A wetsuit is among the essential accessories that you will need if you want to surf in a cold or even temperate climate.
Getting your first wetsuit for surfing is one of the most fun and special moments for beginners as it means that you are starting to take surfing seriously.
However, it can be confusing and taxing, usually because you do not know the type that will be a good fit for you.
This is why the best way to buy your first wetsuit is from a local surf store in person. You will then get expert advice on buying it and the fit, as well as an instant feel for how the wetsuit is on your body. You can also compare different brands to see which work best for you.
To help you along in the wetsuit buying process, some further tips are stated below.
Why you should not buy a wetsuit online?
One of the main reasons you should not buy your wetsuit online is that you do not know how good of a fit it is going to be. A wetsuit is a crucial part of your surfing experience in cold water, and you need to know that it will suit your body’s shape perfectly.
Since there is a wide range of wetsuit brands out there with different cut and style, you need to ensure that the one you get fits you like a glove.
It will also be very frustrating if it does not fit well and may even discourage you from surfing the cold water, or you will need to get another wetsuit.
I know this from experience as, the one time I bought a wetsuit online from a new brand, I got the wrong size; I went too large and the wetsuit always felt a little loose and not that warm on me, which was frustrating and not great!
Benefits of buying your first wetsuit at your local surf store
Not only will you be supporting local business if you buy your wetsuit from your local store, but you will also get advice from experienced surfers on the best wetsuit choice for you.
This kind of input is extremely valuable and, for something so personal, goes above and beyond what you can expect from any online wetsuit purchase the first time you are buying.
From the local surf store, you will also get the chance to try out the wetsuit to see if it is a perfect fit.
There is also the chance to properly compare and contrast the different prices between the various brands and models and choose the right one based on your budget.
Steps for Buying a Wetsuit from a Local Surf Store in Person
- Before you head to the store, set a budget and research the price range of wetsuit.
- Head to a reputable surf shop that stocks a good selection of wetsuits based on reviews by surfers.
- Tell the assistant what you are looking for and work together to choose three suits that suit your budget from different brands.
- Check and compare for the neoprene thickness and fit of each suit.
- Check other aspects of the suit like the seams as well as the warranty.
- Ask the retailer for the feedback on each suit as they see you wearing it
- For example, it might look tight in certain points and loose in others; they should be able to tell you more about this.
- Try on a variety of suits to see which fit you best. Again, ask the sales assistant for his or her opinion.
- Try to stretch in each suit to ensure they are not restrictive.
- Look at the ends of each sleeve and the neck; are they tight enough to keep you warm but not so tight that it is uncomfortable.
One last point to remember here is that, after you have bought your first wetsuit, you can always go back to that brand when you want to buy another.
However, if is not as good as you thought, you can then change it which would still be best done by visiting the stores again.
The detailed points of using a wetsuit are things you are just never going to know until you try, so don’t beat yourself up here if you get it slightly wrong first time, either.
Have to Buy Your First Wetsuit Online? Follow these Tips
You might have to buy your wetsuit online if there is no local surf shop in your area.
Before you do, make sure there is a good return policy or you risk wasting a lot of money and time!
Note: there are many websites out there that will give you links to a wetsuit, best wetsuit, etc. Remember that they are doing it for an affiliate commission, so they are often choosing the wetsuits that are available on sites like Amazon when there are other, better brands out there.
Since many websites do not take a ‘whole market’ approach, be careful before following their advice.
To be straight up with you, this site, Surf Learner, does also generate affiliate commissions but we will always make it clear to you when this is the case, so that you can make an informed decision.
Tips for Buying Your First Wetsuit Online
- Before you buy your wetsuit online, try to do some homework by reading and watching lots of online wetsuits reviews before you even start the buying process.
- Make sure that you measure yourself well in the right areas (waist, chest and height).
- Shortlist three wetsuits of the same size from different brands.
- Check and compare for the neoprene thickness and distribution of each suit.
- Check things like the warranty.
- Check the reviews of each suit.
- Order for the wetsuit that you think will fit you.
- Once you receive your wetsuit, try the suits on to determine if it fits you.
- Try to stretch in each suit to ensure they are not restrictive and ensure it keeps you warm.
- Determine if you like the entry mechanism
- If it does not fit, return the wetsuit using the return policy terms.
Not Sure About Sizing Your Wetsuit?
If you are in a sticky situation where there are no local stores where you live and you are in-between the size guides on a wetsuit website, you might want to look again and get a custom wetsuit.
You should be able to find a brand that offers custom wetsuits and you can follow their instructions as each will be slightly different.
All you have to do is contact them to order a wetsuit that should fit you perfectly.
However, you will need to measure up well since they will be taking all of their cuts from the information you provide. Get it wrong here and your wetsuit could end up looking like a balloon when you get it in the water!
Why are surfing wetsuits black? Most surfing wetsuits are black because of warmth, cost and aesthetics. Warmth because black fabrics absorb more UV rays from the sun, keeping you warmer. Cost because it dying neoprene to other colors is expensive and aesthetics because black wetsuits hide marks.
For this last point, if you think about lying down on your wetsuit on surf wax, this quickly transfers to your suit and, if your wetsuit were white, would instantly look stained and dirty. However, a black suit does not show these stains and therefore keeps its appearance better than brightly colored suits.
That said, you can get wetsuits in just about every color possible but black is definitely the most practical option.