Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) surfing has gained significant popularity over the past few years, as it offers a unique blend of tranquility and adrenaline. As you embark on your SUP surfing journey, choosing the right wetsuit is essential to ensure you stay comfortable, warm, and safe. This friendly guide is designed to help you save money and make the best choice in selecting the perfect wetsuit for your SUP surfing adventures.
Consider the Water Temperature
The first step in choosing the right wetsuit is understanding the water temperature in the areas you plan to SUP surf. Wetsuits come in various thicknesses, measured in millimeters (mm), with thicker suits providing more insulation for colder water. Here’s a general guide:
- 2mm: Suitable for water temperatures above 65°F (18°C)
- 3/2mm: Suitable for water temperatures between 58-65°F (14-18°C)
- 4/3mm: Suitable for water temperatures between 52-58°F (11-14°C)
- 5/4/3mm: Suitable for water temperatures between 43-52°F (6-11°C)
- 6/5/4mm: Suitable for water temperatures below 43°F (6°C)
Keep in mind that these are general guidelines, and personal preferences may vary.
Wetsuit Style: Full Suit or Spring Suit?
Wetsuits come in two main styles: full suits and spring suits. A full suit covers your entire body, including arms and legs, providing maximum insulation and protection. This style is ideal for colder water conditions or those who tend to get cold easily.
Spring suits, on the other hand, usually have short sleeves and legs, making them suitable for warmer water temperatures. For SUP surfing, a full suit is often preferred due to its added protection and insulation.
Choose the Right Fit
A well-fitted wetsuit is crucial for both comfort and performance. When trying on wetsuits, ensure they fit snugly without restricting movement. The suit should be tight enough to minimize water flushing but not so tight that it causes discomfort or impairs your mobility. If possible, try on different wetsuit brands, as sizes and fits may vary.
Neoprene is the primary material used in wetsuits, and its quality can vary significantly between brands. Higher-quality neoprene offers better stretch, durability, and insulation. While premium wetsuits may have a higher price tag, they can be a worthwhile investment for frequent SUP surfers seeking enhanced comfort and longevity.
Seams and Stitching
Well-constructed seams are essential to a wetsuit’s durability and performance. Seams can be stitched, glued, or taped, with each method offering different levels of water resistance and flexibility. Here are three common seam types:
- Flatlock: Suitable for warmer water, these seams are stitched through both neoprene layers, resulting in a flat, comfortable finish.
- Glued and Blindstitched (GBS): This method offers better water resistance, as the seams are glued together and then stitched without fully penetrating the neoprene.
- Taped: The most watertight option, taped seams are glued and blindstitched, then reinforced with a neoprene tape on the inside for maximum durability and water resistance.
Many wetsuits offer additional features, such as built-in hoods, knee pads, and back zippers. For SUP surfing, a wetsuit with a back zipper is generally preferred, as it makes it easier to get in and out of the suit. Additionally, knee pads can provide additional durability and protection, especially if you plan on kneeling on your board frequently.
Price and Budget
Wetsuits come in a wide range of prices, and it’s essential to consider your budget when making a decision. While higher-priced wetsuits often offer better quality and performance, there are still affordable options available that provide excellent value. It’s important to balance cost with your personal needs and how often you plan to SUP surf. Investing in a higher-quality wetsuit may be worth it if you plan on spending significant time in the water.
As environmental awareness increases, many wetsuit manufacturers are creating eco-friendly options made from sustainable materials, such as limestone-based neoprene or recycled materials. If being environmentally conscious is important to you, look for brands that prioritize eco-friendly production methods and materials.
Choosing the right wetsuit for SUP surfing involves considering factors such as water temperature, wetsuit style, fit, neoprene quality, seam construction, additional features, price, and eco-friendliness. By taking the time to research and try on different options, you can find the perfect wetsuit to keep you comfortable, warm, and protected during your SUP surfing sessions. Armed with this knowledge, you’re now ready to hit the waves and enjoy the exhilarating world of SUP surfing.