In the past 20 years, the market for wetsuits has grown rapidly. As more people get into sports and outdoor activities that require wetsuits, different types of wetsuits at more price points than ever before are becoming available. There are even custom-fit sizes for all body types.
With all of these options comes a lot of choices, and while that is usually a good thing, it can also be an overwhelming work! How do you choose which one is best for your body and your favorite activities when there’s so many to look at?
The simple fact of the matter is that you’re going to have to do a lot of research to figure out which one will be best for you. But, wait. Did we forget to tell you that we’ve already done the research that you need?
That’s right. Today, we’ll be introducing the five best surfing wetsuits. If your dream is to be able to head out into ideal surfing conditions without having to think about whether or not your wetsuit is the right one for the day, you’ll be happy with this article’s findings.
Considerations to Keep In Mind
Though there are a lot of similarities between different types of wetsuits, there are also a lot of differences that you need to pay attention to when you’re shopping for a wetsuit for a specific purpose.
When shopping for a surfing wetsuit, be sure to double check all of the following features before you make your final selection:
- Body coverage
- Sizing availability
- Color availability
- Zipper location
- Consider the temperature of the water; this will dictate how much thickness and body coverage you need
Best Surfing Wetsuits
The following wetsuits are all good for surfing, but knowing which one is perfect for you will be largely dependant on where, when, and how you like to surf. Keep reading to find your perfect wetsuit!
O'Neill Men's Heat Full Wetsuit
The O'Neill Men's Heat Full Wetsuit is an impressive full-body wetsuit that was created by reliable surfing company, O’Neill, to help you to surf even when the water temperature is a bit cooler than might be comfortable in other situations.
Let’s look at the features that make up this wetsuit so that you can decide if this is indeed the right model for you.
- Temperature Range
This suit is designed to be used when the water temperature is between 54 and 68 degrees. The 4/3mm thickness neoprene and overall heat-keeping technology help to ensure that this wetsuit will keep you comfortable throughout your entire surfing adventures.
In most areas, this means that you’ll be able to comfortably surf into the late fall and even in early spring. In areas like Northern California, this suit is perfect for wearing all year round.
- High-quality, Silicone-sealed, Triple-stitched Seams
When it comes to wetsuits, quality is very important, which can be determined in the kind of seams used to put it all together. The seams on this wetsuit are made up of two types of seamwork.
First, there are sidewinder S-Curve seams. These interlocked seams are designed to easily fit with the curves of your body and of the suit when the wetsuit moves. This ensures that water cannot easily get into the suit, and that means that you will stay warmer than when wearing other suits.
Second, there are single fluid weld seams. This is an incredibly waterproof stitch. The seams are glued and blindstitched together, and then a liquid silicone is used to create a solid-liquid seal over the stitching. This means that water is blocked out, but flexibility is retained for the entire suit.
When compared to the slightly-less-expensive Epic model from O’Neill, these seams and the added back insulation panel are what really ensure that this will be a longer-lasting and warmer wetsuit to wear for years to come. The added warmth, thanks to these two simple additions, make a huge difference, and they are worth the extra cost.
- Insulation Panels
The material on this wetsuit is all 4/3mm neoprene, but there are some slight variations in the neoprene depending on which part of the body it is used at.
The chest and back have UltraFlex Firewall neoprene. This Firewall neoprene is specifically created to help trap and keep heat close to your body throughout your exercise.
- ¾ Body-Length Zipper
The zipper on this particular wetsuit makes it very easy to get into and out of. If you have ever had to contort your body to try to squeeze into a zipperless suit, you’ll be happy to find that this one has a back, ¾-inch zipper that ensures you can easily get into and out of the suit without any contortions necessary.
What We Think About It
There’s nothing quite like the O’Neill Men’s Heat 4/3 wetsuit when it comes to covering you when you need warmth, stretch, flexibility, and extra insulation for late fall and early spring water temperatures. In particular, the front and back panels on this are great at keeping in heat in the areas of your body where you usually start to feel the cold seep in.
Additionally, the zipper is really the star of this wetsuit. It might sound silly, but having the right zipper setup can make an incredible difference. Not only does this zipper make it very easy to get into and out of the wetsuit, but it also ensures that the water doesn’t get in since the zipper has a urethane-coated backing seal on it.
Most surfers will also find that the external key pocket, which has a loop, can help to keep your car and hotel keys safe from being lost while you are killing some time out on the waves. Thanks to this smart addition, we don’t have to worry about that concern.
