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Wakesurf Wetsuits: Extend Boat Season

November 25, 2023

Are you ready to take your wakesurfing to the next level? I’m Jay from Sweet Boats, and I’m here to guide you on how to boost your wakesurf season. The secret? Picking the right wetsuit. Let’s dive into the details that set apart a great wetsuit from a mediocre one and ensure you make the best choice.

Cold Water Wakesurfing Necessities

Spring and fall wakesurfing is what we call prime season- the lakes are empty and water is glass! Before we dive into the nuances of wetsuit technology and selection, let’s talk about the essentials. In this realm, your gear is not just equipment – it’s your ally against the cold. From the warmth of neoprene gloves that ensure a solid grip on your board, to the comfort of flexible boots that ward off the chill from your feet, and the indispensable neoprene hood shielding your head and ears from the icy kiss of the waves – each piece plays a pivotal role.

As we gear up to explore how to extend your wakesurfing season and enhance your experience in colder waters, remember, the right gear is your first step towards mastering the art of cold water wakesurfing.

Watch our video on Wakesurfing Wetsuits

Neoprene Wakesurf Jackets

Neoprene jackets or thermal jackets, let’s talk about these.They’re key for those who don’t need a full suit but still want some warmth. Think early mornings or when the water’s a bit warmer than the air. A good neoprene top, like the ones I switch out every couple of years, does the job. They’re not as heavy-duty as full wetsuits but give you that needed edge against the chill. The deal with these jackets is simple: they keep your core warm without being overkill. And quality counts here – go for something that lasts. You want a jacket that’s going to stand up to regular use, not something that’ll fall apart after a season.
The best thermal jacket I’ve ever owned is made by Need Essentials- It has thermal lining, burly construction, and is a great bargain at only $90..

Differentiating Cheap from Expensive Wetsuits

Let’s cut to the chase about cheap vs. expensive wetsuits. With a cheap wetsuit, like the $99 ones, you get basic stuff – simple stitching, standard neoprene. They’re okay for warmer conditions but not for the serious cold. Now, when you look at pricier options, you’re paying for quality. Better neoprene means you stay warmer and the suit lasts longer. You get features like taped seams and thermal linings. Think about it – do you want a wetsuit that barely makes it through the season, or one that’s a solid ally in the water? That’s the difference money makes.

Cheap Wetsuits Explained

Talking about cheap wetsuits, let’s get real. Take this $99 Roxy wetsuit (or really any cheap wetsuit) – it’s basic.T Good for when the air’s a bit cooler than the water, but not for the real cold. These suits, they’re about simple neoprene, stitched seams, and usually a back zip. No fancy features. They do the job in milder conditions, but don’t expect them to hold up in lower temperatures or last more than a season or two. It’s a starter suit, alright, but when you’re serious about wakesurfing in colder water, you’ll want something more.

Mid-Level Wetsuits: The Balanced Choice

Now, stepping up to mid-level wetsuits, like my Excel 3/2, there’s a noticeable jump in quality. We’re talking about a better grade of neoprene here – more stretch, easier to slip on. The main game-changer? Taped seams. Unlike the basic stitching in cheaper models, these seams keep water out more effectively, making a big difference in keeping you warm. With taped seams, water gradually comes in the suit, when you have just stitched seams water rushes in. Another thing – these wetsuits often have a thermal chest lining. It’s a feature that really ups the warmth factor, especially in water temps like low 60s. Sure, they’re pricier than the entry-level suits, but for regular surfers who hit a variety of conditions, this is where you start getting real value for your money.

Excel Wetsuit

Top Pick: Need Essentials 4/3 Wetsuit

When it comes down to the best of the best, the Need Essentials 4/3 wetsuit is my top pick, especially for those chilly dips down to 49°F. What sets this one apart? It’s all about the full liquid tape seams – both inside and out. This means almost no water gets in, keeping you warm as toast. Then there’s the thermal insulation, running from your chest down to your legs, a real game-changer in freezing conditions. It’s a solid suit, built to last and keep you warm in seriously cold water. For anyone who doesn’t mess around when it comes to cold weather riding, this is the suit I’d recommend hands down.  I love mine and the price is right too!

Essential Gear: Boots, Gloves, and Hood

Beyond just the wetsuit, there are three key players in your cold water wakesurfing gear: boots, gloves, and a hood. Starting with the boots – these are a must for keeping your feet warm.

