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Best Surfing Booties 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated February 1, 2018
Best Surfing Booties of 2018
I make the search easier for you, by reviewing the best surfing booties on the market. There’s a product for every kind of user on the list of affordable options below.
If you’re scouring the market for the best surfing booties, you’d better have the right info before spending your money. So, what exactly would anyone want to know about surfing booties? I know most of us don’t really care much about the history and the origin, all we want to know is which of them is the best. Of course, I will spare you the history and go straight on to the best surfing booties.
Test Results and Ratings
Why did this surfing booties win the first place?
I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product. The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack. I was completely satisfied with the price. Its counterparts in this price range are way worse. I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing!
№2 – Water Shoes
Why did this surfing booties come in second place?
I recommend you to consider buying this model, it definitely worth its money. Seems that the material is good. It has a very beautiful color but I don’t really like the texture. This is a pretty decent product that perfectly fitted the interior of our office. I really liked it. It is amazing in every aspect. It did even exceed my expectations for a bit, considering the affordable price.
Why did this surfing booties take third place?
It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time. It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment. We are very pleased with the purchase — the product is great! This price is appropriate since the product is very well built.
Surfing Booties Buyer’s Guide
A majority of kiteboard boots, which are available in today’s marketplace, come with 3mm – 7mm of Neoprene. Greater the thickness, the warmer the pair of shoes will be for your own convenience.
If you’re going to surf in the hotter outdoors, it might be beneficial to choose a pair of boots with 3mm of thickness. But while surfing in winter, you might need a greater degree of Neoprene around your footwear.
Having said that, there is no rule of thumb when it comes to determining the thickness of your kitesurfing boot. For example, when some people suffer from cold feet, they can wear highly insulated boots around the clock. So apart from the weather, it eventually comes down to your personal preference while selecting the thickness of your ideal footwear.
When you put on a pair of shoes for kitesurfing, you’re adding a few kilograms of weight on the surfboard. It means that the kite will have to generate greater power – with the help of the wind – to accommodate this increase in weight. As a result, one should always select a lightweight pair of kiteboard booties.
One thing which customers have to keep in mind that there are two types of weight which they could associate with the wetsuit boots. One of them is the dry weight which is the weight of this entity in your own hand. As per the other type, which is more important as well, it is the wet weight which can be measured once your shoes are in the water. So while making this purchase, keep this thing in mind that this shoe will feel a bit heavier in actual use, as compared to its real weight, due to the accumulation of water.
Kiteboard boots should always be selected with utmost care. Your kiteboard boots shouldn’t be too tight, which might crush your feet, and they shouldn’t be too loose or they might get filled with water. In both cases, you’ll end up surfing with uncomfortable feet.
On the first time of usage, the best kitesurf shoes should feel a bit snug as they will eventually loosen up with frequent use. In this way, they will not rub your feet and at the same time, any such footwear wouldn’t be vulnerable to getting flushed with water.
Order it HERE.
As the name suggests, this product is basically designed for users who’ve to surf under warmer climates. When such kind of conditions would require a minimal level of thickness, this model comes with just 2mm of Neoprene. As a result, users can wear it all day long, under rising temperatures, without any hesitation.
This shoe features a durable rubber outsole which does so well when it comes to grip on the surfboard. When it enhances natural on-the-board feeling, it also makes sure that its wearer stays surefooted on a consistent basis.
For optimal fit, this product comes with an adjustable cinch just around its ankle region. You can adjust this cinch, as per your ankle size, for making sure that you get a snug fit inside this model. Furthermore, the hook and loop strap – which is provided around the ankle region – makes sure that your feet stay protected inside this footwear. Both these factors combine effectively for reducing the amount of water which can enter inside these kitesurfing booties.
Even if some amount of water does enter inside this boot despite all the aforesaid arrangements, O’Neill has provided several little drain holes on one side of this kitesurfing boot. So when this boot dries up pretty quickly, you can also use it in shallow warm waters.
Choosing a Wetsuit
There are a number of factors that need to be considered when choosing the right wetsuit for you. This can include such aspects as the wetsuit thickness, zip entry as well as the seams and stitching. Picking the right combination will form the basis for choosing the right wetsuit.
Recycle Old Suits
This goes back to rule one. Not everyone can afford a new 3/2, a new 4/3, and a new 6/mil. As your suits get worn-out and leaky, adjust their use to warmer seasons. Your old 4/becomes your new 3/Grab some scissors and your old 3/becomes your new springsuit. Always replace your thickest suit first.
Can’t afford a new drylock suit? Seals all stretched and worn? A bit of duct tape around your ankles and wrists can do wonders to prevent a cold water flush. Just make sure you don’t buy cheap tape. Crappy adhesive comes undone in the water, thereby making you one cold litterbug.
But here’s the problem…
More……Even your 6mm neoprene wetsuit with fleece quick dry insulation and a hooded design won’t protect your little toes from the iciness of the harsh winter water.
Surfing booties have definitely become a regular part of a cold-water surfer’s ensemble in modern times and, at this point, everyone should have a pair.
Would you rather be able to surf long hours in the coldest of temperatures with no problem or have the fear of completely losing feeling in your feet to find that you can’t even get up properly on your board?
With all the different surfing booties on the market, it can be difficult to make the right choice based on your needs.
The good thing is, we’ve made a list of our top choices below to keep your feet warm and comfortable in your own personal environment!
It’s fairly simple.
You’ll want your booties to be snug around your feet and ankles.
Now you don’t need them to be so tight that you lose feeling in your feet or that your feet feel smashed up in a neoprene chokehold, but you definitely don’t want your feet to be sliding around inside of them or have water leaking in while you’re out riding.
Sometimes people make the mistake of buying booties that are too small to find that it actually makes their feet colder. This is because it cuts off the circulation in your feet and stops warm blood from flowing in and out.
On the other hand, if your booties have the clown shoe look, it’s more than likely that your feet will be flopping around inside of them until you womp on a wave because you lost your balance and tripped over them.
A bigger bootie is also terrible for keeping out water, making the whole utility of the shoe pointless.
Most bootie sizes are fairly relative to shoe sizes, some being sized for your exact shoe size, and some being a size or half size bigger or smaller.
All of the manufacturers listed have bootie sizing charts on their websites that we highly recommend you read over before you make your purchase.
The majority of booties that you’ll see are either manufactured in 3mm, 5mm, and 7mm sizes. It’s pretty self-explanatory, the thicker the boot, the better for colder waters.
