Top 7 Best 4/3 Wetsuits | 2021 Reviews (XCEL, Rip Curl)

Wetsuits have been a key piece of equipment for divers ever since Hugh Bradner invented the neoprene suit back in the 1950s. However, Jack O’Neill, founder of O’Neillpopularized using it for surfing. It’s rumoured that Jack discovered wetsuits first, but researchers have concluded that Hugh Bradner is the true “father of wetsuits”.

It’s already been almost 70 years, yet surfers still consider wetsuits as one of the most essential parts of the surf experience. Even a cold winter morning surf can still become enjoyable with the right wetsuit. This guide offers insights into what are 4/3 wetsuits best for, and which ones to look out for.

What are 4/3 Wetsuits Best for? 

One of the most important aspects when considering wetsuit warmth is the thickness of the neoprene, which is measured in millimeters. 4/3 wetsuits doesn’t mean its neoprene thickness is 1.33 mm. The first number represents the thickness of the neoprene in the torso area. The second number represents the thickness of the neoprene in the arms and legs. Thus, a 4/3 wetsuit has a 4mm thick neoprene in the torso and 3mm thick neoprene in both arms and legs.

4/3 wetsuits are best for water temperatures at  52-58 °F / 11.1-14.4 °C. You can happily wear a shorty wetsuit at those temperatures, but it’s not recommended. The thicker neoprene (torso area) in 4/3 wetsuits helps maintain your core body heat, which prevents hypothermia. The thinner neoprene is better for areas that are constantly in motion (arms and legs). We highly recommend checking the guide we made to better understand the correlation between water temperature and wetsuit thickness.

Top 5 Best 4/3 Wetsuits

As watersports continue to thrive, the demand for high-quality wetsuits rises. Wetsuits offer proper protection against the cold, increased buoyancy, and added speed. Its comfort and utility make it an easy decision for people who are getting into watersports. 

With the many brands out there, we’ve reviewed some of the popular ones we highly recommend checking out.

  1. XCEL Men's Drylock 4/3 mm Fullsuit F20 (Top Pick)
  2. VISSLA 7 Seas 4/3 mm Boys Full Suit (Best Budget)
  3. O'Neill Psycho Tech 4/3 mm Full Wetsuit (Best High End)
  4. RIP CURL Flashbomb 4/3 mm Wetsuit (Most Comfortable)
  5. SISSTREVOLUTION 7 Seas 4/3 mm Full Wetsuit (Best Women’s Wetsuit) 
  6. PATAGONIA R3 Yulex Front-Zip Full Suit
  7. QUIKSILVER Marathon Sessions 4/3 mm Wetsuit

#1. XCEL Men's Drylock 4/3 mm Fullsuit F20 – Top Pick

XCEL Men's Drylock 4/3 mm Fullsuit F20

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Specifications:

  • Neoprene type: Light Japanese limestone
  • Seam construction: Triple glued and blind stitched seams 
  • Tape design: FusionX tape
  • Entry system: Semi-dry zipper with magnetic closure
  • Available Color: Black

XCEL is known for their high-performance neoprene designed for people who take their sport seriously. Their wetsuits might be pricey, but they get the job done regarding tech and fit. The Drylock 4/3 fullsuit is perfect for surfers who are rocking the Drylock 3/2 wetsuit but are looking for a warmer alternative for the winter. 

What makes XCEL’s Drylock collection sought after by many surfers? It’s their interior trademark, the Celiant Black thermo. The interior is engineered to stretch up the limbs to harness the natural warmth produced by your own blood circulation to keep you warm. 

The Drylock 4/3 fullsuit comes with their exclusive FusionX tape to provide a contoured fit. It’s the only wetsuit in this list that has a magnetic closure that’s good for keeping flushes out. This is the same protection you’ll expect from the Nexskin ankle seals and Drylock wrist seals that come with the suit.

With its triple glued and blind stitched seams that promote more stretch and flexibility, this Drylock variant is a sure-fire investment for surfers intermediate and up.

ProsCons
ChannelFlex and UltraFlex technology lessen mobility restrictionsA bit pricey
Drylock variant provides better warmth and performance

#2. VISSLA 7 Seas 4/3 mm Boys Full Suit

7 Seas 4/3 Boys Full Suit

Specifications:

  • Neoprene type: 100% Super stretch Japanese limestone
  • Seam construction: Tripled glued and blind stitched seams 
  • Tape design: Vissla super stretch Neo 3.0 tape
  • Entry system: Chest-zip entry
  • Available Color: Black, Wine Red, Charcoal Black, and Stealth Black

Vissla succeeded in designing a collection of wetsuits with a minimalist approach. Their 7 Seas wetsuits don’t have unnecessary features that most “over-designed” wetsuits have, while leaving the best qualities a wetsuit could have. This revolutionary approach made them notorious for their bang-for-your-buck wetsuits. 

