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Best Wetsuits for Surfing. We tested them all.

We got our hands on as many wetsuits as we possibly could to put them through the wringer. If you’re looking for the best wetsuit to keep you warm and surfing longer, look no further. Photo: Skyler Fitzmaurice/The Inertia

The Inertia

Wetsuits have come a long way since they replaced the wool sweater in the 1950s and ’60s as an inventive way for surfers to keep warm in cold water. They’ve even come a long way in the past couple years as new technologies and stretchier, more eco-friendly materials have become a priority for wetsuit manufacturers.

After a couple of hard years of supply chain disruptions wreaking havoc on the wetsuit supply, the time was finally right for a full-blown, no-bs, apples-to-apples wetsuit test. We asked the top wetsuit makers in the biz to send us their warmest and stretchiest 4/3 wetsuits (no manufacturer paid for placement in this review), and we put them all to the test in the chilly waters of Ocean Beach, San Francisco. Since our first publishing of this article in November of 2022, we’ve kept this article updated with the latest and greatest wetsuits to hit the market, and adjusted our rankings based on continued testing.

Read on for our top picks, and scroll to the bottom of the article for info on How We Tested, as well as a Comparison Table and Buyer’s Guide on what to look for, and how to choose the best wetsuit for your needs. For women, check out our guide to The Best Women’s Wetsuits.

The Best Wetsuits for Surfing of 2024

Best All-Around/Most High-Tech Wetsuit: Rip Curl Fusion
Runner-Up Best All-Around/Most Comfortable: O’Neill Hyperfreak
Best Value Wetsuit: Picture Equation
Best Budget Wetsuit: Hyperflex Vyrl
Best Sustainable/Best Yulex Wetsuit: Patagonia R-Series

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.

Best All-Around/Most High-Tech Wetsuit

Rip Curl Fusion ($570)

Rip Curl Fusion Wetsuit

Available In: 3/2, 4/3, 5/4 hooded
Sustainability: Wetsuit recycling program
Features: Fusion no-stitch seams, Flashbomb lining, zip-free entry, key pocket in chest

Pros: Rip Curl’s top-of-the-line suit for warmth with E7 neoprene and a cozy lining from wrists to ankles
Cons: Expensive, only hooded version is 5/4

Last winter, Rip Curl blew us away with their E7 Flashbomb Heatseeker. A super warm and insanely stretchy wetsuit, it was our top pick for 2023. Unfortunately, a year later it seems that Rip has already discontinued that wetsuit, but they replaced it with something far awesomer. The Rip Curl Fusion builds on the success of the Flashbomb Heatseeker, using the same super-stretchy E7 neoprene, Flashbomb lining, and a zip-free entry.

The major upgrade is in the seams. While we found the seams of the Flashbomb Heatseeker to be pretty bomber, it seems they weren’t good enough for Rip as the Fusion makes use of stitch-free seams (they claim to have 96% stitch-free construction) with full seam taping on the interior and exterior of the suit. Despite the burly seam construction, we didn’t find there to be any downgrade in flexibility and performance from previous versions, and Rips claim to have produced a “leak-proof seam” is a fairly lofty one. It’ll be a year or so until we can fully verify that claim, but so far, not a drop of water has found its way in through the seams.

The biggest downsides are the price, and the fact that if you want a hood, you’ll have to go with the 5/4 construction (at least for now). The zip-free entry is noticeably more difficult to put on than a wetsuit that sports a zipper, but there is a definite trade-off there in keeping water out. Also, there’s no mention of sustainable materials used in the production of the suit. Rip Curl does offer a wetsuit recycling program, but it’d be better to start with more sustainable materials in the first place. All that said, when it comes to what makes a great wetsuit: warmth, stretch, and durability, you won’t find better. For uncompromising warmth and performance, Rip Curl has done it again.

Check Price on Cleanline Surf

Runner-Up Best All-Around/Most Comfortable Wetsuit

O’Neill Hyperfreak ($390)

O'Neill Hyperfreak Wetsuit

Available In: 3/2+, 4/3+, 4/3+ hooded, 5/4+ hooded
Sustainability: Recycled seam tape
Features: Key pocket on right calf, TechnoButter neoprene, full seam taping

Pros: Insanely comfortable neoprene and lining, lightweight and moves extremely well, great price
Cons: Not the most durable wetsuit

The O’Neill Hyperfreak has been around for ages, only receiving minor updates here and there, and there’s no mistaking why – this wetsuit rocks. The Hyperfreak makes use of O’Neill’s top-of-the line TechnoButter 3X neoprene, which is easily one of – if not the – most comfortable, stretchy, and lightweight materials in a wetsuit we have ever worn. The suit has full seam-sealing, a great fit (made all the better by the stretchy neoprene), a key pocket, really everything that you could, and should expect in a wetsuit made by one of the top brands in the business.

Of note, the suit only comes in half-thicknesses, 3.5/2.5, 4.5/3.5, etc., which O’Neill describes as 3/2+, 4/3+, etc. For a more traditional-thickness wetsuit, you’ll have to go with the Hyperfreak Comp (3/2, 4/3), which features a slightly slimmed-down design for optimal performance, and a zip-free entry.

