Best Wetsuits for Southern California Surfing

What’s up, fellow wave riders? It’s time to talk about the unsung hero of Southern California surfing: wetsuits! Nothing beats riding those killer swells under the SoCal sun, but let’s be real here, even paradise can get a bit chilly sometimes. Fear not, for we are about to dive into the best wetsuits to keep you warm, comfortable, and stylin’ on those waves! Hang tight, amigos, as we embark on this epic quest.

Best Wetsuits for Southern California Surfing

The best wetsuits for Southern California surfing are those that provide a balance of warmth, flexibility, and durability. Opt for wetsuits with thicknesses ranging from 3/2mm to 4/3mm, as they offer sufficient insulation without restricting movement. Additionally, consider features such as sealed or taped seams for extra water protection, and choose from reputable brands including O’Neill, Rip Curl, and XCEL for high-quality products.

Understanding Wetsuit Thickness & Materials

Before we get to our top picks of wetsuits for Southern California surfing, let’s understand wetsuit thickness and materials better. Wetsuit thickness is measured in millimeters (mm) and typically mentioned in two or three numbers separated by a slash. For example, you might see “3/2mm” or “4/3mm” wetsuits. The first number refers to the thickness around the torso, while the second number represents the thickness of the arms and legs. A thicker torso provides more warmth, while thinner arms and legs allow for better flexibility.

Wetsuits are made from neoprene, a synthetic rubber that is excellent at insulating the body in cold water. The thicker the neoprene, the warmer the suit, but it also becomes less flexible. This can affect your performance when going for that killer wave.

The Seasons and Southern California Surfing

In Southern California, the water temperature can vary significantly across the seasons. During the warmer summer months, the water can be in the upper 60s to low 70s (°F), while winter months can see temperatures dipping into the mid-50s. Based on the season, you might need different wetsuits to suit various water temperatures. Here are some rules of thumb to follow for choosing the perfect wetsuit thickness:

Summer & Early Fall Adventures

For summer and early fall, a 3/2mm full wetsuit offers enough warmth and flexibility for most Southern California swells. In some hotter spots or when the air temperature is scorching, you might even consider a 2mm springsuit or a wetsuit top paired with board shorts.

Winter & Early Spring Sessions

Winter sessions call for thicker wetsuits due to the cooler water temperatures. A 4/3mm full wetsuit makes an excellent choice to keep you warm and comfortable during the chillier months. You might even want to add some wetsuit accessories like booties, gloves, and a hood for those extra frosty days.

Top Wetsuit Choices For Southern California Surfing

Now that we’ve got the basics covered, let’s dive into the best wetsuits for Southern California, all of which can work wonderfully whether you’re catching epic waves or just browsing used surfboards for sale.

O’Neill Hyperfreak 3/2mm Fullsuit

The O’Neill Hyperfreak 3/2mm Fullsuit is a top pick for warmer months in Southern California. This high-quality wetsuit features TechnoButter 3 neoprene, known for its excellent stretch and flexibility. It’s a lightweight suit that doesn’t sacrifice warmth, making it ideal for extended surf sessions.

Rip Curl Flash Bomb 4/3mm Fullsuit

Built for the chillier months, the Rip Curl Flash Bomb 4/3mm Fullsuit offers both warmth and flexibility. With E5 Flash Lining and E5 neoprene, it’s comfortable and stretchy, enabling you to paddle into those winter swells with ease. The wetsuit features sealed seams and a chest zip for added water protection.

XCEL Comp X 4/3mm Fullsuit

The XCEL Comp X 4/3mm Fullsuit is another winter favorite. Known for its high-performance features, the Comp X keeps you warm without restricting movement. It utilizes XCEL’s Channel Flex technology and Radiant Rebound lining, offering excellent insulation and flexibility. The watertight chest zip and sealed seams also ensure that you stay dry and warm during those coldwater surf sessions.

Important Features to Look For in a Wetsuit

Beyond thickness and brand, consider these essential features when picking the perfect wetsuit for Southern California surfing:

Sealed or Taped Seams

Sealed or taped seams provide an extra layer of protection against water, essential for staying warm and comfortable. While most modern wetsuits offer these features, it’s still crucial to check the specs before making a purchase.

Chest Zip vs. Back Zip

Chest and back zip wetsuits vary in how they’re fastened. Chest zip suits usually offer better water protection, while back zip models may be easier to put on and take off. It’s largely a matter of preference, so try on a few different styles to see what works best for you.

Fit & Comfort

A well-fitting wetsuit is essential for staying warm and performing your best. Make sure the wetsuit fits snugly without restricting your movement. Try various brands and sizes, as each can have different measurements and specifications.


