Does My Child Need A wetsuit?
The answer to this question is most likely…YES! Your child absolutely needs a wetsuit if you spend more than one or two days a year at the beach. Wetsuits are an integral piece of kit for many adults, so why would it be any different for a child. It can seem like an unnecessary expense, especially as our little ones grow at a seemingly phenomenal rate. Still, a wetsuit can help to protect them against the natural exposures that come with being at the beach and in the sea. These include:
- Thermal protection from cold water
- UV Protection
- Protection from scrapes and bumps
- Protection from wind burd
However, buying your child a wetsuit doesn't have to break the bank; plenty of budget options are available. There are also some fantastic professional quality wetsuits for those older kids who have an affinity for the waves and jump at the chance to get in the sea.
The best way to aid your child's progression in the water sport of their choice is for them to be able to practise as much as possible. By wearing a wetsuit, they are able to spend more time in the water and therefore catch more waves and perfect their abilities. All while having fun and being comfortable and warm.
Let's take a look at the best options available to parents when buying a kid's wetsuit.
How Should A Kids Wetsuit Fit?
Before we jump straight into the best children's wetsuits on the market, we should first talk about how a child's wetsuit should fit. The fit of a wetsuit is the most crucial thing when it comes to the suit's functionality. You could purchase the most expensive and high-tech suit on the market, and if it doesn't fit right, it won't perform the way a wetsuit should.
Luckily, at the Wetsuit Centre, we have fantastic Kids' wetsuit sizing and thickness guides to help you through the purchasing process.
O'Neill Reactor Junior - Best Budget Kids Wetsuit
A key factor that normally puts parents off investing in a high-quality wetsuit is that our kids seem to spurt up in a blink of an eye. However, if your child is a true water baby who spends a considerable amount of time amongst the waves, it is more than sensible to equip them with the proper tools for success.
The O'Neill Reactor Junior, although some of the more basic wetsuits on this list, is by no means a cheaply made suit. Each suit from the range is built from the same base design, so you are getting the exact same quality and features as the full-size suit. These features include:
- Super Stretch neoprene to assist in mobility.
- Duroflex reinforced knee pads for durability.
- Strategically placed stitching or warmth and mobility.
- Back Zip and ankle zip for easy access.
For a wetsuit at this price, you really won't find better quality or design. This is the perfect Kids' summer wetsuit; however, it is worth noting that if your child is a hardy surfer who has no objection to surfing in the colder months, you may want to invest in a kid's winter wetsuit to ensure that they are comfortable and warm.
Rip Curl Junior Omega 4/3 Wetsuit- Best All-Rounder Kids Wetsuit
The Rip Curl Omega junior is a fantastic option for the committed junior surfer, with more features and professional design elements built in when compared to the O'Neill Reactor Junior; however, it is still competitively priced, so you won't break the bank.
The Rip Curl Omega is pretty similar across the range; you can expect to find the same features and quality in the junior as you would in the men's or women's wetsuit. Which Include:
- Two Types of Neoprene for warmth and flexibility
- Smooth skin panel on the core for warmth
- Duroflex pad on the knees for durability
- Glued and Blind stitch for warmth
- Internal seam taping for durability
The two types of neoprene used within this suit are the Free-lite and the E-5. The E-5 is used on the top half of the wetsuit and offers more flexibility and warmth. This is due to the increased air bubbles within the neoprene, which trap warm air, further insulating against the cold. The Free-lite Neoprene, can be found in the Rip Curl's more budget-friendly suit, the Free-lite, allows Rip-curl to keep this suit at a reasonable price.
Overall the Rip Curl Omega junior marries the features of professional-grade wetsuits seamlessly while still managing to keep it at a fair price. This suit is ideal for the majority of seasons in the UK, excluding the coldest winter months at the beginning of the year. If your child is desperate to surf the bigger swells of the winter months, you will absolutely need to invest in a high-quality winter wetsuit for your little pro!
The O'Neill Hyperfreak Youth - Best Winter Wetsuit For Kids
If your child is truly addicted to the waves and loves to surf the bigger swells that the winter months bring, it is absolutely integral that you invest in a high-quality well made wetsuit to support them in their watery endeavours.
Big swells hit the British coastline regularly from October through to April. You can surf a lot of places that don't often get waves in summer and riding these types of waves is crucial for progressing when surfing. Water temperatures will vary from lows of around 7C in SW England to 3-4C in northern Scotland. It is worth noting that the lowest water temperatures are not in the depths of winter but in late winter/early spring.
The Hyperfreak range is one of the best-selling winter wetsuits from O'Neill and is immensely popular with hardened adult surfers; and they manufacture fantastic youth versions within the range.
The O'Neill Hyperfreak Youth is known for being one of the most flexible winter wetsuits on the market, and this is due to the TBX3 neoprene that is used in the upper body of the wetsuit. It has an increased level of air cells injected into the neoprene to offer maximum flexibility and warmth.
Another key feature to note is the internal taping across all the seams of the wetsuit to provide the wetsuit with further durability and increased life.
Other Notable features include:
- Chest Entry Zip for flexibility and warmth
- Minimal Panelling for mobility
- Extra 0.5MM of neoprene for warmth
- Option for an Integrated hood
- All seams are triple-glued & blindstitch and are sealed with tape
Should I Buy A Shortie Wetsuit For My Child?
It is a given that in the summer months, you will come across many short-style wetsuits in general supermarkets or even at highstreet retailers. If your child is taking their first rides in the world of surfing, you may be tempted to purchase one. We strongly advise against this.
This is because the suits made for supermarkets and other extremely cheap retailers are constructed with thin and coarse neoprene. That doesn't mean you need to fork out for an expensive high-tech suit either; Wetsuit Centre has a range of high- quality children's shortie wetsuits for sale, and at budget-friendly prices, so your child can feel comfortable and protected this summer beach holiday.
We hope this has equipped you with the knowledge to make an informed decision when purchasing your little ripper a new wetsuit. For more information regarding wetsuits and water sports, you can visit our blog, or alternatively, contact the wetsuit centre's team to discuss the products we have in stock.