During the California summer time, the water temperatures can get up to around 60°F which some might say makes booties an unnecessary accessory.
If you’re someone who can’t stand to have cold feet, maybe doesn’t have great circulation, or can’t stand to be barefoot on the ocean floor with the creepy crawlies of the deep, 3mm booties are perfect for you.
If you’re surfing the northern New England coastline in January where waters are mid-30s on average, maybe shoot for the 5mm boots.
If you’re bad enough to surf in many of the world’s coldest surfing spots such as Lofoten, Norway or Reykjavik, Iceland, you might want to strap on a pair of 7mm booties to keep your feet from freezing in the 23°F water.
Terrain Surfing out in San Diego on La Jolla Shores is a walk in the park.
A sandy beach and 70°F water is the perfect recipe for throwing on your board shorts and paddling out.
However, though it is only hours away, if you’re surfing spots like Fort Point in San Francisco, with a line of rip rap rocks that you have to hike down to get out there, you’ll probably want something to protect your feet on the way down and back.
This makes them very warm and durable.
Neoprene is the same material that you will find on your typical wetsuit.
Neoprene is great for resisting weather degradation, resisting oil or chemical spills, use in a wide range of temperatures, and being physically tough in general.
It is the standard for pretty much all surf and water wear these days.
Recently, companies have begun manufacturing latex-dipped neoprene for their booties.
It makes the booties very light and flexible and only shows the single-lined layers of neoprene on one side.
These boots are great for surfers who are looking for a better board feel, as it helps to increase the sensation of being barefoot for performance and stability.
The one issue with these kinds of booties is that they aren’t very durable and typically waste away after a solid season of surfing.
If we can recommend our favorite type of booties all around, they would definitely be the double-lined neoprene booties.
The desired thickness of the neoprene used in your wetsuit depends on the water temperature you will be immersed in most of the time. Many serious surfers and water sports enthusiasts will own both a summer and a winter wetsuit, in order to enjoy the water all year round. With the changes in technology used in the both summer and winter suits, it is now possible to stay comfortable and warm in all conditions!
Wetsuit Seam Construction
There are different seams on offer with wetsuits. Flatlock stitched seams are comfortable and very hardwearing, but are only used on suits up to 3mm. Glued and blind stitched seams are used on premiums suits, as they allow less water to enter as well as offering a great flexibility. On the top end wetsuits, you will find liquid seams. These allow maximum stretch, whilst acting as a watertight barrier.
Back zip, chest zip or zip-free? It’s our most frequently answered question on wetsuit buying.
Rash guards can be worn under wetsuits offering slightly more warmth, as well as protection from irritating wetsuit seams. See the category below for more on wetsuit irritation.
Rash guards seem to be falling out of fashion lately, and I see them used less and less in favor of wetsuit tops and vests, plain t-shirts, and even button up shirts for the super hipster.
Choosing your suit
When buying a wetsuit, it’s important that the suit be snug—not too tight, not too loose. If the suit is too tight, you won’t be able to move (which is an essential part of surfing!). If your arms aren’t free to move you’ll get tired very quickly when paddling. If it’s too loose, there will be a ton of water moving around in your suit and your body will have a tough time warming up all that water and the insulating effect would be lost.
Make sure that the suit doesn’t have any glaring rough spots that might give you a rash. You’re going to be doing a lot of repetitive movements when you’re surfing and something that seems like only a minor irritation in the shop can be magnified when you’ve been paddling for hours and your skin is raw and cold.
Trying on a wetsuit is an important step in the buying process. Each brand has a slightly different cut that may or may not be good for your body type.
Wetsuits will stretch out a tiny bit after a few sessions.
Getting your suit on and off
Putting your wetsuit on is a thousand times easier if it’s dry and sand-free. If it’s damp, be prepared for a bit of a struggle. Someone once suggested that if you’re having trouble getting your feet in the suit, put plastic supermarket bags on your feet so they slide in easier.
Taking off a wetsuit can sometimes be quite a project. Springsuits are easy to get off, but full suits—-especially the thicker varieties—-can be a pain. The method that’s easiest on you (and your wetsuit) is to peel it off so that the suit is inside out when it’s off. Getting it off your arms and around your hands can be a hassle, especially if your suit is very snug. Try to progress slowly and deliberately-—don’t unnecessarily yank at your suit as this can damage the neoprene and the rubber seams that hold it together. The neoprene that is used nowadays is incredibly flexible, and someone who doesn’t know their own strength can end up putting their fingers right through it.
It helps to have a plastic bin or bucket in your car or truck to put your dripping wetsuit in after your session. It’s no fun to ruin a nice car with stinky, salty seawater.
Irritation and Rashes
Getting rashes from your wetsuit, rash guard, and boardshorts/bikini is a common problem. Surfing involves a lot of repetetive motion that can magnify rough spots in your apparel that you may not have even noticed before.
If your wetsuit is causing problems around your neck and upper body, a rash guard with a turtle-neck like collar can help ease the irritation.
Men having problems with their groin getting irritated from any type of suit can most likely solve their problems by getting some spandex shorts or a speedo-type bottom. This also makes it easier and less risky to change into and out of your wetsuit in public.
Headhunter makes a rash guard gel designed to reduce the effects of irritation from your wetsuit or rash guard.
Wetsuits are expensive, so it pays to take good care of your suit. It will last much longer, and will take care of you in return!
If you rip your wetsuit, you can use neoprene cement to repair it.
Once you’re done surfing, don’t crumple up your wetsuit and leave it in your trunk. The next time you use it you’ll probably get a peak all to yourself because you stink so bad! Aside from the nasty odor, saltwater actually degrades neoprene over time. If you want your suit to last and not become as stiff as cardboard, give it a thorough rinse in fresh water after your session.
Once you’re done rinsing your suit, hang it on a wide plastic hanger (don’t use thin wire hangers—this can damage the suit) and let it drip dry. You can either hang it up over your tub or shower, or somewhere else with a pan underneath to catch the drips. Hanging it outside is an option as well.
I like to dry my suits inside out if I’m going surfing the next day. This way at least the inside is dry when I’m putting on the suit. This makes it much easier to put the suit on, and it’s more pleasant on chilly mornings.
Tip: If you have a top loading washing machine at home that has a “hand washables” setting, you can throw your wetsuit in for the rinse cycle (don’t put it in for a whole wash and rinse cycle, and don’t put it in on a regular rinse setting). DO NOT USE SOAP! Just make sure your wetsuit doesn’t have buckets of sand on it. I’m not responsible for clogged plumbing!