The biggest downside to these suits, however, is their durability. You just don’t get a suit that lightweight and stretchy and comfortable without a bit of a decreased lifespan compared to similar wetsuits. We also found the lightweight construction took a bit of a hit to warmth when compared to true “steamer” wetsuits with a thicker lining (like the O’Neill Hyperfreak Fire, below). However, if you’re someone who is willing to take one of the most comfortable and high-performing wetsuits on the market in exchange for a small decrease in durability and warmth, this suit is for you. If those are compromises you aren’t willing to make, it may be worth checking out the O’Neill Hyperfreak Fire, below.

Also of note there is the relatively low price-point. Compared to other top-of-the-line wetsuits, $390 is pretty dang good. With the price in mind, it was a bit of a toss-up between this suit and the Rip Curl Fusion for Best All-Around Wetsuit, but we gave the edge to the Fusion for the high-tech seam sealing, as well as Rip Curl’s legendary Flashbomb lining.

Check Price on REI Check Price on Amazon

Best Value Wetsuit

Picture Equation ($350)

Picture Organic Equation Wetsuit

Available In: 4/3mm, 3/2mm
Sustainability: Limestone, recycled rubber, and oyster-shell neoprene, recycled interior lining
Features: Rib pads, drain holes on calves, key pocket on right calf, full interior seam taping

Pros: lightweight and flexible wetsuit, with solid warmth for its weight, durability, and sustainability
Cons: Not the warmest construction compared to true “steamer” wetsuits with thicker linings

We’ve known about Picture (formerly Picture Organic Clothing) for a while now, but had no idea they made wetsuits until a couple years ago. Picture is a company dedicated to sustainability, so we were stoked to see them take a stab at wetsuits, claiming to have a sustainable material that trumps regular neoprene in terms of stretch.

Their wetsuits are made from a combination of recycled tires, oyster shells, and limestone, with a recycled lining. And they live up to the hype. The neoprene of the Picture Equation felt buttery smooth and quite stretchy, certainly up there with some of the best wetsuits we’ve tried. The lining was comfortable, and it’s got some rad features we’ve never seen in a wetsuit before like rib pads (a huge boon for skinny surfers without much natural padding in that area) and calf holes to help water drain from the suit. The fit was great, and best of all, despite the sustainable accolades, the suit doesn’t come with the higher price tag most eco-friendly options demand. In fact, their price tag (currently $350 for the 4/3 Equation) was one of the lowest on this list, which is why we gave it the award of best value.

The main downside is warmth, as it’s more of a high performance suit rather than a steamer suit which typically features a thicker interior lining. If you want to go the steamer route, I’d recommend checking out Picture’s Dome wetsuits (4/3mm, 5/4mm hooded), which feature similarly competitive prices. For those interested in even more stretch (at the cost of some warmth), check out Picture’s line of Flex Skin wetsuits, which use an even stretchier neoprene in the arms and shoulders.

Check Price on Picture

Best Budget Wetsuit

Hyperflex Vyrl ($215)

Hyperflex Vyrl Wetsuit

Available In: 3/2, 4/3
Sustainability: No
Features: Key pocket in chest zip, seam taping at critical points

Pros: Comfortable and stretchy neoprene for a dirt-cheap price
No cozy interior lining, or any bells and whistles to speak of

Good wetsuits don’t come cheap, so when we noticed the $215 price of the Hyperflex Vyrl, we were a bit skeptical. Could a wetsuit that’s less than half the price of many wetsuits on this list stand up to the competition? In short, yes. While the Vyrl is a completely bare-bones wetsuit, with none of the bells and whistles of top-tier suits on this list, it has the building blocks of what makes a great wetsuit, namely comfortable and stretchy neoprene, solid seam sealing, and a great fit. In testing, we were most impressed with the quality of the neoprene, being almost on-par the neoprene used in some top-of-the-line suits featured here for comfort and stretch/flexibility.

The wetsuit lacks features like a warm fuzzy lining, and full interior seam-taping, but if you’re shopping for a wetsuit on a budget, chances are these are features you’d be happy to sacrifice to keep an extra couple hundred bucks in your pocket. Any budget product presents some element of compromise. We feel that it’s certainly better to lose out on a couple of techy features to maintain an otherwise high level of quality than to keep those features and compromise with crappy neoprene or a poorly constructed suit. If the lack of a cozy lining is a sticking point for you, check out the Quiksilver Everyday Sessions, below, which tacks on a warm lining from chest to knees for an extra $45 bucks.

Check Price on Amazon

Best Sustainable/Best Yulex Wetsuit

Patagonia R-Series ($480+)

Patagonia R-2 Wetsuit Product Shot

Available In: R1 (3/2.5mm), R2 (3.5/3mm), R3 (4.5/3.5mm), R4 (5.5/4mm), R5 (6.5/5mm)
Features: Key loop in front zip, different thickness-rating system, full interior seam taping
Sustainability: As good as it gets: Yulex rubber, recycled lining, fair trade and sustainable manufacturing

Pros: Super-sustainable Yulex construction that is finally on-par with neoprene in terms of stretch and flexibility
Cons: Expensive, alternative thickness ratings

Patagonia’s Regulator wetsuits are the most sustainable wetsuits you can get your hands on, period. Made from all-natural Yulex material, their impact on the environment is as low as it gets when buying a wetsuit. Also of note is the brand’s repair policy, where they’ll do what they can to keep your suit seaworthy for as long as possible, further upping the sustainability.

