Whether surfing on a brisk summer morning or in freezing winter waters, you'll need a wet suit. Here's what to look for.
Step 1: Visit your local surf shop Visit a surf shop, and talk to a salesperson. Most wet suits work not only as insulation, but also by trapping a thin layer of water between the suit and your skin. Your body heat warms the water layer, keeping your insulated. Because of this, look for a suit that fits your body snugly.
TIP: Look for a good fit around the neck so that water doesn't enter the suit when you duck dive.
Step 2: Decide on material Most suits are made of neoprene blended with other materials. Look for neoprene blended with wool and polyester if you are going to face water temperatures below 60 degrees.
Step 3: Choose your thickness Decide on your wet suit's thickness, which depends on water temperature. Wet suits can vary from 2 millimeters for warmer climates to 6 millimeters for water temperatures less than 40 degrees.
TIP: Depending on the water temperature of your location, you may need a wet suit with a hood, as well as seperate gloves and booties to keep you as warm as possible.
Step 4: Don't skimp on quality Don't skimp on quality; examine each suit's construction, especially the quality of its seams and zippers. Look for suits with waterproof seams; sewn-together seams let in more water than seams that are sealed with "liquid tape." If you like a particular suit, but it seams are sewn, look for small stitches that are close together.
TIP: Search online: You can sometimes find the suit you want for a lower price.
Step 5: Try it on When you think you've found the suit for you, try it on! Pick the closest-fitting size you can get in and out easily and move around in without restriction. If some areas of the suit feel too tight or loose, try another size. You'll be thankful you found the right fit once you get out there!
FACT: In 2008, one surf company invented a battery-heated wet suit that uses heat coils to warm your core.