best wetsuit

Best Wetsuit For Surfing – An Ultimate Buyer Guide

Going to the beach and playing in its clear blue waters are activities looked forward to by almost everyone. Indeed, soaking up the sun and engaging in some watersports have become some sort of national pastime – a much-needed break from all those hard work.

But if you plan to submerge yourself a bit longer in the water, you might need more than your trusty old sunscreen to protect yourself. While in the water, you need to know that your body loses heat 20 times faster than in land. This means that if you’re not well-protected, you can even up shivering from cold, or worse, suffer from hypothermia.

The best way to protect yourself in these conditions is to insulate yourself with a neoprene wetsuit. With a wetsuit’s insulation, you can prevent excessive heat loss which means you can stay in the water longer and enjoy your time at the beach to the fullest.

Of course, there are different types and brands of best wetsuits available on the market. Choosing the right one for you could be a headache especially if it’s your first time buying one. But don’t worry, we’ve come up with this best wetsuit buying guide to hopefully make things a bit clearer to you and even offer you our own suggestions of what to buy.

We’ve decided to introduce variety into this wetsuit roundup so you will more likely find the perfect wetsuit for you. This list contains different wetsuit styles, price levels and there are also products for both men and women. Thank a peek at what we’ve prepared for you.

The Top Picks for the Best Wetsuit

O'Neill Men's Reactor

Cost-effective Pick

Perfect for the price-conscious watersports lover 

o'neill reactor mens shorty
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    Unhindered mobility as a shorty wetsuit 
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    Great fit 
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    Good value for its price 

Rated by: Thomas

Xterra Wetsuits - men's Volt 

Best Overall Pick

Perfect suit for maximum protection and versatility

xterra wetsuits - men's volt
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    Very flexible 
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    Perfect for triathlon athletes 
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    Good protection against heat loss 

Rated by: Thomas

Henderson Thermoprene

Best For Ladies Pick

A must-have for the ladies 

henderson women's thermoprene
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    Casual, elegant look 
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    Suitable in tropical waters 
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    Comfortable and flexible 

Rated by: Thomas

Henderson Thermoprene Men's Chest Zip Wetsuit 

Quick Summary

henderson thermoprene men's

Rated by: Thomas

Henderson is a well-known wetsuit brand for good reason – the company offers quality suits at very affordable prices. Not surprisingly, the Henderson Thermoprene Men's 3mm Shorty Wetsuit Springsuit Front Zip offers the same high quality and affordability that the brand has been known for and, for these reasons, we included it in this best wetsuits roundup.

The Henderson Thermoprene Pro 3mm is a professional level wetsuit so you can only expect the best in terms of performance.

One exciting feature is the improved material of the Thermoprene which is engineered to follow the body contours of the person wearing the suit. 

It fits so nicely that wearers who have tried the wetsuit say it almost feels like the new material melts into the body giving the wearer unparalleled comfort.

The new wetsuit material is now capable of stretching by up to 250 percent. This degree of elasticity is unprecedented and a significant improvement over the 180 percent stretching capability of the material used in older suits.

Aside from comfort, every proper wetsuit must be able to give the wearer excellent insulation and keep the body warm. As expected the Henderson Termoprer Pro 3mm excels in this area as well, thanks to a number of design enhancements made to the suit.

For instance, the amount of seams in the suit has been reduced to a minimum. This means that heat loss via the seams has been reduced as well, allowing your body to stay warm for longer periods of time. In addition, each seam is blind stitched and doubled glued to prevent heat loss even further.

With its classic styling combined with contemporary accents, you will look good in and out of the water.

PROS

  • Affordably priced
  • Comfortable
  • Very durable

CONS

  • Some buyers say they are not comfortable with the front zip design

Xterra Wetsuits - Men's Volt Triathlon Wetsuit 

Quick Summary

xterra wetsuits - men's volt

Rated by: Thomas

If you’re in the market for a full-body wetsuit, then the Xterra Wetsuits - Men's Volt Triathlon Wetsuit - Full Body Neoprene Wet Suit (3mm Thickness) could be the apparel you are looking for.

Xterra says it is specifically designed for open water swimming and even carries the Ironman and USAT’s approval but, even based on its features alone, this suit deserves a spot in this best wetsuits roundup.

The Xterra Men's Volt Triathlon Wetsuit is suitable for water swimming because it gives you an optimal range of motion. 

This is made possible by the wetsuit’s very flexible shoulder/arm panels which gives you unparalleled mobility whether you’re trying to swim freestyle or any other swimming style that you prefer.

In addition, the Volt Triathlon Wetsuit sports scale-like catch panels in the forearm area, which helps when executing “catch-pull” strokes. The suit is also designed to reduce drag in water thanks to its coating called X-slice so you’ll get more speed with each stroke you make.

