Wetsuit sizing hack #1

Does your thick winter wetsuit make your shoulders burn? It’s enough to make people swear off winter surfing. So what can you do? Here are some hacks that I discovered that made a game changing difference (such that paddling in my 5/4 isn’t too much worse than paddling in my 3/2). 

The issue with a 5/4 is that as you step up from a 4/3, that extra thickness adds a ton of extra resistance. Imagine a thick rubber band vs a thin rubber band pulling against your arms when you try to paddle. It especially makes the recovery portion of the stroke (when you finish pulling through and have to lift your arm back forward over the water) extremely taxing. 

The simple solution? Size up your wetsuit. If you wear a medium, wear a large. This will dramatically increase the extra space in your chest and give your shoulders significantly less resistance when paddling. 

I know what you’re thinking. But won’t my wetsuit flush more now? If you’re wearing a hood, nope. As long as you cinch your hood tight, it’s the same. What about all the extra folds of neoprene you have around your belly? It may look a little saggy, but those folds don’t really fill up with water, and just make it easier for you to move. I would gladly trade the slightly baggier look for additional flexibility. Play around with short and tall sizes as well to get the right fit in terms of length. If you find that going from a medium to a large has too much length - try a large short. 

This one change made a night and day difference for my winter surfing. I’ve had 5/4s that feel more flexible and better to surf in than some of my older 4/3s. 

I should note though that if you’re wearing a 4/3 or 3/2, I don’t tweak the size. Generally a good modern 4/3 and 3/2 nowadays has ample flexibility if you pick the right one (more on this on next week’s post). If you’re wearing a 2/2 springsuit however, you may consider sizing that a step smaller because those will stretch over time and flush more. But 5/4 and above I would size up.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.