Surf Freely in the Warmer Months by Choosing the Best Summer Wetsuit
Besides the boards you ride, a wetsuit is one of the most important pieces of gear that you can own as a surfer. They keep you warm in the water and during almost all weather conditions, and wearing one is the easiest way to increase your time riding waves.
Like all surf equipment, the market is saturated with hundreds of wetsuit brands and varying styles designed for different surf conditions. Now that the warmer months are upon us, it’s time to think about purchasing the best summer wetsuit for your needs.
What Makes a Good Wetsuit?
The simple goal of a wetsuit is to ensure that you remain warm when in the water. Fit is key to achieve this. A good wetsuit should fit snuggly like a second layer of skin to maintain and heat a thin layer of water between it and your body. For this to happen, there shouldn’t be any bulging in the arm and leg areas or any sagging. If it’s too loose, too much water will get in, and your body will have to work harder to stay warm. On the other hand, if it’s too tight, you’ll restrict circulation and increase fatigue.
Another factor to bear in mind is the style of the wetsuit—do you need a full suit/steamer (long sleeves and legs), a shorty (short sleeves and legs), long John (long legs and no sleeves), or short John (short legs and no sleeves)? Next, you should decide upon the neoprene thickness. As a general rule, go for a 3/2 mm thickness for mild to warm water temperatures, 4/3mm for mild to cold, and 5/4mm for cold to freezing.
What Makes a Good Summer Wetsuit?
Pulling on a summer surf suit is a joyous occasion for surfers. It means that the water temperatures are up, and you’ll be paddling out in a suit that’s designed for performance snd flexibility rather than to fend off the cold. Summer wetsuits are the 3/2mm kind and ideal for water temperatures that range from around 59-66°F.
The warmer the water, the higher the likelihood of you being at ease in a shorty. That said, if you are new to surfing, then sticking to a full-length suit will offer more protection from hits against the surfboard, rocks, and the seabed.
The Best Summer Wetsuits on the Market
Infiniti LTD 3/2 by XCEL Wetsuits
This summer suit by the Orange County-based XCEL Wetsuits brand beat entries by O’Neill and Rip Curl, among others, to win Wetsuit of the Year at the 2019 SIMA awards.
The main characteristics of the Infiniti LTD 3/2 strong are thermal features combined with heaps of movability. It has a Channel Flex woven fabric that creates a bendy summer surf suit great for surfers that paddle intensely and move around a lot on the board. In addition, the Radiant Rebound metal-based lining serves to retain body heat and act as a windshield.
Vissla 7 Seas 3/2 Full Chest Zip Wetsuit
Vissla is a Japanese wetsuit brand and its 7 Seas 3/2 Full Chest Zip Wetsuit is an excellent mid-price allrounder for any surfer out there. The brand uses a limestone-based material to produce eco-friendly, extremely lightweight, stretchy, and soft-on-the-skin wetsuits.
This full-length summer surf suit has a tailored fit that aligns with your body contours, a chest entry, and a water-tight design.
Sisstrevolution 3/2 7 Seas Chest Zip Full Wetsuit
Relatively new to the scene is Sisstrevolution, a brand aimed solely at women’s surf apparel and gear. It falls under the same parent company as Vissla, so expect the utmost in quality and style.
The Sisstrevolution 3/2 7 Seas Wetsuit is arguably the best summer wetsuit for women at present. It uses the same limestone-based neoprene as Vissla for an eco-friendly and super stretchy suit. Glideskin on the neck reduces rubbing, Supretex knee pads offer extra protection, and a tailored fit guarantees unrestricted maneuverability.
O’Neill Reactor 2mm Back Zip Short Sleeve Spring Wetsuit
For a budget-friendly summer surf suit that packs a punch in quality, then look no further than this O’Neill shorty. It’s a perfect combination of stretch and durability that comes in men's and women’s versions.
The FluidFlex neoprene and 2mm thickness makes it fit like a glove and easy to move around in. Meanwhile, a Flatlock stitching system prevents skin irritation. There’s a handy hidden key pocket, too, if you prefer not to leave yours buried in the sand or tucked under the wheel.
Quiksilver Highline Pro 1mm
With the Quiksilver Highline Pro 1mm, the legendary Australian surf brand has produced a high-performing premium wetsuit with the pro surfer in mind. It's only 1mm thick but maintains as much heat as a traditional 3mm suit. Being made with nine panels (half of the standard amount) and having no zipper or stitched seams means it saves on weight and enhances flexibility.
It even comes in goofy and regular-footed versions. Basically, a suit that’s almost as thin as a t-shirt and built for high-intensity short surfing sessions.
South Bay Board Co. Wetsuit Top
Sometimes all you want to do is surf in a pair of boardshorts or swimsuit. While it’s great to do so on sun-drenched days, you should still be wary of the UV rays. This is when wetsuit tops come in handy, as you can pull one on faster than your favorite hoody.
The SSBC long-sleeve wetsuit tops are made from a 3mm abrasion and ozone-resistant SBR Neoprene that keeps your upper body warm and protected without hindering performance. An extended lower body section also prevents wetsuit ride-up in the water.
Now It's Time to Hit the Water
The best summer wet suit is the one that fits both you and your budget. Just remember to rinse yours thoroughly after a session, hang it up to dry away from the sun, turn it inside and out until it dries, and give it an occasional wash with a wetsuit shampoo. Take care of it out of the water, and it’ll take care of you in the water.