Xterra gives you 30 days to decide if the suit you’ve just ordered is a perfect fit for you. Yes, you got that right, you can even take it out for a swim just to test it out. If you find it too tight or too big for you, you can still have it exchanged for a different size before the 30-day period is up.

PROS

  • 30-day testing period
  • Very flexible
  • Perfect for triathlon athletes

CONS

  • Size options are a bit limited with Xterra wetsuits

O'Neill Women's Reactor 3/2mm Back Zip Wetsuit

Quick Summary

o'neill women's reactor

Rated by: Thomas

For ladies who love watersports, the O'Neill Women's Reactor 3/2mm Back Zip Full Wetsuit might just be your cup of tea.

Packed with useful features and specifically designed for the female body, this gear has been consistently getting high ratings from buyers which is a testament to its quality, which, in turn, earns it a spot in this best wetsuit list.

This is a full wetsuit which means that it would prevent heat loss better. This is a useful feature in case you suddenly find yourself immersed in ice-cold water temperatures where shorty wetsuits might not be enough to guard you against hypothermia.

This wetsuit is affordable but does not lack out in the performance department. The Reactor 2/2mm Full Suit features wind-blocking panels in the chest and back areas which protects the user and keep your core temperature within comfortable levels.

While it protects its wearer’s core temperature, body movement is not restricted by the O'Neill Women's Reactor 3/2mm Back Zip Full Wetsuit at all. With its neoprene material, its shoulders and sleeves areas allow freedom of motion. This allows you to enjoy whatever sport it is you are doing in the water as you are unhindered by the wetsuit.

While its material is super stretchy and comfortable, the wetsuit is, at the same time, surprisingly durable. It has durable knee pads that are abrasion resistant so you’ll be able to enjoy your suit for a longer period of time.

PROS

  • Protects core temperature
  • Allow unrestricted movements
  • Full body wetsuit for better protection

CONS

  • There are been complaints about the suit’s size

O'Neill Men's Reactor 3/2mm Back Zip Full Wetsuit

Quick Summary

o'neill men's reactor

Rated by: Thomas

We’ve already included the women’s version of this product so it’s only fair for the boys to get their share. If you are looking for a product that offers good performance, comfort, and durability without breaking the bank, then the O'Neill Men's Reactor 3/2mm Back Zip Full Wetsuit is perfect you.

Which is why we’ve included it in this best wetsuit roundup as well. The Men’s Reactor 3/2 mm is perfect for men with an active lifestyle as it is suitable for a variety of watersports such as paddle-boarding, kayaking, surfing, bodyboarding, and kayaking.

Just like the female version, the O'Neill Men's Reactor 3/2mm is a full body wetsuit meant to protect your body against heat loss. However, it does so without compromising mobility or comfort. With its highly flexible 3/2 mm neoprene, the suit adjusts to your body’s shape for a comfortable fit and its flat seam construction ensures that no chafing occurs.

Body movement remains totally unrestricted, thanks to the flexible neoprene in the shoulders and sleeves areas. This allows wearers to enjoy the water activities to the fullest.

PROS

  • Affordable price
  • Comfortable flat seam construction
  • Full body wetsuit – offers maximum protection against heat loss

CONS

  • Complaints about fitting issues, such as sizes smaller than normal

NeoSport Wetsuits Men's Premium Neoprene Suit

Quick Summary

neosport wetsuits men's premium

Rated by: Thomas

The NeoSport has been in the wetsuit business for decades now and has produced high-quality products over the years.

It should come as no surprise then if one of the products, the NeoSport Wetsuits Men's Premium Neoprene 5mm Full Suit, would make it to this best wetsuit list.

The NeoSport Wetsuits Men’s Premium is a full body wetsuit designed to give you optimal protection against heat loss while in the water. It is classified as a multi-sport suit which means that it is suitable for all types of water sports.

While it is durable, comfort is never an issue. The material used is premium 5 mm neoprene for which is soft and comfortable. What even more important is that it has the capability to maintain ideal core warmth in both warm and cooler waters.

The suit features extra protection in areas that need it most. For instance, it has thermal-bonded knee pads for enhanced durability while maintaining enough flexibility for movement.

For extra insulation, the suit has glued and sewn seams. Adjustable Velcro collar seal ensures the perfect fit for all users preventing unnecessary heat loss.

The NeoSport Wetsuit is also very easy to put on with its #10 YKK back zipper which is also heavy duty for durability. It also features Lycra trimmed ankles and wrists areas.

If you’re looking for a great buy at an affordable price, then this suit is perfect for you. Since it is a multi-sports suit, it is suitable for all types of water activities such as triathlons, scuba diving, and general watersports.

