It may be in the middle of summer right now for the northern hemisphere. however, we all know how time flies when you are having fun and before you know it it will be winter and chilly waters again. Also the bottom half of the world is in the midst of the winter. Now's the time to start thinking about getting a sweet new wetsuit because now is when you get all the sweet deals. If you are new to buying your first suit below are some awesome pointer for doing just that and also which wetsuits we recommend. Written by rider and age group world champ Dylan biggerstaffon his favorite things to look for when choosing a good wetsuit
For those of us who enjoy the ocean but have to endure some seasons with cold ocean water, the wetsuit is a must have to stay warm and comfortable! As bodysurfers, there are some key things that need to be considered when choosing a wetsuit. Bodysurfing requires movement of almost every part of the body and the more flexible and range of motion you have the better. There are tons of wetsuits and brands to choose from, hopefully after reading this you will be ready to go get your own.
The first and most important thing to consider is comfort and flexibility when in the wetsuit. We don’t think about it a lot but torqueing and maneuvering ourselves even the slightest bit when bodysurfing can make a huge difference good and bad. The most comfortable wetsuit with the most range of motion is in my opinion the Rip Curl Flash Bomb 3/2 zipless wetsuit. Not only is this wetsuit super flexible, it is equally warm because of Rip Curl’s fleece inner lining. However, the $400 price tag may not be justified for some as there are cheaper options out there. But in the world of wetsuits, you get what you pay for.
Secondly, durability is going to be a major factor considering how much bodysurfers get slammed onto sand or reef and generally beat up. I have had the most trouble with the armpit seams breaking because of stretching out my front arm to plane. Make sure to get a wetsuit with great seams and/or a good warranty. Here, Rip Curl and Vissla tie because of their internal taped seams. However, Rip Curl does tape every single seam while Vissla only tapes a few. As mentioned before though, check for the most durability in the armpit seams as these will get stretched out the most while bodysurfing.
Lastly, comfort and glide around the neck area should definitely be considered. With our heads on a swivel, neck rashes can be gotten super easily and quickly, not to mention that they can ruin your bodysurf session. Therefore, pick a wetsuit that has a nice comfortable neck area with smooth lining. Most wetsuits have this as brands have noticed this problem as widespread. Once again, I’m going to have to go with Rip Curl here for the most comfy and slick neck areas. This will definitely be a long term issue as the starts of a neck rash will probably not be noticed the first couple sessions. I have noticed that having some Vaseline/petroleum jelly with you can almost completely prevent the issue of a neck rash.
To conclude, there are a lot of wetsuit options out there but only a few that I find great and even excellent for bodysurfers. The best option in my opinion is one from the Rip Curl flash bomb series with fleece lining as it provides warmth, comfort, and excellent craftsmanship. Vissla’s 7-Seas series wetsuits are close behind with their fleece lining and superb build quality. Honorable mentions come from O’Neill, Quicksilver, and Xcel. As always, researching and doing your homework will always pay off, especially when it comes to one of the most needed things in a surfer’s car, the wetsuit.