- Lots of extra space around the midsection
- Entry zipper truly easy to maneuver
- Quality construction ensures few leaks
- The neoprene feels incredibly buttery
- Quality seal around the neck area
- Water can get stuck at ankles; must leave the water to remove
- Mild leaking along the back zipper
- Check for sizing on official size chart to avoid sizing issues
- Limited sizing selection
Billabong Men's Foil Full Wetsuit
The next suit that we will be taking a closer look at is the Billabong Men's Foil Full Wetsuit. This wetsuit, made by popular surfing company, Billabong, is a smart choice for surfing in warmer water temperatures than the 4/3mm by O’Neill we just talked about.
Still, is it warm enough to use in the fall or spring? Let’s find out!
First, we’ll introduce the top features that you can expect to see with this particular wetsuit.
- Water Temperature Rating
This wetsuit is officially rated to be used in cold water temperatures, which Billabong defines as the temperatures between 61 degrees Fahrenheit and 66 degrees Fahrenheit.
In user experience, however, most have found that they can use this wetsuit into the 50-degree range and even in warmer temperatures without being uncomfortable.
- Material Used
This entire wetsuit is made out of a material known as 100% AX2 Superlux neoprene. This type of neoprene has some of the best four-way stretches of all types of neoprene, so you can imagine that the suit has a nice, flexible fit.
Additionally, it is lightweight. This ensures that you get a snug fit with increased flexibility but without the increased weight.
Despite the relative thickness of the 3/2mm Foil neoprene, your range of motion will not be affected by the material. Billabong uses strategically placed seams to help ensure that stretch limitations do not hinder your movements while you are surfing.
- Chest and Back Lining
In the chest and back areas of the Foil wetsuit, there is Hollow Fiber lining. This type of advanced lining ensures that the heat will remain trapped in the suit better, resulting in more warmth and less weight.
Additionally, the suit can air dry faster than other similar suits because of the hollow fibers.
The seams on this wetsuit are GBS seams. This means that they are all glued and blind-stitched. This type of stitching ensures better warmth and comfort than simple interlocked stitches, so you will be able to surf more comfortably.
Additionally, there is seam tape added to key areas where leaks are common or where warmth most frequently escapes the suit due to normal wear and stretch. This seam tape helps to ensure a crisp, warm seal while you are wearing the wetsuit.
Finally, the wetsuit is designed to have as few seams as possible with any present seams being strategically placed to help ensure the best performance possible. A lot of thought went into every single seam used on this wetsuit.
To ensure that you can easily get into and out of your wetsuit, Billabong has added a back zip entry spot. The zipper has an internal barrier designed to reduce the amount of water leakage around the zipper.
- Sizing Availability
Since Billabong creates tall sizes as well as their basic sizes, there is a better range of size availability with this type of wetsuit as compared to those that can be found from some other brands. There are 10 total sizes available from Billabong.
What We Think About It
Now that you know more about the features of the suit, you may wonder what we really think about it. Overall, we believe that this is a great wetsuit to use in cooler water temperatures. It can successfully keep you warm and comfy, and you don’t need to struggle to be able to put this wetsuit on thanks to the logical back zipper.
Additionally, there is a nice range of size options, even if they aren’t perfect. Since tall isn’t available in every size, you might find that your ankles aren’t quite covered enough, but this doesn’t really matter since you will be wearing boots as well.
While there are a few areas (such as around the zipper and ankles) where a little bit of leaking occurs, you won’t be dealing with any major flush situations. This is reasonable at this mid-range price point, and you don’t need to worry about the construction failing you.
Overall, the suit is a very lightweight and easy-to-wear suit. It is comfortable and easy to wear even when you’re in the water. You don’t have to worry about any restriction to your range of motion, making it a really smart choice for surfers.
- Great craftsmanship
- Warm without movement restriction
- Works in 50+ degree waters
- Easy to put on and off
- Size chart is off
- Legs can be a little long or short depending on size
- Some leaking at ankles & zipper
Hurley Men’s Fusion 302 Fullsuit
Next up is the Hurley Men’s Fusion 302 Fullsuit. This is a full wetsuit from Hurley, another surfing company, that can be expected to be great for more warm water situations. How does it differ from the other full suits that we have already introduced today?
By learning more about the features that the Fusion 302 suit offers, you’ll be able to draw out its distinctions from other similar suits more easily.
- Color and Size Options
While the sizes on this particular line of wetsuits are limited to your five basic sizes (XS to XL), the color options that you can get from the Fusion 302 cover a much larger range. From black varieties to very bright greens, you’ll be able to choose a wetsuit that helps you to stand out if that is what you want to do.
Whether you prefer to keep it subtle or you love to stand out, you’ll be able to find an appropriate version of this suit from Hurley.
Now, let’s talk about the material. The exterior of the Fusion 302 is 100% Flex light neoprene. This neoprene is a four-way stretch fabric that will easily move with your body. It even has about 20% more stretch on the outside than on the inside.
