Buying a Wetsuit

Coming back from Hawaii and surfing North Shore was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. You’ve got the best waves and the best temperature. Something about tropical weather makes you want to surf. If you live in Hawaii and you’re not a surfer….well, shame on you.

The water in Hawaii feels like a jacuzzi. 77 degree on average! Jesus! San Francisco temperature is a blistering 56 degrees! That’s a 21 degree drop. When I came back from Hawaii, my first time in the water I said to myself, “this fucking sucks”. One of the many reasons why Northern California surfers are much more resilient. Who the hell wants to jump into cold water? Even Southern California surfers are a bit spoiled with temperatures on average of 68 degrees.

Okay, enough of my ranting. Considering your first wetsuit? Here are some things to consider.

  1. What is your budget?
  2. How tall are you?
  3. How much do you weigh?
  4. Where will you be surfing?
  5. What seasons will you be surfing? All year? Or just summers?

What is your budget? Should I consider buying a used wetsuit?

My first wetsuit I purchased from some guy on Craigslist. It was pretty much brand new. And I got it for a great deal for only $90. I was on a budget and I wasn’t sure if I’d be sticking with it.

If you decide to purchase a 2nd hand wetsuit from Craigslist, that might be a good option. But I recommend making sure that it’s brand new and not used. If it’s been worn, there could be a high chance that it has a leak and if you purchase a wetsuit on Craigslist with a leak chances are it’s too late to return it. Do not buy a used wetsuit from a stranger unless it’s brand new and has the tags on it and in excellent condition.

If you do not have a budget, I recommend buying brand new. Good wetsuits can last up to 10 years if you care for them.

Typically, new wetsuits in the low end will cost $200-$300 and high end will cost $500-$1,000.

What size am I? 

Typically, wetsuits are sized based on your height and weight. And different brands will have different size matrices for their wetsuits, so check with the brand you’re interested in. I recommend O’Neill, Xcel, RipCurl, Orca wetsuits. Pretty solid.

O’Neill Wetsuit Size Chart

Xcel Wetsuit Size Chart

Where will you surfing? 

If you’re based in Northern California and you plan to surf all year around I highly recommend buying a 4/3mm wetsuit. 4/3s can be used all year around and they will keep you warm throughout the winter. During summers you can use a 3/2mm wetsuit. I surfed all year around with a 3/2mm, but I don’t plan to do it this year. 3/2s are awesome because their much lighter and more flexible. But during the winter season, it’s too cold and I can’t surf as long if I was comfortable.

If you’re based in Southern California or an area with 65-68 degree water temperatures, a 3/2 might suffice. You can even buy a rash guard to give you an extra layer.

Here are some wetsuits I recommend,
O’Neill Wetsuits Mens 4/3 mm Epic Full Suit, Black/Black/Black, XX-Large

O’Neill Psycho Freak Z.E.N. Zip 4/3 Wetsuit – Men’s Black/Black/Black, M

O’Neill Psycho Freak Z.E.N. Zip 4/3 Wetsuit – Men’s Black/Black/Black, M

Xcel Wetsuits 4/3 Xplorer OS Full Suit, Black/CAS Blue/CAS Blue, Small

Xcel 3/2mm Revolt X2 Thermo Dry Celliant Wetsuit, Black, X-Large

Also, make sure you grab booties. Here are some below.
Xcel Wetsuits Women’s 3mm Infiniti Boot, Black/Grey, 9

Xcel Infiniti Split Toe Men’s Surfing Bootie – 5mm

I wear an O’Neill Zen Zip and Xcel 3mm Infiniti Boot which has lasted me for over a year without any issues.

Now that you have a surfboard and a wetsuit, you should be good to go. Now hit the waves and keep it consistent. The only way for you to learn faster is to surf as often as you can. Once you start standing up and riding waves you’re going to get addicted. Surfing is challenging and that’s why it’s fun. If anyone could do it, it wouldn’t be that cool.

But before you do that, we NEED to talk about surf etiquette. It’s serious business to be safe and ensure that everyone around is safe and free from injury.  Make sure you check out my next blog post.

Here are pictures of what you can expect. Beautiful!


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