The 7 Seas 4/3 fullsuit comprises anatomically correct engineered body lines that allow for unrestricted performance. Accompanied with its light Japanese limestone neoprene and thermal fever fiber lining, it boasts high thermal retention and flexibility. It also comes with four colors with minimal branding that’s perfect for surfers who prefer a cleaner look. 

Vissla has been striving for an eco-friendly market in recent years. All of their wetsuits got non-solvent glues and environmental dyes, along with AquaA lamination that’s risk free for the sea. With a wetsuit that checks all the boxes, the 7 Seas 4/3 fullsuit is considered as an epitome of the upper-end of the entry level suit.

ProsCons
Thermal brain fuzz lining technology provides better heat insulation and decreased in dry timeNot as flexible as high-end wetsuits
Softer and eco-friendly fabric

#3. O'Neill Psycho Tech 4/3 mm Full Wetsuit – Best High End

O'Neill Psycho Tech 4/3 mm Full Wetsuit

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Specifications:

  • Neoprene type: Aqua Alpha solvent-free Neoprene lamination
  • Seam construction: Stitchless seam technology and fluid seam weld
  • Tape design: Not specified
  • Entry system: Z.E.N. back zip or F.U.Z.E front zip closure
  • Available Color: Black

In 2017, O’Neill’s launched Psycho Tech wetsuits with TechnoButter 2 neoprene technology. It quickly gained a reputation for unparalleled levels of flexibility and warmth but lacked the resiliency that their other wetsuits had. Fast forward to 2021, and the Psycho Tech collection has developed into a much more resilient wetsuit while being more flexible than earlier versions.

The Psycho Tech 4/3 fullsuit comes with O’Neill’s improved TechnoButter 3 neoprene technology that has an amazing amount of four-way stretch that enables better free body movement, lightness, and comfort. 

To top it off, O’Neill’s stitchless seam technology, together with its wind-proof smoothskin feature, prevents water from coming in. Alongside its plasma wrist and ankles seals, you can expect to be kept warm during every surf session.

O’Neill never fails to impress us and keeps pushing boundaries in wetsuit manufacturing. Their latest Psycho Tech variant is the culmination of almost 70 years of wetsuits, leading to almost every category.

ProsCons
Exclusive TechnoButter technology adds a heat-generating air firewallCan get toasty fast at higher temperatures
Redzone water resistant zipper
Very comfortable and stretchy

#4. RIP CURL Flashbomb 4/3 mm Wetsuit (Most comfortable)

Flashbomb 4/3 Zip Free Wetsuit

Specifications:

  • Neoprene type: High stretch lightweight neoprene
  • Seam construction: Stitchless seam technology and fluid seam weld
  • Tape design: Flash lining tape
  • Entry system: Chest-zip, Back-zip or Zip-free entry
  • Available Color: Black, Green, and Slate

Rip Curl’s Flashbomb 4/3 wetsuit is their attempt to shake the high-end wetsuit industry. Having the willingness to mix and match different grades of neoprene on various panels, they’ve created an optimized wetsuit for durability, flex, and heat retention.

This suit, in particular, holds emphasis on max stretch in the areas that require it the most. Experienced surfers who maneuver a lot will quickly love this suit and get most out of it. The additional stretch allows easier paddling motions, while panels in the legs make it simple to pop up on a surfboard or dig deep on a SUP.

The Flashbomb 4/3 wetsuit also has exclusive “mesh skin” panels that absorb solar rays and reduce wind chill. Moreover, flash lining tape design features multiple layers that funnel water out of the suit, keeping the warmth locked inside.

Surfers noted that the suit is incredibly easy to get in and out of. That’s a huge plus since it can come with either chest, back, or no zip at all. Overall, this suit takes the cake in being the most comfortable in its category.

ProsCons
Mesh skin panels absorb solar rays and reduce wind chillWarmer wetsuit compared to other suits in its category
Fast drying timesExpensive
Minimal bulk

#5. SISSTREVOLUTION 7 Seas 4/3 mm Full Wetsuit (Best Women’s Wetsuit)

7 SEAS 4/3 CHEST ZIP FULL WETSUIT

Specifications:

  • Neoprene type: 100% Super stretch Japanese limestone
  • Seam construction: Tripled glued and blind stitched seams 
  • Tape design: Sisstr super stretch Neo 3.0 tape
  • Entry system: Chest-zip or Back-zip entry
  • Available Color: Black, Camp Green, and Orchid

Vissla’s “younger” sister brand, Sisstrevolution, only makes women’s suits. Naturally, they have better women’s suits than most brands. They’ve really honed the shape and style of suits to compliment female surfers in their latest 7 Seas collection.

Sisstrevolution 7 Seas 4/3 fullsuit includes a lot of high-end features considering it’s priced in between entry-level and mid-range. It’s fully taped internally with Sisstr super stretch Neo 3 tape that helps this suit hold up to the rigors of daily use. The neoprene used comprises premium limestone sourced directly from Japan, which is better than other neoprene wetsuits in its category. It’s also stylish and has a curvy but relaxed fit.