Tip: If you have a large shower, you can just bring the suit in the shower with you after you surf to rinse it off. No, you don’t have to be wearing it. I find this to be fairly easy when I don’t have a free washing machine available. Just hang the suit up in the shower after you’re done to drip dry. Again, shake the sand off your suit before you do this.
A word of caution : If you live in heavily populated areas or areas with a lot of traffic, DO NOT leave your wetsuit hanging outside unattended in plain view. Even though people pee in their wetsuits, they are popular items to steal. My suit was stolen right off my clothesline when I was staying at a condo in Virginia Beach.
Peeing in your suit
If you do decide to pee in your wetsuit, rinse your suit well afterward. If you thought unrinsed, damp wetsuits stink, try unrinsed, urine drenched wetsuits. It’s a million times worse.
If your suit gets unbearably smelly and you can’t seem to get rid of the odor, there are several cheap products on the market that clean your wetsuit safely. Using common soaps and detergents is generally not a good idea, and can void your warranty and degrade the neoprene. Bleach is a no-no as well.
Wetsuits Have Come Far
So you want to go river surfing when either the water or the air is cold enough that board shorts just going to cut it anymore. It’s time for a new piece of gear; maybe the most important piece of surfing gear next to the surfboard: the river surfing wetsuit.
The first step in determining what wetsuit is right for you is determining the water temperature you’re probably going to encounter. So how do you figure out your water temp? Our friend the USGS can help you out, at least if you’re in the United States. Some of their gauging stations have water temperatures, like this one for the Beaver Wave.
And you can search for historical data too on their full site. Don’t sweat it if your exact gauge doesn’t sample temperature, just look for nearby drainages and try to get close. On the Beaver Wave, which is what that gauge is linked to, a lot of springtime temperatures fluctuate from the mid 40s to mid 50s Fahrenheit, which is pretty standard for a lot of Rocky Mountains rivers in the spring.
Your target temperature will dictate how thick you want your wetsuit to be. Thickness is expressed in millimeters, and where you see more than one number, the first (higher) number is the torso thickness, and the second (lower) number is the thickness for the limbs (since you want them to be more flexible and they’ll lose less heat). Three numbers are split torso/arms/legs. Here is the general breakdown between water temperature and wetsuit thickness:
Stitching and Seams
Stitching has a big impact on how durable a suit is but, more importantly, it can have a major impact on how warm the suit is, because seams can either be full of holes, letting in cold water, or nearly airtight. Though there isn’t much agreement as to what the various kinds of neoprene should be called, seam-stitching methods usually go by the same names across manufacturers, so if a suit’s seams are described one of the following ways, you have a pretty good idea of what they’re talking about:
Flatlock like railroad tracks. Visible from both sides of the fabric, this riddles the seams with holes that let in cold water. Fine if you’re getting out in warmer water, but not great for colder weather. done kind of like this. Two pieces of fabric are stitched together, then the seam is flipped so that you don’t see the stitches from the outside. Fewer holes than flatlock, but still not watertight.
Putting It All Together
It’s worth trying out as many suits as you can, but sometimes you’re landlocked and have to order online. Here is an overview of a few major manufacturers and their offerings. For each, I’m going to give you their 4/fullsuit options so you can compare similar high-end and low-end suits, along with a couple other offerings. Price are good as of the date of posting:
If money is no object then get yourself a quiver of wetsuits consisting of a 3mm, 4mm, and a 5mm wetsuit. This will cover you for all conditions, no matter what the sea temperature. It may be the most expensive option, but because the life expectancy of a wetsuit is based on how much it is used, each suit will last you much longer (providing you clean and store them properly!), so the cost balances out over time.
For a surfer that has a bit of a budget we would recommend getting two wetsuits that cover both ends of the temperature spectrum, ie. a 5mm and 3mm wetsuit. If you’re spending most of your time surfing in the UK you would be best suited to getting a really good 5mm suit and an economy 3mm suit, as you’ll find you’ll use the 5mm wetsuit approximately 7-months out of the year and the 3mm the rest of the time.
For someone on a tight budget, what to get depends on a few factors. 1) Where will you be surfing? 2) Will you surf when it’s freezing outside or are you more of a fair weather surfer? If you’re a UK south coast surfer you can get a good 4mm wetsuit to see you through the year, but you will need to get a thermal rash vest to wear under it, plus some boots, gloves and a hood for the colder months. If you mostly surf in the north of the UK, a 4mm in the winter will be unbearably cold, so we recommend getting a 5mm wetsuit. You may be a little warm during the summer months, but just loosen the neck of the suit and let some water in – it’s far easier to cool down when you’re hot than warm up when you’re frozen!
We get a lot of customers who go cheap on their wetsuit and buy the thickest boots because they say ” I feel the cold more”. This is not necessarily the case; people do not biologically feel the cold at different levels. If your feet are freezing and your friends are not, it’s not because they have tougher feet than you, it’s all down to the wetsuit. Your body’s first job is to keep your core warm. If your core is not warm the first thing your body does is slow blood flow to your extremities (i.e. your feet). You can avoid this by getting a good quality wetsuit that FITS YOU PROPERLY. A wetsuit should fit you TIGHT; it is essentially a second skin. If you’re on a budget you are much better off putting more money into a good wetsuit and economising on the wetsuit boots and gloves. The best boots in the world will not keep your feet warm when your poorly fitting wetsuit is letting water flush into it.
Are you riding in a cold water spot or a warm water spot? Is there a seasonal change from the winter to summer conditions? Can you ride year-round? Would you even want to? Are you the type of person that’s the first to get covered up when it starts getting cold or are you the last one to put your sweater on? Some of the more sensitive riders like myself may find that the gloves, booties, and hoods may come on a little sooner than for the tough guys that will ride their board shorts even through the winter. If you’re the kind of kiter that likes to travel to summer and winter spots, or if you have a big temperature variation between your summer and winter or spring and summer seasons, you may need two wetsuits. I have a few because I travel a lot.
Dress For Your Wipeout
One of the main safety rules in kiteboarding, is to make sure you are dressing for your wipeout, not for your session. If you run into a problem where you find yourself stuck in cold water, but dressed for a warm and sunny day, you’re not going to last very long if you’re not dressed for the conditions. Dress for the wipeout, dress for the water, and dress like you have to swim back to shore for 20 minutes! Oh and very importantly, be sure you like the way it looks because you’ll be riding that wetsuit all season. It always feels good to feel good in your wetsuit!