For years, Patagonia wetsuits used to present a fairly large compromise: You’d be helping the environment by choosing a different wetsuit material, but you’d be hurting your performance due to Yulex’s relative stiffness when compared to traditional neoprene. Not so any longer. In fall of 2023, Patagonia released an all-new line of wetsuits – still called the Regulator, and still sporting the same “alternative” wetsuit thickness/rating system, but featuring a radically different construction, and a much stretchier and lighter Yulex material.

While Patagonia has been a bit tight-lipped as to what exactly they’ve done differently in these new suits, as wetsuit testers who have experienced both the old and the new Regulator wetsuits, it’s easy to say the difference is night and day. The new suits have stretch that is on-par with some of the best traditional-neoprene suits in the business, and have proven to, so far, be incredibly durable. And they’re warm, too, with solid seam-sealing (though Patagonia did get rid of the exterior liquid seam-seal that added a bit of stiffness), as well as redesigned panels and seam-location to improve comfort and make the wetsuits more durable and easy to repair.

For warmth, the recycled lining is quite cozy, but not a standout feature. As far as the alternative thickness-ratings go (see above for how those line-up with the R1, R2, R3, etc. designations) while the R2 might get you through a SoCal winter, up north at Ocean Beach, where we did the majority of our testing, the R3 would probably be a better call. Our testers found the fit to be much improved with the new suits, but not quite as comfortable as suits like the O’Neill Hyperfreak or Rip Curl’s Fusion.

Check Price on Patagonia

Best of the Rest

While the above represents our top picks, to an extent, we are splitting hairs because there’s a ton of great neoprene out there. Here are some other suits that came oh-so-close to perfection.

Another All-Around Runner-Up

Feral Wetsuits ($415+)

Feral 4mm3 wetsuit

Available In: 3mm2, 4mm3, 3mm+, 543mm
Limestone neoprene
Features: key pocket on right thigh, jersey lining, critical seam-taping

Pros: Awesome blend of flexibility and durability, solid price
Interior lining is a jersey, no fuzzy warmth

When we first released this guide in 2022, the comments section exploded with readers asking us to get Feral included in the review. So we did, and their wetsuits live up to the hype. Designed by local Ocean Beach, SF surfers Buzz and Alex, their goal is to provide surfers like themselves with high-quality, no BS wetsuits that cut out the marketing gimmicks and focus on what makes a good wetsuit with top-tier Yamamoto limestone neoprene, a solid design made to move with you as you surf, and a fair price that isn’t inflated by marketing budgets or the like. And that’s what they did. The suit we tried from Feral is the 3mm+ hooded fullsuit, made with 3.5mm of Yamamoto neoprene on the chest and back, and 3mm throughout the rest of the suit.

While not quite as stretchy as some other wetsuits on this list (don’t forget the stretch-durability trade-off), we found the material to be plenty flexible for a full range of motion, with a great fit that had us feeling completely unrestricted both in paddling and while up and riding. The neoprene feels incredibly light, and the seams are (so far) bomber with interior seam-tape used in critical locations of the suit. The biggest downside we found was the lack of a fuzzy interior lining, but for a no-bs, everything you need and nothing you don’t wetsuit, you’ll be hard pressed to find an equal to Feral.

Super-Warm Steamer

O’Neill Hyperfreak Fire ($440)

O'Neill Hyperfreak Fire

Available In: 4.5/3.5mm, 3.5/2.5mm
Sustainability: Recycled lining and use of oyster shells/eco carbon black in neoprene
Features: Extra .5mm of neoprene, key pocket on right calf, TB4 lining, full interior seam-taping and exterior liquid seam-seal

Pros: Super warm while retaining a high level of stretch and flexibility
Cons: Not available with a hood

The O’Neill Hyperfreak Fire debuted last winter, elevating the popular Hyperfreak with a new TechnoButter 4 lining designed for increased warmth, as well as liquid seam sealing on the outside of the suit. The neoprene on this suit is awesome – while it isn’t quite as stretchy as the Hyperfreak above thanks to the added interior lining, what you get in return is steamer-level warmth without the weight and stiffness that some thicker linings have, and an upgrade in durability.

Similar to the Hyperfreak, the Hyperfreak Fire only comes in half thicknesses: instead of a 4/3, O’Neill presents us with a “4/3+” which has an extra half millimeter of neoprene, making it a 4.5/3.5. The suit is also available in 3/2+. In comparison to the Hyperfreak, above, the additional thickness is a bit more noticeable here, since a thicker lining is being tacked on as well. That makes the suit insanely warm, so for those who run cold and like a bit of extra rubber, this suit is a winner. However, we did find that the suit is not available in a hooded version, a definite con for cold-water warriors. Another very small, very nit-picky “con” was the lower-leg key pocket. It’s a bit too small to fit an electric key fob in a slim waterproof case, not a problem on other suits with the lower-leg pocket.

