Best Surfing Wetsuits for Hot or Cold Weather: The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide for 2020

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Surfing is a fun and challenging sport, but if you’re planning on hitting the water soon, then you need to be prepared to handle a variety of water conditions and temperatures. That’s where the best surfing wetsuits come in. A well-fitting suit is crucial, especially if you plan on being in the water on colder days.  The right wetsuit can make all the difference in terms of how long you stay in the water and even how often you paddle board or surf throughout the year.

If you’re new to surfing or paddle boarding, but you have no idea how to shop for a wetsuit, then my buyer’s guide and product recommendations can be a total lifesaver. I’ve included many of the top-rated suits on the market, so you should have no trouble finding one that will work for your boarding needs. Below, you’ll find a comparison chart that lists each of the suits that made it to my best-of list, in addition to important information that can help you easily determine whether or not each particular suit has what it takes to meet your needs and boarding life.

Surfing Wetsuits Comparison Chart

ProductZipperMaterial
Thickness
LengthRating
Realon Wetsuit
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Back3-5 MMFull
O'Neill Reactor Wetsuit

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Back3 MMFull
Hevto Wetsuits Men
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Back3 MMFull
Lemorecn Wetsuits

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Back3 MMShorty
Nataly Osmann Wetsuit
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Zipperless3 MMFull
Seavenger Navigator
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Back3 MMShorty
Lemorecn Kids Wetsuit

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Back2MMKid's Full

Best for cold water – Realon Wetsuit


Our Rating: (5/5)

This full wetsuit is made out of CR neoprene that comes in at three millimeters thick. The suit consists of a durable neoprene material that’s combined with a type of stretchy nylon fabric designed to improve your range of motion in the water. The suit offers UV protection and will keep you nice and warm in cold water conditions. The suit can handle water ranging from forty-five degrees up to fifty-five degrees. If you’re looking for a durable, comfortable design, this model definitely delivers. The functional panels allow you to easily squat down on your board, while the wear-resistant material on the shoulders and knees add to the suit’s durability, so it can easily withstand heavy-duty use.

Pros

  • Flexible
  • Wear-resistant panels
  • Designed for colder water temperatures
  • Suit provides UV protection

Cons

  • Can hinder range of motion

Conclusion

The large durable zipper located on the back of the suit makes it easy to put on or exit, quickly, while the reinforced panels on the knees and shoulders ensure this suit will last season after season. The full-length protection makes this model suitable for lower water temperatures and will keep you warm and comfortable hour after hour in the water.

Best For Men – O’Neill Men’s Reactor Wetsuit


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This full-length suit offers a high-performance fit and features a tough, ultra-flex neoprene construction that’s designed to keep you comfortable and warm in colder water temperatures. The super seal neckline is highly adjustable and designed to prevent skin irritation. The suit can provide ultimate protection in water temperatures ranging from fifty-five degrees up to sixty-four degrees. The body of the suit measures in at three millimeters thick, with arms and legs at two millimeters thick. The suit’s padding has been strategically placed for improved comfort and range of motion. The YKK heavy-duty zipper on the back of the suit allows you to easily take it on or exit, which is a huge selling point for any boarder.

Pros

  • Flexible
  • Designed to handle moderately cold water temperatures
  • Adjustable neck seal
  • Krypto neckline

Cons

  • Not recommended for hot weather use

Conclusion

This suit is the ultimate buy for the boarder who is looking for a suit that won’t restrict their movements, can handle colder water temperatures, and a suit that’s designed to last. It’s got all the features most buyers are looking for including reinforced shoulders and knees, an adjustable neckline, and a back zipper that’s durable and allows you to easily exit the suit.

Best for Women – Hevto Wetsuits Men


Our Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

This model is made out of a combination of nylon elastic fabric and three-millimeter thick neoprene material. The flatlock stitching will prevent water from flooding the suit, while the flexible design will allow you to easily move in the water. This suit can handle water temperatures that range from fifty up to sixty-seven degrees. With a high durability rating, this suit is the perfect choice for moderately cold water temperatures and can be used for surfing, paddle boarding, kayaking, sailing, and any other type of watersport.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Flexible
  • Flatlock stitching
  • Thick neoprene

Cons

  • Suits run one size small

Conclusion

Flexible, durable, easy to put on and exit, this suit has it all, including a nylon and neoprene design that improves both freedom of movement and durability. This is a great suit for boarding in moderately cold water temperatures, but it’s not designed to keep you warm in water temperatures under fifty degrees. In most cases, this suit will be a great option for mild winter and spring use.

