Wetsuits are an essential piece of equipment for any surfer in the southern California area as our waters are subject to seasonal temperature change. Summer months can often bring water temps that exceed 70 degrees that do not require the use of a wetsuit. However the Humboldt Current that flows from Peru to our California coast brings frigid waters and surfing in 55-degree water more often than not requires the use of a wetsuit.
Wetsuits are comprised of neoprene, which is a synthetic rubber that is produced by the polymerization of chloroprene. It gives surfers the opportunity to stay in cold water longer than they normally would without the use of a wetsuit. Today’s wetsuits are made from a super stretchy neoprene that gives a surfer more range of motion and flexibility than wetsuits of old. Older wetsuits tend to be stiffer and thus paddling, popping up, and range of motion in the suit are made more difficult.
The thickness of the wetsuit is also crucial in determining the amount of warmth the suit will have while in the water. A 3.2-millimeter suit is the standard wetsuit for California waters as it has the baseline ability to keep you warm in water as low as 55 degrees. If you have less body fat or are susceptible to cold a 4.3-millimeter suit is more appropriate for colder water. At Learn To Surf we have both 3.2 and 4.3 millimeter suits in stock as water temperatures can change with little notice.
The brand of wetsuit is also essential as there are a lot of options to choose from when using a wetsuit. I have been surfing all my life and have used every major wetsuit brand there is on the market. Some wetsuit makers have styles that fit certain body types better and others more importantly craft a better wetsuit that will ultimately last and keep one warm. I have found in my experience that Rip Curl makes the best wetsuit on the market today as the quality and durability exceeds all its competitors. Their wetsuits dry faster and have a high quality neoprene that keeps one warmer in the water. There are a lot of options out there, but I personally recommend using them above all others. If you are interested in learning more check out http://www.ripcurl.com/us/shop/categories/wetsuits/ and we only use this brand here at Learn To Surf.