Check Price on Backcountry Check Price on Amazon

Runner-Up Best Budget

Quiksilver Everyday Sessions ($260)

Quiksilver Everyday Sessions

Available In: 3/2, 4/3, 5/4/3
Sustainability: “eco-friendly” neoprene and recycled lining
Features: interior lining from chest to knees, back and front-zip varieties, critical seam taping

Pros: Cozy lining, comfortable neoprene, great price
Tough to find in a chest-zip construction at the time of publishing

When determining the Best Budget Wetsuit for this review, we were torn between Quiksilver’s Everyday Sessions wetsuit, and the Hyperflex Vyrl, above. Where the Vyrl wins out on price, the Everyday Sessions wins out on comfort with a cozy interior lining from chest to knees, and better seam-sealing with critical interior taping. Up to you which makes the most sense for your wallet. The suit uses Quik’s StretchFlight Neoprene, which our testers have found to be on-par with the best in the biz in terms of stretch, flexibility, and lightness. Of note, the most availability we found for this wetsuit was in the back-zip variety, so if you prefer a chest-zip, as has become the norm these days, you might have some trouble finding your size.

Check Price on Amazon Check Chest-Zip Price on Quiksilver

Super Durable Wetsuit

Dakine Cyclone ($450)

Dakine Cyclone Wetsuit

Available In: 3/2mm, 4/3mm, 4/3mm hooded, 5/4mm hooded
Sustainability: Dope-dyed yarn
Features: Zip-free, key loop in chest-area, drain patches at ankle, exterior seam sealing and interior taping

Pros: Great feature-set, super durable while retaining top-tier flexibility, solid fit
Not a ton of sustainable features, hooded versions have a fairly useless bill

Two years ago, we got to try out the Dakine Cyclone. And to our surprise, after truly putting this suit through the wringer during that time period, the seams continue to stay fairly bomber with a few pin-pricks of water here and there. With that in mind, we’ve gotta give them props for creating an awesome wetsuit that stood up to a ton of hard use. The neoprene has lost a bit of the new-suit stretch, but it still feels great once you hit the water, and it looks like this year’s lineup from Dakine has an even warmer lining.

The suit also comes with a robust feature set, including drain panels at the ankles to help water escape, a zip-free entry, cozy lining and, for our tester, a pretty great fit. It’s also available with a hood, though our tester did note that the small bill on the hood wasn’t super useful. This was Dakine’s first foray into the fullsuit business (as far as we’re aware) and it seems the brand has hit the nail on the head, first try. Good going, Dakine.

Check Price on Backcountry

Super-Light, Great-Fit

Manera X10D ($470)

Manera x10d

Available In: 3/2mm, 4/3mm, 5/4/3mm

Sustainability: Dope-dyed yarn
Features: Super light neoprene, 3D construction

Pros: Super light and great-fitting wetsuit, highly durable
Expensive, no key loop or pocket

For the past few years, we’ve been massive fans of the French-made Manera wetsuits. For those who aren’t familiar, their claim to fame is the “3D design” of their suits, which they say fits the shape of the human body better than suits designed in 2D, and we find it hard to disagree. These wetsuits fit us better than any other we’ve worn, and the X10D suit packs a punch when it comes to performance, featuring extremely lightweight neoprene, and great flexibility.

The stretch is solid, not quite as stretchy as other top-tier suits on this list, but it comes darn close. Where this suit truly shines is the lightness of the neoprene. Performance-wise, the suit feels like a 3/2, while retaining the warmth of a high-performance 4/3. And the weight reflects that as it’s a full half-pound less than some of the steamers. If the wetsuit was even slightly cheaper or a bit stretchier, this would have been our top-pick high-performance wetsuit.

That said, one area where Manera’s wetsuits shine is their durability. These wetsuits stand the test of time, especially in the seams. Though based on current testing, we’ve got to give a slight edge on durability to the Dakine Cyclone, below. Our one complaint is the lack of a key loop or pocket, but we’ve heard this feature will be rolled out soon across Manera’s entire line of suits.

Check Price on Backcountry

Solid Value Steamer

Vissla North Seas ($390)

Vissla North Seas

Available In: 3/2mm, 4/3mm, 5.5/4.5mm hooded
Sustainability: Limestone neoprene, recycled and dope-dyed liner.
Features: Key loop in front zip.

Pros: Very warm and affordable wetsuit
Cons: Jersey lining at shoulders is a downgrade in comfort

The Vissla North Seas didn’t exactly blow our mind in any category, but it was up there with the best in every one. The suit is solidly warm and solidly stretchy. It has a thick and cozy lining from the chest down for warmth and a thinner jersey in the arms and shoulders for increased paddle-ability. It’s a nice combination. We’re also a fan of the smoothie panels on the front and back that help ward off the wind chill, and it fit exceptionally well. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a high-quality steamer this well-priced.

Our only complaint is that the lining on the shoulders and arms is a bit rougher than other suits we tested. Not to say that it’s uncomfortable, but it’s not the fuzzy coziness we’ve come to expect after trying other top-of-the-line steamers (or the fuzzy coziness of the lining on this suit from the chest down, pictured below). It is also one of the heaviest wetsuits we tested. Overall, this is a very solid and affordable choice if you’re looking for a true warmth-forward steamer wetsuit, with solid sustainability to boot.

