For those who are used to surfing, kite-surfing, or swimming in the ocean wearing nothing but swimming trunks, you should really think of getting a wetsuit. This body-hugging and lightweight piece of apparel does not only protect you from the hazards of the sea, it also keeps you warm in cold waters.
This is made possible by the layer of water existing between the suit and your body which acts as an insulator, retaining your body heat.
Best wetsuits Buying guide: 10 Tips and tricks
Choosing the best wetsuits has always been a bane in the water sports community. You have to get one that has to fit snugly around your body and not be too tight that it restricts your movement. Neither must it be too loose that it flaps uselessly when you move around. So, for the first-time wetsuit buyers, here are a few tips on choosing wetsuits
#1. Buy the correct size wetsuit.
If the wetsuit is too tight you will feel like your head will explode, but worse is buying too large of a wetsuit. After sand and saltwater get in your wetsuit, and it starts moving too much your skin will get chaffed and feel like it is on fire. Just follow the manufacturers sizing instructions exactly.
#2. Choose the right type of wetsuit for your application.
When the water is cold there really is no choice here you have to get a full suit. When the waters are warmer you have a few more options. You can get a shorty (short arms and legs) for more range of motion, or you can go with a full suit (with full-length arms and legs) which will help keep your knee from chaffing getting when getting on the board.
#3. Get a wetsuit of the right thickness.
Too little thickness in cold water and you’ll be too cold to have fun. Too thick of a wetsuit and you’ll get overheated. For cold waters, a choice of thickness would be 6/5 (6mm thick torso, 5mm thick legs). In warm waters, a 4/3 wetsuit is a good all-around thickness.
#4. Often overlooked is a type of zipper.
If you have big shoulders (like I do) a wetsuit with an X-Zipper makes it much easier to put the wetsuit on. XCEL wetsuits make wetsuits with an X-Zip, which makes getting the wetsuit on a breeze.
#5. You may need a fleece liner.
This is rarely mentioned, but sometimes a thick full suit won’t fit exactly how it should. With a fleece (or poly fleece) lining inside, any rashes from incorrect sizing are reduced.
#6. Don’t forget about add-on items like hoods and boots.
An example would be buying a hoodless wetsuit, but also buying a hood that you can use when it is extra cold. You can also add gloves and boots for the same reason.
#7. A tip that will save you money, in the long run, is to buy quality.
Which is better, buying a slightly less expensive wetsuit you have replace after one season? Or just buying a quality wetsuit that will last for years?
#8. Before you buy, take a look at the website with the suit you want and see if you like it.
Not all that important, but sometimes when comparing good quality wetsuits from companies like XCEL or Rip Curl the only remaining factor is how it looks.
#9. Remember you are buying a wetsuit to keep warm.
Don’t get too caught up in how it looks.
#10. Save money and buy online.
I’m not talking about manufacturer’s websites, which generally charge too much. But look for the smaller online retailers where you can often save %50 or more!
Best Wetsuits in the Market
Buying a high-quality wetsuit can be an involved process. Wetsuits can also cost a lot of money, and to save you both time and money I’ve put below the best wetsuits in the market to help you select the best one for your needs.
#1 – Henderson Thermoprene jumpsuit
This wetsuit contains only the highest quality nylon neoprene and gives an impressive 75% more stretch than your average wetsuit. also, it has a GBS construction that makes sure that this suit can withstand colder temperatures keeping you warm on your dive.
This wetsuit comes with an adjustable collar that allows you to get the best fit while keeping it secure and ensuring that water does not penetrate your suit, its durable freedom flex knee pads ensure that your range of motion is active while giving you added support on the quick-wear areas.
This wetsuit’s effectiveness is based on a contoured fit that helps keep water exchange to a minimum, combined with a superior grade of neoprene for maximum heat retention plus the Thermo preen cut allows for an optimal fit while visually enhancing the diver’s physique.
- GBS-Clued & Blindstitched seams
- Back Zip Adjustable Collar
- Spine Pad/Zipper Seal
- Excellent Multi-sport Wetsuit
#2 – O’Neill Reactor II
This wetsuit offers an ergonomic seamless undersleeve panel that allows for unrestricted motion and eliminates rashing. the flexible and unique design utilizes minimal seam placement for comfort.
