Wetsuit Advice

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  • Wetsuit Advice
  • Premier Icon jam bo

    as long as the seams are taped most suits will be relatively warm. I run a 4/3 in winter in the SW but I guess in aberdeen thats probably a summer suit.

    more money gets you thinner and more flexible.


    also get a rash vest/look into

    understand seams (you want blindstitched and taped and glued – imho – ie totally waterproof and ‘best/awaits arguements’ join) and zips (you want a semi dry zip imho – they also do dry – see below ) – note also the batflap/etc design where the zip has a built in sealed flap behind it – if they are not waterproof then you will flush cold water through – this is generally bad unless you are in a very warm climate …

    fit esp neck – ditto with flushing – esp with speed dunks, you want the suit tight everywhere as the less water the suit holds the less heat you will loose to it, don’t tuck your suit into your boots (well do the first time) and a good fitting suit is a bit of a fight get on (impe – in my portly experience …)

    I used to use 5/3+rash vest in Devon in winter/spring(sea is coldest in Spring), but the newer suit I have is 4/3 (+ rash vest) with an sdz (plastic – dry zips (ime)tend to be brass, aren’t that bendy/comfy and a right pita to do – esp yourself – by pita I mean impossible….) and a bat flap and that does me for 2 hrs by which time I’m too tired to safely continue

    also consider kneepads etc – ie on high use areas.

    as above re money (but checkout the last yaers models etc etc

    also ime neoprene hat/balaclava

    Premier Icon jam bo

    well fitted suit shouldnt need a rash vest, i havent used one for years.

    if you have the cash then the patagonia merino lined suits are supposed to be very very nice.


    Looking to get my first wetsuit for use in the north sea (Aberdeen) for SUP and kite surfing. I don’t know much about wetsuits, what should I be looking for and what sort of thickness for use in fair weather.



    I’m a North Sea (Yorkshire) surfer so, although not quite as cold as up by you, have some idea – and it is significantly colder than in the South West.

    I realise that as a conventional surfer I spend a lot more time in the water – on in fact half in and half out sat on my board waiting for sets – than you will so you need to adjust my advice on that basis.

    If you are just getting one suit I’d get a good quality 5/3, make sure it has glued, blind stitched and taped seams and some sort of ultra stretch neoprene. Beyond that the fit is the most important thing, you need to go to you local surf shop and try and few on. I would also listen to their advice, they will know the local conditions best – and/or talk to some local surfers etc.

    I’d have thought a good 5/3 will be ok in all but the coldest of winter days – but may be a bit toastie in late summer/autumn although up at Aberdeen maybe not! – but you always duck under and flush some water through if you get too hot.

    You will probably need boots and gloves too – certainly for SUP. Lots of people wear hoods too through winter and spring.

    I have 4 wetsuits now that I uses for different conditions but that takes me from winter in the North East of England to summer in France – but better to start with one good one.


    I (live in Aberdeenshire, surf in Banff and sail in Stonehaven) have a couple of different wetsuits that get used regularly. A C-Skins (very nice and much warmer than my old ones – Typhoon and Billabong) session 5/4mm and a 4/3mm Sola shorty. I have surfed in the snow in January with the c-skins and been plenty warm enough. If I was to replace it I’d probably go for the newer 5/4mm Wired C-Skins to get the nice neck closure. 5/4mm is overkill on a nice summer day though. I use my 4/3mm shorty when sailing in the summer but I think it would be too chilly for kitesurfing (don’t spend much time in the water sailing – usually). So in that case a nice 4/3mm full would be a good bet. My cousins use and swear by the Patagonia one’s and my wife uses an o’neill that she really likes.


    I use an Ion semi dry 5/5 in North Wales all year round, great when it’s cold and if it gets really hot (that one day in the year) then I open the zip and flush the suit to cool down.

    Premier Icon brassneck

    Lots of people wear hoods too through winter and spring.

    Plus one on that, a proper cold head isn’t good for your thinking straight. Probably OK without for SUP even up there, but if you end up dunked a lot I’d consider it.


    My mates who surfed up there were in 5mm all year round.
    Have a look at Snugg wetsuits. British made, great quality, fantastic service and generally tip top.

    Premier Icon manton69

    I have an old (10+ years) Ripcurl 5-3 zipless hooded suit brought when surfing in the Canadian Pacific. This is warm and I have surfed in it in water temperatures down around 2-3 deg C and still has to take the hood off and get some water in to the suit to cool down. So it is the design and fit that will have as much to do with how warm you are.

    Do try them on as well as the fit varies from company to company.

    Premier Icon bigblackshed

    If buying off the peg, try on lots of different makes. Each manufacturers sizing is different. Fit is more important than brand, although some materials do seem better than others.

    For the North Sea I’d be in a 5/4/3 with 5mm boots and gloves. Also a hood too. You can get vests with built in hoods. For those balmy summer days you might be able to ditch the hood. 😯 It’s a different ball game up North and the east coast. Winter in the SW and S Wales would be the same, but the hoods only come out around Xmas and are put away by March. In the summer I can be in neoprene shorts and a 1mm rash vest for up to a couple of hours.

    For off the peg suits I’d try a Patagonia or West. But only if it fits well. If you can stretch to a made to measure then Snugg, based in Newquay Cornwall, or Second Skin, based in Braunton near Croyde in Devon. I very nearly bought a Second Skin suit but they had one last Salomon on the rack that fitted like a glove.


    Old North Sea surfer here. Never been out for about 10 years but rip curl elasto suits were the dogs back then.

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