Let’s start with the basics
How does a wetsuit work?
What a wetsuit basically does, is trapping a very thin layer of water in between your body and the suit. Your body generates warmth and heats this thin layer of water. The neoprene around this layer of water insulates this warmth and the thicker the neoprene you're wearing, the more insulation it will provide.
The wetsuit will work at its best when the layer of water is thin and when this layer isn't flushed away by cold water through holes or leaking points in your wetsuit. Cold water flushing into your wetsuit causes warmth & energy loss since your body needs to work to "re-heat" the thin layer of water.
So what we need to stay warm during winter (basically), is a wetsuit with enough neoprene, lining, a proper sealing and a tight fit to keep the flush of cold water out of your suit.
Winter wetsuits come mostly in 5mm and 6mm. On and under the arms the neoprene is often thinner; the thickness of this neoprene is found after the slash (/). Example: 5/4mm means 5mm of neoprene around the torso and 4mm on the arms. The thicker the neoprene, the more warmth but also the less flexibility.
It is not only important what is on the outside. It is also about what is on the inside, what makes a wetsuit warm. A wetsuit with a lining cost you more, but in winter time it is nice to have at least lining on the core parts of your body, to keep you warm. Besides, it also dries quicker. And you do not want to put on a wet wetsuit in winter. Every brand has there own type of lining. Rip Curl has its flash lining, Vissla has its thermal fiber lining, Manera its magma fleece etc.
Seams are necessary to make your wetsuit fit well. But seams are also tricky because this is the first place where cold water will flush into when the sealing of the seams isn't done properly. Proper sealing results is less waist of energy to keep the thin layer of water warm.
There are many ways to seal a wetsuit, we're going to explain you the most common ones:
- Glued and Blind Stitched: At first, the neoprene panels are being glued to each other. Afterwards the seams are getting stitched "blind" to each other. "Blind" means that the stitching is only halfway through the neoprene which results in a 95% waterproof seam. This way of sealing is also known as GBS. "Normal" stitching would result in many holes in your wetsuit. (we don't want this in winter)
- Glued Blind Stitched and fully taped: In addition to the GBS the seams are equipped with a flexible taping on the inside of all of the seams. This improves the sealing, makes the seams more durable and it also improves the insulation.
- "Liquid seams and taped": After blind stitching the neoprene panels to each other. A very strong "liquid seam" is used on the outside in combination with taping on the inside to make the wetsuit 100% waterproof. This is the most high-end way to seal a wetsuit.
Surf minded wetsuits
RIP CURL FLASBOMB 5/4 HOODED
Rip curl is known for bringing the heat, the Flashbomb wetsuit is known to keep you warm and cozy during the shred sessions in the North-sea. With all high end materials and knowledge the Flashbomb is still one of the warmest and most comfortable winter wetsuits. The main feature of the Flasbomb is the inside Flashlining which is very warm, quick drying and very comfortable.
E BOMB 43 Z/FREE HOOD STM
The Rip Curl E-bomb series is designed to provide maximum stretch and to stay as light as possible while in the water. This results in a high performance wetsuit with ultimate freedom of movement.
Kitesurf minded wetsuits
MANERA MAGMA METEOR HOODED - FZ 5,4,3MM
The Manera MAGMA HOODED is the northern warriors best friend. Featuring a 2mm windproof Magma hood attached to a 5.4.3mm Magma suit, you can hit the spot all year round even in the worst conditions. The Meteor Magma is built for the cold and windy winter days. The Magma+ is one of the best material out there: not only its fleece works as an effective insulator and heat generator, but it is manufactured to be extremely flexible to keep even the thickest suit very stretchy. In addition, it dries 30% faster than a classic fleece, you’ll never have to put on a wet wetsuit again.
MYSTIC VOLTT HOODED FULLSUIT 6/4/3MM FZIP
With the Mystic Voltt Hooded Fullsuit 6/4/3mm wetsuit it simply can't be too cold. It's made to keep you warm in the most extreme conditions. The 6mm neoprene in combination with the flaremesh stretch-taping and the Flaremesh+ lining provides warmth and keeps the warmth inside the wetsuit. The re-inforced mesh panel on the back protects against the wind-chill. Long story short- you will never freeze your balls of with this hot suit!
A great wetsuit will definitely keep you warm during the colder surf days but to maintain the warmth or when it is really cold you will need boots, hood and at the end gloves. We advise; to start adding the accessories in the exact order above, until it comes to the point you have to wear it all. You first start to get cold feet. Then most warmth you loose through your head. Gloves at the end, just because we believe that is the most annoying accessory to wear;)
Same with wetsuits you have boots, hoods, gloves in different kind of thickness, lining and fitting. And there is also a difference between kitesurf/windsurf accessories and surf-oriented accessories. It depends on what you're looking for. Warmth always comes with less flexibility. Your preference's is all that matters in all cases considering neoprene. We show you the differences and we try to give you suggestions what works best when putting on your neoprene accessories.
Types and differences? The difference between kitesurf and surf boots, mostly is about the sole. Kitesurf boots have a more stiffer and harder sole, that makes sure your feet don’t move so much while pushing into your strap. Surfing shoes have a bit more softer sole for optimal board feeling.
Some shoes come with a round toe, where all your toes are free and able to touch one another therefore generates more heat. Then you've got a split toe, in this boot your big toe is separated from the rest, which gives you a little more stability since your feet won't be able to slip as much.
Thickness? Neoprene boots come in 5mm or sometimes 7mm for winter. The fleece lining the brands are using for the wetsuits you mostly find back in their boots as well. When you use a 5mm with lining, you keep your flexibility and warmth and you usually don’t need to reach out to the 7mm.
How to put on?
Everyone know this feeling when your boot is full with water. Some boots have a strap on the top. The strap prevents water entering from the top of the boot. To get as less water in as possible, we put our boots under the wetsuit. So when your wetsuits is on, you pull up the legs over the boots. No matter surfing or kitesurfing.
A kitesurf wetsuit usually comes with extra straps attached to the wetsuit. Close the straps around your ankle. With an aqua flush the water flushes out anyway, without an aqua flush at least the water does not go straight into your boots.
Types and differences? There is a big difference between surfing and kitesurfing gloves. Surfing gloves can be a bit thicker, because you do not need to squeeze in anything. Kitesurfing gloves we prefer less MM as possible. Kitesurfing gloves can be pre-curved. So when you're holding the bar you don't have to work as much to keep your finger in that bar position. Which results in less cramp.
Thickness? When you want one glove for both surfing and kitesurfing, try to choose gloves which are thinner in MM, so like up to 3mm. When you need warmer gloves for kitesurfing in high-winter with 5mm neoprene, you are better off with a special kitesurfing glove that is precurved.
How to put on? There is no difference in putting on the gloves whether surfing or kitesurfing. Same like with the boots, we put them under the wetsuit. If you have your wetuit on, roll up your arms a bit, put your gloves on, and put the wetsuit arms over the gloves.
Click on any glove below to see the full description or click here to see our stock in gloves.
Check your size, the thickness, the lining and fit.
Hopefully this article has cleared up some questions you might have had in buying a wetsuit and neoprene accessories which fits your needs. If not, you could always send us a mail with what you're looking for through this link and we'll get back at you with some fitting options.