A wetsuit can be indispensable, for numerous reasons. Whether you like to play in the water year-round, or want to protect your skin of the sun or during wipeouts, this article will help you determine the best wetsuit for you.
Before you start your search, here are 5 key questions to ask yourself to help you narrow your search:
- What’s is the water temperature? You won’t wear the same wetsuit whether you’re in water in April or in July
- What activity will you be doing? Different sports require different designs to help you stay comfortable and warm, while allowing you the necessary flexibility for your sport.
- How to findn the right fit: You want a wetsuits that fits very well so cold water can’t get in.
- Wetsuit design features: Zippers and seams can really affect the warmth of your wetsuit.
- Helpful accessories: Some accessories such as gloves, booties or socks will help you stay warmer.
The water temperature
The water temperature will help you determine how thick of a wetsuit you should buy. As a simple rule of thumb, the colder the water temperature, the thicker your wetsuit should be. If you plan to use a wetsuit on a lake in the middle of summer, your wetsuit will be much thinner than if you want to use it at the beginning of the season when the ice just melted off the lake. Wetsuits aim to keep warmth in and cold water out.
Here is a chart to help you decide what style and thickness (mm) of wetsuit is right for your water climate.
Type of Wetsuit
2mm Long Sleeve Springsuit or 2-3mm Fullsuit
2-3mm Fullsuit + Optional Booties
3-4mm Fullsuit + Booties
4-5mm Fullsuit + Booties + Hood
5-6mm Fullsuit + Booties + Hood
What activity are you doing?
The activity you’ll be doing plays a big role in deciding what wetsuit to choose. In general, if you’re choosing a wetsuit for wakesurfing or wakeboarding, you have the widest range of wetsuit styles to choose from, and you can find types designed to cover you in the early and late season when the water is cold, or in summer when you want to protect your skin.
A full wetsuit will cover your entire body, and can be found in different thicknesses to protect you from various temperatures. Your entire body will be covered, including your arms and legs, up to your wrists and ankles.
Shorties, also known as springsuits or short johns feature a thinner material along with short legs and arms and are meant to use in warmer weather.
Wetsuit tops or vests can be paired with board shorts or a bikini bottom and are usually made of a thin 0.5-2mm neoprene. They can be layered under a full suit to keep you warmer in colder weather.
Used in warmer water temperatures, these neoprene wetsuits are shaped as pants, leggings or shorts.
Rash Guards are mostly meant to protect you from chafing and are used in warmer weather. They can add a bit of warmth to any suit, but are usually used as stand-alone surf and paddle wear.
Finding the right fit
Your wetsuit should be tight enough that cold water can’t get in, but it should not restrict your movements in the water too much. Your wetsuit should fit comfortably against your skin, without restricting arm, leg or body movements, allowing you to swim properly. Each wetsuit manufacturer has their own standard sizing for wetsuits, which may vary between companies but the experts at CSurfboardshop can help you choose the right fit for your body type and weight.
The design features of your wetsuit
Wetsuits are made of seams or zippers, and the placement is important, as it can affect the warmth of your suit, as well as the price.
There are essentially three types of seams when it comes to wetsuits:
Flatlock wetsuit stitching
This type of stitching is flat and goes through both sides of the neoprene shell. This is not a water tight seal, so not recommended in colder climates.
Glued and blind stitched seams
This type of stitching is first glued together, then threaded with a needle on the same side. Over time, with continuous stretching, small holes may appear.
Fluid seam welds (liquid tape)
These seams are welded shut and give you a high level of comfort and warmth, while being fully waterproof.
When it comes to zippers, we typically find three types:
Back zippers open vertically down the back, making it the easiest way to put on and take off a wetsuit. The downside is that this type of zipper reduces flexibility and can be relatively stiff. Another downside is that water can get through the seams on the back, where cold water would give you the feeling of ice cubes going down your back.
Zippers are usually located horizontally across the upper chest and keeps water flushing through the suit while swimming or surfing. The main advantage over the back zippers are the fact that they are more resistant to flushing and will give you better mobility.
These types of suit usually use Velcro closures and keep the water out, while giving you more mobility. These suits prioritize mobility over warmth by eliminating the lack of flex found around zippered areas and stitching
Some helpful accessories to keep you warm
In order to ensure you truly enjoy your outing on the water, some accessories are available to protect your hand and feet, which are not protected with a wetsuit.
Gloves will help protect your hands from cold water. They come in different thickness levels and styles. Five finger gloves provide the most dexterity, while mittens are best suited to very cold water.
Booties protect your feet in cold water and allow you to ride for longer periods of time. The thicker the neoprene, the warmer the boot. You’ll find thickness will vary from 2mm all the way to a toasty 7mm. Look for those with an anti-stink treatment to reduce odor caused by bacteria
Neoprene socks, such as the Wetsox brand eliminate the friction and frustration associated with getting in and out of a suit and boots. They also add an additional +1mm of warmth beneath your boot, they are form-fit offering a four-way stretch for a snug fit and comfort. These socks can increase the life of your suit and boots by reducing unnecessary stretch and wear.
About CSURF Board Shop
CSURF Board Shop is you one stop shop for a Wakesurf gear! As Wakesurf aficionados, we select only the finest wake surfing gear for you to enjoy. Wether you’re a beginner or a an expert, we can guide you into purchasing the best wake surfing gear for your skills and style of riding.
CSURF Board Shop offers you a large selection of top quality brands and products. Our selection of wakesurf gear isn't made based on our profit margin, we strive to offer you the best products at the best competitive price and we hold a complete line of wakesurfing gear, accessories, swimsuit, wetsuit and flotation devices.
We also offer wakeboard rental and lessons
With over 10 years of experience in wakesurf coaching, CSURF Board Shop offers you wakeboarding lessons and rental at your place or on our boat. We only use new wake boat & wakeboards and we take the time to choose the right equipment for your skill and shape. We also have an awesome partnership with Sport Marine.ca who supplies us with the latest wake boat for the ultimate wakesurfing fun and experience. Check out our wakesurfing courses.