06/03/2022 – 5 min.
How to buy a wetsuit
Having a good wetsuit is worth so much! However, finding the right one is not that easy.
I had to learn that myself years ago when I bought my first wetsuit.
Back then, with a rental suit that didn't really fit well, I thought to myself during the surfing lesson: "I need my own, that's just annoying." No sooner said than done - right after the water we drove to the surf shops and I tried the first one. That's when the dilemma began: Totally exhausted after surfing, I had underestimated struggling into a dry suit in a cramped cabin. And not just one! Too big in the shoulders. Too tight in the legs.
“Oh there are different thicknesses? I can get in, but I can hardly breathe. Where's the zipper here?"
Dripping sweat, I stood in front of the fifth wetsuit that I was supposed to get in and just thought to myself that I couldn’t put my saltwater-sweat mixture on my skin through a brand-new suit and its other potential buyers.
So the next day I went back into the water with the rental suit again.
For you to not stress out like me, here are the ultimate tips for buying a wetsuit.
For you not making the same mistakes, here are the ultimate tips for buying a wetsuit
Water keeps you warm
First of all, the suit should keep the wearer warm. A thin film of water forms between the skin and the material. This is warmed up by your own body and the sun's rays from the outside. If the neo fits well (i.e. not too loose!), this layer of water stays where it forms and warms. If, on the other hand, it is too large, the water simply runs through and new, cold water constantly runs into the suit.
Other functions are protection from the sun, bumps and wounds. The neoprene forms a buffer zone between you and possible sources of danger: your own or someone else's surfboard, reefs and hard surfaces.
Another plus is the greater buoyancy experienced with a wetsuit.
Ein weiterer Pluspunkt ist der größere Auftrieb, denn man mit einem Neoprenanzug erfährt.
There are different material thicknesses for every water temperature. The colder the water, the thicker the suit should be. For example, a 4/3 'Neo' has 4mm of material around the torso and 3mm on the legs and arms. So it warms up more in the most important parts of the body and does not restrict the freedom of movement on the arms and legs.
However, it is not only the water temperature that matters, but also the air temperature, cold wind, activity intensity and duration and your own sensitivity to temperature.
Other Influencing Factors
What you should definitely ask yourself is where and when you you go surfing most of the time. Even in the southern part of Europe, the water temperatures of the Atlantic are not uniform and also vary greatly with the seasons. This sometimes makes it difficult to find the all-rounder among wetsuits and many who go surfing several times a year have two suits.
That's why you should ask yourself how often you'll go to surf and how much you want to invest. There are so many different price and quality classes that it is easy to lose track.
High-End vs. Entry-Level
The biggest differences are in the elasticity of the material and the processing of the seams. Expensive models promise better wearing comfort and better performance due to more flexible material. The way the seams are made has a major impact on the tightness of the suit. There are very simple sewn wetsuits, but also glued or welded ones. And the combination of everything! With the constant flow of new technologies in material, manufacturers often promise better heat storage with less thickness. Resulting in wonderfully warm Neo's without sacrificing comfort. However, expensive wetsuits usually do not last longer than cheap ones. If you only go surfing a few weeks a year, you probably have a 'new best friend' for years to come. If you travel a lot, a neo is usually 'surfed out' after one or two seasons.
Too many Brands
Spoiled for choice with so many brands! Most important is the fit of the wetsuit. Every brand cuts differently and that is especially important for us ladies! Inform yourself beforehand from the manufacturers and their size charts. And try it on, try it on, try it on!
There are many small brands that are in no way inferior to the big names or surpass them in terms of value for money.
When you are on the go, always keep your eyes open for local brands.
Inzwischen gibt es viele Marken die auf ökologisch und nachhaltig produzierte Waren wertlegen. Neopren muss nicht immer aus schädlichen Materialien hergestellt sein, sondern auch aus recycelten oder natürlichen, wie beispielsweise Yulex.
And of course: Color and design. I think most would be lying if they say not paying attention to this. After all, who wants to spend hours in the water and on the beach in a skin-tight suit with a design that makes them uncomfortable?
Hi, thanks for passing by!
I'm Jule. You may know me as the manager of WaveSisters. I've collected quite a few wetsuits over the years: short, long, half-length, thin, thick, neoprene bikini,... I use them until they really become ugly and unwearable. I keep getting stupid comments about it. But I think a worn-out 4/3 neo with a few holes and material that has become thin can still be used for warm days! And protects the environment!