A Beginner’s Guide to Buying a Wetsuit

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A wetsuit can be an essential item of kit for surfers as it provides protection from the elements, proving to be particularly useful during the winter months, when you want to hit the waves but avoid the harsh conditions in the water.

However, buying a wetsuit can be a little confusing if you’re new to it. There are a number of different types of wetsuit available for a range of different conditions, so it’s important that you have the right one when you go surfing. We spoke to Ann’s Cottage Surf Shops from Cornwall who said:

“Wetsuits are absolutely vital for surfers, they’re almost like a second skin. Finding the perfect wetsuit is essential to make sure you are protected from the elements, so it’s important that you find the right combination of fit and quality.”

Spring Suits

Spring suits tend to be relatively thin so they’ll keep you warm during spring and autumn but won’t cause you to overheat. These suits tend to have short arms and legs giving you a better range of motion but providing you with the warmth that you’ll need when the water starts to cool down.

You can find spring suits in a range of styles and lengths, so it largely comes down to preference as you decide whether you want to have sleeves or not, or whether you would rather have less material around your legs.

These suits tend to be ideal for water temperatures of between 17-21ºC.

Full Suits

As the name suggests, the full suit covers the full body except for the hands, feet and face. The suits provide the ultimate protection from the elements and can be up to 5mm thick, keeping you warm when the water is cold.

These suits have long arms and legs to ensure that as much skin is covered as possible. In fact, you can even find hooded full suits which include a hood to cover the head, just leaving the face exposed. These are perfect for surfing in winter when the conditions might be perfect for the waves but far from perfect for your body.

Full suits tend to be ideal for water temperatures below 17ºC.

Wetsuit Accessories

There are a number of extras which can help to ensure that you are completely prepared to hit the waves. These include:

  • Thermal Rash Vests – these vests are ideal for protecting your skin from rashes and abrasions and also add an extra layer to keep you warm.
  • Wetsuit Boots – boots can be a great option to keep your feet protected from the elements as well as from sharp rocks, reefs and anything else in the water that you may want to keep away from your skin.
  • Wetsuit Gloves – surfing can be hard on your hands so wetsuit gloves are there to protect them.
  • Wetsuit Socks – these work in much the same way as wetsuit boots but don’t tend to be as thick so can give you a little more flexibility.

Finding the perfect wetsuit can ensure that your experience out on the water is the best it can be, so consider your needs before shopping to make sure you find the best option.