Cold feet can be a real deal-breaker in chilly waters, and a good pair of neoprene boots solves that problem while also offering extra grip. Next up, gloves.

They’re not just for warmth; they give you that much-needed better grip for handling your board in cold conditions. And for those really hardcore days?

A hood is what you need. It might throw off your balance a bit, but it keeps your head and ears warm, protecting you from extreme cold. These accessories might seem like small additions, but they make a huge difference in your comfort and performance in cold waters.

Wetsuit Temperature Guide

8° & Below46° & Below6/5 Hooded Fullsuit, 8mm Boot, 7mm Boot, 7mm Mitten
12° & Below53° & Below5/4 Hooded Fullsuit, 5mm Boot, 5mm Glove
9° – 13°49° – 55°4/3 Hooded Fullsuit, 3mm Boot, 3mm or 4mm Glove
11° – 14°49° – 58°4/3mm Fullsuit, 3mm Boot, 1.5mm or 2mm Glove, Hood or Cap
13° – 18°56° – 64°2mm or 3/2mm Fullsuit
17° – 20°62° – 68°2mm Fullsuit, Springsuit, or Long John
18° – 21°65° – 70°2mm Springsuit or Short John/Jane
21° – 23°70° – 73°1mm or 2mm Jacket
23°+74°+UV (Rashguard)

Wetsuit Buying Tips

Getting the Fit of Your Wetsuit Right

It should be snug, but not too tight – think comfortable second skin. A loose wetsuit lets in water, while a too-tight one restricts your movement. To nail the perfect fit, measure your chest, waist, hips, and height accurately, and always compare these with the brand’s size chart, as sizes can differ. The right fit will keep you warm and allow full mobility – crucial for effective wakesurfing. So, when trying on a wetsuit, move around a bit. If you can move as freely as you do on your board, you’ve got the right suit. A well-fitting wetsuit ensures comfort, optimal body temperature, and lets you focus on riding the waves.

Consider the Water Temperature:

Choose a wetsuit thickness based on the typical water temperatures where you’ll be surfing. Wetsuits are measured in millimeters, indicating their thickness. For example, a 3/2mm wetsuit means 3mm thick in the core area and 2mm in the limbs.


Back zips are common and easier to get into. Chest zips offer better flexibility and less water flushing through the suit, but can be trickier to get into. Zipperless designs provide the most flexibility and least water entry, but can be the most difficult to put on.
Additional Features: Look for features like thermal linings for extra warmth, reinforced knees for durability, and key pockets for convenience.

Try The Wetsuit on Before You Buy:

If possible, try on different wetsuits. Sizing can vary between brands. Moving around in the wetsuit will give you a good idea of the fit and flexibility.

Budget Wisely:

Higher-priced wetsuits generally offer better features and durability. However, mid-range suits can also provide good quality and value. Determine your budget and find the best wetsuit within that range.

Read Reviews and Ask for Recommendations:

Check online reviews and ask other wake surfers for their recommendations. Experienced users can provide valuable insights.

Consider the Season and Your Usage Frequency:

If you surf in various seasons or very frequently, you might need different wetsuits for different conditions or consider a wetsuit with versatility.

Consider the Water Temperature:

Choose a wetsuit thickness based on the typical water temperatures where you’ll be surfing. Wetsuits are measured in millimeters, indicating their thickness. For example, a 3/2mm wetsuit means 3mm thick in the core area and 2mm in the limbs.

Material Matters:

Most wetsuits are made of neoprene, but the quality can vary. Higher-end wetsuits often use more flexible and durable neoprene, improving comfort and longevity.

Seam Construction:

Pay attention to the seams. Flatlock seams are okay for warmer water, while sealed (glued and blindstitched) seams are better for colder conditions. Some high-end wetsuits also have liquid taped seams for extra water resistance and durability.

Wakesurfing and Wakeboarding Wetsuit FAQs

What is the point of a wetsuit?

Why wear a wetsuit for wakeboarding and wakesurfing? First off, it’s all about stretching your time on the water, especially in those chillier months. With a wetsuit, you’re not just braving the cold better; you’re extending the use of your pricey wakeboarding or wakesurfing boat. We’re talking about getting more bang for your buck throughout the year. These suits trap a layer of water against your skin, which your body then warms up, keeping you insulated and comfy. It’s not just warmth, though. They add a bit of floatation too, which is always a plus. So, in a nutshell, a wetsuit is your key to longer, safer, and more comfortable sessions behind the boat, making every minute and every dollar count.