PROS

  • Suitable for all types of water sports
  • Full body suit for maximum heat loss prevention
  • Comfortable fit
  • Affordable price

CONS

  • Some buyers complained of not getting the right size

TYR SPORT Men's Hurricane Wetsuit Category 1

Quick Summary

tyr sport men's hurricane wetsuit

Rated by: Thomas

Not every water sports enthusiast want the same thing from their wetsuits. But if you are one of those who prioritize speed above everything else but is not willing to spend too much, then the TYR SPORT Men's Hurricane Wetsuit Category 1 could be the suit you are looking for.

The TYR Sport Hurricane wetsuit line is specifically designed to give you the maximum performance in terms of speed on the water.

Its Cat 5, for instance, is probably one of the most popular speed-focused suits on the market which makes it a favorite among those who can afford its rather high-end price tag, a fitting entrant to this best wetsuit rundown.

Fortunately, the brand understood that not everyone can afford the Tyr Hurricane Category 5 wetsuit. The company then partnered with triathlete Andy Potts to come up with a more streamlined version of the higher end models of the series. The result is the TYR SPORT Men's Hurricane Wetsuit Category 1, a triathlon suit that incorporated some of the design elements of its higher-end cousins giving it superb performance while remaining affordable.

This superb speed in the water is made possible by the greatly reduced drag. The suit features a speed wrap paneling with its lightweight neoprene material which improves buoyancy and decreasing drag allowing you to glide through the water with ease.

Propelling yourself in the water is also made easier with the suits’ free range-of-motion zones. With your movement unrestricted, you can swim with ease.

The TYR SPORT Men's Hurricane Wetsuit Category 1 is made from the Yamamoto Ultra Durable Coated neoprene. The suit’s thickness varies between 1.5 mm to 5 mm depending on the area. The perfect suit for novice triathlon athletes. 

PROS

  • Greatly reduced drag – faster speeds in the water
  • Comfortably fits the body
  • Good entry-level suit

CONS

  • Pros might find the suit a bit lacking
  • As with other products, there are complaints about the wrong size

O'Neill Men's Reactor 2mm Back Zip Spring Wetsuit

Quick Summary

o'neill reactor mens shorty

Rated by: Thomas

You’ve probably noticed that we’ve included O’Neill products in this best wetsuit list earlier. But this Men’s Reactor 2 mm Back Zip Spring Wetsuit is a bit different. For starters, this is a shorty wetsuit, which may not have as much heat retention capability of a full suit, but it does have its own set of advantages.

One such advantage is that you’ll feel a lot freer with this suit. Since your arms and legs are exposed with no obstruction, you’ll have greater mobility with this compared to others.

This mobility is made possible via the used of the exclusive Fluid-Flex Material in the suit’s sleeves and shoulders.

But it does not mean that you’ll be feeling cold at all. Your core temperature will be just fine, thanks to the FluidFlex foam neoprene in the chest, body and leg areas. This also adds durability to the suit.

O’Neill also paid attention to the wetsuit’s seams. It is breathable and non-chafing with its flat-lock stitching and overlapping seams.

Meanwhile, heat loss via the neck opening has been addressed by the manufacturer as well. The suit features a single Superseal Neck with its Smoothskin Fluid Foam to not only keep cold water from coming in but also keep the neck area comfortable. The manufacturer says that the wetsuit can handle temperatures up to 60 degrees Fahrenheit and also offers UV protection.

Many people prefer a shorty wetsuit as it does not look out of place even in beaches compared to full suits, which makes this product a crowd favorite. In addition, the suit is offered in a variety of colors and sizes so there are some options available for those who want to color code their attire.

PROS

  • Unhindered mobility as a shorty wetsuit
  • Great fit
  • Good value for its price
  • Very comfortable and flexible

CONS

  • Packaging is too cramped creating creases on the wetsuit

Henderson Women's Thermoprene Front Zip Suit

Quick Summary

henderson women's thermoprene

Rated by: Thomas

While fullsuits offer better overall protection, not every watersports lover is a fan of the design. For some, a suit the covers the entire body is viewed as a bit too serious as it would surely standout against the attires of a more casual beach crowd.

A good option for those who plan to spend as much time mingling with the beach crowd as with enjoying the waters would be to buy springsuits.

These suits cover only up to the area above the knees and you can also choose between short and long arm models to better suit your taste.

The overall vibe you get from wearing a springsuit is that it is a more casual and relaxed version of the fullsuit. Wearing a springsuit also makes sense if you are located in tropical waters because you don’t need that much protection against heat loss due to the generally warmer waters.

For the ladies, among the different products that stand out is the Henderson Women's Thermoprene 3mm Front Zip Shorty Springsuit. It's very flexible and comfortable as well as affordably priced so we included it in this best wetsuit roundup.

This is a very anatomically friendly suit because the zipper is located at the front. This makes putting it on as well as getting it off a much easier task.