This high-performance Super Stretch neoprene wetsuit comes with a durable outer skin that resists Velcro pulls and snags. its stitch uses four needles and six threads and works by overlapping the neoprene panels and sewing them together. Additionally, it uses a strong stitch and is very comfortable because it is flat but it is not a sealed seam so it is not intended for icy conditions.
Moreover, it uses an abrasion-resistant high stretch neoprene panel with ergonomic shaping for comfortable durability. However, its flexible and unique design utilizes an extended knee pad for added strength.
- 2MM Thickness is ideal for late spring temperatures
- Long raglan sleeves and full coverage pants
- 83% Nylon and 17% Spandex
- Unique Design
#3 – Mares Flexa 5.4.3
This wetsuit is a front entry 5mm wetsuit with thinner sections of neoprene where you need flexibility. The thermal plush lining inside keeps your upper body warmer than traditional linings and dries much faster too.
The right thigh features a mounting point for a smart pocket for added storage. Also, it offers an additional layer of neoprene stitched in the back that provides extra comfort and thermal protection.
This wetsuit comes with a glued and blind stitch seam plus the seam uses a hooked needle that does not fully penetrate the neoprene, because to do so creates a passage for water to enter the suit and that isn’t very good.
Its new zip is very supple and won’t dig into your body due to the zip gusset. and unlike a back zip, you won’t have it digging into your spine. further, they’ve coated shoulders come with an elastic polymer that minimizes direct abrasion to the neoprene.
- 100% Ultra-stretch Neoprene for Comfort
- Thermos Plush Interior for Warmth and comfort
- Durable and easy to use back zipper
#4 – Bare 5mm Wetsuit
Up next on the list we have the bare 5mm wetsuit. this wetsuit is made with scientifically proven Omnired Infrared Technology. which includes 13 thermal reactive minerals woven into the fabric lining. that convert body heat into infrared energy and reflect it onto the diver.
It uses the patented no-stitch technology that isolates the body from the water eliminating seam leakage using taped seams inside and out. by using the power of Omnired Infrared Technology to insulate the body which is combined with NST it creates the world’s warmest dive wetsuit.
The Velcro adjustment on the collar features a booklet-style cover to protect your suit from snags and piling. another advantage is that it has an extra-long 21-inch s lock 2 back zipper with offset tooth design and PU coated zip tape that guards against water entry.
- Better fit and mobility, due to its super-stretch capabilities
- Adjustable Velcro Collar
- Help keep cold out
- Zipped Ankles provide a comfortable fit tight seal
#5 – ScubaPro Wetsuit
The ScubaPro woman’s profile steamer is made of 100% N2 0.5mm Neoprene that is formulated from eco-friendly X-Foam. Also, it has ever flex flexible panels to maximize flexibility and range of motion.
It comes with a silverskin interior that features a cell finish with a Metalite coating for extra warmth retention. Besides, it offers non-chafing flat seam stitching that is comfortable against bare skin.
It provides thumb and foot straps then make it so much easier to put on the suit, plus prevent ride up. Moreover, the rear zipper looks great plus aids in donning and doffing on the other hand it uses anti-abrasion power text material on the seat and shoulders and the Tate X knee pads offer lots of abrasion protection. nevertheless, the non-chafing flat seam stitching is comfortable against the skin.
- Everflex flexible panels maximize flexibility and range of motion
- non-chafing flat seam stitching
#6 – O’Neill Psychofreak Wetsuit
This wetsuit uses Techno Butter 3 neoprene in arms and shoulders. it has TB-Air firewall smooth skin in the chest and back. Also, the front upper zip entry uses the same technology as the patented Zen zip closure with drain holes to keep you dry and feeling loose.
Besides, it has a 4mm silicone-based urethane seal applied to both sides of a triple glued seam. Further, the technical yarns and a revolutionary foam rubber core make it light and durable with quick-dry properties.
it is equipped with envy foam which injects the maximum amount of microscopic air cells into the rubber core. on the other hand, these air cells make it warmer by increasing the insulation factor and lighter by decreasing mass. besides this super-soft pre-stretched jersey retains its form for maximum flexibility and snaps back to hug the body for a snug natural fit leaving you warm, comfortable, and ready for more waves.
