Sorry to say it, it won’t be long before it starts getting chilly in the mornings and evenings again… Don’t let the cold put you off though, now is the time of those perfectly lined up, predictable and fun autumn swells, so get kitted up and get in there! Here’s our guide to the best suits on the market to help ensure you’re fully prepared this winter whatever the elements may throw our way!
Wetsuit manufacturers continue to refine their cutting-edge winter wetsuits on your behalf, and most suits these days now use the wonderful super- stretchy neoprene that revolutionised cold water surfing a few years ago – and meant that you could walk to the beach without looking like the tin man. In wetsuits the key to warmth is of course fit, and this lightweight new neoprene ensures a snug fit and flexibility. It means a warmer suit that actually lets you surf through the winter, rather than just survive it.
Rip Curl’s trailblazing suit is new for girls this winter and incorporates a wealth of truly top-end features, including the much vaunted ‘flash lining’ which dries in double time and will have you back in for the afternoon session in a dry suit, so that your extremities aren’t freezing up before you’re even out of the car park… £275
Ripcurl DaWN Paptrol
Rip Curl’s mid-range suit brings you a wealth of impressive features at half the price of plenty of top tier suits. Plus new for this year the suit incorporates a batwing system and flash lining on the chest panel. You’ve got Elastomax 3, seamless underarms and a fully glued and blind-stitched construction. And you’ll still be able to afford some new boots and gloves too… £140
Roxy’s Syncro is an entry level series of suits made exclusively with 100% Hyperstretch II material, making it more flexible than many other entry level suits on the market. It also has Roxy’s HFT (Hollow Fibre Technology) heating system in the chest panel and their Hydroshield zip barrier to keep you dribble free. £140
The Cypher is available with either chest zip or back zip. Both feature FiberLite and biofleece thermal neoprene, and the Flexmax seal seam sealing. Add to that the new and improved bead lock seal on all models, thermal smoothie, and Hydroshield, and you have one of the warmest, most flexible and lightest weight cold water suits available. £250
The Epic 2 offers firewall warmth in a streamlined design. The 2012 incarnation has many of the same top end features as the Psychos, including: FluidFlexTM Firewall chest, double seal neck closure, LSD (Lumbar Seamless design) and re-engineered covert blackout zip. A snip at £120.00.
Designed by women for women, The MOD for 2012 features 100% stretch neoprene, single fluid seam weld, and has a focus on women’s specific shaping and feminine style lines. The MOD Series is a highly versatile wettie with superior O’Neill fit designed specifically for you… £210.00
O’Neill Psycho 3
The Psycho 2 was known for warmth, flexibility and superior fit. For 2012 it’s evolved into the totally mental Psycho 3. It’s upgraded to the exclusive Techno Butter Neoprene, the most advanced super stretch neoprene available on the market. Combined with XDS-Air Firewall in the chest and back, and Double Super Seam Weld, it’s guaranteed to keep you warm and loose. £290.00
Billabong’s mid range suit still has plenty to get you excited. Including the use of AX2 airlite superflex neoprene, strategic seam and panel placement, and the horizontal dislocating chest zip entry. Plenty enough to see you through the dark months and still have some cash left for that Morocco trip… £130
Billabong Solution SG5l
The SG5 turned a few heads last winter and was one of the most highly rated suits of the season. This year it’s back and, aside from having that magical ZG400 neoprene, is also packing furnace lined chest, kidney and back panels, back zip entry and internal and external welded seams. £250
Alder’s Stealth is fully glued and blindstitched for confidence on those February paddle outs. Plus the single lined torso helps to prevent wind chill and maintain core temperature, while the raw cuffs and ankles ensure easy entry so you’re not bouncing around the car park post-session… £110
The Drifter uses lightweight “X” Stretch neoprene throughout for easy paddling and maximum freedom of movement. There’s also a bat-flap to keep that chilly winter water where it ought to be: on the outside. And tested and used in the UK, so tailored with you in mind… £140
The Angel is constructed entirely of C-Skins exclusive C-Flex Ultrastretch neoprene and has LQS Liquid taped seams ensuring optimum flexibility and agility. Warmth is also improved due to the new lumbar panel on the Angel, which is lined with Firecore Polypro ensuring that your core is kept warm even in the deepest depths of winter. £199
The Legend features C-Flex Ultra Stretch neoprene throughout the shoulder and arm panels, ensuring maximum flexibility and unhindered paddle zones. Then it utilises FreeFlx Stretch neoprene in the lower legs, a Firecore Polyproof chest panel, and the tried and tested C-Skins closeout barrier system to keep you toastie and drip free all winter long… £129
Snugg Mini Zip
The Mini Zip is the warmest made to measure wetsuit you can wear. The ‘Hot One’ has aero zirconium hollow fibre fleece yarn on the body and legs, coupled with Ultrapan neoprene combining heat retention with flexibility. The yarns retains heat from your body, and reduces water absorption and retention, keeping the suit light. The neck entry system gives maximum movement and minimal water penetration. Say goodbye to the cold. Prices from £315 for 4/3mm Alternative, £360 for the 5/4/3 Hot One. Also available with a hood attached.
