How to choose a surf suit ?

It’s sometimes difficult to make the right decision when it comes to choosing a wetsuit. What cut to choose ? What thickness ? Which fastening system ? Here are a few tips to help you make the right choice.

How to choose the cut of your suit ?

Full wetsuit, sleeveless or shorty, here’s a guide to which surf suit to choose according to your practice.

The Drysuit

The Drysuit is a waterproof wetsuit, generally used in the coldest seas. Its main advantage is that it maintains good body heat and has a hood to protect the head. On the other hand, it offers very little freedom of movement and is quite heavy to wear.

The full-body hooded suit

Much more flexible than the previous one, the full-body hooded wetsuit is perfect for cold areas. With a reinforced thickness that varies between 6/5 and 5/4 mm, it is still rather heavy, but guarantees maximum body heat. Also featuring a hood to prevent heat loss, it allows you to stay in the water as long as possible.

The full-body, or traditional, surf suit

The full-body, or traditional, wetsuit covers the entire body, from the wrists to the ankles. Very popular for winter surfing, it retains a maximum amount of body heat and is available in different thicknesses to ensure great freedom of movement. In addition to surfing, it’s often used for paddle, kitesurf and windsurfing.

The sleeveless surf suit

The sleeveless wetsuit covers the entire body, except for the arms. This system allows a great freedom of movement by leaving the arms free. In addition, this surf suit always has a thickness of 3/2 mm, which makes it particularly flexible.

The Long John or Long Jane

Ideal for warm seas, the Long John or Long Jane wetsuit is sleeveless. It’s suitable for more temperate areas and is no thicker than 1 to 2 mm. Its great advantage is how it offers freedom of movement and the possibility of adding a neoprene jacket over the top, should the temperature drop. A must-have in the surf world and a standard that most professionals adopt.

The Overknee

The special thing about the Overknee wetsuit is that it stops above the calves. This means that its reinforced lining continues to protect the knees for great freedom of movement when surfing. For body warmth, this surf suit is reinforced at the chest and back and the sleeves are available in both short or long versions.

The Shorty

In seas over 13°C, the Shorty is your best ally ! With a choice of different sleeve lengths, it’s the ideal wetsuit for surfing in complete freedom. From spring to autumn, it accompanies you in your practice and protects your essential organs from the cold.

How to choose the thickness of your suit ?

In order to choose the right wetsuit, you will obviously need to look at the thickness of the neoprene. It is in fact this precise point that will determine your daily practice. Here are the 4 most common thicknesses available depending on the water temperature:

The 6/5 mm surf suit

Only used for full-body suits, the 6/5 mm thickness will protect you from the cold and is ideal for temperatures below 7°C. However, it restricts movement enormously, which is why we generally turn to a 5/4 mm suit for more freedom.

The 4/3 mm surf suit

The 4/3 mm thick wetsuit is ideal for temperatures between 7° and 12°C as it provides excellent support and body warmth. In spring or autumn, this is the best flexibility/warmth ratio you can find. This ratio can also be found with the Overknee.

The 3/2 mm surf suit

Perfect for temperatures between 13° and 19°C, the 3/2 mm thick wetsuit is comfortable to wear. Generally, you will find that the Shorty offers a light and much more flexible version.

The 2/1 mm surf suit

The 2/1 mm thick wetsuit is suitable for the warmest places in the world. Not only does it prevent you from sweating, but more importantly it will give you maximum freedom of movement. If you're surfing in paradise, then you should also consider a lycra top to protect you from UV rays.

Which opening system should I choose ?

A front zip, a back zip or no zip at all... Here are the different opening systems for your wetsuit:

The back zip

This is the original wetsuit opening system. The reason for this is simple: it allows you to avoid friction when you lie down on the board. However, if you prefer windsurfing or kitesurfing, then this may not be the ideal closure system because of unpleasant rubbing around the harness.

The front zip

The advantage of a front zipper system is the maximised waterproofness of your wetsuit. Although a little more difficult to put on, it’s a joy for many riders and looks much nicer. However, this opening system should be avoided for a classic surfing practice.

The zipless

The zipless wetsuit has no opening or closing system at all. This surf suit is put on via the collar and has the advantages of being both waterproof and much lighter. It predominantly features thicknesses of between 4/3 and 3/2 for maximum freedom of movement. On the other hand, it needs to be made-to-measure so you can put it on easily!

Also to be discovered:

How to choose your boardshorts ?
How to choose men’s swimwear ?
What’s the difference between boardshorts and swim shorts ?