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How to choose the best wetsuit for stand up paddle

How to choose the best wetsuit for stand up paddle

How to choose the best wetsuit for stand up paddle

If you’re getting ready to do some surfing with your stand-up paddleboard, or if you’re heading out for some cold water SUP adventures, then you’ll probably want to get a good wetsuit. One of them will help keep you warm, which means you can spend more time in the water. If you are new to this, let us help you make an informed decision on the best option for your water sports needs.


  1. Benefits of using wetsuits for paddle surfing
  2. Types of wetsuit, how to know which one is better?
  3. Which is the best for your SUP needs?
  4. Common features
    • thickness and warmth
    • neoprene
  5. Construction of the wetsuit for paddle surfing
    • seams
    • zippers
  6. How does it fit?
  7. How to put it on
    • And How to put on the suit booties
    • Care and maintenance

Benefits of using wetsuits for paddle surfing

The primary intention is to keep your body temperature very warm. However, these are not intended or designed to keep the body completely dry. Even today’s high-tech construction isolates the surfer from the icy environment and allows small amounts of water to penetrate the suit.

The suit traps a thin layer of water between the body and the case. Your body heat warms this layer of trapped moisture to a comfortable temperature. The better the suit fits and the thicker the neoprene material, the warmer and longer you can stay in the water.

Wetsuits should provide greater confidence in their ability to help keep you safe, whether above or below the surface of the water. The main advantages and benefits of having a wetsuit include maintaining comfortable warmth, aiding buoyancy, and conserving speed and energy.

The wetsuit makes swimming more accessible, thanks to the extra buoyancy it provides. As wetsuit material is more slippery than the skin, competitors find that wearing a well-fitting wetsuit reduces drag, allowing them to increase their speed. As a result, the suit also helps conserve energy due to lower resistance. The wetsuit helps triathletes save energy for the rest of the bike and race.

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Types of the wetsuit, how to know which one is better?

Wetsuits are designed for warmth as well as flexibility and freedom of movement. They are traditionally black, but there are various colors available on the market. Some suits do not have a zipper. But most of them have a zipper in the back. Wetsuits can be a simple vest or jacket or a full wetsuit.

Some offer more warmth, and others allow more flexibility. The choice will depend on the conditions in which you will dive, surf, or swim. Regardless of the size, color, and style of the wetsuit, the basic concept is to keep warm and comfortable.

A neoprene jacket is similar to a vest, although it has full sleeves that offer extra warmth for your arms and upper body. The jacket provides you with more protection from the elements. Jackets typically zip up the front and are made from 2mm/1mm thick material.

A short wetsuit allows the arms to be exposed for greater freedom of movement. However, the rest of the body is covered from the torso to the thighs. A short wetsuit protects and warms your core. It is a perfect outfit to wear all day. For example, it takes the chill out of a morning surf or swim but doesn’t get unbearably hot and uncomfortable as the day gets warmer.

A long wetsuit allows the arms to be exposed for greater freedom of movement while providing full-body coverage. It will enable easy paddling (on the SUP). The long wetsuit is ideal when the air is warm but cold water temperature.

How to choose the best wetsuit for stand up paddle

The spring suit covers the arms and legs, but not much of it. The spring suit has short legs and long or short arm sleeves, your choice. The entire body of the case and the long arms prevent entirely direct contact of the sun with your skin. The whole body also helps increase your core temperature.

A short-armed steam suit is a suit designed specifically for heat. It is usually made of (a combination) of 3mm and 2mm neoprene which covers the body, legs, and upper arms. The forearms are exposed.

A full suit, or long-arm steam suit, is a cold water suit. It covers the entire body and extremities and comes in various thicknesses. The choice of thickness will depend on the degree of heat needed and whether it is suitable for a particular environment. A 3mm/2mm wetsuit may choose for cooler temperatures and waters. A 6mm/5mm/4mm wetsuit should select for freezing weather. It will allow the individual to stay longer in the water.

Some full suits include attached hoods. To ensure comfort during an extended stay in the water, select a 6mm full suit with an attached hood, neoprene boots, neoprene gloves, and thermal lycra.

The downside of the thicker full suit is that it is the most expensive type of suit to buy, and it allows less freedom of movement, making it more challenging to paddle.

Which is the best for your SUP needs?

The best wetsuit is an individual choice. Good wetsuits are expensive, but the initial investment is often worth it.