Overall, the best wetsuits for Southern California surfing should provide an ideal balance of warmth, flexibility, and durability. Whether you’re enjoying the summer swells in a 3/2mm fullsuit or braving the winter waves in a 4/3mm fullsuit, knowing the features to look for and choosing reputable brands will ensure that you have a fantastic time in the water. Just remember to stay mindful of water temperatures, water protection features, and fit when deciding on the perfect wetsuit for your next session. Happy surfing!

Women’s Wetsuits For SoCal Surfing

Hey there, lady shredders! We haven’t forgotten about you. Luckily, the same wetsuit thicknesses, materials, and features that apply to the men’s wetsuits are true for women’s suits as well. Here are a couple of top picks specifically tailored for our female surfers:

Roxy 3/2mm Syncro Back Zip Fullsuit

The Roxy 3/2mm Syncro Back Zip Fullsuit offers ladies a comfortable and stylish option for summer surfing in Southern California. With a combination of F’N Lite and Thermal Smoothie neoprene, it offers excellent insulation and durability with minimal water absorption. Plus, the cute Roxy logo and varying colors might just help you stand out in the lineup!

Billabong 4/3mm Furnace Synergy Chest Zip Fullsuit

For the cooler months, the Billabong 4/3mm Furnace Synergy Chest Zip Fullsuit is an excellent choice. It features Furnace Graphene lining to keep you toasty on those chilly winter days, while the Superflex 250 neoprene provides flexibility and stretch. The GBS (Glued and Blind Stitched) seams offer a watertight connection, allowing you to brave colder waters in style.

Wetsuit Care and Maintenance

To ensure your wetsuit serves you well for years to come, follow these tips for proper care and maintenance:

  • Rinse your wetsuit thoroughly with freshwater after each surf session to remove salt and sand.
  • Hang your wetsuit inside out, away from direct sunlight, to facilitate proper drying.
  • Be mindful of zippers and other closures, making sure they are free of sand and debris.
  • Consider using a wetsuit cleaner to remove odors and maintain the neoprene’s flexibility.
  • Store your wetsuit flat or on a wide hanger to avoid creasing and damaging the neoprene.


Alright, SoCal wave chasers, that wraps up our guide to the best wetsuits for Southern California surfing. Remember, the key is to balance warmth, flexibility, and durability. Armed with the knowledge about wetsuit thicknesses, materials, and features, you can now choose the perfect suit for any adventure, from Malibu to San Diego. Now grab your board, rock your wetsuit proudly, and keep the endless summer of SoCal surfing alive. Cowabunga!

FAQ Section: Wetsuits for SoCal Surfing

We know you’ve got questions, fellow wave riders! Below, you’ll find a handy FAQ to address your burning questions about wetsuits for Southern California surfing. From sizes to materials, and everything in between, we’ve got your back!

1. How do I choose the right wetsuit size?

Wetsuit sizing varies by brand, so be sure to consult each brand’s specific size chart. Ideally, your wetsuit should fit snugly without restricting your movement. Take note of your height, chest, waist, and hip measurements, and compare them to the size chart. When in doubt, it’s better to try on the wetsuit or consult the brand’s customer service.

2. Can I wear a wetsuit for both surfing and diving?

While wetsuits can technically be used for both surfing and diving, each activity has unique requirements. Surfing wetsuits prioritize flexibility to allow for optimal movement, while diving suits focus more on insulation and buoyancy. It’s recommended to have separate wetsuits for each activity based on your specific needs.

3. How do I put on and take off a wetsuit correctly?

Start by folding the wetsuit at the waist and stepping in one leg at a time. Pull the suit up over your torso, and slip your arms into the sleeves. Adjust the suit for comfort and make sure it sits snugly against your body. To remove the wetsuit, start with the sleeves and legs by pulling them inside-out and working your way down to your feet. Avoid using excessive force or sharp objects, as this can damage the wetsuit.

4. What are wetsuit booties, gloves, and hoods for?

Wetsuit booties, gloves, and hoods are accessories designed to provide additional warmth and protection in colder waters. Booties cover your feet, gloves protect your hands, and hoods shield your head and neck. These accessories are typically made from neoprene and are recommended for colder surf sessions.

5. How long should a wetsuit last?

With proper care and maintenance, a high-quality wetsuit should last several years. Factors that affect a wetsuit’s lifespan include usage frequency, exposure to sunlight, and proper storage. Following care instructions and promptly addressing any damage can significantly extend the life of your wetsuit.

6. Can I repair a damaged wetsuit?

Yes, small damages like tears and punctures can often be repaired with wetsuit repair kits or neoprene glue. For more significant damages or seam issues, consider seeking professional repair services. Always address damage promptly to prevent further tearing or worsening of the issue.

7. Should I buy a wetsuit with a built-in hood?

A built-in hood can be a practical choice for colder water as it increases warmth and minimizes water flushing. However, it is less versatile than a separate hood, which can be removed and used with different wetsuits. Consider your surfing habits and local water temperatures when deciding whether a built