Guide: Winter Wetsuits
With winter drawing in incredibly quick, the water temperature will soon begin to drop, you are probably searching for a winter wetsuit. We are here to tell you all there is to know about winter wetsuits and what you need to be looking for. Although getting into the sea in the colder months may not sound appealing, it often brings better swell which is ideal for surfers and kitesurfers.
If you are brave enough to venture into the cold winter sea, then there are a few things you can do to help prolong your time in the water. Wearing things such as glove, hoods and booties are just some of the things that can help you keep warm. However, if your wetsuit isnt thick enough or poor quality, then that can waste your time. Maintaining your core temperature is the most important thing!
With a wide selection of wetsuits on our site, we are here to help you narrow it down to your perfect wetsuit. To make things easier for you, we are going to list the key things that you need to look for when picking your ideal winter suit.
A question we often get asked is "what thickness do i need?". Wetsuits come in a variety of sizes. When looking for a winter wetsuit, you will be looking for at least a 5mm suit. In the UK the sea is at its coldest on March, so we would recommend a 6mm wetsuit.
- 4ºC - 7ºC | 4mm /5mm /6 mm
- 8ºC - 11ºC | 3mm / 4mm
- 12ºC - 17ºC | 2mm / 3mm
In a wetsuits description is will state the thickness. For example Billabong Absolute 5/4mm Chest Zip Wetsuit, the numbers in the description is the thickness. The larger number, which comes first, indicates the thickness around the torso and chest, in this case it is 5mm. The second, 4mm, is the thickness on the legs and arms, where the warmth is sacrificed for flexibility.
For those who are brave enough to be spending long periods in the water ie, surfers and body boarders, the Quiksilver Syncro 5:4:3 Mens Chest Zip Wetsuit is the perfect option. With 5mm chest, you will be kept nice and toasty with this wetsuit. The Quiksilver Syncro is also glued and blind stitched, which leads us to our next point.
Seams and Stitching
Believe it or not, there are different ways to stitch a wetsuit. Some of the cheaper models are just stitched normally through the neoprene, therefore creating holes allowing water to seep through. When searching for a winter wetsuit, you want to make sure that it has GBS stitching. What does GBS mean? Well it means, glued and blind stitched. So, the edge of the neoprene panels are glued together and then are blind stitched. Blind stitching is where the stitching only goes partly through the neoprene, resulting in no holes. What does no holes mean? Water tight, flexible and a highly durable seam!
Some wetsuits also have taped seams as well. This results in extra protection against any water getting through the seams, helping you maintain your warmth which is perfect for a winter wetsuit. Taped seams don't take away from the flexibility of the wetsuit either.
Bare in mind, the way your wetsuit is stitched will affected how watertight it is. Having these more advanced stitching and taping can come at a cost, but if you are going to be spending hours hitting the waves in the colder months then it is definitely worth it. These forms of stitching and taping will also help with the life time of your wetsuit if you take care of it well.
Something that not all wetsuits have but makes a difference is lining. Lining inside a wetsuit adds to the warmth it already will provide, whilst maintaining its flexibility which normally comes with increased neoprene. We have a selection of wetsuits that have lining inside and they are all different. Let's take a look at a few different types:
Rip Curl Flash lining - They use a poly-fleece lining, which features two engineered layers that funnel water out rapidly once you hang the suit up. This is one of Rip Curl's warmest and most comfortable linings available. The Rip Curl Dawn Patrol 5/3mm Wetsuit has the E5 flash lining.
Billabong Furnace Lining - By using graphene coated yarn trap, it retain heat more efficiently for longer making it incredibly warm, knitted to allow the material to stretch and reduce water absorption and dry super-fast. This lining technology is used in the Billabong Absolute 5/4mm Wetsuit.
This is a very important thing to make note on, not just for winter wetsuits but wetsuits in general. Your wetsuit should fit like a glove. A thin layer of water will be evenly distributed around your body to maintain your core temperature when in the water. If there are any gaps then water will gather and therefore, you will feel the cold. so make sure your wetsuit is tight when you try it on as they do loosen slightly when in the water.
Neoprene hoods are an excellent item for winter to help avoid brain freeze. You can get hooded wetsuits or just buy a wetsuit hood, both have their own perks. A wetsuit with a built in hood is ideal for those of you that surf often in the cold water. Some benefits of a hooded wetsuit is that they help hold in the heat more and give more protection to water coming in. However, the hood on a hooded wetsuit is permanently attached so if you don't think you will want a hood that often then maybe go for a neoprene hood. A neoprene hood is the perfect way to upgrade your normal wetsuit. We have a selection of Hoods in stock on our site
A quick recap:
- You ideally don't want a winter wetsuit that is less than 5mm thick
- Lining is great for the extra warmth
- Choose a wetsuit with GBS stitching.
- Make sure that your wetsuit fits you like second glove so there are no gaps for water to gather.