When Lauren’s (LoLo) not picking out the latest and greatest wetsuits or being the social media queen for Wetsuit Wearhouse, you can find her outdoors running, hiking, or reading a good book. She also spends her time practicing yoga and scouring the web for travel deals.
Finding the right fit
In general, you want your snowboard boots a bit tighter than your kicks. If your heel can lift out of the heel cup while walking around in them, they’re not tight enough. Then again, if your toes can’t wiggle, they’re too tight. Feet and ankles should feel snug and in place so that when you initiate a switch from edge to edge on your board, the board responds accordingly. Your big toe should just barely graze the toe cap.
Get to know your lacing system
Now that you have an understanding of what kind of fit and flex to go for, we can get into the different lacing systems, and offer a few snowboard boot suggestions in each of the lacing categories.
Most times, when you get to the mountain, you don’t want to waste time lacing up your boots or waiting for your friends to lace up theirs. You just want to run to the lift. If this sounds like you, you’re going to love Boa technology. Since 2001, snowboarders have been able to slip their feet into their snowboard boots, crank the dial, and get after it. Some boots utilize one cable to tighten each boot, while others have two to three boa system cables for more precise, zonal tightening. Boa bonus: You don’t have to take off your mittens or gloves in the dead of winter to tighten or get your boots on and off.
DC prides itself on developing products that take into account the feedback of its team. Well, the team did a great job with the Judge Boot, and it’s a top choice among the DC Team Riders. Its Dual Boa Closure System ensures a precision fit so you won’t break an ankle, and the Aerotech Ventilation System will make sure your feet can breathe through all that sweat as you hike up to the bowl.
Right in the middle on the flex scale, the Women’s Vans Aura Snowboarding boots has Vans custom focus Boa to target different zones. In fact, Vans was the first to start the trend and use Boa technology in their snowboard boots. Add that to a response liner and internal web harness, and you’ll have all the comfort and support you need as you adventure around the mountain for hours on end.
Similar to the popular ‘90s toy, the Bop It, some snowboard boots have a combination of technological advancements that you pull, twist, push (and bob it) to get that perfect fit. Below are some of the hybrid boots that’ll allow you to take advantage of all the best technology in one boot.
The science behind wetsuit stitches
Now we are moving on to the next flushing factor – the stitches. The deal on stitches is simple – to stitch neoprene together you need a thread and a needle. Needle makes holes in neoprene. Water and wind use holes to get inside. Less holes through the neoprene – warmer wetsuit.
Flat lock stitch
Is what replaced over lock stitches. It looks better and the wetsuit is more comfortable, but the stitch itself leaves the same amount or even more holes. No improvement for warmth here. Flat lock stitch is strong, but the thread is exposed on the outside and more likely to tear.
Taped seams AND taped stress points.
Same as above with the addition of taping the stress points of the wetsuit. Stress points are places where three or more stitches come together. This stitch is common with super stretchy high performance wetsuits, where performance is more important than durability. Extra taping on the stress points is used with most seams except maybe with overlock and flatlock.
Liquid sealed seam.
Also called S or Super Seal or something else, depends on which company uses it. Special rubber is used when sewing the neoprene to seal the inner or/and outer side of the stitches. That makes them stronger and additionally closes any holes. 100% waterproof stitches!
Zipper helps us get in and out of our wetsuit. The longer the zipper the easier that process. But the longer the zipper the more water can flush through it. So some winter suits have special, short zippers. The size and shape of the teeth on the zipper also matters but. Note also that metal zippers are more durable than plastic ones. We are talking about the part that slides up and down, the teeth of the zipper are always plastic. There is also a small Velcro safety belt that stops the zipper from opening.
If you are a beginner there is a big possibility that you will spend some time on your knees and even if you are not, some added protection for the knees and for the neoprene on the knees is very welcome. Some wetsuits only have anti-skid print on the knees, some have another patch of neoprene sewn onto the knees, some have knees reinforced with Kevlar. The efficiency of protection kind of rises in that order too. reinforced knees
A wetsuit is a neoprene insulation suit made for warmth and protection in watersports. Neoprene is made of small closed cells that are filled with air which provide insulation against cold water by trapping heat in. It works by trapping a thin layer of water between your skin and the wetsuit. Your body heats up this water and keeps you warm. The thicker the neoprene, the warmer the suit will be.
Discovered in the 1930’s by the Du Pont company, this foam-feel Neoprene is spongy, stretchy and waterproof, offering better insulation and durability than natural rubber.
Neoprene first revolutionised surfing in the 1950’s allowing surfers to spend more time in the water than ever before.
Later, the addition of Nylon, thermal layers and outer membranes improved durability, warmth and allowed a much better fit. This allowed surfers to explore spots in much colder conditions.
Neoprene from different brands and a different price points will offer different levels of flexibility, stretch and warmth.
There are different types of stitching used in wetsuit construction depending on the brand, performance and price. Classic stitching techniques can sometimes involve making holes in Neoprene and passing a thread through. These holes can let water though the waterproof Neoprene barrier, so the type of stitching is important when considering how warm a wetsuit will be.
New construction styles, materials, tape, glue and stitch-less technology will keep you warmer and more flexible than ever.
Sealed and Taped
This means seams are glued and blindstitched with and additional flexible liquid tape is fixed to the exterior, with extra tape to reduce water entry. This method adds comfort and creates a more watertight fit. The interior and exterior seams don’t look the same.
Panels are glued within super thin liquid seals around 6mm wide or less, with the addition internal tape for improved comfort and waterproofness. The advantage of this is that the wetsuit will be more flexible, when the suit is stretched the seam will stretch with it.
In the recent years back zips have been challenged by chest zips.
Chest zips let less water in, and in some cases can restrict water entry entirely with premium waterproof zips. Because of the zip placement, they also allow for easier paddling as there is no zip to compromise stretch across your back and shoulders. The downside of chest-zips is that they make the wetsuit harder to get on and off, which is a factor when you’re trying to squeeze in a quick surf before work.
Size and Fit
For the correct size, start with your shoe size. Unfortunately, scuba boots only come in whole sizes so if you are a half size, try rounding up as a start.
Sizes for scuba booties are quoted in mens sizes. So women should subtract (possibly 2) size from their shoe size as a starting point (womans size = mens size 6).