Snugg Sabotage Alternative
The same as the ‘Hot One’ but without aero zirconium in the legs. The Sabotage is a made-to-measure wetsuit that has aero zirconium hollow fibre fleece yarn on the body and the upper leg. Plus it uses limestone based neoprene as the ultimate thermo barrier, coupled with Ultrapan neoprene. So the suit combines heat retention with flexibility. Add in blind stitching, heat sealed taped seams and an interlocking Y-flap water barrier, and you’ve probably got the warmest and most flexible winter suit that money can buy. From £300 for the 4/3 alternative and £335 for the 5/4/3 hot one.
Circle One have clearly had a busy few months working on the latest evolution of the Diva. It has a ‘hydrophobic’ print on chest and back panels to cut wind chill, C1-Flex’4 neoprene throughout, and 100% ‘LQS’ external seams. Combine this with the ThermoStretch lined overhead ‘lock-out’ barrier system, and the Polypro-core chest panel with ThermoStretch lining, and you’ve got a serious bit of winter- beating kit… £159.99
Wetsuit Buying Tips
Heading into your local surf shop can be a daunting experience – as can shelling out anything up to £350 – so we’ve put together a few tips to ensure you’re asking the right questions and know what you’re looking for before you hand over your credit card.
Get clued up beforehand. Run through the wetsuit features and know what they mean so you’re not blinded by the shop assistant’s jargon. Do you know the difference between flatlock and blindstitch?
When you’ve got the suit on check for baggy areas. Check in the back, under the arms and on the back of your knees. There shouldn’t be much slack material here. Or around your boobs, make sure it all fits snugly.
Make sure the neck, wrist and ankles are tight. They should feel tight, but not so tight that your hands turn blue.
Check about the warranty in case there’s a problem later on. Many companies offer a lifetime guarantee on the seams.
Try out a few entry systems, and check out the difference between chest zip, back zip and short zip before you buy. Chest zips are great as no water can get in through the zip when you duck-dive or are sat on your board – but they can be quite tricky to get into!
Shop assistants are there to help you. They’re usually genned up on which are the best suits for your budget – so use their knowledge.
Try on a few different suits. It can be sweaty and generally quite uncomfortable after your 5th suit: but you have to go through it! Go to a few different shops and try on suits in your budget from as many companies as you can. Put plastic bags on your feet, this helps to ease them in and out of your suit!
A common problem can be the neck. Too tight and it can rub, and too loose and it will flush through. Choose an entry system that’s tight but doesn’t throttle you, and one that allows for adjustment.
Stretch in your suit – you may feel a bit of a plum but do some star jumps and squats: you need to find a suit that isn’t baggy and has the most range of movement.
Don’t skimp! You get what you pay for and the more you spend the more features your suit will have. If you can’t afford the top-of-the-range suits then prioritise flexible neoprene, an entry system that suits you, and good seams – ideally liquid sealed. (And maybe put that bikini cash towards your wettie instead!)