Check Price on Cleanline Surf

Top-Tier Suit On Sale

Rip Curl E7 Flashbomb Heatseeker ($520)

Rip Curl Flashbomb Heatseeker

Available In: 4/3mm, 3/2mm, 5/4 hooded
Sustainability: Wetsuit recycling program
Features: Full fuzz lining, zip-free entry, key pocket on left calf

Pros: Super warm and stretchy, can be found on sale 
Seems like it is being phased out in favor of the Fusion

Rip Curl’s Flashbomb Heatseeker blew us out of the water in 2022, earning our top-pick recommendation. This year, Rip Curl replaced this suit with the Fusion, building on the success of the Heatseeker with stitch-free seams that they claim won’t leak. Pulling it on for the first time was an experience in luxury, with a super-cozy fleece lining throughout the entire suit, and very stretchy neoprene. The lining is said to generate heat while you paddle, which our tester is pretty sure he could actually feel. However, that doesn’t do much while waiting for waves. While sitting in the lineup, we noticed it wasn’t quite as warm as the O’Neill Hyperfreak Fire. The fit was surprisingly good – laid flat the suit looked somewhat boxy (which usually doesn’t bode well for our tester’s lanky frame), but it fit him like a glove. We wouldn’t be surprised if the optimized fit was a byproduct of Rip Curl’s super stretch. This wetsuit is a crossover steamer/high-performance suit, with steamer level warmth and the stretch (but not the lightness) of a high-performance suit.

The biggest downside is the current availability. This suit is selling out quickly online, and while we haven’t confirmed completely with the Rip Curl team, it seems the suit may be discontinued in favor of the new Fusion. With that in mind, this might be a great time to score an incredible deal on this top-tier wetsuit. This suit clocks in at $520 for a 4/3 without a hood, making it the most expensive wetsuit on this list. Also of note is the zip-free entry, which is notoriously difficult to get on but does a great job of sealing out water.

If you want to shell out a little less cash for similar quality, the E6 is also a great solution and more widely available (find it on Backcountry and Amazon).

Check Price on Cleanline Surf Check 3/2 Price on Amazon

Great Value High-Performance Wetsuit

Quiksilver Highline ($360)

Quiksilver Highline

Available In: 3/2mm, 4/3mm
Sustainability: Dope dyed interior, “eco-friendly” neoprene
Features: Super light and stretchy neoprene, key loop in front zip

Pros: Great value for a super high-performing and toasty warm wetsuit
Cons: Out of stock online, might be discontinued

We weren’t expecting to be this impressed with a wetsuit from Quiksilver, but they have blown us away when it comes to the Highline. A performance-based wetsuit with a solid, warm lining, Quiskilver’s neoprene matched Rip Curl’s E7 neoprene in terms of stretch, with an exceedingly comfortable lining. It wasn’t quite as warm as Rip Curl’s flashbomb-lined wetsuits but it was lighter, fit quite well, and was about $160 cheaper. As things stand, this is a solid and affordable high-performance wetsuit with admirable warmth.

Durability-wise, we’ll be interested to see how the stretch in this suit holds up over time, but if what you are looking for is a high-performance, high-stretch suit that makes you forget you’re wearing a 4/3, this is a great choice. The biggest downside, which pushed this suit out of our top picks, is that it is currently extremely difficult to find in-stock online, and we suspect it may be discontinued. We’ll update this review as we’re able to get more information on the subject.

Check Price on Amazon

Xcel Drylock X ($585)

Xcel Drylock Wetsuit

Available In: 3/2mm, 4/3mm, 5/4mm hooded
Sustainability: Not mentioned
Features: Key loop in chest zip, gusseted wrist cuffs to prevent flushing, full seam taping, Celliant Black lining

Pros: Super warm and easy-moving wetsuit
Cons: Expensive,

We’ve been wearing Xcel wetsuits for a while, and they still impress as much as ever. The Drylock X features some insane warmth-generating tech on the inside such as the Celliant Black lining that’s said to generate extra heat, as well as stretchy material in the arms and shoulders for paddle-ability. Our lanky tester found the fit to be a little off, with the arms especially feeling too short for his longer limbs, but there are plenty of size options to help you dial in that perfect fit.

Warmth is where this suit shines, in testing, this suit was noticeably warmer than much of the competition, and without the bulkier linings sported by steamer suits like the Vissla North Seas, above. However, we did notice some seam-leakage as we started to break the suit in. Nothing major, but worth noting. The price is also fairly steep when compared to others in this review. Overall, this suit is an awesome steamer suit with impressive stretch and paddle-ability, though our few nit-picks kept it away from earning that top spot.

Check Price on Xcel Wetsuits

Billabong Furnace Comp ($420)

Billabong Furnace Comp

Available In: 3/2mm, 4/3mm, 4/3mm hooded
Sustainability: Limestone neoprene with 30% recycled car tires, scrap rubber, and oyster shells, recycled lining
Features: Key loop in chest zip

Pros: Sustainable and warm wetsuit
Cons: Some seam-leakage in testing

It has been years since we’ve tried a Billabong suit, and we’re super impressed on the uptick in stretch and sustainability these suits have seen since then. The Furnace Comp features a thick and cozy Graphene lining from the chest to the ankles and stretchy neoprene – especially in the arms and shoulders, that’s the difference between the Furnace, and the Furnace Comp – as well as solid sustainability and a great fit.

However, we were disappointed to find some leaks crop up fairly early in testing the suit. It could have been unique to the wetsuit we received, but definitely noteworthy. If it weren’t for that small issue, this suit would have been up there with the best of them.

