First Wetsuit... Opinions?

I’ve never owned a wetsuit, and my goal for the first purchase is to get one that is flexible enough for late fall - spring use in waves (related to earlier post on surfing)…

Opinions of this suit?:

I don’t want to get a cheap suit and regret it so please tell me if this one is a piece of crap.

All advice welcome… really…


Do not get it.
And it does not matter if it is high quality or not. It is much too heavy and you don’t want long sleeves. I am a diver and that is a diving wet suit. It is completly unsuited for paddling. Get a farmer john. Here are examples:

If necessary, wear polypro tops under the wet suit and a paddle jacket or dry top on the outside.

Thanks, Doc…
For using a SOT in cold surf (Atlantic) do you also wear the socks/booties and a hood?

I guess I’ll learn all of this for myself when I go under in the surf in a few weeks but it would sure be nice to have all my options at the ready

(other than simply sounding the retreat horn :slight_smile: ).

Wetsuits For Different Purposes…

– Last Updated: Nov-06-05 9:18 AM EST –

the Camaro is a divesuit. Not flexible enough. The Body Glove 4/3 (4 mm body and 3 mm legs/arms) should work for you. The Body Glove is made for board surfers who have to be able to paddle comfortably with their arms and have the flexibility to get quickly up on a board. The neoprene is more new generation and flexible and has liquid rubber seams (minimizes leakage). This coupled with a multi-panel design makes the suit move much better with the body.

I have a Body Glove 3/2 for early summer and early fall. I just bought a Quicksilver 4/3 (really flexible and comfortable) and have been using that for a month now. I can waveski all day with these without feeling fatiqued from fighting a wetsuit.

A farmer john type suit/couple with a good top/tops may work, depending on your water temps. But the flush through with a farmer john is pretty horrendous. If you're expecting to really surf (meaning getting hit with waves and rolling constantly for hours on end), you need a full wetsuit that is well fitted to minimize flush through.

Realize that the fit of different wetsuit companies fit differently (some better for skinny, heavier, or average folks). So, you need to try it. With Sierra Trading post, you can order the Body Glove and try it. If it doesn't fit, they take it back with no problem.

Yes. You should have booties and especially a neo hood. The latter makes a big difference in fighting hypothermia. Better to have these and not use then to not have them when you need them.


Full Wetsuits are OK for surfing but …

– Last Updated: Nov-06-05 11:08 AM EST –

Sing probably is one of the more gungho paddle surfers in cold water that posts on paddlingnet, and has good experience. Although it's true you will work harder in a full wet suit, I've found you really do want the insulation on your arms, the paddling tops and dry tops work well for sit in kayakers, but if you are surfing a SOT or waveski you likely are going to end up using a wetsuit. Also I've seen kayakers in the bulky dry top types really take a beating swimming in the surf or trying to bust through a wave. I would check out what the board surfers wear in the winter where you plan to surf. If a board surfer can move their arms well enough so can you. Also if you look like the boardies you fit in better, out on the water and in the parking lot, less likely for anti-kayak conflict. Surfing wetsuits usually have the zipper in back which is a pain at first but you get used to it. Make sure you find out what works in your area because you don't want to invest the money and then find out you are freezing. If you are not dressed for the water temps you won't last more than a couple of minutes in the water.... you'll quit surfing because it's just no fun and could be dangerous too.

Thank you…
Sing and everyone else for the great help…


Local Surfing Boards…

– Last Updated: Nov-07-05 4:37 AM EST –

post and ask what wetsuits they use for the conditions around your way. DON'T mention that you're kayaker. Likely, you may get some gruff for being a "kook" but chances are someone will answer the questions. If you say, "kayaker", you'll most likely just get "grief."

With surfing wetsuits, it's really best to get the best you can afford because it'll keep you warm AND comfortable. A good wetsuit will cost way less than a good drysuit that is warm and comfortable but something you may not need anyway down where you're at. (Good winter wetsuit about $200-$350, depending on thickness, compared to $600 and up for a "breatheable" drysuit.) If are seriously about surfing during the winter months, then go ahead and visit a local surfing store and have the staff help fit you with the right wetsuit. It's worth it.


NRS makes great suits
I have an NRS Farmer John Wet Suit. it is 3mm Neoprene, and it is good for the inbetween times, between summer and Winter. I also have a Semi Dry Top I wear with it. Note this is not the perfect answer if you are in a situation where you may be in the water regularly, and for an somewhet extended period.

When the water and air are cooler, I wear a Semi Dry Suit. Check . They have the Kokatat Semi Dry suit with sewn in waterproof socks, and relief jipper on sale right now, plus you get a discount if you are a Paddling Perks member. It has latex wrist gaskets, and neoprene neck seal. It is great until the water and air approach freezing temps, as then you need a full Dry Suit.

But if a wet suit is all you need, You can trust NRS. If you are a larger person, they even make a series called “Grizzley” as that series farmer john has more room around the chest and belly.

Stay safe!

I recall some harmony farmer johns with an angled 2/3 length zipper,kinda hard to take a leak when the zipper ends by your right front hip bone.

FJ’s Don’t Cut It
for winter surfing which is what I think the original poster is asking about. Anything with too many (long) zippers and large openings will create bad flushing problems.

Dare I admit it? I simply pee in my wetsuit. Flushes out the colder water. I am on a waveski and the original poster is on a SOT. Make sure rinse suit thoroughly after each usage!

If one doesn’t want a high quality SURFING wetsuit, then the other option would be for a (more expensive) drysuit. Cannot surf winter waves otherwise. You can die very easily if you’re swimming.


What I use…
I have the NRS farmer john (3mm) and the 2mm jacket. If it is really cold, or I know I’m going to be getting wet, I put the jacket over the fj. This combo. will give you 5mm of protection on the torso, but good freedom of movement with only 2mm on the arms.