Overall, the 3/2mm thick material is very lightweight and doesn’t cause much of a difference in terms of the range of motion.
- Water Temperature
This particular wetsuit is rated for temperatures between 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit, but most find that this is more of a summer suit than a late spring or early fall suit. Sure, you can probably make it work on those chilly days, but you will be much more comfortable using it on warmer days instead.
All of the seams on this well-designed wetsuit have been intentionally placed in parts of the wetsuit that tend to be compressed rather than expanded. This means that the anatomical seams will not be overstretched too frequently, thus ensuring their longevity.
The seams are GBS seams, which means that they are triple-glued on the inside and then blind-stitched on the exterior. This keeps the comfort level on the inside high while still ensuring that the seams are very secure.
On top of the seams, Hurley used split neoprene tape to ensure that the seams will not easily leak or crack once used. Liquid tape tends to crack, so this is a nice improvement.
The Fusion 302 has a chest zipper opening. This is a No.8 YYK zipper, so it can open at both ends and will not create any stress points along the zipper.
What We Think About It
It’s time for our official review of this Hurley Fusion 302. Overall, we think it’s a good choice considering its price, but it is not the very best wetsuit that you could buy. While it has some admirable features and comfortable fit, it lacks in a few key areas.
Namely, this suit isn’t really made for cold temperatures. While the torso part is kept extra warm through internal insulation panels, the legs are left to be chilly. Also, though the fit on the leg area is both smooth and supple, it can be distracting to have cold and weakening legs while surfing for the day.
Additionally, there are a few seams (particularly around the neck) where water can trickle in just a little bit. However, this won’t be an issue if the suit is being used in warm water conditions as it usually will be used.
- Very warm in the chest area
- Neck area seals out water completely
- Chest zipper lays flat while surfing
- Bold designs available
- Standard Hurley size options
- Too many logos
- Durability issues
- Will need to learn how to use chest zipper successfully
- The seal can be hard to break when taking off
Quiksilver Syncro Plus Wetsuit
Our next wetsuit to review is the Syncro Plus Wetsuit. The Synchro Plus line from Quiksilver is one of their most popular wetsuits, but does that mean that this version is the right one for you?
Let’s learn about its features to find out if this is a great wetsuit for your current needs.
- Sizing Availability
One of the best things about wetsuits from Quiksilver is the wide variety of sizes that they have to offer. This particular wetsuit comes in 14 different sizes available, and that includes tall and short sizes.
No matter what type of body you have, there’s a good chance that Quiksilver will have what you need to get surfing!
Another interesting thing to note is that there are four different colorways for this wetsuit. While most of them are variations of black and grey, there are a few versions that have a pop of color as well.
While this Synchro Plus suit is available with either a back or a chest zipper option, we are reviewing the chest zipper option today. The zipper is a #8 PK zipper. This ensures a waterproof seal at the chest.
- Material and Outfittings
This is a very lightweight and durable suit. The material is 30% hyper-stretch II neoprene and 70% Freemax super stretch. What does that mean for you? It means that it’s very, very stretchy! It’s easy to get a snug yet comfortable fit with a good range of motion when using this suit.
This suit also has a thermal panel for wind and water protection. More than that, it also has a thermal lining, which can help to trap body heat so that you stay warmer while surfing.
The seams on this suit are GBS (triple-glued and blind-stitched for extra waterproofness) and LFS (sealed with a liquid flex seal to make things more comfortable while preventing leaks at the same time). Having both of these seam technologies applied in one suit results in a great seal.
- Water Temperature
This suit is made to be used in temperatures starting from the upper 50 degrees Fahrenheit range, but your personal sensitivity to the cold will determine if you can use it at lower temperatures as well or not.
What We Think About It
Now, it’s time for our review of the Synchro Plus wetsuit from Quiksilver! Ultimately, we’ve found this wetsuit to be a great choice because it is both comfortable and stretchy. This is especially helpful for those surfing on the east coast.
If you need a cold water suit that is a good value, you don’t need to look much further. The neoprene on this particular suit is incredibly stretchy, so you’ll have a great range of motion. Even while paddling out, you won’t find your arms to be restricted while wearing this full-body suit.
Plus, the panels on the front and back of this suit help to ensure that you are warm while wearing it, and that is one of the essential parts of getting a good cold water wetsuit that can be used in the fall and spring before the water warms up.
- Great fit options available
- Warm yet lightweight
- Warmth at an economical price
- Great flexibility
- Lots of flushing at the neck while duck diving
- Need to learn how to use chest zip
- Some leaky areas around the zipper
Body Glove Men's Pro 3 Full Wetsuit
Finally, let’s look at our last wetsuit, the Body Glove Men's Pro 3 Full Wetsuit. Body Glove is not nearly as well known as the other wetsuit brands that we have introduced today. Does that mean their economical wetsuit isn’t going to be as well-outfitted? Let’s find out.
