We're about to break down the absolute best wetsuits for surfing in 2023.
We've scoured the market (so you don't have to), to find the warmest, most flexible, durable, and best value wetsuits for sale worldwide - packaged, and delivered to you in this guide.
So if you're on the hunt for a new wettie, you're in for a treat...
BUT FIRST, SETTING THE CRITERIA
Surfers need wetsuits for more than just warmth, that's why we'll be judging each wetsuit in this list against the following:
Our mission is to find the best surfing wetsuit possible, and for that, they'll need to excel across all four criteria - and they'll need to be available for both men and women.
The best, most flexible, most durable wetsuits - at the best price possible.
A BEGINNERS GUIDE TO WETSUIT CONSTRUCTION, & WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR
If you're a beginner and you're unsure what all the technical jargon means, and you don't have a clue what to look for, don't worry, we're here to help.
At rapid pace we're going to breakdown the technical terms for you, and enlighten you as to what to look out for.
Without further ado, lets dig in:
The seams of a wetsuit are what binds the different parts of the wetsuit together. Much like if you were stitching together a jumper - wetsuits too consist of multiple panels that must be stitched together also.
But not all stitching and seaming methods are created equal, far from it (more on that in a minute).
Here's a breakdown of the most common types of seams and what to expect:
FLAT LOCK SEAMS
Flat lock seams are the cheapest, simplest seams you can get.
They're constructed by placing two pieces of neoprene side-by-side, and sewing the raw edges directly together.
WARMTH RATING: 1/10
GLUED, & BLIND-STITCHED SEAMS (GBS)
GBS seams help prevent water from penetrating your wetsuit.
They're made by first gluing the neoprene panels together, then blind stitching from one or both sides.
Blind stitching is a process whereby the needle doesn't penetrate the wetsuit material the whole way through, stopping any water from penetrating.
WARMTH RATING: 5/10
Taped seams usually sit on top of already glued and blind stitched seams to further prevent water leaking through.
The tape adds lots of extra insulation, plus protects against any pin holes that can occur during the construction stages.
WARMTH RATING: 8/10
Liquid seams cover the stitching panels with a layer of rubber for flexibility and a complete barrier to any water leaking through.
They're incredible when new, but do deteriorate rapidly.
WARMTH RATING 9/10
This one's pretty self explanatory. It's purely the thickness of the wetsuit that you're about to buy.
In surfing we measure this in millimetres.
Typically, you'll have two different thicknesses of neoprene (this is the material that wetsuits are made up of) for different areas of the body.
For example you'll have increased thickness over your chest and back for extra warmth of your vital organs, and reduced thickness over your arms and legs for flexibility.
Here's a breakdown of wetsuit thickness as a guide:
8ºC - 10ºC
10ºC - 12ºC
12ºC - 14ºC
14ºC - 16ºC
ZIPS: BACK ZIP VS FRONT ZIP VS ZIPPERLESS
Front zip, back zip, or no zip at all?
There's a few to choose from so lets take a closer look at each:
The old back zip has been around since the very beginning, but things have changed a little since then.
Sure they work well enough, and they get the job done, but there are better options out there.
You'll find back zips on most budget/low end wetsuits on the market.
These have been in vogue now for the past five years or so and there's a good reason why.
They're hard wearing, robust, they stop a huge amount of flush, and...
...they fricken look good too right?
The go to choice for the core surfer for sure.
Yup, it's now possible to get wetsuits with no zips at all. Sure, it takes a little wiggling to get in, but once in, they offer heaps of flexibility and freedom.
They're not the most durable however, or the best at minimising flush.
Great for a summer wetsuit, or a shorty. Not so great for a winter wetsuit.
All wetsuits are made with neoprene, the material of choice for a number of years.
However there are a number of variations and additions as new technology comes to market with ever more insulation, alongside increased flexibility.
Lookout for things like:
BEST WETSUITS FOR SURFING 2023
OK, we've scoured far and wide to give you this comprehensive list of the best wetsuits for surfers on the market right now.
1. FERAL 3MM2
Feral is not a particularly well known brand, but they make damn good wetsuits.
Made with 100% Yamamoto Japanese neoprene they're naturally warmer, lighter and more durable.
Steering away from gimmicky design, and in-your-face branding, these wetsuits are built for performance surfing above all else.
As these suits are exclusively for sale online, they're also able to sell them without the crazy markup seen in shops - so as far as value goes they're off the chart.
Minimal design, super high quality, at an affordable price.
2. ONEIL HYPERFREAK FIRE
With O'neill born in the frigid waters of Northern California, you can always count on their wetsuits to value warmth over everything else.
But the Hyperfreak Fire steps things up a notch with insane flexibility too.
Built with Technobutter 4 Firewall technology, utilising recycled graphene fibres to create a thermal inner layer for insulation.
As the body heats up the graphene fibres, the heat is conducted back into the body, so expect a super warm wetsuit here.
3. RIP CURL HEAT-SEAKER
The Heatseaker E7 is the top of the range Rip Curl wetsuit, and it incorporates all of their ver best innovations.
The inside is lined with E7 Flash lining throughout - from head to toe - combined with the Version 2 Flex Energy lining that produces heat as it's stretched.
So effectively as you paddle and stretch the material, it generates heat that can be passed back to the body.
This is Rip Curls warmest, most flexible surfing wetsuit on the market.
4. BILLABONG FURNACE
Billabong have gone nuts on the seams with this wetsuit.
They've included full 100% externally welded seams, in conjuction with 100% internal Superflex neo-taped seams too.
The best seams on the market right now.
Couple that with Graphene infused, 100% recycled micro fibre lining, and you're in for a damn fine wetsuit of the highest quality.
5. BUELL RB1 ACCELERATOR
This is a suit that maybe doesn't have all the flash, super advanced wetsuit technologies going on, but it's a damn good wetsuit, at a great price point.
Triple glued and blind stitched seams, alongside Ultra-flex external lining, with Ultraspan flex-fabric material inners - this wetsuit is warm, and very flexible.
A great wetsuit, at a great pricepoint.
6. XCEL DRYLOCK X
It's safe to say that XCEL have gone ham incorporating all their best tech, in the one wetsuit.
With dry-locked wrist seals, Fusion X taped seams throughout, Channel Flex tech in the upper body, and a 100% waterproof zip system.
This wetsuit has it all, and will handle cold water better than anything else on the market.
It does come with a hefty price tag though, but if warmth and performance are your bag, this is the suit for you.
WRAPPING IT UP
Well, that's a wrap I guess.
We looked long and hard to find the best surfing wetsuits on the market right now - so you don't have to.
So, all that's left is to get suited, and go hit the surf.
You got this
Rowan is the nerd behind the scenes. But when he's not knee-deep in code, you'll find him immersed in the crypto-world or sending it at his local beachie.