Choose the right neoprene wetsuit for water sports with Hawaii Surf, surf specialist since 1976!
Do you crave the ocean, getting up on a wave, feeling new sensations by letting yourself be carried away by series of waves or simply swimming in the sea while being protected by a wetsuit that completely covers your body? Hawaii Surf, a specialist in water sports such as Surfing, Bodyboarding and any other board water sport, offers you a guide to help you choose the most useful surfing suit according to your needs.
A bit of history, who invented the neoprene wetsuit?
If you read a bit of news from the surfing or bodyboarding industry, you have surely already seen the O'neill brand worn by many practitioners on several occasions. It is quite simply the late Jake O'neill, creator of the brand that bears his name but also of the first neoprene wetsuit in 1952, offering a mixture of elastic rubber based on polychloroprene. The concept of the neoprene wetsuit is based on wearing a thin garment that covers the whole body that retains a layer of water in order to keep you warm and thus be able to spend hours braving the waves and having the most fun. .
Layers in wetsuits
There are actually more types of suits, in terms of their thicknesses in order to use them according to the water temperature and weather conditions. Once in the water, if the cold takes over, you will be paralyzed and you will not be able to enjoy your session, so it is important to choose the right thickness as well as the most appropriate size in CM, and thus guarantee you as tight a suit as possible.
You can find our complete article by clicking on this link, or we detail the thicknesses of the wetsuit.
Back Zip, Front Zip, Zip-free what to choose?
You have surely noticed the initials "B/ZF/ZC/Z" hidden behind the name of the combination. This gives you an indication of the type of closure the wetsuit has. These differences give an indication of the range in terms of performance that the suit falls into, but also the ability not to allow water to accumulate inside the suit.
Back Zip wetsuits (B/Z)
They are the most basic, often associated with entry-level models, the closure to keep you in the suit is done from the back. Quicker to put on and take off after your session, this type of closure minimizes water entry to around 70%. This back closure offers a classic entry, with a closure that spans the entire back and is adjusted using a cord sewn on the closure. The new generations of neoprene wetsuits with Back Zip closure have a kind of "batwing", an additional neoprene panel giving more comfort at the seam and zip, while reinforcing the seal.
Front Zip or Chest Zip wetsuits (F/ZC/Z)
They are currently the most common in the wetsuit market, they induce a closure of your wetsuit from the front, with a diagonal zipper on the torso, minimizing water entry by more than 90%. You put on the suit from the front through the opening located at the neck and you close the closure with the zipper on the front
Zip Free neoprene wetsuits
It's the highest performing type of closure, exclusive to high-end wetsuits like the Rip Curl E-Bomb worn by brand icon, Mike Fanning. This type of suit is put on from the front like those with a Front Zip closure, except that the absence of a zipper guarantees you 100% waterproofness, enough to stay dry even longer in a top-of-the-range hyper-elastic neoprene .
Here are the three types of closure currently on the wetsuit market. It's up to you to choose your favorite system, having, as far as possible, done a donning test in our Parisian surf shop, while judging the usefulness of the closure according to your budget but also your frequency of practice. There are no restrictions on oar movements, apart from minimizing water entry, the closing systems are all perfectly designed for perfect swimming.
How can I be sure of the size of my wetsuit when shopping?
In addition to the size guides by brand that you find by clicking on this link, the combinations must be chosen like your everyday clothes or technical in other sports activities. If you opt for a wetsuit that is too small, it will quickly compress your torso, shoulders and thighs: From experience, neoprene being a fiber-based material, when you pull on it you have the impression that it " whitens”, like little dots that sparkle. If looking at yourself in a mirror you have the vision of this fabric which whitens on the shoulders in particular, it is that your wetsuit is too small. Conversely, a wetsuit that is too big is easy to recognize because of the "folds" visible under the armpits, knees or even on the belly.
A suit must therefore be snug, without creases and you must be able to perform movements without feeling pressure.
Wetsuit sizes range from S to XXL for men and from 4 to 12 for women. You may notice that depending on the brands there is sometimes an "S" or "T" letter located behind the main size. This letter addition corresponds roughly to half sizes for specific person sizes.
The letter "S" corresponds to the abbreviation of "SMALL" (small) ideal for practitioners who have a built, stocky type build. You can find MS, LS or XLS sizes in the market.
The letter "T" stands for "TALL" (tall) ideal for people with a rather thin and slender build. You can therefore find the sizes ST, MT, LT on the wetsuit market depending on the brand.
For women, the system is identical, with the sizes 6S, 6T, 8S, 8T, 10S & 10T depending on the brand and model.
In conclusion, there are no precise rules for choosing your wetsuit, other than respecting the ideal size for practicing with ease of movement, whether for surfing, bodyboarding or other water sports. The quality of the suits varies according to the models, thus increasing the longevity or the performance. An entry-level wetsuit will tend to wear out less quickly than a top-of-the-range one, however the latter will have a smoother swim and optimum comfort.
Here are some examples of our best-selling men's and women's wetsuits by brand, all seasons combined, which are available in 3/2, 4/3 or even 5/4 thickness!