Now that summer’s over, the temps are going to get a little chillier. But, that shouldn’t prevent you from going out in the water and catching some waves; just be prepared with the right equipment. For surfing, that means, a good wetsuit. Choosing the right one will help you maintain your flexibility and lessen the effects of cold water so you can surf comfortably for hours.
Since this will be your biggest purchase after a surfboard, do you know how to get the right one?
Two of the most popular options are spring suits and full suits. A spring suit is a short sleeve/short pant combination, while a full suit covers your entire body from your neck to your ankles. If you can purchase only one wetsuit, go for a full suit. It’s always better to be too warm than cold.
Most wetsuits come in black, but there are also a variety of colors/designs. Some have zippers in the back, some in the front, and some, none at all.
First, get rid of the misconception that a wetsuit is going to keep your body completely dry. A wetsuit is designed so that it lets in a little water to keep you core body temperature warm. Wetsuits are made of neoprene rubber, and are designed so that a thin layer of water is trapped between the wetsuit and you, enabling your body to warm the water to a comfortable level.
A wetsuit should feel snug and tight all over and conform to your body shape like a second skin, but it shouldn’t be so tight that you feel any loss of circulation in your hands or feet.
Also note that most manufacturers’ sizes are different, so you’ll need and want to try them out. In general, though, a guy’s T stands for tall, and a MT means medium tall. If you’re a tall and skinny guy, don’t get a large because an L will be too loose.
The thicker the suit, the warmer you’ll be. The thickness of a wetsuit is indicated by two numbers separated by a slash mark. The first number is the thickness of the wetsuit in millimeters (mm) for the portion that covers your torso. The second number is the thickness in millimeters (mm) for your limbs. More thickness is given to the torso to increase your body’s core heat. Less thickness is given to the extremities to increase flexibility and range of motion. Therefore, a 3/2 is 3mm covering your torso and 2mm covering your arms and legs.
In most cases, a 3/2 or 4/3 will keep you insulated down to 53 degrees. If it’s colder than that, you’ll need a thicker wetsuit, and may even want booties, gloves and a hood to keep warm.
Below is a general guide we found on surfingsite.com which gives a good idea to which wetsuit thickness is right for your area’s seasonal ocean temperature:
|80 to 74 degrees
|73 to 66 degrees
||2mm Neoprene top or Spring Suit
|65 to 58 degrees
||2mm Long Sleeve Spring Suit or 3/2mm Full Suit
|58 to 55 degrees
||3/2mm Full Suit + Booties
|54 to 49 degrees
||4/3mm Full Suit + Booties
|49 to 43 degrees
||5/4mm Full Suit + Booties + Hood
|42 degrees & below
||6/5mm Full Suit + Booties+ Hood
||Dry suit + Booties + Hood
Ready to invest in a wetsuit? We’ve got some great ones available! Check out the guys’ styles here and the women’s selection here. Continue reading