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The Wetsuit Guide: How to choose the right wetsuit according to size, thickness and type

Many different gears are helpful when surfing cooler waters, and the wetsuit has the number one spot on that list. But the wetsuit market may seem like a jungle on its own. In this guide, we will lead you through the different variants of wetsuits and wetsuit accessories. Here we’ll answer the questions “Which size should I get?”, “How does a wetsuit work” and many more, to untimely answer your big question: “Which wetsuit should I get?”

Size & Fit: How tight should a wetsuit be?

Let’s start with the common question “How do I know if the wetsuit fits right?”. It's essential to get the right size to surf comfortably without feeling limited. It should feel like a second skin and its job is to keep you warm in the water. It needs to be just right, not too tight nor too loose.

You don’t want your wetsuit to be too tight, since this will restrict your flexibility and maybe even make breathing uncomfortable. A good-sized wetsuit will create a thin layer of warm water between the suit and your body. If the wetsuit is too big then excessive cold water will get in through the openings, and it will result in you getting flushed.

How does a well-fitting wetsuit feel like?

  • It should be a bit of a challenge to put the wetsuit on, but once it's on you should to be able to move freely

  • Not too tight at the collar, your breathing should be uncomfortable

  • Not too loose, your wetsuit shouldn’t be getting wrinkled up

  • Not too loose that water gets in and increase the risk of flushing

  • The wetsuit should sit comfortably and nicely fitted on the shoulders

  • There shouldn’t be any access neoprene fabrics in the armpits

  • You should be able to do a squat and stretch your arms in the suit with just a slight restriction

  • The kneepads should be right over your knees

  • The wetsuit should end at the wrists and ankles

  • There shouldn’t be any excess fabric on the suit once its put on, it should lay flat and smooth on your body

Wetsuit size charts

Take these charts from Deeply as a guide for wetsuit sizes, but keep in mind that not all brand’s sizes look the same. The wetsuit will extend the more you use it so it must be tight (but of course not too tight).


Wetsuit thickness chart: Get the right thickness for the water temperature


Note: Take these guidelines as suggestions, not as cold hard facts. The thickness you need can depend on more than just the water temperature. Like how warm the air temperature is, how much wind is present, your activity level while surfing, and your tolerance to cold water.

Hooded full wetsuits

A hooded wetsuit is a fullsuit with a hood to keep your head and ears nice and warm. This type of wetsuit is preferably used in cold and frigid water. If you plan on keeping your surfing going throughout Scandinavian winter a hooded fullsuit is an essential. Browse through our selection of hooded fullsuits below. They’ve been selected with care by a team that live and breathe cold water surfing. Trust us, we want to be warm too!

Full wetsuits

As the name reveals, the full wetsuit is covering the whole body (to wrists and ankles) and keeps you from getting cold while surfing. They are made in a variety of thicknesses for all sorts of water temperatures and are a very popular model.


The springsuits are commonly used in the transitional seasons when it’s too warm for a full-length suit but not quite warm enough for a rashguard. They come in many variations, one of which is short-legged with long sleeves.

Long John/Jane wetsuit

This suit looks just like the full suit, with the difference being that it lacks sleeves and is usually made up of thinner neoprene. The benefit of this wetsuit is that you don’t have any restrictions on your arms when you paddle. You also have the Short John/Jane variant with short legs

Short arm steamer wetsuit

Basically the same type of wetsuit as the short John/Jane except that the arms are slightly longer and resemble t-shirt arms.


A rashguard is a shirt that’s made of materials with UV resistance, usually in Lyrca material. This is the perfect option when you surf in tropical water where you don’t want to wear a wetsuit but still want something to cover your torso from the sun.

Wetsuit accessories

If you’re going to surf in cool and cold locations, it can be nice to use some surf gear accessories to keep yourself warm. When the water is 15 degrees and colder, these additional pieces come in handy:

Wetsuit boots: The boots are great for protecting your feet and toes from the cold water and give you extra protection on rough ocean floors

Wetsuit gloves: The glows and mittens are made out of neoprene and come in different variations like five-finger glows for dexterity and mittens that keep your hands extra warm.

How to wash a wetsuit

When you finished your surf session and removed your wetsuit you should rinse it with fresh water to get all the sand and ocean water out, preferably as soon as you can (clean both on the inside and outside!). Wetsuits should be hand-washed. You can use special wetsuit products for this, but a mild non-detergent soap works just fine.

How to dry a wetsuit

Hang up the wetsuit inside-out to dry after washing. Wetsuits should never go into the washing machine, be put in the dryer, or hang on a wire hanger (it’s not good for the neoprene in the suit).

What do you wear under a wetsuit?

It’s up to you! Some feel more comfortable wearing boardshorts or a bikini under, others swear by going commando. The sky’s the limit.

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