Buying your first wetsuit our top tips

So, you have decided to take to the water for a new sport, whether surfing, open water swimming, paddle boarding, or kitesurfing, and you now require the equipment needed, including a wetsuit.

With many wetsuits available, knowing which one is right for you can feel overwhelming, especially when buying wetsuits online! Luckily, we’ve put together the ultimate guide with our top tips for buying your first wetsuit - so you can leave this blog knowing what to look for.


If you are new to water sports, you will likely be under the impression that all wetsuits are the same. However, the world of wetsuits is vast, and there are specific wetsuits designed for different watersports.

For example, a wetsuit for swimming is very different from one you would use for surfing.

If you hope to surf in your wetsuit, the suit will focus on keeping you warm! These wetsuits are designed to trap and heat a thin layer of water between the suit’s neoprene and your body to help you stay warm in colder waters. Additionally, these suits are heavier as you are not required to swim in them.

If you hope to compete in a triathlon, the wetsuit you will require will be much lighter than a wetsuit used for watersports, such as surfing and bodyboarding. Competitive swimming wetsuits are created to prevent the water from leaving the suit and assist with your swimming performance.

So, you can see why choosing the right wetsuit is so important! The first step is to determine what you will use your wetsuit for and research the type you need. Here at Wetsuit Centre, we stock a range of wetsuits for a variety of sports, including:

  • - Surfing wetsuits (also used for paddleboarding, wakeboarding, and other water sports that require flexibility and warmth).
    - Kitesurfing wetsuits.
    - Open water swimming and Triathlon Wetsuits.
    - Sailing wetsuits.
    - Diving wetsuits.

  • If you are still determining what you need, our friendly team will always answer any of your questions!

  • Once you know the type of wetsuit you will need, you must consider the most suitable thickness. Figuring out the wetsuit thickness you require depends on when and where you will be using it.
    Wetsuits come in various thicknesses to regulate body heat according to the water's conditions and temperature. For example, wetsuits used for surfing are available in summer, winter, and midseason thicknesses to meet the water temperature changes throughout the year.

  • Our infographic below offers a general guide for wetsuit thickness and water temperatures. But if you’d like more guidance, then our Wetsuit Thickness Guide can help. 


Wetsuit Centre infographic explaining what thickness of wetsuit is appropriate for different water temperatures


When buying a wetsuit for the first time, think about when and where you will be predominately wearing your wetsuit. If the answer is the UK, you need to consider the weather, especially the cold winter months.


With the temperatures dropping hugely during this period, you should opt for a wetsuit with a 5/3 or more thickness than you would require for the warmer months.
Or, if you’re more sensitive to the cold, something like our O'Neill Epic 6/5/4mm Hooded Winter Wetsuit will keep you warm for much longer. 


Suppose you are using your wetsuit mainly during the warmer months and not venturing in the sea in the winter; a summer 3/2 (like our O'Neill Epic 3/2mm Chest Zip Wetsuit) or shorty wetsuit (such as our Mystic Brand 3/2mm Shorty Womens Wetsuit) are much more suitable options.

As long as your wetsuit is suited to your water-based activity and fits you correctly, you should be able to remain warm.


A surfer wearing a wetsuit holding a surfboard above their head



The number one rule of wetsuits is if a wetsuit doesn't fit correctly, it will be useless. Even if you buy the most expensive wetsuit and it is too big, it won’t keep you well insulated. Fit is everything, and to ensure you don't feel any nasty shocks of cold water, you need to get the size right.

A wetsuit should fit like a second skin. The wetsuit needs to heat a thin layer of water evenly around your body to regulate your body heat. So, it needs to be tight to your body. If there are any gaping spaces, the water will flush through and cause you to feel cold.


Don’t be taken aback by its tightness when you try on the suit. Although it may feel a little snug initially, this is how it should feel when dry.

Once you enter the water for the first time, the neoprene will loosen as it gets wet. This is why the wetsuit needs to fit tightly when dry. Over time, you will adapt to the suit and feel more comfortable the more you wear and train in one.

The wetsuit should not pull down on your neck and shoulders or restrict your arm movement. If you can't move freely, it is most likely too small.

The most important place for a wetsuit to fit is the torso. The lower back is a great place to check the suit's fit. If you can pinch the neoprene here and there is a lot of excess, the wetsuit is too big.
If you are sizing a wetsuit for kids, ensuring that the torso is tight to the body is more important than the length of the wetsuit.

When you pull the wetsuit on for the first time, ensure it is pulled up correctly. Do a section at a time, ensuring the suit's legs are pulled up correctly to the knees, and the knee pads (if the wetsuit has them) are in the correct position. Then, work the suit up to your waist, checking the positioning, body, shoulders, etc.


Buying a wetsuit online has challenges, as you can’t try it on then and there. However, there are plenty of resources to help, and it is always best to check the sizing guidelines issued by the wetsuit manufacturer. Check out our guide below for top advice on choosing the best-fitting wetsuit. If you are still unsure, remember you can always contact us, and we can assist you.


Wetsuit Centre CTA button to wetsuit sizing guide with a woman surfer in background riding a wave


The stitching of a wetsuit is a massive giveaway in the overall quality of the suit. Therefore, when you choose your wetsuit, it is paramount to look at the stitching.

The panels on a wetsuit are fastened together in a particular way. This helps to enhance flexibility and movement of the arms, ensuring there is no restriction when you take to the waves. So, buying a cheap wetsuit from a supermarket will only provide you with a poor-fitting suit and may result in the material rubbing your skin and causing unnecessary irritation.


Aside from when and what you will be using your wetsuit for, budget is the next biggest decider in which wetsuit you should buy.

Many people assume that only expensive wetsuits are high quality, but this is not the case. An entry-level wetsuit will provide everything you need to get started.

As you advance in your watersport, you will understand what you require from your wetsuit over time. However, take your time at the start, as you may choose something not quite right for you and your experience in the water.

At Wetsuit Centre, we stock a huge selection of quality entry-level wetsuits from top brands such as Mystic, O’Neill, C-Skins, Rip Curl, and more. 


Shop our range of wetsuits now


These six top tips will help you when you come to buy your first wetsuit soon. If you require more help, get in touch with our team at Wetsuit Centre! We have over a decade of experience in the wetsuit industry and can help you choose the best wetsuit for you!