In the world of wetsuits it seems that there's now a limitless supply of options out there. From basic budget to super technical.
Choosing one can leave your head spinning so we're here to walk you through some of the basics as well as our top picks.
These days most suits are 100% stretch(can double its own length) even in basic level suits. Most wetsuits are between 80-100% stretch, any more than that and they can overstretch and are proned to thinning out. If you ever owned one of the first generation Ripcurl E-bombs you'll know what we mean.
The thickness of your wetty will determine not just the warmth but also the added weight. A thicker wetsuit will be warmer but will often feel heavier in the water. On the Sunshine Coast the most commonly sought after thicknesses are 2mm(Fullsuit) or 3/2mm (3mm Torso & legs / 2mm shoulder)
Sealed v Unsealed
Most wetsuits are now sealed with glue or taping, there are still unsealed suits that are flatlock stitching. The big advantage of sealed wetsuits is a more watertight suit resulting in more warmth without the need for a thick wetsuit. For example a 2/2mm steamer will offer similar warmth to a 3/2mm unsealed wetsuit but without the weight.
Chest-Zip Vs Back Zip
Since the Chest Zip design came out there has been a steady decline in the use of back zips, even many wetsuit companies have cut back their range of wetsuits with back zips but that's not to say they've stopped all together. Some surfer's simply don't like the chest zip design or have shoulder/back injuries so a backzip offers the best ease of use. A chest zip will often offer better shoulder movement and will eliminate cold water flushing through the neck because of the envelope and drainage system.
Possibly the most important part of getting any wetsuit no matter the thickness and design is that it fits CORRECTLY. Too small and you limit your movement, too large and you risk the wetsuit over-expanding once in the water and allowing excessive water in. A wetsuit works best when it fits skin tight. Your body heat is insulated by the wetsuit so If there's too much fresh water leaking in your body heat will escape or drop from cold flushes and will make your wetsuit effectively useless. If you're not sure on the fitting of your wetsuit be sure to ask one of the staff in store to check the fitting for you.
So what's best for you?
If we're just talking about the Sunshine Coast in most cases a 2/2mm Sealed Short Sleeve or Long sleeved will cover most surfers' needs. If you want to be extra toasty for those long winter sessions and travel south of Gold Coast a bit during winter months definitely consider a 3/2mm Sealed Full Wetsuit.
Top 3 Best Value 2mm Short Sleeve Steamers
Quiksilver 2/2mm High Dye
Seal: GBS Seams
Vissla Seven Seas 2-2
Seal: GBS Seams
Xcel Infiniti Comp 2/2mm
Seal: GBS Seams & Inner Thermo Dry Seam Tape
Top 3 Best Value 3/2 Steamers
Xcel Axis Full 3/2
Seal: GBS, Internal Taping & External Liquid Seam
Quiksilver Syncro 3/2
Seal: GBS Seams
Vissla Seven Seas 3/2
Seal: GBS & Internal Taping
*Intended as a guide only, be sure to speak to our expert staff in store to find and fit a wetsuit that is suitable for your needs. Prices, colours, styles and availability may vary.