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How to Buy a Surfing Wetsuit

   January 27th, 2016   Posted In: How-To   Tags:


How to buy a surfing wetsuit can be difficult or sometimes confusing. But a wetsuit for surfing with a good fit and the right mix of features will allow you to enjoy the waves year round (or at least comfortably extend your season.)


Whether you’re an advanced surfer or brand new to surfing, it always helps to know exactly what goes into and what you should be looking for when buying a wetsuit for surfing.


Wetsuits will not keep you completely dry. The idea is to allow a small amount of water inside, your body heat will take care of the rest.


Okay, back to how to buy a surfing wetsuit! We put together a guide of the four factors to look for in a surfing wetsuit. These four factors include wetsuit thickness, type of neoprene, wetsuit seam construction, and extras.


Have any suggestions? Let us know in the comments what you look for in a surfing wetsuit!


#1: Wetsuit Thickness


You’ll see 2mm, 3/2mm, 4/3mm, etc. in front of a product name on our website. That mm is the wetsuit thickness measured in millimeters and it impacts the warmth of the wetsuit. Less neoprene is used in the extremities to increase flexibility. Basically, thickness increases warmth and decreases flexibility. Check out this Water Temperature Guide:


Wetsuit temperature guide

Want to know more about wetsuit thickness? Check out this video:



#2: Neoprene Type


Neoprene types impact flexibility and there are two types for surfing wetsuits: Standard and Super stretch.


Manufacturers use varying degrees of these neoprene types, so for surfing, you need at least 30% super stretch neoprene in your wetsuit. Seasoned surfers prefer wetsuits with 60% to 100% super stretch neoprene for the ultimate in flexibility and fit.


30% stretch: the back, shoulders, and arms have 30% super stretch neoprene while the other 70% of the suit is made with standard neoprene.


100% stretch: entire suit is made with super stretch neoprene for the ultimate in fit and flexibility.


The video below talks more about neoprene types:



#3: Seam Construction


What holds the suit together? Seams! Seam construction impacts the warmth and comfort of the wetsuit and can be broken down into three types.


Flatlock: Great for warmer water temps (62F & up), flatlock seams look like railroad tracks and the interior and exterior look the same. The interior is flat and is comfortable against the skin. Some water seeps in through this type of seam.


Sealed (Glued & Blindstitched): This type of seam works well in cold water (55F & up). The seam is constructed by being glued first and then stitched. The exterior is similar to flatlock seams, but the interior is glued. Very little water will seep through this type.


Sealed & Taped (Glued Blindstitched & 100% Taped): These seams work well for really cold water (55F & below). It has the same construction as Sealed, but has taping on the interior and exterior. This tape reinforces seams for added durability and prevents any water from seeping in.


Watch the video below for more information on seam types!



#4: Extras


Extra internal and external features will enhance the performance of your wetsuit.


Poly Fleece


Poly fleece and quick dry poly fleece are internal linings that provide a quick drying time and keep you warmer, longer. There’s even quick dry poly fleece for an even faster drying time!


See the video below on poly fleece linings:





Surfing wetsuits can come in a variety of zipper types and are offered as a back zip, front zip (or chest zip), or zip free.


Full-Zipper provides your standard entry.


Short-Zipper increases flexibility and limits water entry though the zipper.


A chest zipper increases your flexibility and is becoming more popular and prominent in the surfing wetsuit industry.


Zipper barriers are great for flushing water out of the zipper area!


Learn more about zippers with the videos below:




Smoothskin/Wind Resistant Neoprene


Smoothskin neoprene a.k.a smoothy is a rubberized coating applied to the outside of neoprene that helps block wind, and resists water absorbtion into the wetsuit. Smoothy is typically found on the chest of a wetsuit. Specialized windsports wetsuits feature more smoothy for better windblock.


Pros: wind resistance, better “cling” to a surfboard, blocks some water from entering the suit. Cons: adds a little extra weight to the suit, smoothy is delicate and shows nicks/cuts easily.


Below is a quick video on smoothskin:



Key Pockets


Key pockets or key loops are added as a convenience to most wetsuits. See the brief video below to learn more!



Ready to shop for your surfing wetsuit? Shop men’s surfing wetsuits, women’s surfing wetsuits, and kid’s surfing wetsuits.

Lauren Belt

Merchandiser at Wetsuit Wearhouse
Lauren (LoLo) has been picking out the latest and greatest wetsuits and being the social media queen for Wetsuit Wearhouse since 2014. She learned to surf for the first time ever in Costa Rica but she gravitates more towards SUP. When she's not scouring the web for travel deals, you can find her either hiking, running, practicing yoga, studying holistic nutrition or reading a good book outside on a beautiful day.

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