Why do I need a wetsuit?
You're body's freezing cold, but you want to take another set behind the boat. We've all been there and it doesn't have to be that way anymore. Wetsuits and drysuits are the perfect way to extend your season when the temperatures start to drop and everyone else puts their boat away for the season. Veteran boarders know this is the best time of the year to ride because the water is glass and you don't have to worry about waiting in line at the boat ramp.
We've put together a quick guide to help you decide on what wetsuit will work best for your riding style and water temperatures. Feel free to contact us at email@example.com or (888) 338-6085 if you have any questions about choosing the right wetsuit.
How do wetsuits work?
Wetsuits are designed to keep you warm by trapping a small layer of water between your body and the wetsuits neoprene material. This thin layer of water is heated up by your body temperature and in turn it keeps you warm when you are wakeboarding or wakesurfing. We recommend using a wetsuit in 55+ degree water and a drysuit for 54 degrees and below. If you want more information about drysuits here is a link to our drysuit buyer's guide.
Now that you know how a wetsuit works you can see why it's important to have a wetsuit that fits snug to your skin. If it's too loose you end up defeating the purpose because the excess water in the suit will make it cold. If your suit is too tight it can cut off circulation to your extremities and it can be very uncomfortable.
Wetsuit Temperature Guide
In addition to water temperatures, outside temperatures, wind and your activity level will factor into what thickness wetsuit you will want. If you're doing an activity without a lot of movement or you get cold easily we recommend choosing a warmer wetsuit.
Water Temperature Wetsuit Chart
Genrally, the thicker the wetsuit the warmer it is, but the quality of the neoprene material and the type of seal will also play a factor in the wetsuits warmth. New technology like O'Neill's FuzeFlex Firewall and TechnoButter have made wetsuits warmer and more comfortable than ever before.
The wetsuits we carry for wakeboarding and wakesurfing are 4/3, 3/2 and 2/1. The larger number stands for the thickness in the body, for example 4mm and the smaller number is for the extremities (arms & leg panels). The reason for the difference in wetsuit thickness is that you need more movement in your arms and legs so the material is thinner and more stretchy. New wetsuit technology have made thick suits like a 4/3 more flexible than an older 3/2.
Choosing your wetsuit size
When you are buying a wetsuit online it's important to look at the sizing charts and find out which size will work best for you. O'Neill wetsuits fit true to size, so make sure you get an accurate measurement. Your wetsuit should fit like a second skin and there shouldn't be any excess room in the legs, arms, or chest area. A wetsuit should also fit snuggly around your neck so there isn't any room for water to seep in.
O'Neill Men's Wetsuit Size Chart
For Men, you want to measure your height, and around your waist and chest.
O'Neill Women's Wetsuit Sizing Chart
Women will want to measure their height, chest and hips.
*If you find yourself in between sizes, go up.
How should my wetsuit fit
The fit of a wetsuit is extremely important. A wetsuit that's too big for you will allow too much water in and your body won't be able to warm it up sufficiently. A wetsuit that's too small will be uncomfortable for you to wear and take away from your fun. A 5/4 wetsuit that doesn't fit well will be colder than a 3/2 that fits your body type perfectly. Wetsuit manufacturers make short and tall model suits for people with shorter or longer than average limbs, if you feel like you fall in that category it's best to try one of these options first.
Wetsuit Seals And Zipper options
Seam construction plays a large role in how warm the wetsuit will be. Users in colder water temperatures will want to pay more attention to the type of suit they get and we recommend going with a sealed seams for water below 62.
Flatlock stitching- Flatlock stitching involves laying one neoprene panel edge over the other and then stitching them together. Because this creates a lot of small holes it's recommended for water over 60 degrees. The stitching holes will allow some water making it a better option for Spring/Summer suits.
Glued and blind stitched- Glued and blind stitched wetsuits are the next step up from flatlock seams. These suits are glued and then stitched leaving almost no room for water to come through. They are recommended for water temperatures over 55 degrees.
Glued blind stitched and 100% taped- These suits offer you the ultimate seal. 100% waterproof, the glued blind stitch and taped seams apply a special liquid rubber to the inside seam for the warmest possible wetsuit. This technology is often found in cold water and high-end wetsuits. Don't get confused if you see it called something else because each manufacturer has their own name for glued and taped seams but they essentially function the same way.
Back Zipper- Most of the wetsuits we carry feature back zippers. These are easier to get in and out of than chest zip wetsuits, but the don't offer as much flexibility because the larger back zipper can restrict a little bit of your movement.
Chest Zipper- Chest zip wetsuits are a newer technology that was developed as a more flexible and more waterproof solution. The smaller zipper on the chest wetsuit allows less water to come through. These wetsuits are tougher to get in and out of because of the smaller neck area.
Full- Full wetsuits are designed to be the warmest wetsuits because they cover your entire body except for your head, feet, and hands. We recommend using full wetsuits in 55-70 degree water. 4/3 wetsuits are best for the colder range and 3/2 wetsuits will be more comfortable in the high 60's. Check out the O'Neill Reactor 3/2 for Men and O'Neill Bahia 3/2 for Women.
Spring- Spring suits are designed to be used in warmer water than full suits. We recommend using a spring suit in water temperatures ranging from 68+ degree water.
Neo Top- Neo tops can be used in 70+ degree water to add some extra warmth. Check out the O'Neill Hammer Jacket 2/1 Here.
Rash Guards- Rash guards do not provide a lot of added warmth. They can be used for sun protection or they are sometimes worn underneath a wetsuit to help prevent rash and chaffing.
Neoprene Material Types
Entry Level: These suits are often called standard stretch and they are the least flexible and warm wetsuits. These suits are generally at a lower price point and sufficient enough for consumers who aren't in their wetsuits very often.
Mid-Level: These suits are called super-stretch and they feature a higher quality neoprene that has more air impregnated in the layers. This creates a better flexing and warmer wetsuit that's generally at a higher price point.
High-End and Eco Wetsuits: These wetsuits are made from the highest quality materials and the latest in neoprene technology. If you are looking for the ultimate in performance and comfort, these suits will do the trick. Some companies are manufacturing Eco friendly wetsuits made from recycled neoprene materials if you are interested in reducing your carbon footprint while you stay warm in the water.
Boots: We recommend boots for cool water wake surfing. They keep your feet warmer and still give you the dexterity you need when using a wakesurf board. Neoprene boots vary in thickness from 1mm to 7mm+. For wakesurfing we would recommend keeping it thin 1-3mm for better board feel and control.
Gloves: Gloves are another accessory we recommend for cold water wakesurfing. If you are sensitive to the cold or just want to spend a lot of time in the water neoprene gloves from O'Neill will help you stay warm and have fun.
Hoods: You can lose up to 40% of your heat through your head so a Neo hood or hat is necessary in cold water conditions. Save yourself from the dreaded ice cream headache with a nice O'Neill Hood.
What if my wetsuit doesn't fit?
Everyone's built differently, so there are some occurrences where we have customers buy a wetsuit and it doesn't fit. Don't fret! Our easy return system will allow you to quickly process your return and get set up with the right size wetsuit. Here is the link to our Returns & Exchanges page.