Scuba dive boots should fit similar to a shoe, a bit snug but not too tight and not too loose. Your toes should not be curled up in the end of the boot. If this happens, go a size up. Hopefully, your feet won’t be swimming in them.
Care and Maintenance
Caring for your dive boots is pretty much the same as caring for your wetsuit.
Soak – Soak your scuba booties for about 1minutes when you get back home, or better yet, back to the hotel. You can also use a special wet suit shampoo at this stage (baby shampoo is said to work just as well). You should shampoo your dive boots every once in a while for best results.
Inspect for Damage – Before you store your scuba booties for the next dive vacation, check for any rips or tears. They are much easier to fix while small (see my page on wetsuit repair for repair tips.)
Store Properly – Do not crumple boots up and shove them in a drawer. This can crease the boots and cause them to lose some of its insulation effectiveness
Tidbits – Do not store or dry your scuba booties in direct sunlight. Also, do not use aerosol spray near your dive boots as this can degrade the neoprene. The same goes for car exhaust so the garage is not the place to store your boots. And last but not least, do not put a dive boots in the dryer. I know it sounds obvious, but people have actually done this. You’ve been warned.
Hopefully this buyers guide to scuba booties will help make purchasing this piece of scuba equipment a little easier. They are one of the easier pieces to purchase so go ahead and have fun.
Before paddling out
When I learned to surf as a teenager in the mid-1980s, there was no such thing as a “surf instructor.” If you succumbed to the addiction of sliding down waves on a fiberglass spear, you had to endure plenty of pain, or to quote Hawaiians, “Take your lickins.” For me, those lickins’ included a fiberglass surfboard clear through the lip, a lacerated scalp, dislocated knee and shoulder, a stingray barb to the foot, and verbal sticks and stones courtesy of locals from Surfside, South Carolina, to Lake Worth, Florida—where territorial pier rats once hogtied visitors to parking meters with their ankle leashes or dropped the motors in their air-cooled VWs to the pavement.
Complete Surfing and countless YouTube entries cover basics from waxing a board to wipeouts to “the pop up.” As a result, more people are trying surfing out. According to a 201survey by Surfer Magazine and the Surfrider Foundation, surfing’s most influential conservation organization, around million people identify themselves as surfers in the United States alone. A 201story by Bloomberg estimates that surfer numbers are growing by 1.percent a year.
Wirecutter writer Owen James Burke testing out rashguards at Folly Beach, South Carolina. Photo: Chris Dixon
Still, despite so much info becoming available, surfing remains one of the most difficult sports to learn, both in terms of skill and etiquette. Unlike skateboarding or snowboarding, surfing’s medium is constant motion—a baffling and intimidating confluence of wave, wind, and current. And unwritten laws and protocol are still as important as when I was a wave-starved young kook (surfer slang for “clueless beginner”). Just because equipment is safer doesn’t mean you won’t be chewed out, or punched by a pissed-off local, or have your head nearly taken off because you don’t know to look over your shoulder to see if another surfer is coming down the line. In short, you’re still gonna take some lickins’.
To save you from as many of those lickins’ as possible, we talked to a trio of seasoned surf instructors. The first is former world longboard surfing champ Israel “Izzy” Paskowitz. Raised by his father, legendary surf instructor Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz, Izzy was a star of the documentary
Surfwise. Today, he is director of Surfer’s Healing, an organization dedicated to providing immersive surf therapy to children with autism, and San Diego’s Paskowitz Surf Camp. Tim Sherer runs Goofy Foot Surf School in Lahaina, Hawaii. He’s personally instructed more than 30,000 people—from Iowa farmers to LA inner-city kids to movie stars and musicians, including Everclear and Jimmy Buffett. Charleston’s Jenny Brown is a former women’s East Coast surf champ. She runs Folly Beach’s Shaka Surf School with husband Chris, captain of the NOAA research vessel Palmetto.
We asked them about the beginner mistakes they see again and again, and what advice they could offer to help new surfers avoid them.
Take a lesson.
Pull Quote “We look at teaching beginners how to manage risk in the ocean rather than creating risk.” —Tim Sherer, Goofy Foot Surf School
The most important thing everyone agreed on was this: For your first foray into the surf, for God’s sake, take a lesson from a qualified instructor. “One, it’s a safety thing,” Paskowitz said. “If you don’t know what you’re doing, you could die. Two: With surfing you’re doing something with a long lineage of history. There is so much information a good instructor can give you in an hour and a half lesson to make you better—techniques that have been handed down from generation to generation.” “We look at teaching beginners how to manage risk in the ocean rather than creating risk,” Sherer said. “Keeping in mind not just the small, beginner day, but for the strong day when there’s a lot of whitewater, current, or a big crowd. If you just paddle out without any knowledge, the risk is so much greater. There are just so many variables. You could be surfing in the wrong area—the shallow zone where reef and creatures are prolific.”
When Sherer started teaching 20 years ago, there were no guru instructors to learn from. So he relied on his training in yoga and martial arts. “Those two systems are built, theoretically, on thousands of years of technical refinement,” he said. “A great surf teacher breaks down the sport and rebuilds it using fundamentals. It’ll take two to six months to a year to develop a consistent form.”
Just because you’re fit, doesn’t mean you can surf. “Don’t assume because you can do one thing, you can do another,” Paskowitz said. “I’m surfing this spot in front of the Cabo Surf Hotel. The waves are pumping; 10, occasional 20-foot sets. I see a group of very fit, very focused surfers. Turns out they’re from Colorado. Hikers, rock climbers, and snowboarders—to percent body fat.”
After checking their surf leashes, Paskowitz watches in disbelief as the group’s surf instructor paddles right out, leaving his students on their own. “He basically leaves them to die,” Paskowitz said. “I asked one of them, ‘It’s gigantic out there, do you have any experience?’ She says, ‘Oh yeah, we spent two full weeks in Costa Rica with a guy who teaches surfing and dehydrates bananas for a living.’ Within five minutes, her leash is broken, she hasn’t made it outside and is lying on the sand like she needs CPR.”
Always take some time before you paddle out to size up your surf spot.
And what about the caliber of other surfers? If you paddle out amid a group of experienced people and don’t have much experience yourself, you’re a potential hazard to everyone. An excellent overview on etiquette can be found at Surfline’s Bill of Lefts and Rights. Study it. There’s also a pretty decent write-up over here from GQ.
The right equipment.
This is where we come in. Over our many years of surfing, we’ve come to know what works and what doesn’t, but just to make sure, we tested our favorites against promising competition to find reliable, affordable, and accessible equipment that will get you paddling out and won’t hold you back as you progress.