First, determine the local aquatic environment and how long you want or need to be in it. The water temperature can choose the style and length of the suit. You can also determine the thickness of the neoprene. A generously sized, body-covering wetsuit provides warmth but can restrict freedom of movement. Frigid temperatures will dictate the need for a neoprene hood or cap, booties, and neoprene gloves.

How often you dive or surf may depend on how much you can afford, or are willing to pay, for a wetsuit and accessories. Or, where you use your wetsuit and how you use it may determine how much you can afford or are willing to spend on your wetsuit and accessories.

The most popular wetsuit options are spring suits and full suits on the market. If you can only afford one wetsuit, a full suit is the best option. It is more practical to be too hot than too cold.

Common features

Coldwater penetrates through the suit’s head, hand, and foot openings, the seams that join the suit, and through the zipper. Therefore, the effectiveness of the wetsuit will depend on the thickness of the wetsuit, the type of wetsuit, the type and location of the wetsuit zipper, and how well the wetsuit fits.

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thickness and warmth

The wetsuit you choose will generally depend on the water temperature environment in which it will be used. At the store, wetsuit labels include one, two, or three numbers in the wetsuit description that represent the thickness of the wetsuit (in millimeters). The thickness of the material varies depending on the part of the body it covers. It is why there may be one or more numbers on the SUP suit description tag.

For example, wetsuit material is often thinner in the arms and legs to allow more unrestrained, more unrestricted movement of the extremities than in the middle. Each number (thickness) is separated by a “/” or “0”. The more significant number (usually the first) refers to the thickness of the core or torso material.

Neoprene is inserted inside the outer rubber garment for maximum warmth, faster drying, and body heat retention. Some suits incorporate air chambers on the outside of the suit to trap heat. Washing is further prevented when the suit is fused with a water-blocking zipper.

A full suit with a 6/5/4 mm hood is the one that can use in icy water (6ºC and below). The core/torso section of this suit is 6mm thick. The thickness of the arms is 5 mm. The neoprene material for the legs is 4mm thick.

A 5/3mm wetsuit is a cold water wetsuit (10ºC to 7ºC) suitable for a surfer during winter. The neoprene core/torso material is 5mm thick. The arms and legs are 3mm thick.

How to choose the best wetsuit for stand up paddle

The 302 fullback suit label indicates the thickness of the suit with numbers separated by a “0”. This particular wetsuit is a spring/summer suit that suits temperatures of 15ºC, at 13ºC. The neoprene material is significantly thinner than winter and cold water suits. The core/torso material is 3mm thick. The arms and legs are 2mm thick.

The label on the 2mm S/S Full Back Wetsuit indicates that this spring (23ºC to 17ºC) wetsuit comprises 2mm thick neoprene.

The splash guard is designed for water temperatures above 24ºC.

A poor neck seal becomes a water scoop and fills with water. Others feel that a tight neck seal restricts their breathing. Wetsuits now offer a softer material lining for the neck without compromising the water seal.

Catch Panels are wetsuit forearm panels designed to increase propulsion and feel during the catchphrase of the swim.


Neoprene is a highly elastic, synthetic rubber material first used to construct wetsuits in the early 1970s. Today, the flexibility and strength of wetsuits are improved by combining lycra and spandex in neoprene.

Various pieces of neoprene are sewn together to construct the suit. The main types of neoprene are Super Stretch and water-repellent Super Stretch. The more Super Stretch the suit contains, the more expensive it usually is. The most affordable wetsuits are made with 30% Super Stretch. Super Stretch material typically covers the back, shoulders, and arms, where the most flexibility is needed (the torso and lower half of the suit are made from standard neoprene). More expensive, but tighter and lighter suits are made entirely of 100% Super Stretch material.

Different neoprene grades are used in wetsuits to provide degrees of thickness and flexibility.

Single-lined neoprene has a layer of nylon on the skin side of the material. It makes the wetsuit more elastic. It is mainly used in the neck, hands, and feet openings. Single-lined neoprene makes a wetsuit warmer by quickly draining water out of the mesh neoprene. Sharkskin, Meshskin, Smooth Skin, and Glide Skin are single-lined neoprene types that are layered to reduce washout. Single-lined neoprene is also used in the upper part of the suit. The drawback of single-lined neoprene is its inability to resist damage from sharp objects.

Double-lined neoprene sandwiches the neoprene material on both sides with a layer of nylon. The nylon on the outer face makes the neoprene more durable and resistant to sharp objects and other damage. The nylon on the inner side prevents the neoprene material from sticking to the skin.

Titanium placed between the neoprene and nylon helps retain body heat. Statistically, the titanium layer makes the suit about 24% warmer. Second-generation titanium is reportedly twice as effective as standard titanium.

