As winter temps in the south drop faster than Mikey Wright’s wallet, 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? 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.

We’ve split up our Winter Wetsuits Buyers Guide this year to help better cover the product (and price) offerings out there. As you would have noticed, new wetsuits brands are the new black and there are new brands popping up everywhere.

Today’s 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.

Vissla

Shonan

$900

Buy Now
Winter Wetsuits Vissla Japanese

This is wild, a full suit that comes in at $900!! Not the only one either, the one to the right from Hurley is also $900. I need to know if anyone has used this Japanese suit from Vissla, it sounds amazing! Three-dimensional specs, custom made to your body!

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.

Hurley

Advantage Elite

$900

Buy Now
Winter Wetsuits Buyers Guide

The second suit on our list that hits the $900 mark, which when you think about it, IS CRAZY.

Like the Vissla one though, this one from Hurley is custom built to your specs which if you’re an Extra Large Short (like me) is a godsend to get a suit that fits.

Designed with insight from the world’s top surfers, the Hurley Advantage Elite 3/3mm Fullsuit Wetsuit helps you take on colder waters, even when no-one else is. The suit is built by hand with Japanese neoprene for a supple feel and premium fit. The painstaking handmade process eliminates the need for tape at the seams, allowing the suit to stretch and move with your body while still keeping water out.

Rip Curl

Heat Seeker

$700

Buy Now
Winter Wetsuits Buyers Guide - Rip Curl

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 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. 

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



Xcel

Drylock

$650

Buy Now
Winter Wetsuits Buyers Guide - Xcel

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 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

Psychofreak

$650

Buy Now
Winter Wetsuits Buyers Guide - O'Neill

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 their Psychofreak series of suits are some of the best on the market.

Running with what I think is the best chest zip (Fuze) closure on the market, the Psychofreak is wildly easy to get on/off – even with torched shoulders. It’s also got Technobutter 3 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.

The Psychofreak offers plenty of value at $650 in what is a crowded market these days.

Patagonia

R1 Yulex

$650

Buy Now
Winter Wetsuits Buyers Guide - Patagonia

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. It’s definitely something to learn about and become more informed as we move towards new materials for wetsuits.



Billabong

Furnace Carbon Ultra

$620

Buy Now
Winter Wetsuits Buyers Guide - Billabong

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 Carbon is the warmest wetsuit I’ve ever worn. Seriously. The secret is in the purple stuff on the inside.

Apparently, this years edition has Oxygen 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 $620 it’s expensive, but not as over the top considering what’s above this suit on the list. Worth a solid look, especially if you’re around the Sydney area, or further south.

Quiksilver

Highline Plus

$550

Buy Now
Winter Wetsuits Buyers Guide - Quiksilver

Quiksilver continues to improve their wetsuits and this season another big leap with the introduction of F’N Lite 2 neoprene which features a new surface texture to minimise drying times between sessions. Add to that Thermal Smoothie on chest and back panels (smoothie is always a win in my books, it makes such a difference), and the suit is finished with a WarmFlight® Far Infrared x2 with Diamond Deluxe thermal lining on body and upper legs.

If you haven’t used a Quiksilver suit in a few seasons, you’ll be amazed at the difference in performance in this seasons offerings. Definitely worth a look and at $550 there’s a pretty sizeable price difference between this and the Rip Curl/Billabong options. Something to consider if the wallet is a little light this season.

Feral

3mm2

$530

Buy Now
Winter Wetsuits Buyers Guide - Feral

To be completely honest, I don’t know much about Feral but they’re included cause my OCD is too high and I need 9 suits. That and STAB voted them the most comfortable suit in their wetsuit tests last year. They (Stab) also did a neat mini-profile on them here too. 

This suit we’re showing is there 3/2 Chest Zip made from 100% Yamamoto Japanese Rubber. You’ll get critical seam taping, which is basically saying you’re running with GBS only. There’s reduced panelling around the larger areas, which looks interesting and then the entry system looks good as well.

Without having actually held one, let alone tested, I’d say this would be a gamble buy but Feral is offering a 30-day exchange policy, plus a 12month warranty. A pretty solid way to offset any maybes out there… 


To give you some extra froth about surfing in the cold (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.