Below are the features that you will get to enjoy if you buy this wetsuit for yourself:
- Sizing Options
There are only five different sizes available from this manufacturer:
- Extra large
While these options are limited, the fit should be very snug. What’s more, the material is stretchy, so it is still possible that you can get the right fit.
- Bonus Features
This wetsuit is outfitted with a key pocket, knee pads, a high-quality zipper, and Velcro around the neck enclosure. All of these features help to ensure that you have the best experience that you can possibly have in the water without interference from your wetsuit.
While the Velcro neck closure helps to prevent some of the flushings that can occur with this suit, the risk of flushing is not entirely erased.
If you are duck diving, you can definitely expect some water to seep in through the neck area no matter how tight you make it. There is, however, glide skin material around the neck to help to create a bit of a seal in this area.
- Material and Thickness
The shoulders and arms of this wetsuit are made from Quadra Flex neoprene. This neoprene allows for a very high degree of motion, so your flexibility won’t be affected by the wetsuit.
The Quadra Flex stretches very far, so you don’t have to worry about how far you stretch it when you are getting into the suit.
Overall, this is a 3/2mm neoprene combination around the body, so you can expect a very tight yet lightweight fit from the suit. Both the chest and the back have what are known as fairskin panels, which help to keep the wind out while keeping the warmth in.
The seams on this suit are known as flatlock stitching seams. While they are put on anatomical angles, flatlock stitches are not as comfortable, waterproof, or durable as other stitch types. Because they leave some space between the stitches, water can get in.
For that reason, this wetsuit is better for summer surfing, but it’s still a great performance option for those who need to have a lot of flexibility from their suits.
What We Think About It
Overall, we found that the Pro 3 wetsuit from Body Glove is a great economical choice for those who are looking to add another wetsuit to their beginner collection or for those who have never had a single wetsuit before. Despite not being as well known, Body Glove has been around since the ‘60s and makes well-priced entry-level wetsuits.
While the flatlock stitching isn’t the ideal choice for cold water surfing, the stitching is still done well and manages to keep most of the water out for a time. The flatlock is also good for preventing overheating and rashes, so having it if you plan to use this suit in warmer waters is not a bad idea.
The neoprene and material panels themselves do a great job of keeping you warm throughout your day on the water, so the stitching isn’t as important as long as you are mindful of how your body is feeling. Water and wind will not get into your core, so you’ll be kept a lot warmer than you would in something without these added panels.
However, we have to mention that durability on this suit is not great. While its an affordable suit in a pinch, the flatlock stitching is revealed on the outside of the suit, so it is relatively easy for it to get snagged or ripped while surfing.
- Easy to get on and off
- Great stretch fit due to 100% stretch construction
- Very good range of motion in the arms
- Flatlock stitching not very durable
- Quality control issue with the size of openings
- Lots of logos
What’s the Best Surfing Wetsuit?
There you have it! Those are the best surfing wetsuits that we think would be perfect for you and your adventures. Did any of them stand out to you as the best wetsuit for your current needs?
You probably noticed that most of the suits that were covered today were of a similar thickness and body coverage. That is because, for most people, this will be the right choice when surfing. While there are conditions where you will want more or less coverage, a full coverage body wetsuit like those mentioned above are the most common type used by surfers.
Still, you aren’t limited to just these types. If none of these stand out to you as the right one, then keep looking! After all, you should never settle on something as important as your equipment.
That being said, you might still be having a hard time choosing which of these wetsuits is right for you. In our opinion, there is a winner and a runner-up.
The Best of the Best
Our first choice for the best surfing wetsuit has to be the O'Neill Men's Heat Full Wetsuit. Why? The way that the seams and added insulation pads on this wetsuit seal in heat really sealed the deal for us!
When using this suit, you’ll be able to feel warm in a big range of temperature waters, and the risks of the seams leaking are incredibly low. Finally, the neoprene feels soft and buttery on your body while still creating a smooth seal around every area that is at risk for leaking. This leaves you with a great, comfortable fit.
If you didn’t love the O’Neill wetsuit, we believe that you might find the Billabong Men's Foil Full Wetsuit to be the next best option. While this suit isn’t as thick or as resistant to cold temperatures as the O’Neill suit, it still has its own standout features.
In particular, the way that this suit is very lightweight and gives you a huge amount of flexibility is something to consider. Most surfers want to ensure that they do not limit their range of motion in any way, and this back zip suit will not prevent you from doing anything that you could do outside of the wetsuit!