Best Value – Lemorecn Wetsuits


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This multi-sport wetsuit is perfect for boarding, diving, snorkeling, waterskiing, and more. It’s also very durable due to the spot taped stress points, in addition to the flatlock seam design that provides a much smoother exterior and interior surface that ensures both durability and maximum comfort. The suit is made out of three-millimeter thick neoprene material, so the suit will fit like a glove and offers the type of flexibility and protection that you need out on the water. The extra-long leash makes it easy to access the YKK heavy-duty zipper located on the back of the suit.

Pros

  • Perfect for warm water
  • Three-millimeter thick neoprene
  • Extra-long zipper leash
  • Flatlock seam design

Cons

  • Not recommended for cold water temperatures

Conclusion

If you’re planning your next vacation and want a suit that allows you to hit the water running, then you’ll love how comfortable and tough this latest suit by Lemorecn is. This suit is not designed for cold water temperatures since it provides no protection for the arms and legs. However, if you’re looking for a shorty that’s durable and highly flexible, then you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better suit and one that’s available at such a reasonable price.

Best Hooded Model – Nataly Osmann Camo Spearfishing Wetsuits


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

The suit is made out of quick-drying, breathable, neoprene material that’s three millimeters thick. The suit features a two-piece design. The top of the suit comes complete with a diving hood for improved insulation in colder water temperatures. The suit will work for water temperatures ranging from forty-five degrees up to sixty-seven degrees, so it’s perfect for use in the winter, but will definitely be overkill for boarding during the summer months. The two-piece design will make it easier to put the suit on and exit it. It also helps to improve range of motion in the water, so you can hop up on a board or squat, quickly and smoothly.

Pros

  • Two-piece design
  • Perfect for winter use
  • Improved range of motion in the water
  • Diving hood for added protection

Cons

  • Will cause excessive sweating in hot weather conditions

Conclusion

This versatile suit is designed specifically for winter use and colder water temperatures in general. The hood provides added protection to the head and ears, while the two-piece design itself will make it incredibly easy to put the suit on and take it off. The suit should not be used in warmer weather since it can promote excessive sweating, but if you’re looking for a dependable suit you can use in freezing water temperatures, then hit that buy now button.

Best Short Model – Seavenger Navigator


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This is one of the best-selling shorty wetsuits on the market. The neoprene and nylon design conforms to your body, fitting like a second skin. The addition of the super-stretch armpit panels will improve mobility as you paddle along, while the flatlock stitching prevents skin irritation while improving fit and flexibility. The suit is also equipped with anti-abrasion shoulder pads that are designed to handle heavy-duty use and challenging environments. The longer leash makes taking the suit off a cinch. This is a warm-weather suit that’s designed for water temperatures sixty-five degrees and up. The cut and overall fit of the suit will allow you to move around freely in the water or on your board, which is a huge plus for both surfers and paddle boarders.

Pros

  • Three-millimeter thick neoprene material
  • Stretchy armpit panels improve range of motion
  • Flatlock stitching
  • Durable

Cons

  • Cannot handle water temperatures below sixty-five degrees

Conclusion

The construction of the suit is designed to minimize irritation, rashes, and chafing, allowing you to stay in the water longer, in total comfort. The super flexible design allows you to jump up on your board using fluid movements, yet the suit is still durable enough to handle challenging environments. Since the suit should not be worn in water temperatures below sixty-five degrees, it’s not a good choice for colder climates.

Best for Kids – Lemorecn Kids Wetsuit


Our Rating: (4/5)

If you’ve been searching online for wetsuits for your child, then you may have had trouble finding one that’s both durable and affordable. That’s where Lemorecn comes in. Their latest full wetsuit for kids is very flexible and made out of two-millimeter neoprene material that’s durable and comfortable. The suit has a 50+ UV protection that will help to prevent sunburns and general skin irritation caused by prolonged exposure to the sun. The cut of the suit provides the type of glove-like fit that’s needed to prevent water from flooding the suit. The extra-long leash on the YKK zipper located on the back of the suit will make taking this suit off a breeze. The flatlock stitching ensures comfort and durability, promoting longer use in a suit that’s designed to handle colder water temperatures. The thickness and design of the torso area does lack the type of flexibility some wearers will need, however, this is a fair tradeoff for the level of protection the suit delivers in very low water temperatures.

