As winter temps in the south drop faster than the economy, it’s time for most surfers to start thinking about winter wetsuits. Should you upgrade now? Hold out a little longer and wait until next year? Or get through most of winter and pick something up on sale in September? (lets be honest, they’ll go on sale in June).

One of the other pressing questions is ‘which wetsuit should I buy?‘ This Winter Wetsuits Buyers Guide should make all of those questions a little easier. To help better cover the product (and price) offerings out there we’ve split them across 3 price options and are only taking into consideration 3mm x 2mm options to make it easier to show whats out there.

Today’s Winter Wetsuits Buyers Guide covers suits in the $500 and over price bracket and runs from most expensive to least. Later this week we’ll drop a guide for suits in the $300-$500 and after that we’ve got a sub-$300 guide. Ideally, this will cover everything you’re looking for and help you get a good suit that’ll keep you warm but let you stay flexible too.

Quiksilver

Highline Pro

$1,000

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This is wild, a full suit that comes in at $1,000!!

This is the most expensive suit from Quiksilver in a hot minute, and by all reports is deadset amazing to surf in. The Highline Pro is a 1mm sealed full suit featuring best in class handmade Japanese neoprene. With only 9 panels, the suit is specifically tailored to be as light and flexible as possible while keeping you warm.

The most interesting part (to me, anyway)? Quiksilver designed the Highline Pro to have a goofy and regular footed version. Here’s why: In surfing, when you fall, you typically fall forward. As a result, you’re more likely to get flushed with water if the access to your suit is on your front arm.

7til8

Custom Suit

$950

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7til8 – a new brand to me (out of Torrance, CA), but not the people on IG who were quick to tell me about it the other day. The pitch?

“We build high-quality custom wetsuits fitted perfectly to each surfer and diver. No matter what shape, size, or water activity you do, we can create that perfectly fitted wetsuit to maximize your comfort in the water.”

Built from 100% Yamamoto Japanese rubber and cut to your specific measurements (custom!) it all sounds like a dream – albeit an expensive dream. Money aside, it’d be a pretty neat experience to get done and as long as it’s durable for a few seasons the cost ain’t tooooo bad.

Vissla

Shonan

$900

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I need to know if anyone has used (or owns) this Japanese suit from Vissla, it sounds amazing! Three-dimensional specs, custom made to your body (hello extra large short!)!

The “Shonan” VISSLA wetsuit by RASH Japanese Manufacturing Company is made from the highest quality Kobe limestone neoprene. They are crafted one at a time, hand made in a small factory near the beach by Japanese craftsmen who are core surfers. They use three-dimensional cutting and patterns developed over decades to make the best fitting most comfortable wetsuit for performance surfing imaginable.

Biggest interest would be around durability…


Matuse

Hoplite

$850

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Haven’t ever really thought of putting Matuse in these lists before, why? The last one I used YEARS AGO wasn’t great and secondly, they’re rarely available in Australia. But they’re available now in Australia, although they are a pretty penny if you want one. If you want one it’ll be because of Geoprene, Hidden Chambers (unfortunately not 36 of them) and Hydrasilk.

Geoprene is 98% water impermeable meaning it’s warmer, lighter and dries faster. All things we want from a winter wetsuits. And Hydrasilk? It’s a silky smooth, hydrophobic ( i.e. rejects H2O ) material that’s your windbreaker in the water. Makes you feel all buttery inside.

Rip Curl

Heat Seeker

$700

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While they own the stretchiest, most comfortable suit ever made, Rip Curl has stepped it up in the toast stakes with the Heat Seeker. This is built to be the wetsuit you wear on the coldest day of the year and are still toasty warm.

The Heat Seeker (you can read our review from last year here) is Rip Curl’s warmest wetsuit ever, basically a Flashbomb on steroids. They’ve added in a neoprene that generates heat when stretched. As you move through the water, the Flex Energy lining will activate and heat you up. This suit won our ‘best overall winter wetsuit’ in 2019, so it should definitely be on your list. 

If you surf with polar bears and penguins, this suit (or thicker versions) should be your go to.

Patagonia

R1 Yulex

$650

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Patagonia has really stepped up to the performance plate in the last year or two, the improvements in rubber performance alongside being Yulex is amazing. The R1 is stretchy, warm, well-made AND has environmental considerations built in. I won’t go into detail about the Yulex rubber being better than neoprene, or recycled jersey being better than virgin but safe to say, it makes a very caustic product much more friendly for mother earth.

