Naturally, you’ll need a wetsuit to ensure your winter surfing sessions last longer than five minutes. But when buying a wetsuit for surfing you can’t just throw on any neoprene sweater and paddle out. Follow the top surf suit tips below and you’ll be more comfortable in the water whatever the season.
Water is denser than air, less forgiving and voraciously steals your body heat. When it’s cool outside, surfing will increase circulation and make you feel warm. And although blood will be pumping as you paddle around looking for waves, the sensation of body warmth is soon lost in cool water.
The thicker the suit, the warmer and less flexible it will be. Of course we’d all like to be comfortably warm when surfing, but because surfers require a great range of motion – especially in the shoulders and arms. So we have to find a happy medium between the warmth and flexibility of our wetsuits.
Surf wetsuit thickness is measured in millimetres. Usually the arms and legs are less thick than the torso to allow better freedom of movement whilst warming your core.
Keep in mind the seam style when buying a wetsuit for surfing. And that it is not meant to keep your body entirely dry. The idea is to allow a bit of water inside which your body heats up.
Now surf suits are made of neoprene panels ingeniously stitched together. The seams along the edges of these panels are sometimes culprits of water leakage.
On a two-mil suit leakage is okay, even necessary in some cases, so seams should not be glued together. But for thicker suits, when leakage is a serious session-killer, make sure the seams are glued together and even taped from the inside for thicker ones.
Keeping an eye on zipper types is one of the top surf suit tips. There are also several models of zippers. The most common is a full back zipper that zips all the way down your spine. This zipper makes getting in and out of your wetsuit easier, but can sacrifice leakage and flexibility.
Chest-zipper suits are tougher to get on, but control leakage and allow for maximum flexibility. If you’re suit is well made, the zipper style should not noticeably affect its performance. Zippers tend to be a matter of preference, although less so the thicker they get.
There are even some zipperless wetsuits on the market. They are extra stretchy but even harder to get on.
Finally, be sure to try on any suit before buying it. Many guys don’t wear anything under their wetsuits so this step can be gross if you think about it too long… So wear some shorts when testing! But trying it on is an absolute necessity in finding a surf suit well trimmed to your body.
Once inside the wetsuit, make sure it fits snug to your skin, but isn’t constricting. A wetsuit should not be tight enough to affect blood circulation. Check to make sure there is no bunched up material at any of your joints. If there is, the suit is too big.
Rotate your arms to simulate paddling. There should be no chaffing on your shoulders or on your armpit.
The best suit should fit like an extension of your skin. Try a variety of models and manufacturers, as each are cut slightly different. When you slip into one that’s the right size, flexible enough for you to squat in, and well fitting enough not to rub anywhere, you’ll know it.
It is not a cheap investment so be sure to take your time and get the right suit, or selection of suits, for you. Find the right one and you’ll feel invincible, and may even consider quitting your job to fight crime and kick ass in your new suit. But I recommend heading out for a surf instead.
We hope you found this guide to buying a wetsuit for surfing useful. After you follow the top surf suit tips check out these surfing holidays worldwide to break it in somewhere exciting.