Wetsuit/Drysuit sizing question

I have been having difficulty in finding a standardized size that would fit me in a wetsuit. Being only 5’ 6" but having a 43" chest, the best I can figure out to do is buy two pieces with small or medium bottoms and a large top. Even the large/short or medium/short won’t work according to the charts. I have an O’neal full wetsuit in medium and it binds WAY to much at the sholders…I haven’t really looked at the drysuit size charts yet, but I imagine I will have the same problem?

Any suggestions?

NRS Extreme
I bought a drysuit from NRS last year. They were blasting one model out the door at about half price so I leapt on it. I ordered according to the sizing chart and at first I was sure they had made a mistake. No mistake. They run very large. Lots and lots of room to do laybacks and I can pee easily without the extra$ relief zipper. If that model is still available and you ordered according to their chart you’ll fit.

I had Kokatat shorten the legs and arms on my drysuit and it fits perfectly. Give them a call 800 225 9749

On the wetsuit side
NRS (Northwest River Supply) makes what they call a GRIZZLY fit in wetsuits which is supposed to fit people with your body type.

Their website is www.nrsweb.com


Yes, NRS but CALL THEM, do not order
online. Their staff is incredible and can help…no doubt.

Drysuits are baggy
MUCH easier to get a workable fit than with wetsuits. I am in between two sizes of wetsuit so I jam myself into the smaller one, which is tight enough to keep all but the slightest trickle of water from entering (through the neck and nowhere else). But the price I pay is that sausagey feeling and what must be restricted movement.

Thanks, Mark…
…but I think they might be a little loose for me being only 153# and w/a 31" waist! The Medium wetsuits would work if they only had a bigger chest! Lookes like the drysuits might be a better bet… I just saw an O’neal large/short that came a little closer than some other brands…guess they are all a little different.


– Last Updated: Nov-30-08 6:03 AM EST –

I don't know if other people have experienced this but I find a neoprene top clammy and restrictive. After I found out how comfortable a dry jacket is I sold my Hydroskin top. Bottoms don't bother me much.

If I wuz you I'd skip the neoprene.

I’ve got drytops…
Maybe I could get some drypants? I followed a thread where there were a couple of people that were able to get a good seal …but a few could not…seemed to be dependant on the type…I believe NRS has a pair that are more like bibs designed to mate w/a top or sprayskirt…

Or save up for a drysuit…the NRS sizing looks like it would work…!

Save up for that drysuit
For serious paddling in cold water, a breathable drysuit with booties is the way to go. Neoprene can be OK for hoods and gloves.

You have to try them on…
I would bet one of the companies that sell a Large/short would probably work. I have a similar build but heavier-- bigger chest and in the winter wear 2mm Oneil shorts under my suit, and it works well to keep the suit nice and warm for paddling. Also buy a really stretchy suit, and the tight upper body won’t be such an issue.

Save up for that drysuit
For serious paddling in cold water, a breathable drysuit with booties is the way to go. Neoprene can be OK for hoods and gloves.

…do you wear the neoprene shorts under a neoprene full suit? I’ve got some 2 or 3 mm shorts.

My primary concern is for immersion;I keep plenty warm while paddling, as I am primarily a “fitness paddler” at this point in time…

Yeah I do…
I have less bulk below my belly chest and shoulders. So my wetsuits don’t fit tight in the but and legs. Most of the time I am sitting in water on a waveski in the winter, so I like the extra insulation the shorts give.