Super Stretch, Stretch, X-Stretch Neoprene is more stretchy than traditional neoprene. Stretch neoprene suits are more flexible and require less energy expenditure. Wetsuits are less resistant, fit better, are warmer, and more comfortable.

Aero Core, Fire Skin, etc., is an elastic hollow polyester fiber fabric covering the suit’s neoprene. The fibers contain significant amounts of trapped air and are lightweight, repel water and dry quickly.

Some wetsuits have Kevlar reinforced knees for added protection. Others have a non-slip print or neoprene sewn into the knees.

Construction of the wetsuit for paddle surfing

It is essential not to be distracted by expensive and extravagant features that only add a minor enhancement to the suit (for example, a single-lined neoprene neck seal). Well-constructed winter suits have blind stitching/liquid sealing and stretch neoprene. The fit of the suit is also paramount. An expensive wetsuit bought for warmth is not a good investment if it lacks some liquid seal.


Good stitching makes the suit warmer, more comfortable, and more durable. Poor seams allow the ingress of water, which can chafe the skin or destroy the suit.

The warmest sewing method in wetsuit construction is then taped and sealed seam. In general, this method is necessary for waters below 12ºC. The panels are blind stitched and glued. Adhesive Tape is then applied over the sealed board on the inside of the suit. Sealed and taped seams prevent water from seeping through. They also trap hot air inside.

Overlock stitching is found on the cheapest wetsuits. It’s strong, but it tends to slip out of the wetsuit, which can be uncomfortable. The seam can also leave small needle holes that allow water or wind to enter.

The flat seam is a balanced stitch that runs both inside and outside the neoprene shell and suit. Does not provide a watertight seal. The seams are visible from the outside of the suit.

Glued and blind stitches are initially glued and then threaded with a needle on the same side. The stitches do not go through the entire material. Small holes may appear over time due to constant stretching and use.

Sealed seams are panels that have been blind stitched first and then glued to prevent water from entering the seam. Sealed seams are necessary if the wetsuit is subjected to the water below 15ºC.

Taped seams in the wrist and ankle areas are standard on most wetsuits. They allow the selected length of the wetsuit to be cut, which makes the suit easier to remove.

Liquid Tape is a rubber used to seal the inside and outside seams. The result is a 100% waterproof seam.

Neoprene tape is used inside the seams. The result is a more flexible 100% waterproof seal.


Zipperless suits prevent rinsing incidents through the zipper. Zipless suits also fit better and have greater flexibility and freedom of movement. The neoprene on the back, shoulders, and chest is more elastic due to the absence of a zipper. Apart from putting on and taking off the suit, the drawback is the tension that the neoprene supports in the area where the suit is pulled.

Each vendor has its system for putting on the suit without a zipper. In general, the neck opens wide to allow the person to put on the suit. It is then pulled up, one leg at a time (like pants). Repeat this exercise to get your arms into the suit. Although getting in and out of this suit can be tedious, it offers a warmer, more airtight feel.

Zip-up suits close from bottom to top or top to bottom (reverse zipper). An inverted zipper helps prevent slipping during the swim and makes it quick and easy to remove the suit.

A full zipper runs the entire length of the spine and offers the least flexibility. It starts at the small of the back and reaches the nape of the neck.

A half zipper runs half the length of the suit’s back and offers greater flexibility and range of motion. It starts in the middle of the back and closes at the nape of the neck.

The back zipper opens vertically down the back. Although it offers the easiest method of donning and doffing the suit, it can be stiff and significantly reduces flexibility.

The chest zipper opens horizontally at the top of the chest. These are popular because they offer more flexibility in the back and prevent water from passing through the suit during swimming.

How does it fit?

Ideally, a wetsuit should fit like a “second skin.” The suit must be tight enough to retain a layer of warm water between the body and the suit without cutting off circulation. It should also be flexible without restricting the legs, arms, or body movements. The sign of a good fit is when you can squat easily and freely move your arms, legs, and body without pulling, resistance, or restriction.

The wetsuit must fit snugly around the neck. Lycra worn under wetsuits helps prevent neck rashes.

Often the wetsuit can fit well but still isn’t comfortable or provides freedom of movement and flexibility. The wetsuit should only be slightly restrictive. To test the suit’s flexibility, raise your arms above your head and stretch your shoulders. The wetsuit should not create any resistance or pressure when the arms are raised. The suit is too small if you feel too much pressure when raising your arms.