Check Price on Amazon

Best Wetsuits Comparison Table

Suit Price Sustainable? Key Pocket Style
Rip Curl Fusion $570 No Front no-zip Crossover
 O’Neill Hyperfreak $390 Kinda: Recycled seam tape Lower leg High-performance
Picture Equation $315 Yes: Alternate neoprene, recycled lining Lower leg Performance/crossover
Hyperflex Vyrl $215 No Front zip Neutral
Patagonia R-Series $480+ Yes: Yulex rubber, recycled lining, and more Front zip Neutral/crossover
Feral Wetsuits $415+ Kinda: Limestone neoprene Upper leg Neutral
O’Neill Hyperfreak Fire $440 Yes: Alternative neoprene, recycled lining Lower leg Crossover/steamer
Quiksilver Everyday Sessions
$260 Yes: Alternative neoprene, recycled lining Front/back zip Neutral
 Dakine Cyclone  $450 Kinda: Dope dyed yarn  Front no-zip High-performance
Manera X10D $470 Kinda: Dope dyed yarn None High-performance
Vissla North Seas $390  Yes: Alternate neoprene, recycled lining Front zip Steamer
Rip Curl Flashbomb Heatseeker $520 No Lower leg Crossover
Quiksilver Highline $360 Yes: Alternative neoprene, recycled lining Front zip High-performance
Xcel Drylock $585 Not mentioned Front zip Crossover/steamer
Billabong Furnace $470  Yes: Alternative neoprene, recycled lining Front zip Steamer

What Matters Most When Buying a Wetsuit? How Did We Calculate Recommendations for Best Wetsuits?

Our criteria for this review were the building blocks of what makes a good wetsuit: warmth, stretch, and durability. We’ve made sure to speak to each of these aspects of good wetsuit design in our review for each suit, and used these as our main criteria in determining our winner. Since durability is a bit harder to capture after only a couple months of testing, that criterion was weighted less than warmth and stretch, the two main considerations. Scroll to the bottom for more info on these criteria, as well as other things that matter in buying a wetsuit. For the benefit of hardcore stats nerds out there, we also took note of the weight of each suit, wetsuit fit, additional features, and sustainable manufacturing.

Testing the best wetsuits for surfing

These wetsuits weren’t going to test themselves, so we put them through their paces at Ocean Beach, in San Francisco, an excellent wetsuit proving ground. Photo: Skyler Fitzmaurice/The Inertia

How We Tested The Best Wetsuits

Our lead tester for this review is Will Sileo, a Bay Area native, and cold-water surf aficionado. For consistency, he did his best to only test 4/3 front-zip suits without hoods. However, the wetsuits tended to fall into two main categories: true “steamer” wetsuits which prioritized warmth, and more “high performance” suits that prioritized light weight and stretch. He’s done his best to indicate which way each suit leans.

We weighed the possibility of running different warmth and stretch tests, subjecting ourselves to cold plunges with the suits on or stretching them as far as they go before they rip in half, but we quickly realized the cold plunge would be extremely challenging to do accurately. How long would it take between tests to re-calibrate one’s body heat? And an ultimate stretch test didn’t (at least to us) seem indicative of what a wetsuit actually goes through during use. So we did what any surfer would do. We surfed in these wetsuits as much as possible could over the past couple years, often going through multiple suits a session for accurate comparisons. We also compiled helpful data like wetsuit weight and additional features to provide as full of a picture as possible to help you make the best decision when purchasing your new wetsuit.

While that may seem like the best job in the world (and, we admit, it’s pretty fun), we assure you there is nothing glamorous about getting out of the water when the waves are firing to jog back to the car, take off a wet wetsuit, yank a dry one on over a still-wet body, and get back in the water. All for you, dear reader.

Editor’s Note: This article was first published in November of 2022, and since then has received an early fall and mid-winter update each year to reflect our continued testing, and bring the latest and greatest wetsuits into the fold. Due to testing constraints, this review started with mostly big-name wetsuit brands, but the past two years we have worked to include the most promising smaller wetsuit brands and would consider this to be the most accurate picture of the wetsuit industry currently on the internet. In our most recent update in March of 2024, we added four new suits based on our testing this fall and winter, removed a couple of outdated suits, and gave everything a bit of a facelift. Thanks for reading. 

Manera x10d

When it comes to wetsuit fit, Manera’s X10D is second to none. Photo: Skyler Fitzmaurice/The Inertia

Best Wetsuits Buyer’s Guide

Wetsuit Fit

Without a doubt, fit is the most important factor in choosing a suit. It doesn’t matter if it’s the stretchiest and warmest suit in the world, if the fit isn’t right, you will not enjoy wearing it.

All of the suits tested in this review are a size M, which is generally our tester’s preferred wetsuit size at 6’0” and 150-ish lbs. As you can probably tell from the photos, our lead tester Will Sileo is a bit of a lanky guy, usually leaving him with a bit of exposed skin at the wrists and ankles. However, in his wetsuit-buying experience, he’s been most pleased with how Medium suits fit his torso. A Small Tall tends to fit much tighter on his body, causing the seams to fail quickly, and he’s usually far below the recommended weight category for a Medium Tall suit. In this review, he’s made sure to point out when a suit fits particularly bad, or particularly well.

However, fit is as personal as it gets. Be sure to read the size charts, and if you find a manufacturer whose suits fit you particularly well, it might be worth sticking to your guns.

