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O'Neill Hyperfreak 4/3 Chest Zip Wetsuit

The O’Neill Hyperfreak 4/3 Chest-Zip Wetsuit hits the mark for comfort and warmth. Photo: The Inertia/Ryan Trautwein


The Inertia

Nothing worse than trying to stick out the winter in neoprene that just doesn’t keep you warm. Maybe it leaks, maybe it’s too thin, maybe it was just a piece of crap to begin with. Whatever the reason you’re in the market for a new suit, there’s no point in going out there and spending your hard earned cash on something that isn’t going to do the trick. This winter and last, our editors tried out some of the best neoprene in the game to give you the run down on what’s out there. Here are our favorites.

What Are The Best Wetsuits For Surfing in 2022?

Manera Meteor Magma ($470)
Patagonia R Series ($430-$549)
Quiksilver Marathon Sessions ($270-330)
O’Neill Hyperfreak ($330-400)
Dakine Cyclone ($330-380)
Xcel Drylock X ($480-540)
Body Glove Red Cell ($450-499)
Manera Seafarer ($280-320)

For booties, check out our guide to the best booties. Read our review of women’s wetsuits here. Want to avoid getting your ears drilled? Read our earplugs review here.

What Should I Look For In A Wetsuit?

A wetsuit’s primary function is to keep you warm. If it doesn’t do that, what’s the point? Here, suit thickness is the most important. When it comes to winter surfing, a 4/3 will probably do you fine, if you live in places like Southern California. But as you move further north of Point Conception, or towards the Oregon border, or if you live in the Northeast and surf places like Rhode Island or New Jersey, you might want to start looking at something in the 5/4 variety. If you run warm and live in a warmer climate, you might be able to make it through the winter in just a 3/2. Some fancier wetsuits can punch above their weight class, using fuzzy linings, hoods, and other cool wetsuit tech to let you survive colder water in thinner neoprene.

After warmth, durability is next. The thickest wetsuit in the world won’t keep you warm if it’s letting a ton of water in. It’s really all about the seams. Look for reinforced seams that have been welded or taped on the inside or outside, as well as “Blind Stitched” seams, where the thread doesn’t go all the way through the neoprene, which (in theory) makes them last longer. The right fit is also important here. You want your wetsuit to be tight, but if it’s too small it will get stretched more and wear out faster. Plain and simple.

Comfort and flexibility also play a huge role. For those of us who surf multiple times a week, you spend a lot of time in the neoprene you choose, so might as well spend a few extra bucks if it means you’ll be stoked to pull on your second skin in the lot rather than disappointed. Flex can also make a big difference when it comes to thicker suits – the stiffness of the extra millimeters of neoprene will tire you out faster when paddling, but flexier neoprene can help mitigate such effects.

manera magma plus

The Manera Meteor Magma is just about the warmest suit you can get your hands on. Photo: Alex Rose

Manera Meteor Magma ($470)

Tested by Will in San Francisco, CA (6/4 hooded)

Warmth: 5
Durability: 5
Comfort and Flexibility: 4
Overall: 4.67/5

The Manera Meteor Magma is top of the line when it comes to warmth and you’ll be hard pressed to find a suit that retains as much flex with such thicknesses. Best of all, Manera suits are crazy durable due to their 3D design and intentionally-placed seams. Futuristic features such as strainer panels, ankle straps, and chest to ankle fleece speak to the attention to detail put into this wetsuit.

The Meteor Magma comes in 5/4/3 and 6/4 thickness, both with and without a hood. Buy here on Jack’s Surfboards and read the full review here.

Man waking in Patagonia R4 Yulex wetsuit

Patagonia R Series Yulex ($430-549)

Tested by Alex on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada (R4, 5.5/4mm hooded)

Warmth: 5
Durability: 5
Comfort and Flexibility: 4
Overall: 4.67/5

Patagonia’s R4 Yulex is one of the best wetsuits I’ve ever used. It’s exceedingly warm, darn comfortable, and surprisingly flexible given that Yulex has taken some flack over the years for being a less-flexible material than neoprene. To be honest, I couldn’t tell the difference. That being said, Yulex is decidedly better for the environment than the neoprene used by other wetsuits. The only other drawback is the price, which is a little higher than some other brands, but Patagonia’s warranty is without a doubt the best on the market, a true lifetime guarantee. If you’re in the market for a wetsuit that will last and keep you warm — the two most important aspects of a wetsuit — the R4 is worth the price.

Buy here on Patagonia. For warmer waters, try the R3 (4.5/3.5mm), the R2 (3.5/3mm), or the R1 (3/2.5mm). You can also read the full review of the R4 here.