Pros

  • Flatlock stitching
  • Extra-long leash
  • YKK zipper
  • 50+ UV protection

Cons

  • Cannot be used in warmer weather
  • Torso area is not very flexible

Conclusion

This suit is perfect for paddle boarding, surfing, kayaking, and other watersports. It’s a great option for colder water temperatures and does an excellent job of keeping the wearer nice and warm thanks to the thick neoprene material, combined with the flatlock stitching. This is a great buy for the parent in search of a high-quality wetsuit for their child, one that’s flexible, durable, and designed to last.

Surfing Wetsuits Buyer’s Guide

A wetsuit will keep you warm and comfortable when you’re in the water. They’re also designed to work as a buffer against water while providing some protection from the wind. Because of this, a wetsuit will be an essential part of your boarding gear, but choosing the right one isn’t exactly easy.

in order to enjoy all the benefits these suits have to offer, you need to ensure the suit you wear fits you perfectly. This buyer’s guide will walk you through the fitting process, to help you find a suit that will fit like a glove and one that can handle a variety of water temperatures and weather conditions.

Strength

If you’re serious about boarding, then you’re probably going to need a wetsuit that can handle heavy-duty use. These suits will be placed under plenty of strain and must be designed to handle a beating in the water. If you’re looking for a highly durable suit, make sure it’s made out of thick, high-quality material and pay close attention to the type of seams it has. As an example, a suit that features a flat-locked taped seam design will offer ultimate durability.

Seals

When you think about seals, you want to focus on the main areas of the suit, where the suit seals against the body. This will include areas around the ankles, wrists, and neckline. When it comes to this feature, it’s important not to skimp since seal quality is what really matters and works as the main barrier against water. Any sealed areas must be very comfortable and flexible since a rigid design can have an impact on your freedom of movement. Look for a seal design that’s adjustable or seals that have been designed with safety and comfort in mind.

Stitching

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Stitching and seam quality will go hand in hand. A suit comes in a variety of stitch designs, which you’ll find below. The seam and stitch type will have a huge impact on the type of water temperatures the suit is designed to handle.

The flatlock stitch design is recommended for use in water that’s higher than sixty-two degrees. The stitch design causes the suit to lie flat against the body and is considered one of the most comfortable options.

Blind stitched suits are perfect for water fifty-five degrees and higher. These suits often feature stitch panels that have been glued, then blind stitched. This style of stitching will not go all the way through the material and will come out the same side it went in, instead, in order to make it watertight. Blind stitched suits will allow very little water inside.

Sealed and taped seams are perfect for water temperatures that are below fifty-five degrees. With this stitch style, the stitches are glued, then blind stitched, in addition to containing interior taping. The tape on the interior adds to the suit’s durability while reinforcing the seams and preventing water from seeping through.

Material Type

When it comes to shopping for a wetsuit based on material, you’re not going to find better than neoprene, however, some boarding enthusiasts argue that chloroprene works just as well. Whichever type of material you choose, make sure it’s tough, flexible, and designed to keep you warm in colder temperatures.

Flexible Design

When you’re on your board, your body will be moving around a lot. Because of this, you need to find a suit that you can comfortably wear for a long period of time. Look for a suit with a high flexibility rating. Neoprene is one of those materials that has a reputation for flexibility, which is why so many boarders opt for suits made out of this material.

Right Fit

Finding the right suit size is important and can have a huge impact on how effective and functional a suit is. The wrong size can be uncomfortable and constricting, or it can be very irritating and may even leak. Pay close attention to size options and try on a suit before you buy, if possible. Most boarders prefer to purchase their suits online since they’re often available at a more affordable price. You can try on different brands, types, and styles of suits at your local surf shop, and use this information when you’re shopping around online.

Men and Women Wetsuits

While a wetsuit is essentially unisex, more and more manufacturers are coming out with their own lines of suits specifically designed for women. These suits will allow for a better, more comfortable fit and come in a variety of size options. You’ll also run into some great options for the kids as many of the biggest brands in the industry come out with at least a few child-size wetsuit options.