The truth is, however, for your first time out, you don’t need any of the stuff we recommend here. All necessary rental equipment is generally included in the cost of a lesson. And once you’re ready to go out on your own, a lot of this stuff can be bought used for cents on the dollar. But if you know surfing is something you’re going to want to do for years to come, having gear that won’t hold you back will make your life much easier down the road. Just remember: The ultimate goal is the surf, not the stuff.
For teens and adults
Regardless of its affordability, our recommendation for the Wavestorm is lukewarm at best. If you want something of higher quality that will last longer and resell for more when you’re ready for a real board, consider Liquid Shredder.
The Liquid Shredder Element looks and performs like a real surfboard but is designed to be beginner friendly and easy to learn on. Photo: Quinn Dixon
The Liquid Shredder Element 9-foot model is an amazing piece of foam. Here, Chris Dixon tests it out. Photo: Quinn Dixon
The Liquid Shredder Element and HD boards are incredibly stiff because they’re embedded with an aluminum stringer not found on any of their competitors. The extruded polyethylene foam in the core is also nearly impermeable to water, and they’re as lightweight as any beginner board you’ll find—the recently redesigned 9-footer weighs just 1pounds—about what my high-performance 9-foot Stewart fiberglass board weighs. To prevent delamination, builder Scott McClain uses a proprietary manufacturing process that basically “shrink wraps” a tough plastic skin to these boards, so there’s no glue to separate. If the board gets very hot, the wrap will expand, but when the board cools—or is taken into the water, the wrap will shrink right back into place. If it gets really hot, a pressure-release valve will let the board off-gas before the skin stretches too much.
Liquid Shredders come with a detailed instruction manual and care kit and a one-year warranty, which you probably won’t need it. I’ve owned a 10-foot Liquid Shredder HD model since 2006, and though the technology has improved, the board’s still going strong. They’re very tough, but if you use an Element or HD in places where the bottom is sharp, or where you think its skin might get scraped and punctured, you should have a repair kit on hand.
The Browns, Josh Wilson, and Quinn and I are all parents of small rippers who started surfing before first grade. We first launched them in on 8-footers, but really, they could have started on something smaller. For kindergartners and first- and even second-grade kids who are agile—and maybe already know how to skateboard—we suggest an alternate board like the yellow-decked 6-foot Liquid Shredder FSE. They’ll get several years of use out of it, and as they improve, will be able to actually catch their own waves, turn, and surf—very well.
Our pick for women
The women’s version is also great, though with shorter legs.
With that in mind, Chris Dixon and I—Kate Barattini a lifelong wave slider, swimmer, and kayak and standup paddle guide—spent a combined 1hours in 201researching the best brands around, trying on a dozen candidates, and extensively testing seven top-rated spring suits for both men and women off the shores of Charleston, South Carolina. In the end, we determined that Patagonia’s Rline of wetsuits (for men and women) is the best for most surfers, regardless of gender. A year later, with many more waves under our belts in these suits, we stand by our picks.
Kate Barattini heading to the beach to test the R1. Photo: Quinn Dixon
Throughout the past year, Chris and I wore our Patagonia suits in 6to 70˚F water temps in chilly and warm air, through clouds, sunshine, and torrential tropical storm rains. Until the water temps dropped into the lower sixties, the Patagonias kept us toasty. That’s because while most spring suits are 2-mm thick throughout, Patagonia uses 2.5-mm material in the torso, with mm in the arms to maintain flexibility. This kept my core noticeably warmer and more protected from the wind compared with the 2-mm-thick Xcel and the Body Glove suits we also tested.
The Patagonia suit uses an across-the-chest zipper that allows surprisingly easy entry—this came as a surprise because many suits with chest zips we’ve used in the past were difficult to get on. It offered unrestricted arm movement, stayed in place even after big wipeouts, and didn’t bunch at the neck. Most important, there wasn’t any Velcro in the back to snag long hair. This can be a nuisance with most back-zip suits, including the Xcel and Body Glove models we tested.
Patagonia’s build and material quality are legendary among the surfing community. Wirecutter founder Brian Lam has owned suits made by Xcel, Rip Curl, Patagonia, and O’Neill, and the Patagonia has lasted three times as long as the next best one. The Rspring suits are no exception. Patagonia uses top-tier neoprene on the exterior for warmth and flexibility, and lines the interior with 100 percent recycled polyester jersey material. The inside is soft and feels like a hug, while the exterior neoprene is snug and water-resistant. Each seam is triple glued, blindstitched, and internally taped for additional strength—as Chris noted, the solid construction simply kept out the water and the cold a little better than any other suit. And like the rest of the suits we tested, there’s a sturdy, hidden key loop built into the inside of the chest.
Last—but certainly not least—this spring suit is absolutely beautiful, with a fit that flatters many body types. I tested it on my roommates who range from tall and slender to voluptuous, and we all looked great. Of the men’s suit, Chris simply said, “The damn thing fits like a second skin.”
Upgrade pick for men
This has a hood with a visor for protecting your neck and head. Unlike similar models, it has a pocket on the back and thumb loops to keep it securely in place.
Chris Dixon drops in with the Patagonia RØ hood in effect. Photo: Owen James Burke
The hood has a stiff visor built in, which offers enough shade to give your eyes an appreciable break from the sun’s glare, holds steady during “duck dives” (that is when you’re diving underneath a breaking wave with your surfboard), and stays out of your way, even when you have it pushed back around your neck (at which point it offers excellent sun protection for your neck). There’s also a zippered pouch on the back, which is sizable enough to store wax, sunscreen, reef booties, or even a small hydration pack—perfect for surf spots that require long paddles. Even with all these bells and whistles, the RØ is skintight and fits snuggly, with a board short connector that loops into the tie string on your board shorts and thumb loops to keep your shirttail and sleeves from riding up. It’s little touches like this that set it apart from O’Neill’s similar model (although we do very much like the waist-level drawstring on the O’Neill model, too). —OJB and CD
Upgrade pick for women
This will stay in place no matter what and has a flattering fit that made testers feel feminine and protected.
No matter where you stand in surf experience, the part rashguard, part one-piece Seea Suit is a surfing accessory that will make your life in the water much easier. Where a separate rashguard/bikini bottom combo might come apart or ride up uncomfortably in rough conditions, the Seea stays put. This one-piece rashguard/bikini bottom combo is made of polyester/spandex fabric that moves with you, protecting you from chafe and sun no matter what your position is. While I was paddling out to overhead beachbreak waves wearing Seea’s Zuma surf suit, I never had to stop for a suit adjustment. I could duck dive uninhibited, which created an even greater surf experience.
