Woman riding wild wave.

How to Choose Your Wetsuit to Go Surfing

Selecting the ideal wetsuit is important to ensure a great surfing experience. It's important to consider every aspect of a wetsuit, factoring in temperature, seasons, and even your surfing level. We’ve partnered with Surfing England to give you the best tips and what to look out for when choosing a wetsuit.

Group of surfers walking towards the water, carrying their surfboards.

Why Wear a Wetsuit When Surfing?

The main reason why surfers wear wetsuits is to stay warm and a surprising amount of time is spent in the water waiting for the perfect wave. And it can get really chilly out there.

A quality wetsuit retains warmth by capturing a thin layer of water between your skin and the suit's neoprene. This design allows your body to warm the trapped water while the neoprene ensures no water exits or enters the suit.

In addition, wetsuits can also protect you from wind and UV rays, which are stronger in the water.

Man putting on her wetsuit and smiling.

How to Choose the Perfect Wetsuit:

There are many different factors to consider when choosing a wetsuit, such as the time of year, the temperature of the water, as well as flexibility. Your main focus should be on comfort. 


When selecting a wetsuit, consider the weather conditions, particularly water temperature. In the UK, this can range from 10°C in winter to 15-20°C in summer.
Wetsuit warmth is determined by its neoprene thickness, measured in millimetres. Thicker neoprene offers greater warmth but reduces flexibility. As a result, wetsuits are designed with varying thicknesses: they insulate the core for maximum warmth while using thinner material on the arms and legs for optimal flexibility.

A wetsuit for every season

It is no secret that water temperatures in the UK are not the warmest, especially during the winter. Still, the waves don’t wait, and surfers are known to brave any weather to get their surf fix. Finding the right wetsuit for to cover each season can be a game changer if you're a year-round surfer. 

Shorty for Spring and Summer

On hot and sunny days, a surf shorty is optimal. This wetsuit is typically 2mm thick and features either short bottoms or sleeves, offering maximum freedom while riding the waves.

Full Length Wetsuits for Autumn and Winter

When the weather gets chilly, opt for a wetsuit that offers the most coverage and is fitted with thicker neoprene. A 4/3 suit is recommended for water temperatures around 10 °C and a 6/4 suit when the water is at its coldest.


In addition to a good suit, accessories such as neoprene gloves and boots can increase your resistance to the cold. Some wetsuits even come with a built-in hood to prevent water from entering your suit via the the back of the neck.

Two youngsters in the process of putting on their wetsuit.

How to Fit Your Wetsuit to Go Surfing

Once you've determined the type of wetsuit you need, ensuring the right fit is crucial. An oversized suit can allow excess water in, hindering your body's ability to warm up and limiting mobility. Aim for a wetsuit that fits snugly, particularly around the knees and armpits, for an optimal fit.

Are you ready to hit the waves? If you have any other questions, make sure to ask one of our watersports experts in one of our Decathlon stores. 

Young boy in the water, while carrying his surfboard.

Surfing England

We've teamed up with Surfing England to enhance the accessibility of surfing and other water sports in the UK. Founded by riders for riders, this organisation champions the growth of surfing in England via memberships, classes, and events nationwide.

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