Each brand manufactured cuts their wetsuits a little differently. Therefore, the standard sizes differ according to the brand. However, all manufacturers use the same letter key for their size charts (XXS, MT / XL, XXL, etc.) Know your height, hip, chest/chest, and waist measurements, and try on different suits of different sizes—brands before you buy them.

How to put it on

There is no right or wrong way to put on or take off a wetsuit. However, the suit should be permanently removed inside out.

There are other tips for putting on and taking off the suit:

  • Putting a plastic bag around the feet can help slide the legs through the suit.
  • If changing in a car park or equivalent location, do not put on/take off your wetsuit near rocks or on a rough surface.
  • Before putting it on, make sure the wetsuit is turned to the right side, and the zipper is fully open. 
  • Use your fingertips (not your fingernails) to put on the wetsuit.
  • If you wear a WET wetsuit, put plastic bags or socks over your hands and feet to help them slide into the wetsuit.
  • Take off watches and jewelry to avoid tears in the suit’s material.
  • Have a partner zip your wetsuit up and down for you to prevent snagging and putting pressure on the zip and wetsuit.
  • Pulling can easily damage the neoprene or rubber seams of the suit.

How to put on the suit booties

Wear booties under your suit to drain water and not get into the booties. Roll up the bottom of the wetsuit; put on the booties; lower the ankles of the wetsuit so they are above the top of the loot.

*Put on suit gloves last.

How to choose the best wetsuit for stand up paddle
How to choose the best wetsuit for stand up paddle

Care and maintenance

After each use, rinse the inside and outside of the suit with fresh water. Cold freshwater removes sand, dirt, and seawater.

Never wash your wetsuit in a washing machine. Hand washes the suit in freshwater. Never use bleach, detergent, stain remover, fabric softener, olive oil, etc., to clean the suit. Use a soap made especially for cleaning a wetsuit. Or, use a mild liquid soap, such as baby shampoo to clean your paddleboard suit. There are wetsuit care products on the market.

Do not leave wet suit after rinsing. Air-dry the suit. Never dry your wetsuit in a gas or electric dryer. Hang the wetsuit on a suitable hanger, such as a cover (never use a conventional hanger), and turn it inside out in the shade to dry. Sunlight and heat can damage neoprene. Once the inside of the suit is dry, turn them right side out to finish drying.

Store the wetsuit in a bag, or equivalent hanger, to reduce stress on the fabric. Wetsuits can be laid flat for storage. Never store the suit on a conventional hanger. Never fold the wetsuit for storage. If the neoprene gets wrinkled, it will never recover.

How to choose the best wetsuit for stand up paddle

The heat is not a friend of the fabric of the suit. The heat breaks down the material of the suit. Rinsing or washing the wetsuit in hot water will also break down the wetsuit material. It is preferable to use cold or lukewarm water. Never leave the suit in the sun (direct or indirect). The fabric of the suit deteriorates rapidly if exposed to UV rays. Dry the wetsuit in a cool shade from the sun.

Do not leave the wetsuit in the car, on the vehicle’s hood, or in the trunk of the car for an extended period on a scorching/hot day. Avoid storing your wetsuit in a place that is hot or can get hot. Never iron the suit. The SUP suit should never dry in a gas or electric dryer.

The care of the wetsuit is essential to maintain its tightness and make it last. Keep the suit as clean as possible. Keep it free of dirt or salt and surf wax that easily adheres to the fabric. There is no easy way to remove surf wax without damaging your wetsuit. It’s best to prevent the wax from sticking to the suit in the first place.

However, you can use an ice cube to harden the resin and roll it out. Do not rub the fabric. Do not use a brush or your fingers to remove the wax. The tissue is deaminated where it has been scratched. Never use alcohol, thinners, wax removers, or petroleum-based products.

How to choose the best wetsuit for stand up paddle

Occasionally your wetsuit will smell. For example, urinating on the suit does not damage the neoprene. But it will make the suit smell. In general, rinsing the suit in cool, fresh water and drying it thoroughly will relieve odor and keep the suit odor-free. If rinsing does not remove the smell from the suit, wash it in cool, lukewarm (not hot) water.

Use one of the commercially available wetsuit soaps specifically for cleaning a wetsuit, or use a small amount of baby shampoo. Hand washes the suit gently and carefully. Thoroughly rinse the wetsuit, making sure there is no detergent on it. Place the wetsuit on a suitable hanger (see above) and let it air dry.

How to choose the best wetsuit for stand up paddle

Last update on 2022-04-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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