I live in Newport, California, and one of the funny myths about CA is that its beaches are warm all the time.
Sure, the Southern part is known for its consistently warm weather, beautiful beaches, tan bodies, and of course, active water sports such as surfing and wakeboarding.
From the rippable beach breaks like the Black and reefs of San Elijio, you can almost find a wave to surf any time of the year.
But one thing that isn’t very consistent is the water temperature. While the summertime south swells bring warm water, the northerly winds make the water cold, especially during winter.
So, as a California native, born and raised, it’s usually easy for me to spot tourists on the beach because most come in bikinis and boardshorts.
But all it takes is for them to step into the water and quickly realize that it’s not as warm as they imagined it would be.
Personally, I also have to admit I lose energy in cold water. If I wakeboard without any protection in anything below 70 degrees, I get chilled to the bone; my toes feel like they’re getting hammered, my face hurts, and I can only last for not more than 30 minutes before cutting my session short.
Sure, I’ve the option of proving to the world how strong I’m, but that would definitely come at the expense of freezing or even hypothermia.
But today, cold water never scares me. It’s not like I’ve developed tolerance against cold or anything, but I connected with an old friend who introduced me to wetsuits for wakeboarding.
Of course, I had my reservations at first because I’m an old hand at wakeboarding, and I imagined they would be stiff and unresponsive as they used to be in old times.
But I must admit, wetsuits have really changed.
In fact, there’re no words to describe how they’ve made a great contribution to my overall experience and enjoyment in the water.
In particular, they come in handy for the cold winter days when everyone is bundled in lumpy jackets and wool socks. I can have the ocean all by myself, with no other boats or surfers out, and the water is glass.
Plus, covering up with one of these helps me overcome the fear of getting tormented by the stinging jellyfish.
This is not to mention they protect me from the reefs and injury from jagged rocks.
But with so many wakeboarding wetsuits in the market, how do you choose the right one?
You don’t need to worry about that because we’ve prepared a comprehensive guide outlining everything you need to know about suits for wakeboarding.
I’ve also included a review of some of my favorite wetsuits.
Table of Contents
Best Wetsuit for Wakeboarding For The Money
#1 O'NEILL 5/4+mm Men's Hyperfreak Hooded Fullsuit - EDITOR'S CHOICE
We’ll start our review with a wetsuit I believe it’s hands-down the best value in the mid-range wetsuits for wakeboarding.
It’s a nice and handy wetsuit that I’ve come to love, and I can’t gush over how much it has transformed my wakeboarding experience.
One of the impressive features I love with the Hyperfreak is how it borrows some of the more specialized features of the high-end wetsuits, yet it comes at affordable pricing.
For example, it uses the Techno Butter 3 neoprene material. This is the same construction used in O’Neil’s high-performance Psycho wetsuit, so you know they want the Hyperfreak to compete with the big boys in the market.
While O’Neil hasn’t specified the details of the Butter Neoprene, it’s easy to feel its effects once you pick up the wetsuit.
You can tell that it feels different. First, it’s flexible and lightweight and is “butterier” to the touch. So, yes, even before you wear the suit, you can already tell it’s going to feel ultra-comfortable.
The other design feature that sets this wetsuit apart is the absence of a smooth skin panel on the chest or back.
I know it may sound like a flaw, but it’s actually a plus. Of course, it limits the suit’s usage in extremely cold water conditions, but it excels in cutting down wind chill. It has great wind resistance, reflecting all wind to keep your core warm.
Another key benefit of the Hyperfreak is the minimized seams construction with larger panels to increase movement and eliminate rashing.
It is flexible and fits like a pair of silk boxers, so it will keep you as comfortable as possible for most of the day. It’s not a surprise this wakeboard suit is so common with professionals during competitions.
#2 Rip Curl Women's Dawn Patrol - Best Wakeboarding Suit for Women/ Cold Water
Rip Curl is not only a great option for female wakeboarders but also one of the few wetsuits with more thermal insulation properties. It offers 5/3 mm, so it’s great for winter surfing.
My wife normally wears this wetsuit in California’s winter. From May until September, and during the coldest months from July to August, it keeps her really warm for up to 2 hours when the water temperature is about 15 C.
Plus, it comes with a generous offering of the inner seals all around the wrists, neck, and leg, so it effortlessly keeps water from getting inside the wetsuit.
Yet, it’s not thickly as we imagined to compromise on her flexibility or performance. The sleeves are only 3mm, so it doesn’t affect how well she grabs the wakeboard ropes and cuts across the boat wakes.
What about comfort and flexibility?
It doesn’t match what Hyperfreak offers in terms of flexibility.
But if you compare the level of warmth against comfort, she says it’s great for what it offers.
Remember, this is a thick wetsuit, but it feels super comfy and, more importantly, cozy.
