We provide a wide range of wetsuits covering all bases. This includes the cheaper entry-level wetsuit range, the excellent valued mid-range wetsuits, and also the top of the range premium wetsuits with all the latest technologies and features.
Deciding which wetsuit to buy can be a difficult choice at first, but our wetsuit buyers guide should help you decide which wetsuit is best suited (pun intended) for you. We value flexibility, warmth, strength and quality in the wetsuits we offer and have been providing surfers with wetsuits for over 30 years so you can be sure your in safe hands.
BUYING A WETSUIT
Okay so you’ve finally decided that you want to buy a new wetsuit, but with so many brands, snazzy features and different sizes to choose from, which one should you buy? Here is our top 8 tips that should help you choose your next wetsuit.
1 - NEEDS
Yeah it sounds corny but why do you need a new wetsuit? Are you a super keen surfer who literally lives in the sea and will spend approx 9.5 hours in when the surf is on? Are you going overseas where the water temperature is warmer? Or do you only get away to the coast for a couple of times a year? Wetsuits generally fall into three categories; entry level, mid-range and high end. Buy a wetsuit that reflects your needs.
2 - PRICE
Only spend what you can afford.
The higher the price, the more features and better overall wetsuit you get. You can get a entry level wetsuit for under £100. These serve a purpose, most come with solid construction quality that have been proven throughout the years. Buy this type if you don’t go in the sea that much, or you’re saving up-to go on a boys trip to the Algarve.
Mid-range (£100 - £250) wetsuits are the best sellers as you get a fantastic range of features for good value for money. The Rip Curl Dawn Patrol, O’Neill Superfreak and Xcel Infiniti models are wetsuits you should consider here. Buy this
If you can afford a high-end wetsuit, buy one. They really are worth it. Although it is painful parting with over £300 for a top line wetsuit, the neoprene quality, seam welding techniques, and overall fit will give you that extra little skip in your step when walking down to the waters edge.
3 - BACK ZIP/FRONT ZIP/ NO ZIP?
Traditionally, back zips were the chosen format for how you entered your wetsuit. These zips ran the length of your back and were attached to a cord string which allowed you do the zip up. These wetsuits are super easy to get in and out of and are usually amongst the cheapest wetsuits on the market.
Chest zip wetsuits are now the most popular type of wetsuits available. They involve entering through the top of the wetsuit, pulling a flap over your neck, and the fastening the zip located on the chest panel to secure the fit. Not only does a chest zip wetsuit feel comfier as you don't have a zip running down the length of your back, but it is more flexible because the zip across the chest is much shorter in length.
Yep. Wetsuits now come with no zips. Its design is similar to a chest zip wetsuit as you enter the wetsuit through the top, pull the flap over your neck, but this time there is no zip to fasten, simply just tighten a cord. This type of construction creates easy entry and exit whilst reducing weight and bulk. These suits are believed to be the most comfortable and flexible on the market as there is no zip to restrict movement.
If you are lucky enough to live in the UK, you are going to need a wetsuit at some point especially during those cold, frosty winter months!
Average sea temperatures in the UK can range from as high as 15-20C in the summer and 6-10C in the winter depending on location. Generally, wetsuits come with a mix of two neoprene thicknesses. 3/2, 4/3 and 5/3 wetsuits are the most common suits sold and these numbers refer to neoprene thickness.
A 3/2 wetsuit would mean that the main torso of the body being covered by 3mm of neoprene (to ensure your core is kept warm), and 2mm in the areas such as the arms and knees (anywhere which requires greater movement). The same principle can be applied to 4/3 and 5/3 wetsuits.
The principle is simple. 3/2 is good for summer. 4/3 can get you from Spring to Autumn. 5/3 is a must for winter. Obviously there are exceptions and if you ‘feel the cold’ you might want to get a thicker wetsuit but in our experience a properly fitted wetsuit with glue and blind stitched seams can hugely help you retain body heat and therefore increase your time in the water.
5 - FEATURES
Everyone likes extra features right?
Whether its Rip Curl’s Flash Lining designed to keep you super warm but also dry much quicker than your average suit, or Xcel’s Ultrastretch neoprene which is more comfier and stretchier than all your previous wetsuits put together. Be sure to investigate the technology behind your wetsuit in order to understand how far wetsuit development in the 21st century really has come!
6 - STITCHING
The way in which a wetsuit is stitched or glued to together is arguably the most important aspect of wetsuit construction.
The panels that make up a wetsuit are fastened together by stitching along the seams. This is done in a way that maximises flexibility and encourages movement of the arms as to not restrict your paddle ability. If you buy a cheap wetsuit from a supermarket, except water to flood through the seams, your wetsuit to rub from the poor seam stitching, and you to be rapidly looking into buying a new suit.
With the wetsuits that we provide, they consist of either flatlock stitched or glued and blind-stitched (GBS).
This is where the stitching involves laying the neoprene panels over each other, then stitching the neoprene together. This provides the wetsuit seams with strength. However, it is often said that this type of stitching is subject to high water penetration and is less comfortable than a GBS stitched wetsuits. This type of stitching is often found in wetsuits at the cheaper end of the market.
This is now the most common method of wetsuit stitching. It is where the neoprene is joined together with glue then stitched on the inside, the needle does not pass straight through the material resulting in a comfier and more water tight wetsuit. This type of stitching is most common amongst winter wetsuits and are often slightly more expensive than wetsuits that have flatlock stitching.
7 - SEAMS
Taped or glued seams will not only give you a comfier feeling when your wetsuit is on, but it will crucially minimise water entry into your wetsuit.
The most common form of seam construction on the wetsuit market. Wetsuit panels are glued together prior to stitching which increases the strength of the seam and reduces a water entry.
Spot Taped Seams
Small 2p size pieces of tape are glued in critical areas of the wetsuit to improve strength and durability.
Fully Taped Seams
Tape is glued to the inside of every seam.
Liquid Taped Seams
The ultimate seam seal. A special liquid rubber is applied to the inside seam which makes it 100% waterproof.
8 - SIZESIZESIZE
Last but by no means least, GET THE CORRECT SIZE.
A poorly fitted wetsuit will not only cost you twice as much, but it will fail to perform to its most important function of keeping you warm and in the water for longer. And you know what the best way is to try get the correct size is? Try them on. Although the wetsuit size charts from the manufacturers do massively help and are 90% right, we are all different shapes and sizes and if you are unsure on your size there really is no better way to find your fit than trying one on.
So there you go. Our top 8 tips to help you buying a wetsuit. Be sure to check out our online wetsuit size guide to help you get right fit if your shopping online or just drop in and see us in person. Support your local surf shop and help us compete with the big online boys!
Also, remember that we price match so please support your local surf shop, we hugely appreciate your custom. Send us an email with the link to the product and we will match it on a like for like basis.