Although many people imagine surfing in warm, tropical waters, the fact is that most of us must surf in a wetsuit for several months of the year.
When it comes to surfing in cold water, we need to know how warm a wetsuit will be, because staying warm is a crucial component of having fun and remaining out in the water.
So, which is the warmest wetsuit for surfing? No single brand or model is the most temperate, but the warmest wetsuits for surfing now available are 7mm thick wetsuits with enhanced thermal qualities.
Let’s look at the distinctions between these sorts of wetsuits in more detail now that you know the answer in a nutshell. This article will also assist you in determining the best method for your needs to extend your time in the surf.
Table of Contents
Warmest Wetsuit for Surfing
The warmest wetsuits for surfing now available are 7/6mm thick, such as the warm Billabong Furnace on Amazon. On the other hand, this type of wetsuit is designed for extreme conditions such as winter surfing in Alaska, Iceland, Norway, or elsewhere.
Most surfers will never need more than a conventional 5/4mm thickness wetsuit for cold-water surfing, and even then, such wetsuits can go a long way, even in water as cold as 43°F (6°C).
Different conditions will exist depending on where you live, but the following information can serve as a starting point:
|40F/5C or below||Hooded 5/4mm+||7mm+||7mm||7mm|
|48F/9C||Hooded 5/4mm||5 or 7mm||5mm|
|52F/12C||4/3mm||5mm||3 or 5mm|
|60F/15C||3/2mm||3 or 5mm||3mm|
|65F/19C||3/2mm||Optional 3mm||Optional 3mm|
|72F/22CC||1 or 2mm spring suit or shorty or neoprene top|
|80F+/26C+||boardshorts or bikinis and rash guard|
Moreover, it would be best if you considered the following aside from water temperature:
- Air temperature
- Wind speed
- Your sensitivity to coldness
- Activity level
What To Look For in A Warm Wetsuit
You want a wetsuit that has all of the following properties to get the most warmth out of it for surfing:
- polypropylene lining
- liquid-taped seams
- snug fit
- attached hood
- quality brand
- not too old
Polypropylene is a relatively new addition to surfing wetsuits, yet it is highly beneficial to those who suffer from cold water sensitivity. This is commonly seen on the inside of a wetsuit in a bright color like orange or red.
It may appear fluffy and pleasant to the touch, but don’t be fooled; it adds a significant amount of warmth to a winter surfing wetsuit.
Polypropylene does enhance the price of a surf wetsuit because it is an optional feature. Otherwise, there are no drawbacks; it simply warms you up and is incredibly comfortable
In terms of surfing, wetsuits featuring these such seams are also very new. Wetsuits used to have regular stitching, but now they have liquid taped seams, making them more comfortable, last longer, and letting in less water.
Liquid-taped seams are basically liquid adhesive that covers the stitching or seam. As hinted above, this extra feature not only keeps water out, but also keeps the seams together, making your warm wetsuit more durable.
The seams progressively fall apart with wet tooting cold water, which is a serious issue. As you might expect, a wetsuit usually drenched water, stitched together, and worn by a surfer frequently needs to be tough.
As a result, using liquid tape on the seams improves durability and allows for a more comfortable and warm wetsuit for surfing. This liquid tape is usually only seen on the exterior of wetsuits, while it is becoming increasingly common on the inside of more expensive or premium wetsuits.
As with the polypropylene lining, the only disadvantage is that the more liquid-taped seams, the more expensive it can get. But, for most cold-water surfers, this compromise is well worth it.
Other Types of Warm Wetsuit Seam Seals
- Flatlock Wetsuit Stitching
- Best for use in waters above 62°F
- Lies flat against your body with no discomfort
- May let in a little water
- Sealed Wetsuit Seams
- Ideal for use in waters of 55°F and higher
- These stitch panels are blind stitched after being glued. The blindstitching on the neoprene does not go all the way through. Instead, the stitch is impermeable since it exits on the same side that it entered.
- May let in very little water
- Sealed and Taped Wetsuit Seams
- Recommended for use in water that is 55°F and below
- This stitch is blindstitched after being glued, but it also has internal seam taping.
- The inner taping will give resilience to the seam, reinforce it, and prevent water from seeping through.
A wetsuit should fit like a second skin, with no sagging or bunching in the arms or legs. It should be snug to allow only a thin layer of water to pass between your body and your suit. If your suit is too loose, a lot of water will get in and make it less effective in keeping you warm.
A warm wetsuit for surfing should also be able to wrap around your neck snugly (many people wear a rashguard underneath their wetsuit to prevent a neck rash). For extra protection and support, women wear a swimsuit underneath.
When purchasing a wetsuit, the fit is quite crucial. Your wetsuit will not be able to keep you warm or provide you with the movement you require for your sport if it does not fit properly. The easiest way to find the right wetsuit fit is to consult brand-specific size charts.
Wetsuit Fit Checklist
- There should be no extra room in the torso, crotch, shoulders, or knees once you’ve put on your wetsuit. When dry, putting on a properly fitting wetsuit will be difficult. (Pro Tip: Keeping your socks on will make it much easier for your feet to slide in!)
- Lift your arms above your head and stretch your shoulders once you’ve put it on. This move should only be a minor constraint. If this movement causes you to feel a lot of pressure, the suit is too tiny.
- You should be able to squat and move your arms freely (wetsuits with a thickness greater than 5/4mm are fundamentally limiting).
A hood is usually typically included with super thick surfing wetsuits. This inclusion is for a good reason – without a hood, you won’t be able to surf in extremely cold water, or worst you could get an awful headache.
Because your wetsuit and hood are one piece, the link between them keeps you warmer by preventing multiple flushes of cold water from entering into your suit. In addition, a separate hood leaves your next exposed, and this moisture makes you more susceptible to flushing.