What thickness wetsuit for wakeboarding?

When it comes to picking the right wetsuit thickness for wakeboarding, it’s usually between a 3/2 and a 4/3. A 3/2 wetsuit means 3mm thick in the body and 2mm in the arms and legs. This thickness is ideal for those not-too-cold, not-too-hot conditions (See wetsuit temperature chart above). When the water’s cool but not freezing. On the other hand, a 4/3 wetsuit steps it up with 4mm in the body and 3mm in the limbs, perfect for colder water. This thicker suit keeps you warmer, letting you ride longer as the water temps drop. So, think about when you’re mostly hitting the water. If it’s during those cooler days or early mornings, lean towards a 4/3. But if you’re out there when it’s a bit warmer, a 3/2 should do just fine. Remember, it’s all about staying comfortable out there, so you can focus on your wakeboarding and wakessurfing without shivering your way through it.

Does a wetsuit keep you afloat?

Let’s get straight to it – a wetsuit does give you a bit of buoyancy because of the neoprene, but it’s not a life jacket. It’s more about keeping you warm and giving you a slight lift in the water. But when it comes to staying afloat, especially behind a boat, that’s where your life jacket comes in. Always wear a life jacket, no matter how good you are at wakeboarding or wakesurfing. It’s about being smart on the water.

Are wetsuits worth it?

Definitely, let’s talk about whether wetsuits are worth it. Absolutely, they are – especially if you’re serious about wakeboarding or wakesurfing. If you own a wakesurfing boat, you know that spending a few hundred dollars is nothing. Here’s why: wetsuits extend your season. With a good wetsuit, you’re not just stuck to those warm summer days; you can hit the water in cooler temps too. It’s about making the most of your boat and your time. Plus, they keep you warm, which means more comfort, more focus, and better performance. Sure, there’s an upfront cost, but think about the extra months you get on the water and the better experience while you’re out there. So if you want to make the most of your wakeboarding or wakesurfing, investing in a wetsuit is a smart move.

Can you overheat in a wetsuit?

It’s possible, for sure. Wetsuits are designed to keep you warm, right? So, if the water’s pretty warm or if you’re out there on a hot day, you might start feeling too toasty. This is especially true with thicker wetsuits like a 4/3. It happens to me occasionally when I pick the wrong wetsuit, but you can let a little bit of water in your neck to cool off a bit.

Do you wear anything under a wetsuit?

Here’s the deal – it’s mostly up to personal preference. Some people wear a swimsuit or board shorts underneath, just for that extra layer of comfort or modesty. Others? They might just go with the wetsuit alone. It’s all about what feels right for you. The thing to remember is that wetsuits are designed to fit snugly against your skin, to trap a layer of water that your body heats up. So, if you’re layering something underneath, keep it thin and tight-fitting. Bulky or loose clothing can cause fit issues and affect the way the wetsuit performs. Really, it’s your call, just make sure it’s comfortable and doesn’t interfere with the wetsuit’s job. I personally don’t wear anything under my wetsuit.

What is the 120 rule wetsuit?

The 120 rule is simple. Add up the air and water temperatures. If it’s under 120 degrees Fahrenheit, consider wearing a wetsuit. This rule helps you figure out when it’s too cold to go without one. For example, if the water’s at 60 and the air’s at 55, that’s 115 – below 120, so a wetsuit is a good call. It’s just a guideline, though; adjust for your own comfort and how long you’ll be in the water.

How much difference does a wetsuit make?

A wetsuit significantly ups your comfort in cold water, letting you stay out longer and safer. It traps heat, offers protection, and extends your boat use in cooler months. Basically, it’s a game-changer for more enjoyable rides.

Wrapping Up: Making the Most of Your Wetsuit for Wakeboarding and Wakesurfing

That’s a wrap on the wetsuit lowdown for wakeboarding and wakesurfing. Remember, the right wetsuit is key to not just staying warm, but also making the most out of your time on the water. It’s about comfort, safety, and extending those sessions behind the boat. Whether it’s choosing the right thickness, understanding the need for additional gear like boots and gloves, or just knowing when to wear one, it all adds up to a better experience. So, gear up right, hit the water, and make every wake session count, no matter the temperature. Stay safe, stay warm, and most importantly, have fun out there!

Let us know if you have any questions.

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