Wetsuits are an indispensable piece of equipment for any surfer. By trapping a layer of warm water close to your skin, neoprene (often combined with wool or polyester liners) is extremely effective at keeping you comfy. Wetsuits have come a long way in recent years. For a long time, the only thing that distinguished wetsuits from each other was the seams. Water tight seams mean less cold water entering the suit while you wait for the next set, or duck dive waves trying to get outside. Eventually blind-stitched, taped, and glued seams became standard issue on quality suit.
Once the leaky seam problem had been addressed, manufacturers started looking at the next weakest link: zippers. Many methods have been used to reduce the amount of water exchange through the zipper. For back-zip suits, some companies tried using barriers beneath the zipper, while others eliminated the zipper altogether. Early zipperless wetsuits were a chore to take off and on, not to mention claustrophobic. Recently, the front-zip wetsuit has become quite popular, creating the perfect combo of being easy to put on, while stopping water penetration almost entirely. Today’s suits are outstanding.
By design, they are inevitably bad for the environment yet mandatory for surfers in cold climates. Standard neoprene is an oil-based material, and we all know what kind of relationship oil tankers have with the ocean. Limestone materials reduce the amount of oil needed for production, meaning a more eco-friendly wetsuit. Patagonia and Matuse also use linings made of merino wool and hydrasilk, which provide even more warmth. By using these methods of insulation instead of just going thicker, they allow you to surf in a thinner suit while staying just as warm. Thinner suits are more flexible and require less material, meaning less environmental impact. It’s a win-win.
For those warm days a wetsuit top may be all that’s necessary, allowing freedom of movement, but still providing warmth. Matuse makes a Chapter 1 long sleeve 2mm top for men, as well as a 2mm women’s top, all of which feature their hydrophobic lining. Another option for men is the Patagonia R1 2mm wetsuit top, which is reversible! If no insulation is needed, and sun is your concern, the Patagonia hooded rashguard is highly regarded for its sun blocking capabilities. When the water is cool, a spring wetsuit is the perfect choice. Men can chose between the Matuse 2mm Hoplite short sleeve and the Patagonia 2mm R2 short sleeve. Women’s spring suits tend to favor the short leg / long arm combo, and the Matuse 2mm Artemis excels in this department.
When this year’s winter swell rolls in, a good full suit is required. Patagonia and Matuse both make outstanding suits in various thicknesses. Whether you need a men’s 2mm Matuse or a toasty R2, we’ve got it and are ready to ship for free. Did you say warmer? Try the merino-wool lined Patagonia R3, or Matuse’s 4mm Tumo. The women’s Matuse’s Artemis 4mm full suit leaves the ladies just as stoked as the boys. Comfort and warmth have finally collided.
If you are having trouble finding the right size, we have put together a nice guide to help you find out how to choose the right size. Also, once you have your new suit, it is important that you take proper care of it. Check out our new Tips and Tricks guide for some pointers!
If it’s seriously cold, you’re going to be sporting booties. When looking for the best surf booties, look no further. According to surf bootie reviews, Patagonia’s R3 booties are the pinnacle of booties; they are easy to get on, warm, and responsive. It’s like barefoot, only warmer. When you get out of the water, slip on a pair of cozy Sanuk Shoes to give your feet a break!