A hood attached to your warm wetsuit for surfing ensures that you never lose or forget it, making it a helpful addition.
A warm wetsuit for surfing that can keep you comfortable in the water must be from a respected surf brand, in addition to all of the factors outlined above.
Buying a decent wetsuit from one of the significant wetsuit brands is the best way to stay comfortable when surfing in cold water. Some of the well-respected names are:
Brand New or Not Too Old
One of the most excellent methods to ensure that your wetsuit is warm for surfing is to purchase a new one. Because of the intensity and hardships of surfing, wetsuits must be heavy-duty, as mentioned previously.
The seams gradually stretch and let in more water, while the neoprene material used to manufacture the suit has qualities that allow it to absorb more water over time. When wet, a warm wetsuit adds to the strain on the materials by carrying a lot more weight due to the water it absorbs.
This has the additional disadvantage of stretching the wetsuit, making it slightly more relaxed. A warm wetsuit will typically last two winters if used often (3-4 times per week), but they can survive much longer if worn less frequently.
While you can save a lot in getting a hand-me-down or a used warm wetsuit, it isn’t so much recommended for all the reasons stated above. A used wetsuit for cold water surfing will quickly lose its warmth after a few uses.
Good Thermal Underlayers – For The Extra Warmth
Thermals aren’t simply for cold weather. They give surfers many options since they may be worn alone – as a top, shorts, or leggings – or worn underneath your wetsuit to improve your experiences in or near the water. They come in various materials and styles, including short- and long-sleeved options.
Caring For Your Warm Wetsuit
Rinse the inside and outside of the wetsuit in the shower every after session. Hang it to dry away from the sun. Using a fan to dry your stuff rapidly is a good idea. After a few hours, you can flip it inside out, until it gets completely dry.
At least once a month, fill a bucket or tub halfway with cold water and apply ‘Piss Off’ or any other wetsuit shampoo once or twice a month. When cleaning our wetsuits, Dr. Bronner’s Soap is a good choice. Allow it to soak for a few hours before rinsing and drying it.
The most important thing to remember is never to put your wetsuit in the washer or the dryer.
Can You Wear Warm Wetsuit For Summer?
Theoretically, you can wear a winter wetsuit in the summer. However, whether or not you feel comfortable doing so will be determined by many circumstances. These factors include how cold you get when you’re surfing and the water temperature where you’re surfing.
Even when the sun is blazing, the water in the spring is exceptionally chilly. As a result, many surfers will wear a winter wetsuit until June during a cold year. However, once summer approaches and the water temperature rises, you may discover that a winter wetsuit is unnecessary.
Surfing is a high-impact activity in which you quickly warm up, especially if the water temperature is already quite warm. As a result, you may wish to consider purchasing a summer suit.
Depending on where you live, a summer wetsuit can typically last until the end of October, so you’ll probably find that your summer wetsuit will be helpful for much longer than you anticipate.
However, this is dependent on the person, and if you are more sensitive to the cold than others, the warmest wetsuit for surfing may be the best option for you all year.
Undisclosed Truth: Peeing Makes Your Wetsuit Warmer
There’s a significant secret that no one tells you about but that everyone knows about: you can pee in your wetsuit to stay warm out there. If you’re renting, however, don’t pee in it! Wetsuit wearers have two types – those who pee in their wetsuits and those who don’t.
Urinating in your wetsuit sounds terrible but feels great, and it’s unavoidable after two cups of coffee and a bottle of water, but there are a few things to keep in mind:
- The current blindstitched, sealed-seam wetsuit is intended to operate as a barrier against water seepage. Still, by design, some water will seep into the suit, and this thin layer of water keeps you warm (the wetsuit acts as an insulator). However, this can take a long time with high-end winter surfing wetsuits, so you may want to wait until some water has gone into the suit before peeing.
- You’ll be sitting in undiluted urine for the majority of your session if you pee before getting in the water because there’s nowhere for it to go (except into your left boot), so you’ll be marinating in it until the water gets into the suit.
- You’ll have to go eventually, so take advantage of the additional warmth. However, when you remove your toasty wetsuit, you’ll smell like a filthy diaper and the NYC subway on a hot summer day. Using cold fresh water, thoroughly rinse your wetsuit and hang it to dry.
- The byproducts in your pee will gradually damage the neoprene and seam glue, even though urine is over 95% water. Regardless of these realities, we all pee in our suits because it feels great on a cold day. If you’re new to surfing, it may all seem strange and gross, but it’s unavoidable and well worth it.
The warmth your wetsuit can offer will be determined by many things, including your budget, the temperatures you can endure, and the location where you will be surfing in the winter.
Always consider the water temperature when deciding, and consider investing in gloves and wetsuit boots to keep you as warm as possible when surfing in the winter.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q: What is the best winter wetsuit for surfing?
A: A 6/5mm winter wetsuit would be beneficial if you want to go out for extended surf sessions regardless of the weather. If you’re going to be surfing regularly in the dead of winter, this type of wetsuit is excellent, and when paired with gloves and wetsuit boots, it’ll carry you through the season.
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G’day, my name is Rach Taylor and I’m the proud Founder of Surf Hungry. I am a former Australian Olympic athlete and Australian representative surf sports athlete. I’ve worked in the surf industry and lived at many of Australia’s best surf spots, sparking a life-long love of the ocean and a passion for surf sports which also rubbed off on my two young sons! I am also lucky to spend a lot of ocean-time in my favorite second home, Indonesia. In addition to SurfHungry I have founded several other websites in my areas of passion, namely coffee and rock climbing, and am also a regular rowing content contributor.