How to choose your surf wetsuit?
Choosing neoprene wetsuits isn´t easy. Today, the market offers a lot of models and sometimes it can get confusing. To help you choose, we´ve made a guide where you can find all you need to know before you buy a wetsuit.
How do neoprene wetsuits work?
It´s our second skin when we´re in the water. Its function is none other than to minimize the effects of cold water and maintain us warm.
A tip, don’t skimp when buying a neoprene wetsuit. After the acquisition of your surfboard, the wetsuit is the most important thing you will get.
Characteristics of a basic neoprene wetsuit
There are 4 principal factors that should be taken into account when buying a neoprene wetsuit:
Most important factor when deciding how warm the wetsuit will be. It´s indicated in millimeters, with a combination of two numbers separated by a front slash ( / ). The first number indicates the thickness in the chest part of the suit. The second indicates the thickness for the extremities.
These are the thicknesses you will find in the market:
- 6/5 mm (winter)
- 5/4 mm (winter)
- 4/3 mm (autumn – winter)
- 3/2 mm (spring – summer)
- 2/2 mm (summer)
In general, the thickest area is the chest part to give more warmth to the core of the body. In the extremities the thickness is lower to give flexibility and range of movement when paddling.
For example: if we decide that we want a 3/2 mm suit for spring, we will be getting a wetsuit with 3 millimeters of thickness in the core and 2 millimeters of thickness in the extremities.
2. The Seal
In this section we will talk about the stitching. From it will it depend how much water will penetrate into the interior of the wetsuit, and how durable the suit is.
Basic neoprene wetsuits are made with flat stitching (Flatlock). These stitches are clearly visible from the exterior of the wetsuit and let in quite a bit of water.
Mid-end wetsuits are made with a system of folds and invisible stitches (Sealed). That is, the panels that are stitched can´t be seen and then after, they are sealed to avoid water penetration into the wetsuit.
High-end wetsuits have sealed stitches with special rubber (Sealed and Taped). This avoids water filtration from the stitches and helps maintain the trapped air inside warm. This is the warmest method. For example the O´Neill Psycho One Fuze uses it. You can check our wetsuit reviews here.
3. Suit build
Another important parameter when choosing a neoprene wetsuit is how the suit is made. This directly influences the flexibility. The tendency is to reduce the number of panels used, since this reduces the number of stitches needed and possible water filtration.
4. Quality of the neoprene
Fundamentally there are 3 types of neoprene wetsuits, depending on the way you fasten it. With zipper on the chest, without zip and zipper on the back.
- Back zip: Easy to put on, but are colder and less flexible than the chest zip.
- Chest zip or front zip: Warmer than back zips, since it avoids water filtration and also offers more flexibility. This is the type of zip that the Hurley Advantage Plus has.
- No zip or zip free: These are recent in the market. More flexible and usually associated with high end models. They offer greater range of motion and are warmer than the previous ones. An example is the Hyperfreak Comp from O´Neill.
How do I choose my neoprene wetsuit?
If you´ve come this far, you should be asking 3 questions before you buy:
1. When am I going to use it?
Based on the water temperature of where you´ll surf you could choose a short sleeve and short leg all the way to a full suit with hood. This temperature guide will help you decide which type of neoprene you need:
- Less than 3ºC Long 7 mm wetsuit, with boots, gloves and hood.
- Between 4ºC and 7ºC Long 6/5 mm wetsuit with boots, gloves and hood.
- Between 8ºC and 11ºC Long 5/4/3 mm wetsuit, with boots, gloves and hood.
- Between 12ºC and 17ºC Long 4/3 mm wetsuit, with boots and gloves or long 3/2 mm wetsuit.
- Between 18ºC and 20ºC 2 mm wetsuit and could be short sleeve and short leg.
- Between 21ºC and 25ºC Swimming suit and 1 mm neoprene vest or more.
- More than 26ºC Swimming suit and shirt or vest.
Example: Imagine you are surfing in summer in the Cantabrian coast, where the water temperature usually oscillates between 17ºC and 19ºC. Depending on how chilly you are, we recommend you to go with a 2 mm version with short sleeves or a 3/2 mm.
2. With what frequency will I use it?
If you´re a person that only surfs on the weekends or when you´re on vacation, follow our 7 basic tips to take care of your wetsuit it´s very probable that the wetsuit will last for a long time without losing its properties.
3. Which size should I choose?
The great dilemma: choosing a neoprene wetsuit size. An important factor that most brands don´t make it easy for us is size and that´s because each brand has their own size guide for their wetsuits.
Problem: If it´s too loose, water will surely enter, and if we get it too tight we won´t have freedom of movement.
4. How to get the right size wetsuit?
To help us succeed when choosing a wetsuit in Single Quiver we´ve developed a wetsuit recommender. Thanks to its easy form you can fill quickly, your best size will be guaranteed. We invite you to try it out.
Where to buy a cheap neoprene wetsuit.
In Single Quiver we have the best wetsuits and the best brands for the best price. Also, until the end of the month, buy you wetsuit and accumulate a 10% discount for you next purchase.
Looking for a spring – summer wetsuit?
If you´re looking for a wetsuit for this spring – summer or even autumn, don’t miss our next video. We show you our latest releases from O´Neill and Hurley.
And if you liked this post, don´t stop visiting our wetsuit section. In this section we give our opinion for different types of wetsuits that our team has tested. You can also subscribe to our newsletter, where we will give you the latest news.