Just like Vissla’s wetsuits, Sisstrevolution’s wetsuits are eco-friendly with their much softer Dope Dyed fabric with AquaA lamination. All said and done, if you’re on a budget but still want to look good, it’s hard not to buy this suit.

ProsCons
Thermal fever fiber lining technology provides better heat insulation and decreased in dry timeLacks flexibility that other wetsuits have
Softer and eco-friendly fabric
Budget-friendly

#6. PATAGONIA R3 Yulex Front-Zip Full Suit

Men's R3® Yulex® Front-Zip Full Suit

Specifications:

  • Neoprene type: Yulex natural rubber
  • Seam construction: 100% externally sealed triple glued seam
  • Tape design: Low-profile interior tape
  • Entry system: Chest-zip entry
  • Available Color: Black

In general, neoprene wetsuits are not the most eco-friendly to produce and recycle. Patagonia tries to break the status quo by building their brand on eco-friendly neoprene. They do this by having their wetsuits made with a natural rubber technology called Yulex.

Yulex is harvested from a Guatemalan tree called Hevea. The renewable natural rubber performs just as well as neoprene, and it’s a far better choice for the planet. While neoprene is made in factories, natural rubber is produced by trees that absorb carbon throughout their life span. By switching to Hevea plantation, CO₂ emissions are reduced up to 80% per wetsuit.

Patagonia suits are serious go-to choices for durability and serious cold-water, especially their hooded wetsuit collection. This latest 4/3 iteration, the R3 Yulex fullsuit has recycled spandex thermal microgrid lining that dries fast and offers excellent warmth and flexibility. The suit’s Supratex kneepads and cuffs are durable, flexible and hold comfortably to the body without binding or restricting movement.

Even though Patagonia wetsuits are more expensive than other wetsuits, people who believe in minimized carbon footprint still buy them. But is it worth the price?

ProsCons
Best wetsuit for people who have neoprene allergiesNot as flexible as other wetsuits in its category
Fair trade certified by the Rainforest AllianceExpensive
Most eco-friendly wetsuit

#7. QUIKSILVER Marathon Sessions 4/3 Wetsuit

4/3 Marathon Sessions Chest Zip Wetsuit

Specifications:

  • Neoprene type: StretchFlight neoprene
  • Seam construction: Liquid flex seal and blindstitched
  • Tape design: Internal tape
  • Entry system: Chest-zip or Back-zip entry
  • Available Color: Black

Quiksilver has a long history of providing the best wetsuit to even some of the world’s best surfers. They continually develop new technologies and design intricacies that sometimes become revolutionary. Like every company, they don’t hit the mark every year, but they have a tried-and-tested brand identity that means it’s hard to go wrong with their wetsuits.

Like its name suggests, the Marathon Sessions 4/3 wetsuit is built for longer surf sessions. This is possible mainly for two reasons: First, the infrared thermal lining design transforms body heat into warm energy, assisting the neoprene. Second, Quiksilver’s exclusive WarmFlight technology makes the wetsuit ultra lightweight and breathable warm. 

Quiksilver also made a big nod towards going eco-friendly with their wetsuits in recent years. Their WarmFlight technology is made mostly out of recycled PET bottles. Its lightweight StretchFlight neoprene is an eco-friendly alternative to standard neoprene that’s made from recycled car tires. They also use Aqua Alpha, non-toxic, water-based glue for their wetsuits.

For what it’s worth and what Quiksilver has been doing for the environment, it’s a solid and secure choice for beginner and intermediate surfers alike.

ProsCons
Can be used for any kind of skimboardNot good after-sales
Cheap, excellent value for money
Long-lasting and doesn’t peel off
Smells nice

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Should I choose a back-zip or chest-zip entry wetsuit?

A: It all comes to preference. Most people, however, prefer to use chest-zip entry since it is readily available to the user’s hands. 

Q: How do I wash my wetsuit?

A: To wash your wetsuit, rinse the wetsuit thoroughly inside and out with fresh water. Hang it dry in a cool shaded area and avoid hanging it in direct sunlight. You can also check our complete guide on how to wash effectively a wetsuit!

Q: Do you need to wear anything under a wetsuit?

A: You can wear your wetsuit with nothing (other than your underwear), and that is perfectly fine. But, it is still a matter of preference. You may also consider chafing and rashes that wetsuits may cause. If that’s the case, you may give wearing something underneath a try.

Q: How do wetsuits work?

A: Most wetsuits are made of neoprene, a kind of foam rubber filled with nitrogen gas bubbles that acts as a good heat insulator. Neoprene confines a thin layer of water between your body and the wetsuit. This layer gets warmed by your body, thus preventing you from losing too much heat while in the water.

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