- Techno Butter 2 Air Firewall neoprene in the chest and back panels
- Techno Butter 2 neoprene under the arms
- Techno Butter 2 neoprene is light, retains 30% less a super quick dry
#7 – XCEL Thermoflex Wetsuit
This wetsuit comes with Dura-Flex knee panels pre-bent, which are contoured articulating knee panels, which help minimize wear and tear. Also, the semi-dry back zipper helps keep more water out with a protective spine pad.
Besides, it has an easy on/off ankle zipper system that includes lightweight inner flaps to add comfort cushioning the zipper from your skin.
Moreover, it comes with an adjustable Velcro wrap collar which protects the back zipper and allows for a better more comfortable fit.
On the other, hand it uses tonal printed shoulder graphics to reduce wear and tear from pc straps. another advantage is that it comes with glued and blind stitched fully sealed and seam construction that keeps water out.
With its outstanding ultra-stretch material, you’re sure to experience full flexibility without compromising warmth. yet the tonal printed shoulder graphics reduce wear and tear from pc straps.
- Seamless drylock wrist seals with exclusive donut seal
- A semi-dry back zipper helps keep more water out
- House of Scuba is an authorized XCEL dealer
#8 – O’Neill Men’s Reactor
This wetsuit Features an ultra-flex neoprene construction to keep you comfortable, and an adjustable super seal neckline to keep cold water out and warmth in.
Also, the smooth skin Fluid foam neck adds comfort and prevents water from coming in through the neck area. Besides, the flatlock stitching creates breathable seams and strategic seamless paddle zones keep seams out of the regions where chafing might occur.
Moreover, the crypto Knee pads offer ergonomic knee protection and can handle cold water down to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. and also offers UV protection.
Its seamless paneling under the sleeves promotes unrestricted motion and won’t irritate your skin. one of the plus points is that the abrasion-resistant durable knee pads increase the life of the wetsuit. The rear zipper secures fit and the protective internal flap shields your skin from abrasion
- Single super seal neck
- Flatlock Construction
- Strategic Paddle Zones
Best wetsuits Brands
#1 – O’neill wetsuits
The O’Neill wetsuits are another successful story of beach fashion wear. Jack O’Neill was an architectural aluminum whose hobby was surfing. He loved surfing but had a sinus problem and one time while making a sales presentation to one of his aluminum clients, he got a sinus attack that not only made him embarrassed but cost him his job.
The O’Neill wetsuits founder, under the pressure of joblessness, started a surf shop in his garage making surfboards while trying out surfing vests. This was in the mid-1950s. With time, the O’Neill wetsuits were born and he continually improved on design and materials until he got to the high-quality O’Neill wetsuits that we know today. Today, O’Neill wetsuits are not only a world-leading brand but the designs from the fashion company are a pace and trendsetter.
#2 – Matuse wetsuits
Matuse wetsuits are essentially eco-friendly. Instead of using neoprene which is petroleum bases, they use a material called Neoprene. Neoprene, because it is derived from limestone, is much more eco-friendly. This neoprene is manufacture by the Yamamoto Corporation.
Matuse wetsuits are definitely very comfortable because unlike normal wetsuits Matuse wetsuits based out of neoprene have a unique independent closed-cell microstructure. Because of this independent microstructure, the suits will keep you warm for a longer period. Matuse offers a range of premium wetsuits. One such wetsuit is the Matuse Hoplite which not only has super flexible neoprene, but also a second layer of Hydrasilk Nylon to keep the water off.
#3 – Hurley wetsuits
Those who invent products due to their own needs and wants typically create products that a lot of consumers would purchase as well. Bob Hurley is no exception. Hurley was a surfer, and at the age of 23, back in 1979, he wanted to produce clothing that was lightweight, extremely durable for an active surfer, attractive to the eye, yet at the same time reasonable in price.