Gear We Test: Quiksilver Marathon Sessions Chest Zip Wetsuit

The Quiksilver Marathon Sessions brings high quality rubber at an affordable price. Photo: JC

Quiksilver Marathon Sessions ($330)

Tested by Joe in Northern Oregon (5/4/3 hooded)

Warmth: 4.3
Durability: 4.5
Comfort and Flexibility: 5
Overall: 4.45/5

This is a worthy suit from Quik. The lining is extremely comfortable right off the rack, and while this isn’t the warmest suit out there, that’s because this suit trends towards mobility instead of all-out, sweat-inducing heat. Given how hard most of us work while surfing in the cold, the suit is plenty warm, and the flexibility, where this suit really shines, is as good as any suit you can find.

Buy here. For warmer waters, check out the 4/3 Marathon Sessions, and for an even cheaper option, check out the nearly identical 5/4/3 Everyday Sessions. Read the full review here.

O'Neill Hyperfreak 4/3 Wetsuit

Photo: The Inertia/Ryan Trautwein

O’Neill Hyperfreak ($330-400)

Tested by Zach in Los Angeles, CA (4/3 Front-Zip)

Warmth: 4
Durability: 5
Comfort and Flexibility: 5
Overall: 4.5/5

I’d feel comfortable calling this my winter suit. I’m rarely venturing into waters below 45 degrees, but I would confidently use the O’Neill Hyperfreak 4/3 Front Zip on the coldest days in Southern and Central California when it’s pumping. Furthermore, I’ve also taken it lobster diving where I’m spending hours underwater trying to bring home dinner, and was plenty warm. O’Neill’s heritage and pride in their premium wetsuits is real – the brand makes great suits, and this one, the brand’s trophy, hits the mark.

Buy on Jack’s,  Evo, or Amazon, and check out the other thicknesses here. You can also read the full review here.

dakine cyclone

Dakine has entered the wetsuit game with a bang. Photo: Random OB Surfer

Dakine Cyclone ($330-380)

Tested by Will in San Francisco, CA (4/3 hooded).

Warmth: 4.5
Durability: 4.5
Comfort and Flexibility: 5
Overall: 4.67/5

Dakine is relatively new to the wetsuit game, having only started producing wetsuits in the past couple of years, but damn this is one fine piece of rubber. The Dakine Cyclone gets top marks for extremely flexy neoprene and a warm, cozy lining with innovative design with features such as strainer panels and a zip-free entry to boot.

Buy the Dakine Cyclone here. For a more budget-friendly ($270+) but still awesome option from Dakine, check out the Dakine Mission Chest Zip. Read the full review here.

XCEL’s Drylock X 3/2 Fullsuit

Xcel Drylock X ($480)

Tested by Juan in Los Angeles, CA (3/2 thickness).

Warmth: 5
Durability: 4.5
Comfort and Flexibility: 3.5
Overall: 4.3/5

If you are a warmth-first wetsuit buyer then this may be the warmest 3/2 you can get your hands on. At least it’s the warmest 3/2 I’ve ever worn. It’s not the flexiest, but you can’t win ’em all. Given my experience with the 3/2, I’d imagine the 4/3 is a bonafide neoprene furnace.

Buy the XCEL Drylock X on Xcel, or Evo, and read the full review here

Body Glove Red Cell wetsuit interior

Body Glove Red Cell ($450-499)

Tested by Alex on Vancouver Island, BC Canada (5/4/3 Hooded)

Warmth: 5
Durability: 4.5
Comfort and Flexibility: 4
Overall: 4.5/5

Body Glove’s Red Cell Wetsuit in the 5/4/3 construction with a hood is built to stand up to the harshness of a Canadian winter, and it does exactly that. While it might be a little tight and stiff in the shoulder area, it makes up for it with superior warmth, an interior lining that feels great, and a drying time that is up there with the best.

Buy here, and check out the rest of the Body Glove line here. You can also read the full review here.

manera seafarer wetsuit

Manera Seafarer ($280-320)

Tested by Will in San Francisco, CA (4/3 Front-Zip)

Warmth: 4
Durability: 5
Comfort and Flexibility: 5
Overall: 4.67/5

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better-made suit than the Manera Seafarer for the price. As a no-frills daily driver the suit feels as light as a 3/2, is stretchy as hell, dries insanely quick and stands up to heavy use. Small things like the lack of a key loop and minimal fleece on the interior keep the 5/5 rating out of reach, and it was a little cold for the dead of winter in San Francisco. If you are in search of an even warmer suit with the same top-notch construction of the Seafarer, look no further than the Manera Meteor line, above.

Buy here. You can also read the full Manera Seafarer review here.

Editor’s Note: For more gear reviews and features on The Inertia, click here.

Disclosure: The Inertia may receive a small commission if you make a purchase from the affiliate links included in this feature at no additional cost to you. Our goal is always to entertain, educate, and inspire, and we hope you find this feature useful.

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