The stretchy and highly flexible material feels great. It provides compression resistance without getting you feeling any suit squeeze. The material of the suit is called Thermoprene and is just the right amount of thinness at 3mm for protection and comfort. It is super stretchy as well as it can stretch by 75 percent more compared to regular wetsuit material.

While the wetsuit is stretchy, flexible and very comfortable, it is still surprisingly durable. This is because the neoprene is laminated with pill and abrasion resistant fabric to resist wear and tear. It also sports an adjustable collar as well as a comfort seal to better keep the water out. All seams are blind stitched and GBS-glued.

This is a springsuit that is ideal for use in warmer tropical waters. If you plan to use this even in cooler areas, it is recommended that you pair it with a jumpsuit to better protect your body against the cold environment.

PROS

  • Casual, elegant look
  • Suitable in tropical waters
  • Comfortable and flexible, does not restrict movement

CONS

  • Might not offer sufficient protection in colder waters

Factors to Consider from Choosing the Best Wetsuits

Before you buy your wetsuit, here are a few factors you need to keep in mind before finalizing your choice. Choosing a suit without minding these important aspects could result in a wetsuit that does not fit with the water activities you are planning to do.

Wetsuit Thickness

One aspect you might want to keep an eye on is the thickness of the wetsuit’s material. How thick do you want your suit to be? The general principle is that the thicker the suit, the better heat loss prevention it can offer. This means that those who plan to do their watersports activities in colder areas or do them during colder months will have to don thicker suits to be better protected against hypothermia. Similarly, those living in tropical climates where the weather and waters are comfortably warm throughout the year can do with minimal heat protection from their suits.

Of course, there is a downside to wearing super thick suits. They generally limit your mobility to some extent and you will have to decide for yourself to find the right balance. Again, there are models that offer good mobility with good heat loss protection but they are usually more expensive.

Here is the recommended thickness of the wetsuit material for different temperature ranges. Please note that temperature here is in Fahrenheit.

Temperature (°F)

Thickness

65°- 75°

0.5 mm - 2/1 mm

62°- 68°

2 mm - 3/2 mm

58°- 63°

3/2 mm - 4/3 mm

52°- 58°

4/3 mm - 5/4/3 mm

43°- 52°

5/4 mm - 5/4/3 mm

42° and below

6/5 mm - 6/5/4 mm

Type of Wetsuit

There are different types of wetsuit styles. Due to their varying designs and the degree of coverage, they offer different levels of protection to your body. A careful look at how different styles affect their heat loss prevention capability will give you an idea which types of suits are probably best for the water activity you are planning.

For instance, there are hooded full wetsuits, are also known as hooded fullsuits, which offer the best coverage and protection. They are basically fullsuits with an added hood, which makes sense if you really want to keep heat loss to a minimum because 45 to 45 percent of the body heat is lost through the head and face area.

Meanwhile, there are fullsuits that cover the entire length of your arms and legs. While they lack, the hood, many people prefer this suit as it frees up your head area. They offer good protection and they are usually offered in the 3/2mm to the 5/4mm range of thickness.

surfers in full wetsuits

The long john/jane wetsuits are sleeveless neoprene suits that offer protection to the entire length of your legs. However, they leave your arms exposed but some people prefer these types of suits as they free up your arms for paddling.

Another type is called springsuit which is basically a short-armed and short-legged suit. This is very popular among casual watersports enthusiasts as it provides protection to the body’s core temperature while freeing up the arms and legs to enjoy different types of water activities more. Some manufacturers also prefer to call this type of suit as shorty.

Basically, the more a suit covers your body, the better protection against heat loss it can give you. There is a tradeoff though because you might lose some mobility the more body parts you cover. Even with the most flexible wetsuit material, you will still the suit sticking to your skin which could feel like you are a bit restricted.

Aside from the type of water activity, you will also need to factor in the water temperature in making your purpose. In tropical areas where the temperature is balmy year-round, you only need the minimal protection so fullsuits might not be a better option.

Wetsuit Buoyancy

When buying a suit, you might need to consider the buoyancy it offers. Simply put, a suit with great buoyancy helps you float in the water more easily and allows you to concentrate your effort on propelling forward instead of keeping yourself afloat. Less experienced swimmers will need more buoyant suits while more experienced and strong swimmers can do without the added help.

Flexibility and Comfort

Most manufacturers advertise their suit’s flexibility because it is an important factor in water activities. Even fullsuits can offer great mobility if their material is flexible enough. Similarly, comfort is an important consideration since you will likely be in the water for a long time. Choose style and designs that prevent chafing so you’ll be more comfortable.

We hope you enjoyed reading this best wetsuits buying guide. Ultimately, however, you will have to decide which wetsuit is perfect for you depending on your needs, location, and the water activities you want to engage in.