Of course, for a 5/3, you’ll definitely require some elbow grease to the wetsuit on and off. But it’s nothing to beat about. A front chest zip helps with wearing and taking off while stopping the water from getting in.
Rip Curl’s final benefit is that it stands up to abuse. My wife has had it for three seasons now, wakeboarding every weekend, and it’s still in mint condition.
The neoprene material remains super strong and doesn’t look like it’s going to break anytime soon. It still looks new.
But of course, its greatest benefit is that it’ll keep you warm in very cold-water conditions.
#3 XCEL Men’s Axis Flatlock Long Sleeve Fullsuit - Best Wetsuit for Warmer Weather
The XCEL Axis Neoprene full suit is our best wetsuit for days when the sun is out, but you still need some protection and warmth.
It comes with a 3/2mm neoprene, so you’re set for days when it’s not chilly.
I love to use mine in spring and fall, when temperatures are between 56° – 64°F.
My greatest appeal with the Xcel is it gives you decent warmth without busting the bank.
It’s a great option for the warmer climates, the tropical-esque conditions.
Besides the choice of material, the other reason why we feel the XCEL Axis is the right option for the warmer climate is that it employs a flatlock stitch.
This stitching isn’t as effective as the glued and blind stitched seams in keeping water out. It won’t keep the cold water out, but on days where the wind is the main reason for cold, you’ll feel toasty in this suit.
The neoprene used here is flexible as it doesn’t limit your movements and still offers freedom of movement.
Along with the traditional style of entry consisting of a back zip closure, I also find it super convenient to get on and off from this wetsuit.
Finally, I can’t tell you how pleased I was with the EXEL’s fit.
I mean, the manufacturer has engineered this suit considering human physiology and has reduced the number of seams, which in turn increases the overall stretch.
#4 VISSLA 7 Seas - Budget Option
Beginners of a budget should consider the Vissla 7 Seas.
It’s an inexpensive purchase, yet it comes with a host of awesome features and will keep you warm all through.
But for me, I like it because of its stretchiness and flexibility.
My first impression was how stretchy than I imagined for a suit in this price range.
While you can definitely come across a variety of flexibility in this range, the Vissla Seas skews to the more flexible side.
The benefit of having a flexible suit is, it’s easy to get on and off.
More importantly, it doesn’t limit your movements when wakeboarding, so you can optimize your performance.
What about warmth?
Seven Seas is generally comfortable. And the good thing is there’s more to comfort than just the neoprene material.
Vissla Neoprene Sea Suit also has a great liner running from the ankles up the chest. It’s plushier than regular materials, feels pretty cozy, and will keep you toasty.
The lining also extends to part of the hood, and this is critical in keeping your head warm as it’s one of the most sensitive parts of your body to changes in the environment.
My other attraction with this budget wetsuit was its durability.
I’ve used the Vissla for several seasons now, and it doesn’t show any signs of wear or tear. It’s not like the typical cheap suits.
Part of the reason behind the suit’s durability is the internally taped seams and extra reinforcement over key stress areas and cuffs.
It’s a feature that isn’t typical at this price range, and it really puts the suit at a higher level in terms of competition and durability.
The overall fit of Vissla runs true to size, and it slides like a pair of silk boxers.’
It stretches well, and the “anatomically correct” seam placement and tailored fit eliminate weird bunching. It also moves well with the body.
Like the Hyperfreak, it also lacks a smooth skin panel in the chest zip but instead uses larger main body panels of neoprene.
While it limits the suit’s usage to the colder water, it’s fine by me since I use it in moderate water but now with the benefit of less stitching issues and more flexibility.
#5 Realon Kids 2mm Full Wetsuit Kids - Best Shorty Wetsuits for Kids
We ordered this for our 8- and 12-year-old kids, and they absolutely love everything about the Realon.
It wasn’t a surprise considering the Realon continues to rack up positive reviews from parents, so we were pretty sure they would love it.
One of the things they really loved with this suit was how warm it felt. It was well insulated, and my kids had no trouble getting into relatively cold water. They played in the water for hours on end without getting cold, and we even had to force them out.
And even when we did, they didn’t feel the need to remove the wetsuit because it stayed warm underneath, even with the beach wind blowing,
The Realon draws its superior waterproof properties from the material used, a combination of Neoprene (90%) and nylon lining (10%).
And that’s not all!
The Realon is pretty versatile. It emphasizes warmth, with the 3mm thickness making it suitable for both cold and warm water temperatures.
In addition, the material keeps your little ones protected from the cold, UV light, and irritants in the water.
And the good thing is it’s a full wetsuit, offering full-body coverage. It extends to the arms, legs, and neck. So, you can have the confidence that your kids are well protected against harmful elements.
Wearing the Realon is also super easy, and doesn’t leave their faces red.
The fabric uses flatlock stitching, which stretches well during wearing and use. Plus, it utilizes a back-zipper system, which makes it easy for kids to dress and undress.