King Of Watersports offers an unrivalled choice of wetsuits from every single premium surf brand; Quiksilver, Billabong, O’Neill, Rip Curl, Xcel, Neil Pryde, just to name a few! King of Watersports also offer free delivery on wetsuits. Tel: 01202 763675 Email:firstname.lastname@example.org Web:www.kingofwatersports.com
The Wetsuit Centre
The Wetsuit Centre holds the largest range of biggest stocks of wetsuits in the country at unbeatable prices. The Wetsuit Centre also offers a Free NEXT DAY delivery service on all wetsuits ensuring you hit the water when the swell does. Tel: 01202 302943 Email: email@example.com Web: www.wetsuitcentre.co.uk Address: 42 Sea Road, Boscombe, Bournemouth, Dorset, England BH5 1BW
Water sports specialists in Dorset. Stocking a great range of summer wetsuits and rashvests for guys, girls and kids from O’Neill, Gul and Rip Curl. Tel: 01425 27511 Email:firstname.lastname@example.org Web:www.crazywater.co.uk Address: 402 Lymington Road, Highcliffe, Dorset BH23 5HE
Independent, family-run surf shop. Right next to the beach on Gwithian Towans. Expert advice, in-store and online, from surfers for surfers. Wetsuits, boards and clothing from C-Skins, Quiksilver, Roxy, Rusty & FCS. Tel: 01736 755007 Email: email@example.com Web:www.sunset-surf.com Address: 10 Gwithian Towans, Gwithian, Cornwall TR27 5BT
shop on the beach
An outstanding range of summer and winter O’Neill and Patagonia wetsuits plus expert advice – buy in store or online. Tel: 01637 860051 Web: www.shoponthebeach.com Address: Shop on the Beach, On the Beach, Watergate Bay, Cornwall TR8 4AA
Sessions Surf Shop
Falmouth’s Independent Surf Shop, We offer a wide range of wetsuits from Alder, Billabong and O’neill, If you need a wetsuit then come and get fitted by one of our friendly and experienced staff. We also have surfboards from Spider, Rusty, JS, Cortez and a huge selection of bodyboards and all the surf accessories you could possibly need, all under one roof. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Address: 26 church street, Falmouth, Cornwall, TR113EG Tel: 01326 21115
dOWn the Line Surf cOmpany Ltd
The UK’s premier wetsuit stockist over 18 years as the UK’s number 1 hardware store. Expert advise from experienced staff. Free delivery – speak to the professionals. Rip Curl, Billabong, O’Neill, Xcel, Alder and Patagonia. Tel: 01736 757025 Email: email@example.com Web:www.downthelinesurf.co.uk Address: Market Square Arcade, Copperhouse, Hayle, Cornwall TR27 4EA
Here at Zuma Jay all we do is surf. We only stock the best quality wetsuits and equipment for all abilities. We are also surfers so can give you the best and advice you get you in the water. Tel: 01288 354956 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.zumajay.co.uk Address: Belle Vue Lane, Bude, North Cornwall EX23 8BR
Surfdock is Irelands leading wetsuit retailer, stocking a huge range of wetsuits in all sizes for men, women and children.
Massive range of wetsuits on display in our store and online with Europe largest O’Neill wetsuit showroom at our East Wittering store. Other brands include Billabong, Rip Curl, C-SKINS and Animal. Tel: 01243 674830 Email: email@example.com Web: www.shore.co.uk Address: 20 Shore Road, East Wittering, West Sussex PO20 8DZ
Tiki Surf Shops
Europe’s largest range of surf hardware, instore and online. Wetsuits by Tiki, Patagonia, O’Neill and Rip Curl. Surfboards by Tiki, McKee, Hydroflex, Southpoint, NSP and more. Plus factory outlet store for ex-demo and end of line bargains! Tel: +44 ( 0) 1271 815757 Email:firstname.lastname@example.org Web:www.tikisurf.co.uk Address: Caen Street, Braunton, N.Devon, EX33 1AA