These suits come in many styles, and depending on your body type you should be able to find one that fits you. There is no better way to boost your confidence in and out of the water than to wear something that makes you feel feminine and, above all, protected. —KB
These shorts are built tougher than any of the others I tried and are the perfect length for protecting your thighs from chafe and sun without being baggy. A touch of stretch makes them super comfortable, too.
To find the best board shorts for men, we spent hours last year researching the latest and greatest shorts around, considered the labor practices of the major brands here and here (PDF), tried on more than 30 pairs at local surf shops, and broke down the basics of what makes great shorts with Bates Hagood, general manager of Folly Beach, South Carolina’s Ocean Surf Shop. After that, my neighbors and I spent the ensuing year torture testing the shorts we had obtained for the review and about four more hours making sure we weren’t overlooking anything new and vital. After all was said and done, we’re recommending Patagonia’s Wavefarer series for the second year running.
The Wavefarer board shorts are cut to a perfect length, ending right above the knee. Photo: Quinn Dixon
Specifically, the Wavefarer Stretch Board Shorts are for the surfer who wants more protection from the sun and the chafing that a longer short made from slightly thicker fabric provides, while the more tailored Stretch
Planing Short is for those who want a shorter, lighter design. They’re pricey, but nothing cheaper performed better, and anything comparable cost more. We also have a pick for “hybrid” shorts that can go straight from the beach to the bar with no change in between. This is a relatively new category that’s still evolving quickly, but for now, O’Neill Men’s Heather Hybrid Freak Short is tops.
We’ve torture tested a lot of board shorts over the course of a year. Photo: Quinn Dixon
I fell in love with Patagonia’s 21” Stretch Wavefarer Board Shorts because they fit me perfectly, and they arguably have the best overall set of qualities for most surfers. The Wavefarers hang just above the knee. As a surfer of 30 years, I feel this outseam length—between 20 and 2inches—is perfect for most wave riders, an opinion echoed by Hagood, who has bought and sold thousands of pairs of board shorts. At this length, they provide good coverage from the sun—important because lying and sitting on a surfboard quickly rubs sunscreen off your thighs—and keep your thighs from chafing against your board or picking up wax (think 40-Year-Old Virgin ). But they’re not so long that they’ll hang up on your knees when you stand up. While the seams on the Stretch Wavefarers aren’t welded—as is the trend among high-end board shorts these days—they are super soft and low profile. I felt no chafing, even when they were wet—and this hasn’t been an issue in the year I’ve been testing these shorts. The percent spandex, 9percent nylon blend fabric has just enough stretch to keep everything comfortable without becoming a distraction—like the overly engineered Volcom apex Mod Tech Pros. The added flexibility makes it a better short than the non-stretch “classic” Wavefarers we also tested.
Patagonia’s Stretch Wavefarer shorts. Photo: Quinn Dixon / Art: Jenny Brown
Lighter and slimmer
These shorts are ultra lightweight and have a slimmer, slightly shorter cut. They’re very comfortable, but shorter shorts means less protection.
However, if you have more resilient and sun-hardy skin and shorter thighs that don’t have as much hair to get waxy, Patagonia’s Stretch Planing Shorts are your call. Instead of the Wavefarers’ nylon-spandex blend, they’re made of an ultralight and comparably stretchy 100 percent recycled polyester fabric. This means they dry faster and are 3percent lighter at any given size. And while the Wavefarers have low-profile seams, the Stretch Planing shorts forgo the inseam altogether. The shorts were too wispy for my taste, but they definitely feel like you’re wearing nothing at all. I should warn that the claimed 20-inch outseam seemed to run a bit short—they fit more like 19-inchers (but measured out at 19¾). Regardless, they have the qualities that Wirecutter founder Brian Lam swears by. In the past, he wrote that he was concerned about long-term durability due to the material’s stretchiness and lightness, but that fear proved unfounded. They’re still going strong. He said, “I’ve never had a better-fitting pair of board shorts, or a pair that I’ve liked so much. They’ve faded a bit in the sun over the course of a few months, but that’s normal for the amount of sun I’ve been exposing them to.”
Both Patagonia shorts feature class-leading build quality and carry Patagonia’s lifetime warranty, which means they’ll last far longer than a season or two. They also both have DWR coating to help them dry more quickly—that can mean less chafing. They each have a pocket on the side that’s big enough to hold your keys while surfing or a small wallet on land, and is sealed by a corrosion-proof plastic side zipper.
There were, of course, many shorts we didn’t test. Most were excluded because no one in our wide circle of surfers recommended them in particular, or they were too darn flashy and trendy looking. But we also passed on Quiksilver, Billabong, and subsidiaries like RVCA. Quik got a miserable D+ overall grade in the Australian Fashion Report’s labor practices inquiry (PDF), while Billabong only scored an overall C, with a D- for workers rights. —CD
The Hurley Phantom Beachrider has a secure drawstring and a nice stretchiness. Photo: Nicole Grodesky
The downside to the Phantom Beachrider shorts is that Hurley left out a zippered back pocket for storing car keys. The otherwise comfy Body Glove Akela Pulse shorts also lack this feature. This is especially frustrating because both of last year’s picks (which are no longer available) had this feature and none of the men’s shorts my colleagues tested overlooked this crucial detail. This puts a damper on otherwise great shorts. Hurley does offer these shorts with a drawstring front and a zippered pocket in the 9-inch length, but while the 5-inch version comes in many colors, the 9-inch version comes only in black and is not as flattering of a length. But they do work well for surfing.
The Patagonia Wavefarer shorts have a zippered back pocket, which is lacking from the Hurley shorts. Photo: Nicole Grodesky
Organic without compromise
This organic wax went on just as easily and was just as grippy as its petroleum counterparts. It smells nicer and is just as cheap, too. (5-pack)
If you want a good starting point, after testing three popular brands, our favorite surf wax is Matunas Organic Surf Wax. It’s among both the cheapest and most environmentally friendly waxes available in the US, made from jasmine and leftover plant-based material from the company’s farm in Santa Cruz, California. A handful of us—including Charleston Women’s Longboard Champion Kate Barattini, Chris Dixon, his son Fritz, and I—tried Matunas’s tropical wax while surfing juicy waves at Folly Beach in South Carolina. We all agreed that it applied just as evenly and solidly as artificial waxes we’ve used in the past and smelled great. And none of us had any trouble staying atop our boards (at least—speaking for myself—no more than usual).