His adventure in starting this business has been a total success. The company surrounds its style towards skaters, musicians, and surfers. The surfers really enjoy the Hurley swimwear and wetsuits, and even if you are not a surfer, the styles are very trendy and will capture your eye for sure.
#4 – Henderson wetsuits
The Hyperflex wetsuits are actually a part of the Henderson Aquatics, which was established in 1965. The company is based out of Southern New Jersey. Henderson Aquatics’ first attempt to enter the surf wetsuit market was in the nineties, under the name Surf East.
But due to various reasons, this had to shut shop soon. But Henderson Aquatics was persistent and so in 2002, they again entered the surf wetsuit market with the Hyperflex wetsuits and a goal to provide top quality for the best prices. Their persistence and nearly 49 years of experience paid off. The Hyperflex wetsuits, their new venture turned out to be a success, with huge sales not only in the US but also with a recognizable international presence.
#5 – Billabong wetsuits
Widely known for the excellent quality that they possess, the billabong wetsuits have become one of the must have items that surfers like to keep in their collection of accessories of surfing.
They were invented during the early 70s of the 20th century, the exact year being 1973. However, still early 1980 these items were only available in various countries that fall under the Australian continent.
However, during the middle of the 1980s, they started being imported to different countries that fall in different continents of the world. People from New Zealand, Japan, California, England, etc. began liking this specific product and soon this sort of wetsuits got a wide business market that didn’t’ restrained only in the Australian countries but got spread all over the world.
The major reason for their popularity is the fact that they are extremely comfortable to wear and don’t make the surfer feel any discomfort during the time of surfing. Renowned surfers like Sunny Garcia, Munga Barry, and several others to name a few prised these wetsuits and have recommended using them due to their wonderful quality.
#6 – Rip curl wetsuits
Rip Curl wetsuits are known for their Elastomax and Slickskin technologies. In 1969 Doug Warbick and Brian Singer named their new surf shop, Rip Curl. At the time Australia was buzzing with the “shortboard” revolution and a general air of innovation and improvement in the surf industry prevailed. Initially, the two concentrated on surfboards and were met with reasonable success.
However, they soon realized that this market was more or less saturated and what was really required by surfers was better wetsuits. So, they turned their minds to producing unique Rip Curl wetsuits. Today Rip Curl licenses are held by 9 corporates to produce and sell Rip Curl items in Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, France, South Africa, and several places in South America and Asia.
Rip Curl wetsuits include the H-Bomb power heated wetsuit which has features such as E3 Neoprene, thinner and lighter Fireskin lining, S-Flex knees, chest zip, double Aquaban liquid tape to improve flexibility and durability, and an external stash pocket. One of their classic models is the Dawn patrol steamer. This has again got E3 Neoprene, S-Flex knees, and Fireskin lining. Additionally, it is ultralight and has got seamless underarms.
#7 – Quicksilver wetsuits
Quiksilver first came into being in the 1970s as a boardshorts company in Torquay, Australia. It was founded by Alan Green after he and two of his friends, Carol McDonald and Tim Davis got to develop better boardshorts. They were mat with success and soon started exporting to Hawaii. In 1976 Jeff Heckman got a Quicksilver license and together with Bob McKnight, started Quicksilver USA based out of Newport Beach.
In 2002, Quiksilver came up with a ground-breaking new design for a wetsuit called “The Cell” which is perfect for surfing no matter what the water temperature is. The Quiksilver wetsuits are known for their unique design, flexibility, and lightness. There are several popular Quiksilver wetsuits. The Quiksilver Cypher series has got high-quality fiber-lite neoprene, Biofleece thermal neoprene for midbody warmth, and excellent seam sealing. The Quiksilver Synchro series comes with 100% Hyperstretch II neoprene, Chest panels with vapor stretch mesh and lined with HFT heating system, a neck that is hydro wrap adjustable, ectoflex kneepads, and an external key pocket.
The Quiksilver Ignite wetsuit has got fibrolite neoprene; LFS seam treatment, Interloc 2.0 wrist and ankle seals glide skin neck seal, ectoflex kneepads, and an external leg key pocket. Quiksilver has also got a 3mm long john which is a combination of 70% glide skin and 30% no stretch.
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