Placeholder
Wetsuit size guide

Wetsuit size guide

Trying to figure out what size wetsuit you need can be a little tricky, especially if you're buying online. Even if you can try on the wetsuit in person, it's not always easy to tell if it's the right fit without knowing what you should be looking for.

The good news is there are a few different ways to determine your wetsuit size. With a little effort, it's easy to find a wetsuit that fits like a glove - and once you do, you'll be able to surf for longer with greater freedom of movement. We've curated our size charts to ensure anyone can achieve this with the various brands we stock.

We have organised the size charts of the different wetsuit brands that we currently stock, so you can quickly compare sizes at a glance. These are meant as a guide only, and if you have any questions whatsoever, please don't hesitate to get in touch with our knowledgeable team via (01736) 757025 or info@downthelinesurf.co.uk

If you need more guidance, we have created our quick guide to help you make a more informed decision about your next wetsuit below.

How a Wetsuit should fit:

The most important thing to look for in a wetsuit is a secure and tight fit that prevents cold water from flushing into the suit. A wetsuit should feel like a second skin, there should be no folds or baggy areas that can allow water to collect and pool. A good fit all over is paramount to keep the ocean out.

A wetsuit should also feel comfortable and not restrict your movement, the key areas to check for a good fit are the shoulders and hips, you should be able to move your hips and shoulders through their full range of motion with no issues. The wetsuit should be long enough in the body to follow the contour of your back. If it's too short, it will go straight and will not "hug" your lumbar region. This will restrict movement in your shoulders and will allow water to collect in the back of the suit.


Key signs that a wetsuit is a bad fit:
  • Loose seals
  • A large gap behind the lower back
  • Knees, wrists, ankles, armpits and other body landmarks don't align with the wetsuit
  • Great difficulty entering and exiting the wetsuit
  • Restricted movement
  • Stretching over the shoulder areas.
Putting on a wetsuit

This is an art form in itself, and if it's the first time you are putting on a wetsuit, it will be a bit of a challenge.

Tips to make getting a wetsuit on easier:

  • Get the ankles and calves lined up first, and the legs will basically fold or roll in to place without too much effort.
  • Make sure your ankles, knees, groin and waist are aligned before pulling the wetsuit over your torso and entering your arms.
  • Try to avoid pinching the wetsuit with your fingernails digging in, as this can cause tearing if not careful, instead try and move the material with as gentle a grip as possible.


Wetsuit Thickness

This is a rough temperature guide as the ideal wetsuit thickness can vary on an individual basis, some of us will always feel the cold more than others and vice versa. There's always that one guy wearing a hood in the middle of summer and another going bootless on a frosty winter's day.

Here in the UK (specifically Cornwall) we often use:
  • A 5/4mm December to March (winter)
  • A 4/3mm April to June (spring)
  • A 3/2mm June to September (summer)
  • A 4/3mm September to December (autumn)

The conditions on the day can also affect how warm you feel, variables such as wind chill, air temperature and cloud cover can also have a noticeable impact on how warm you feel in the water.

A factor often overlooked is your activity level, the cold often sneaks up on you when you find yourself sitting around waiting.

An example of this scenario is surfing a spot that requires very little paddling and long gaps between sets, in this situation you might consider a thicker suit or adding gloves and boots etc to keep you warm whilst you wait for waves.

The opposite is also true, if you are working hard, you will warm up.


Wetsuit Entry Systems

Back Zip

The classic wetsuit design, back zip wetsuits feature a large zip that runs from the lower back all the way up to the neck. The main advantage of a back zip wetsuit is the ability to manually adjust the fit around the neck.

Back zip wetsuits are the easiest to get on of all the designs as they offer the widest opening when the zip is undone. Saying this, the actual zipping up process can be tricky unless your triceps are very flexible. Asking a fellow surfer in the car park "can you zip me up please?" is commonplace.

Chest Zip

Chest zip wetsuits feature a small horizontal zip across the front of the suit, that secures the neck and collar in place. Arguably the most popular wetsuit design, they require a unique technique to get them on or off; ensure the wetsuit is fully pulled up over your waist and the knees are in the correct position, then enter one arm at a time before pulling the collar over your head. Once you get used to it, it's a piece of cake.

The main advantage of a chest zip is the overall fit and the ease of getting on and off on your own. The lack of a back zip makes the torso more flexible.

Zip Free

Zip free wetsuits are the most flexible wetsuits and are secured using a lock and slide cord design which is woven into the shoulder and neck seam. open this fully when getting in/out, and adjust the cord to tighten accordingly. They offer greater freedom of movement than zipped wetsuits and feature minimal panels.

Can be a little tricky to get on at first as they have an even smaller entry than a chest zip wetsuit.


General Sizing Advice:

Sizing Tips for Men

Men's wetsuit sizes are provided as shirt sizes, meaning they range from XS to 3XL. Short and tall cuts are also given to accommodate people between sizes, signified by an ’S’ or ’T’ after the size (e.g. ‘ST’ for ‘Small Tall’ or ‘LS’ for ‘Large Short’). 

The most important factors in sizing wetsuits for men are height, waist and chest measurements, as it is in the fit in the torso that is pivotal in the suit's ability to keep you warm. 

Guys will sometimes feel a tightness in areas such as the shoulders and thighs when first trying on the suit, but it is worth keeping in mind that the neoprene will give a little after a couple of uses, so this is not really an issue, as long as it doesn't feel so tight it's restrictive or uncomfortable.

Sizing Tips For Women

Women’s wetsuit sizes are provided as dress sizes, meaning a ‘4’ is a dress size 4. It is worth noting that the sizes printed on the wetsuits are often in US sizes, we display the sizes of our women's wetsuits in both US and UK, so there is no confusion, for example when buying a UK size 6 it will appear like this: 4 (UK6).

In instances where your size varies between the top and bottom half of your body, opt for the larger size as the neoprene should be able to stretch to give an even fit all over. 

As with the men’s, women’s suits are also cut in short (’S’) and tall (’T’) options. So an ‘8S’ is an ‘8 Short’ and a ‘10T’ is a ’10 Tall’.

  



Does wetsuit thickness affect the size?

Wetsuits sizes are not influenced by the thickness of the neoprene, if you are a size M in one brand, you will be an M throughout the entire wetsuit range of that particular brand.


Brand Sizing Guides

Wetsuit size guide

Wetsuit size guide

Carbon-neutral shipping with Shopify Planet
Carbon-neutral shipping on all orders
280kg
shipping emissions removed
That's like...
717
miles driven by an average gasoline-powered car
Powered by Shopify Planet
Just added to your wishlist:
My Wishlist
You've just added this product to the cart:
Go to cart page