should be where you start.
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