How They Work

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These suits are designed to keep the boarder warm and protected from dangerous water temperatures. The suits work by trapping a thin layer between the suit and the body. While this may sound counterproductive, this layer of water is warmed by the body and prevents the wearer from losing too much body heat. Water molecules conduct heat approximately forty times faster compared to an air molecule. A wetsuit isn’t designed to keep the wearer dry. Neoprene, the most common type of material that these suits are made out of, traps heat and provides insulation against cold water temperatures.

The thicker the neoprene, the warmer the suit will be since it will come with a higher level of heat-trapping insulation. If you’re planning on hitting the water often, make sure you do your research in terms of the water temperature in your region. If the water temperature is low enough to cause the extremities to become numb, then you may also need to purchase shoes, a hood, and gloves.

Thickness

Aside from fit, thickness will be another one of those important features that can make all the difference concerning how comfortable and warm you’ll be in the water. The thickness of a suit is measured in millimeters, which is represented by a few numbers that are separated by a slash. The first number will indicate how thick the material is in the torso area. The next number will represent how thick the material is in the extremity areas. The last number will represent how thick the material is in the arm area. Some suits will only have a couple of numbers that indicate thickness, while others will list the third thickness rating for the arms specifically.

Keep in mind, the thicker the material, the less flexibility and the more warmth. Thinner material is used for the arms and legs since they will be in constant motion.

Does My Suit Fit Correctly?

If you’re new to boarding and wearing a wetsuit, you may not know how to determine whether or not a suit fits you the way it should. These suits are designed to fit like a second skin. There should be no excessive bunching in the legs and arms and no sagging in the back. It should feature a type of fit, which will keep only a thin layer of water between the suit and your body. If the suit you wear is too loose, then this will allow a lot of water inside, which will basically make the suit useless. The suit should also fit tightly around the neck. A suit that fits you the way it’s supposed to will be challenging to put on when it’s dry. However, you should be able to move your legs and arms easily and squat down without feeling restricted.

Keep in mind, every brand of wetsuit may fit you slightly differently. Additionally, you should choose a suit based on your body type.

Entry Construction

There are a few different types of entry construction styles to choose from:

  • Zipperless
  • Chest zipper
  • Back zipper

Back zippered suits are the most common and feature a zipper that goes down the length of the spine. The zipper will come equipped with a long cord attached, which will make it much easier for the person to zip or unzip the suit. Most boarders can agree that suits with this type of design are the easiest to exit and enter. This is a huge deal when you’re attempting to take off or put on something that’s skin tight. The drawback here is that water can sometimes get through the seams on the zipper, allowing cold water in. Many manufacturers have created their own unique flush guard technology that’s designed to prevent this from happening.

Chest

Models with a zipper on the chest allow you to enter through a zippered cutout that’s located around the neck. You’ll drop down into the suit through this cutout and pull the neck cutout over your head, zipping the suit closed at the chest. These suits can be trickier to put on and exit. The zipper is much more durable and does a better job of keeping water out. Additionally, it can also offer a more comfortable fit on the neckline, which means it will be less likely to cause a rash. It also helps to improve the overall flexibility of the suit compared to models that have a zipper on the back.

Zipperless

A zipperless design is commonly found on lightweight suits that tend to prioritize mobility and flexibility over warmth. The entry point for this type of suit is located around the neck or chest area, which is often secured by Velcro or elastic.

Length

There are many different types of wetsuits, each of which is designed to suit specific water temperatures and weather conditions.

Full

This style will cover the entire body and is available in a variety of thicknesses and is made for different types of water temperatures. The suit will cover the legs down to the ankles, and the arms, down to the wrists.

Shorty

These suits are usually made out of very thin material and have short arms and legs. A shorty is a perfect choice for warmer water temperatures.

Final Thoughts

The best surfing wetsuits will offer the type of durability and protection against freezing water temperatures. They should also be flexible enough to not hinder your movements in the water, and come equipped with a zipper design that allows you to easily get in and out of the suit quickly. Of course, the best suit for you will depend on where you board, what time of year, and should heavily depend on common water temperatures. This guide and my list of the best-selling suits will help to point you in the right direction, allowing you to easily find a suit that offers the perfect fit and one that provides the type of protection and durability that you need to keep you comfortable and well-protected in the water.