Tip to Toe; Finding the right wetsuit for you.
While most of us will be paddling our way into warmer waters come summer, the temperature of your local break (or the one you’re heading to for a surf trip) will probably mean you require some sort of wetsuit. With that in mind, we thought we’d take you through the right styles and thicknesses for different water temperatures, to ensure you’re not too hot or cold and heading home early.
Water Temperature: Frigid (Below 7 degrees)
Anyone who’s surfing these waters in summer is showing some serious commitment to the waves (or a failure to book a flight somewhere better). Having said that, good gear is going to affect whether you’re enjoying your time in the water or just trying to show everyone you’re game. We suggest investing in a full-bodied wetsuit with a thickness of at least 5mm (and up to 7mm), like our 403 Furnace Carbon X Hooded Chest Zip Full Suit. Somewhere around 40-50 per cent of your body heat is lost through your head, so that extra little bit of material is going to make some serious difference.
Water Temperature: Cold (8-11 degrees)
Unless you’re lucky to call some awesome tropical destination your home, any serious surfer is going to have to battle cold water at some point of the year. Which is why almost everyone has (or should have) a full-length steamer. Just keep an eye on the thickness of the material – somewhere between 3mm and 5mm is about ideal, depending on how chilly the water gets.
Water Temperature: Cool (12-17 degrees)
For those spots where you’re battling water temperatures that go up and down at different times of the year, or even when it’s not too bad but you want to invest your whole day in the water, a spring suit or short arm steamer is a must. They’re usually 2-3mm thick and while most of the warmth will be saved across your chest, the addition of the legs will make a surprising difference to your session without overheating too much. Something between 2mm and 3mm will be versatile enough for different conditions, and options for sleeve length vary from none at all to short and long, depending on how toasty you want to be.
Water Temperature: Warm (18-25 degrees)
Facing warm waters and the time to enjoy them? Lucky you. Just remember that a chilly wind or lack of sun can start to make a difference if you’re on the water for a while, so make sure you’ve got a quality wetsuit jacket. You won’t overheat, rash up or feel the bite of a sudden cold breeze too badly.
Water Temperature: Tropical (26 degrees+)
If your local is this hot, or you’re heading somewhere that is, then we’re really jealous. Chances are, your session is going to end with your toes in the sand and a cold drink in your grip, watching the sunset. To ensure you can make the most of the day, you’ll need a decent rash vest that protects your upper body from the sun and your board without adding any warmth.