Finally, the Realon wetsuit is built to last, and the anti-wear design helps with the suit’s overall durability. It lasts long and will take a beating without ripping or wearing.
Best Wetsuit for Wakeboarding Buying Guide
I’ll take you through everything you need to know about selecting wakeboarding wetsuits in the section below.
But first, let’s look at the different wetsuit styles.
Different Types of Wetsuits for Wakeboarding
Wetsuits are different, and they vary so that they can meet the different consumer needs.
The common types of wetsuits are:
Full Body Wetsuits
Full body suits are just as the name suggests; they cover the entire body and are perfect for the extremely cold season of winter and fall.
Usually, full suits are thick on the side, making them super comfortable to wakeboard in the cold.
Another version of the full wakesuit is the semi-dry suit.
The semi-dry suits are more suitable for the freezing water as they don’t let water in and keep you warm in conditions where a regular suit can’t.
The spring suits are perfect for spring wakeboard riding.
They’re also suitable for moderately cold temperatures and protect your core by providing more warmth and flexibility.
They’re also known as heater tops, and they remove the cold out of your body during a ride.
The wetsuit tops aren’t used based on season but rather worn to keep warm and comfy during the cold morning and dusk sessions.
What to Consider When Purchasing a Wet suit for Wakeboarding
Now that you’re aware of the different wetsuits, see what to consider when selecting one.
Features to Consider When Buying a Wetsuit
The construction of the seam affects the overall comfort and warmth.
Common types of seams are:
The sealed seam refers to the glued and stitched seam. It’s super sturdy and resistant, so little water can penetrate inside. It’s perfect for cold water that is 55 F and up.
2) Flatlock seam
This seam looks like a track in the railroad. Both the exterior and interior are similar.
This is why it’s comfortable to wear, though it allows some water to penetrate.
Usually, it’s ideal for the warm weather that is 52 and up.
3) Sealed and Taped
This seam is ultra-sturdy and best to wear for freezing water- 55 F and below.
It has a similar construction as the sealed seam but has an added tape for more durability and ensures no water can seem inside.
Wetsuit Thickness/ Thermal Properties
Thickness is measured in millimeters, and it determines the overall warmth of a wetsuit.
Generally, the thicker the wetsuit, the warmer it feels.
However, keep in mind that thickness may sacrifice flexibility.
Usually, good-quality suits are constructed from standard neoprene material.
However, neoprene is different as it comes in two types; standard and super stretch neoprene.
The average wetsuits are 30 percent super stretch, while the top is 60 to 100 percent super stretch neoprene. Professional athletes use the latter.
Thirty percent of super-stretch neoprene wetsuits only stretch in the critical parts such as elbows, shoulders, and knees, while the 100% super stretch neoprene suits are flexible in all parts.
Zippers prevent water entry.
The full zipper is standard, but the short zipper provides more flexibility.
Chest zipper is also more convenient and is the most common type of zipper.
Usually, fit depends on the body type. Like regular clothes, you don’t expect children to wear a suit meant for adults.
Plus, it should offer a snug fit, not too tight and not too loose.
Best Wakeboarding Wetsuit Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Can you wakeboard in a wetsuit?
A: Yes, there’re wet suits specifically designed for wakeboarding.
They’re light, ultra-flexible, and will help you to retain your body warmth. So, it is easier to wakeboard with them even in the colder waters.
Q: What is the best thickness for a wakeboarding wetsuit?
A: It depends on the water conditions you’ll be wakeboarding in.
Generally, the colder the water, the thicker you want your neoprene to be. Thicker wetsuits have the best heat retention.
But as we mentioned earlier, thicker water suits usually sacrifice the overall flexibility.
Q: Is it better to have a tight or loose wetsuit?
A: None is better. The ideal wetsuit should fit snugly. It shouldn’t be too loose to allow water to flood, nor should it be too tight to restrict breathing or movements.
A less-fitting suit may also not be heat efficient.
Q: How do I fix the rips on my wetsuits?
A: For the small damages, buy neoprene repair kits. You can glue the rips together, but be extra careful when wearing the wetsuit because it’ll be more prone to damage.
Q: How do I avoid friction on my wetsuit around the chest or collar?
A: Friction on a wetsuit causes a burning sensation.
If you’ve this issue, consider investing in a rash guards vest. The vest doesn’t affect your flexibility and mobility but will protect you against the constant rubbing of the garment you wear with wetsuits.
Wrap Up: Our Choice
We’re through with our review of the wetsuit for wakeboarding, and our favorite option is the O’Neil Hyperfreak.
We choose this model because it’s excellent to wear for the cold season, thanks to the comfort and warmth it offers.
The manufacturer has also incorporated numerous technologies, such as the Techno Butter, just to achieve the premium feel and performance it provides.
Additionally, it’s comfortable and easy to wear. I’d highly recommend it.