O'Neill Hyperfreak Fire Best Wetsuits

The O’Neill Hyperfreak Fire clocks in as a super-warm and high-performing suit, with O’Neill’s new TechnoButter4 neoprene and lining. Photo: Skyler Fitzmaurice/The Inertia

Warmth vs. Stretch

The second and third most important factors in choosing a suit. While these two criteria certainly aren’t mutually exclusive, they do cut against each other. Want a warmer suit? That means more layers of insulation (both in terms of the millimeters of neoprene itself and a heftier lining of the inside of the wetsuit) and less flexibility. Want more stretch? Gotta make a sacrifice somewhere…

Some wetsuits on this list prioritize stretch, some prioritize warmth, and others try to strike a happy medium. It’s certainly worth taking a sec to figure out your priorities before going all-in on new rubber.

Vissla North Seas Best Wetsuits for Surfing

The Vissla North Seas is a great choice for a very warm wetsuit that won’t break the bank, and is easy on the environment, to boot. Photo: Cory Diamond/The Inertia

Sustainable Wetsuits

Sustainable manufacturing is booming in the surf industry, and wetsuits are no exception. It used to be that if you wanted a sustainable wetsuit, your option was Patagonia, and while their Yulex material is still the most sustainable wetsuit material out there, it’s no longer the only one. For their part, Patagonia has proactively shared their technology and suppliers with other manufacturers for the planet’s sake. It’s also not a bad marketing talking point for Patagonia.

As far as other wetsuit materials go, regular neoprene is derived from crude oil, which makes it very environmentally unfriendly indeed, putting it at the bottom of the list. Not far above that sits limestone neoprene (also referred to as Yamamoto neoprene) which uses calcium carbonate from limestone instead of crude oil. That’s certainly better as a step away from fossil fuels, but limestone still needs to be extracted from the earth and takes a lot of energy to transform into neoprene. Even better than limestone are wetsuits produced with recycled materials such as rubber from old tires (like Quiksilver and others’ “Carbon Black”), oyster shells, and other recycled materials. Many suits on this list use a mixture of limestone and recycled materials to make their suits, which is a good start, but not as sustainable as Yulex.

Picture Equation Best Wetsuits

The Picture Equation lands solid sustainability at an incredible price, with a cozy lining, stretchy neoprene, and fun features. Photo: Skyler Fitzmaurice/The Inertia

Performance-wise, limestone neoprene probably performs the best, with regular neoprene clocking in at a super-close second-best. Limestone neoprene can sometimes be a little less stretchy than regular neoprene, but it is in all cases super flexible (not stiff at all) and that lack of stretch adds to the durability. Recycled blends vary, but are often majority limestone, and therefore quite high-performing. Yulex is definitely the lowest-performing material here, but not by that much, and new tech and different blends have closed the gap in recent years. Manera, Billabong, and Quiksilver recently announced their own Yulex wetsuit lines, which sounds promising as a potential industry-wide shift towards better materials.

There are a few additional sustainability efforts of note from wetsuit manufacturers. The use of recycled polyester or nylon in the lining of the suit, water-based glue (such as Aqua Alpha) for seam sealing, and dope-dyed fabric all make contributions toward minimizing the footprint of a wetsuit.

Dakine 4/3 Cyclone wetsuit

The Dakine Cyclone has survived a year of hard use and is still in great condition. Photo: Skyler Fitzmaurice

Wetsuit Durability

All that being said, perhaps the most important aspect of a sustainable wetsuit is its durability. The longer a wetsuit lasts before you have to buy a new one, the less of an impact your years of wetsuit-buying will have in the long run. And it will save you money, too. Overall, stretchier suits tend to degrade quicker, and while Yulex suits don’t win the stretch category, they do win the durability category for that reason. We will keep this article updated with notes on durability as we continue surfing in these suits.

zipper design

Some zippers require two hands (Billabong), some don’t, but then need a snap to make sure they stay shut (Quiksilver). Photo: Skyler Fitzmaurice/The Inertia

What Other Features Matter in a Wetsuit?

There are plenty of other factors to consider when buying a suit. Perhaps the most impactful is the key pocket. We generally prefer a key loop inside of the front zipper as it can accommodate both a car’s small valet key or a larger fob in a waterproof case. Another popular design is the outer calf key pocket, which is way more comfortable, but maybe a little less secure and a far smaller pouch-area than the front zip of your suit, which can be troublesome for larger keys. However, the KGuard electronic key bag with a fob inside managed to fit in all of the calf pockets we tested, except for O’Neill’s. A larger pouch like the Aquapac Keymaster, would not have fit in any of the calf-pockets we tested.

Rip Curl Fusion Key Pocket

A good key pocket in your suit is a must these days. Photo: Skyler Fitzmaurice/The Inertia

Zipper design is another feature of note. Some zippers require that you put the two pieces of the zipper together, some have the zipper already attached, allowing you to simply pull it across one-handed. However, most of these suits then require a snap to keep the zipper from opening. The first is more secure, but a bit more troublesome than the second option.

Seams matter, too. GBS seams (Glued and Blind Stitched) are the best in terms of water-permeability, which all of the wetsuits in this review have. Most of the suits also make use of inside taping, and some even go for seam seals on the outside. Both taping and seam seals increase the waterproofing and longevity of a suit, but can reduce the overall flex.