The R1 is the go-to suit out of the R range, imo, and is perfect for north of Sydney up to the Gold Coast, any further and you’ll burst a bubble from overheating. And while you’re still reading be sure to hit up the Patagonia site to learn more about Yulex and why it’s awesome, along with more info about their suits.


Xcel

Drylock

$650

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Xcel is the hidden gem in the wetsuit world, whether it’s because there’s no CT’er running them front and center or what, but they’ve constantly been putting out some of the best fitting suits on the markets for years.

The Xcel Drylock (you can read our 2019 review of the Drylock here) features a super fast drying, hydrophobic exterior, excellent Thermo Dry Celliant insulation linings, and additional sealant measures at the neck, ankles, and wrists.

Combined with one of the best fits/cuts on the market and you’d be hard pressed to find a better suit for the price. There’s also a neat magnet closure on the zip that makes it feel tech as fuck with snapping it shut. It’s the little details like this that make Xcel a big dog when it comes to making epic suits. Check them out.

O’Neill

O’Limited

$650

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O’Neill is the original wetsuit company, the company that invented the wetsuit. Jack even invented the legrope!

Hard to go past these guys when out and about choosing between all the winter wetsuits on offer. O’Neill has been making top quality suits since they invented them and this injection O’Limited suit has all the marking of a very amazing suit.

Running with what I think is the best chest zip (Fuze) closure on the market, the O’Limited is wildly easy to get on/off – even with torched shoulders. It’s also got the Technobutter 3 Air Fireewall which is some crazy insulation neoprene along with TB3X neoprene everywhere else, which is all sorts of dreamy neoprene. Stretchy and oh-so-sweet against your skin. Then there’s liquid tape running on all external seams to double up on the GBS ensuring there are no leaks here.

Feral

3mm2

$625

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Feral is another brand that got included via the poll we did on IG a while back, that and seeing them on STAB’s wetsuit list a while back. Never seen or used one but I do hear they are pretty good. Owned & operated by 2 surfers out of San Francisco/Northern California, these guys are definitely aware of the need of a warm, sealed wetsuit.

Combining their professional backgrounds in industrial design and engineering to learn how to build a better, longer-lasting wetsuit from scratch Feral was born. And now you can slide into their 3mm2 full suit – a suit that is 100% Yamamoto rubber with reduced panels and strategic seam design. Plus, there won’t be a lot of people in the water (in Australia) wearing one so you’ll be the standout in that regard. If anyone has used one properly, lemme know…


Billabong

Furnace Ultra

$600

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The Billabong Furnace series is to Billabong what the Flashbomb is to Rip Curl – meaning it’s farking warm and also flexible. Pound-for-pound the Billabong Furnace Ultra is the warmest wetsuit you’ll wear (going off previous iterations). Seriously. The secret is in the purple stuff on the inside.

Apparently, this years edition has Graphene blown neoprene which has the highest thermal retention and is made from upcycled car tires (amazing to hear, loving all these new sustainable options for wetsuits)) The entry system is unique to Billabong and I’ve found to be pretty much flush resistant, so kiss good by those mid duck dive flushes that leave you shivering.

AT $600 it’s a pretty damn good price point considering what’s above this suit on the list and what you get with this suit. Definitely worth a solid look, especially if you’re around the Sydney area, or further south.

Glidz

Exiv Freedom

$560

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Glidz are a wetsuit brand out of Japan, have been on the backs of multiple professional surfers but I’m yet to see them on the backs of Joe Average. To be honest, I didn’t even know us regular folk could pony up for one – but we can!

“Creating wetsuits with superior Freedom of movement without compromising warmth and durability has been our mission. All our wetsuits are Handmade with Japanese precision and craftsmanship using the world’s best neoprene. Science and design: all our suits are designed with body movement in mind. Team tested with our team riders in all conditions translated to CAD to ensure perfect body stress free fit so neoprene flexibility is used only when you move.”

Melling wears them, and Adam rips. So I’m backing them purely on that.

C-Skins

Hot Wired

$530

Buy Now

Seen these guys around a bit, and I don’t know much about them beyond people telling me they’re good suits to wear and considering we’re trying to show you all options in our Winter Wetsuits Buyers Guide, I figured we should include them. I’ve seen KP wear them, and Kmart Jesus too (who is now Rusty Jesus), so one would imagine the suits are pretty good or they pay pretty good. Maybe both!


If our Winter Wetsuits Buyers Guide hasn’t got you amped to surf in cold water then maybe (re)watch the below clip of Dylan Graves (from the series, Weird Waves) surfing Lake Superior. Dylan links up with lake surfing specialist Burton Hathaway as they connect with the rest of the surfing community in the Great Lakes to experience the biggest winter storm of the season.