O'Neill Wetsuit Seams

A liquid seam-seal on the outside of a wetsuit will keep your seams watertight for a lot longer than normal. Photo: Skyler Fitzmaurice/The Inertia

How Do I Take Care of my Wetsuit?

Choosing the right rubber is important, but so is treating your wetsuit well to ensure it will last you as long as possible. After each use, make sure to rinse your wetsuit with fresh water, and hang it to dry (check out our guide to the best wetsuit hangers) in the shade. Reminder: Fold your suit to hang it. Don’t hang it by the shoulders. This will help you avoid gravity stretching (and eventually) tearing those shoulders over time. Sun and salt water, especially in combination, will reduce your wetsuit’s overall lifespan. They’ll also make the rubber stiffer and less flexible. If you notice that happening, you can always use one of these awesome wetsuit washes, which will also help kick the wetsuit stink before (or even after) it starts. We do our best to wash our wetsuits with a cleaner every couple of weeks to keep them feeling supple and smelling good. If you happened to rip your wetsuit, or noticed your seams are letting in more water than you would like, don’t worry, your wetsuit’s life is far from over. Check out our helpful guide to wetsuit repair.

Rip Curl Fusion Wetsuit kneeling at Ocean Beach

The seams on the Rip Curl Fusion wetsuit are stitch-free, and claim to be leak-free, too. Photo: Skyler Fitzmaurice/The Inertia

How Long Should My Wetsuit Last?

Your wetsuit should last at least a year for the every-damn-day surfer and a potentially a lot longer than that if you surf less (and are a fully grown adult). We have wetsuits that have held up well to regular use for up to four years, basically the gold standard of durability. But a wetsuit is expensive. It should last. Less-stretchy, more durable wetsuits will last longer than high-performance, high-stretch wetsuits. You can keep your suit seaworthy even longer by re-sealing your wetsuit seams when they start to fail, washing your wetsuit after each session with fresh water, and regularly applying a wetsuit wash, being gentle when taking your wetsuit on and off, and generally avoiding the downward spiral of negligent wetsuit care. Don’t change directly on asphalt (especially parking-lot asphalt with all that yucky car-grease) or let your wetsuit sit in its own funk overnight because you were too lazy to wash it after your evening session. All those sorts of actions contribute to wetsuit-deterioration.

Rip Curl Fusion Wetsuit Stretch

Photo: Skyler Fitzmaurice/The Inertia

What Thickness Wetsuit Should I Get?

Great question, and one that depends on a variety of factors including where you surf, what time of year you’re surfing, and how hot/cold you tend to run. In Northern California, where we did the majority of our testing, a 4/3 wetsuit is the go-to, year-round suit, but dedicated winter surfers or those who run cold might choose a 4.5/3.5, 5/4/3, or 5/4. A hood is often a great idea, too, to ward off that brain-freeze. Down in Southern California, a 3/2 is often the suit of choice, with all but the hardiest of surfers switching over to a 4/3 come fall/winter. Below is a general guide to choosing wetsuit thickness based on water temperature, based on Quiksilver’s temperature chart.

Water Temperature Wetsuit Thickness Other Accessories
75+ Boardshorts/Rashguard Wetsuit jacket if you run cold.
65-75 .5-2mm wetsuit jacket/springsuit N/A
60-65 3/2mm fullsuit N/A
55-60 4/3mm fullsuit booties and hood if you run cold.
50-55 5/4mm fullsuit with hood booties, gloves if you run cold.
50 and below 6/5mm fullsuit with hood thick booties and thick gloves.

However, the above is just a guideline. There’s a lot of other factors to consider when choosing a suit. First is personal cold-tolerance. While a thinner suit will tire you out less and overall allow for faster reactions, all those advantages go away when your body is tense or even shivering with cold.

Wind and sun can also play a big factor. Surfers in windier conditions would benefit from a rubber “smoothie” panel which some wetsuits have on the chest and/or front that helps block windchill. And if it’s overcast, not only will the sun not be warming you, it won’t be warming the top layer of the water those crucial few degrees either.

Feral Wetsuit on stairs at Ocean Beach

Feral wetsuits feature minimal branding for the all-black surfer aesthetic. Photo: Skyler Fitzmaurice/The Inertia

Another consideration is how active you tend to be in the water. Surfers who are constantly paddling can choose a thinner suit, and those who find themselves sitting and waiting for waves would probably prefer a thicker suit. This can also vary from one break to the next depending on crowd factor, the type of wave, and other factors. When we’re surfing Pleasure Point, in Santa Cruz, for example, we tend to choose a thicker suit as we wait our turn amongst the crowd. At Ocean Beach, a thinner suit can help keep one’s arms fresh as you battle the lines of whitewater to reach the outside. However, you’ll likely want to choose a suit with a hood for such a break to combat brain-freeze from the constant duck-diving.

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading. We’ll be doing our best to keep this article updated as wetsuits go in and out of stock online. We will also keep you posted as we’re able to try any new wetsuits or if any durability problems arise that were premature to note here.

Return to Top Picks | Return to Comparison Table

Editor’s Note: For women, check out our guide to The Best Women’s Wetsuits. And here’s our guides to The Best Wetsuit Booties and the Best Wetsuit Gloves. Surfing somewhere warmer? Check out our guide to The Best Springsuits for Surfing, or The Best Boardshorts. For more gear reviews and features on The Inertia, click here.

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