As much as we like Matunas, it unfortunately isn’t yet widely distributed at local shops nationwide. So if you find yourself in a surf shop looking for wax, reach for Sticky Bumps’s Original Wax, which I found to be the most temperature-stable and the easiest to apply, but still uses petroleum-based paraffin and costs just as much as the Matunas.
Most surflike simulator
It’s longer and taller than most boards and has better side-to-side training ability, which makes it the most surflike experience.
If you’re looking to train your balance specifically for surfing, buy a GoofBoard Classic. Unlike other balance boards, the GoofBoard is a long 4inches and sits perpendicularly atop a 4-inch-high roller that concentrates your balance between your toes and your heels as opposed to your right foot and your left. It actually feels like you’re riding a surfboard, and using and controlling the same muscles you use when you’re surfing.
It came recommended by legendary California longboard wizard and
Endless Summer II star Robert “Wingnut” Weaver, and we were sold. The oblong shape of the board and the 4-inch-tall roller, which lies parallel to the length of the board, allow you to focus on getting your feet in the right place and fine-tune your side-to-side balance and your stepping, which is something essential to surfing that most balance boards don’t offer. While both the Rolo Board (which has gone in and out of stock) and the Revolution Swell also lie parallel atop their rollers and simulate the same toe-to-heel exercises, they were considerably shorter and less accommodating to the surfer—and specifically the longboarder—practicing both their stepping and stance.
Another great advantage to the GoofBoard for novice and experienced surfers alike is the function of its “pop-up” exercise, which simulates standing up on a surfboard as well as anything out of the water could. This simple motion is one of the hardest surfing skills to master.
Read the instructions and watch the tutorial videos above for general instructions on use, but be sure to consider the surface you place the GoofBoard on before you get going. “Start with it on carpet,” said Wingnut, “and then get it on a harder surface—start on a shag carpet, even.”
I tried the GoofBoard on a number of different surfaces including a thin carpet, a thicker carpet (though not shag), a yoga mat, a wooden floor and cardboard. The latter two surfaces were terrible; the roller spun out underneath the board and me, sending us both flying. I found the carpets and the yoga mat to be the safest and most forgiving, but the roller was extremely grippy on the poured concrete, which helped keep it from spinning out underneath the board; it was also fast and responsive, demanding more acute balance. Listen to Wingnut and stay on the carpet, at first.
The Indo Board is wonderful for your general balance and fitness—I’ve owned one for a over decade—but its front-to-back rocking doesn’t exactly build up the balance that’s involved with riding—let alone catching—a wave. What we do like about the Indo Board is that it’s wider, and perhaps more forgiving of beginners. That said, it bears its own perils. Because the Indo Board rolls front to back, losing your balance and sliding out can send you flying one way and the board the other, maybe through the television set. (Tip: Whether you decide to purchase an Indo Board or a GoofBoard, make sure to calculate for such risks by giving yourself plenty of leeway in all directions—and as with the GoofBoard, start out atop carpet.)
If you decide to buy the Indo Board and want to train for surfing, be sure to buy the package with both the roller and the IndoFLO Balance Stimulator. It’s an inflatable rubber cushion that offsets your balance just enough to keep you on your toes, which helps fine-tune your muscles similarly to the way the GoofBoard does. —OJB
Cheap waterproof watch
Most of us don’t need a watch except for fashion purposes on land, but in the ocean, a cheap waterproof watch is a must-have. They’re useful for knowing how much time you have before your next rendezvous on land, whether for social or safety reasons (“if we get separated, meet me at the lifeguard station at pm”). I’ve used them living in Hawaii like this for years.
Why did I choose those over the other watches? The Casio W213, W96H, and W20(all around the same price as our pick) are only rated to 50 meters, which doesn’t really matter, but you’re always better off having something more waterproof than less. The F-Eand F105-1A are only rated for “water resistance” without a depth rating; the same goes for the cult classic Casio F91, which has hundreds of reviews. The Timex T5K08(currently unavailable) is kind of overbuilt and is only resistant to 50 meters as well.
How It Works
The BootieLeash connects from your wetsuit leg to the wetsuit bootie-heel noose keeping your wetsuit leg locked down and in place. It is comprised of two components:
The BootieLeash assembly can remain attached or disconnected to the bootie-heel noose after each use and also prevents water from being blown up the wetsuit leg. The device should only be used to connect the wetsuit leg to the wetsuit bootie heel noose. It should never be used for any other applications.
How to choose a wetsuit
If you’re not lucky enough to live in a tropical climate but like to spend time in the water, then a wetsuit is a necessity for many water sports. With the variety of wetsuits available these days, choosing the right one can seem a little daunting at first.
The thickness of the neoprene in a wetsuit is often the most important indicator as to how warm it will be.
Neoprene material is measured in millimetres. Wetsuits thickness can range from 0.5mm for warm water conditions to 5mm for winter surfing wetsuits and even 7mm+ for dive wetsuits.
The most common thicknesses are 2mm, 3/2mm, 4/3mm, and 5/4mm. A combination of thicknesses refers to different thicknesses in different zones of the wetsuit. 4/3mm is 4mm in the core, and 3mm in the arms and legs. The first number is always the thickness around the core of the wetsuit.
A 3/2mm wetsuit is one of the most common thicknesses used in New Zealand conditions and can cater to a wide range of water temperatures. These suits work anywhere from summer surfing in the deep south to winter surfing in the far north, and are great for waterskiing or wake boarding year-round. A general rule is, if you need a surf hood or gloves to be in the water, then you should probably be wearing a wetsuit thicker than 3/2mm.
In the North Island a 4/3mm wetsuit will be ample insulation for the winter conditions. If you surf in Kaikoura or Dunedin, a 4/3mm suit should be adequate for the winter months when combined with booties, a hood, and even gloves.
Internally taped seams have a strong nylon cloth or tape with a waterproof backing applied to the joining seams. It sits overtop of a seam stitch and helps minimise the amount of cold water that enters the wetsuit. The other benefit is the added strength it brings to seams, for improved durability.
By gluing the seams it not only blocks off this entry of water but it adds durability to the wetsuit. However, this process doesn’t completely block the tiny holes created in the stitching process and therefore is often combined with various other taping and gluing techniques to completely eliminate water seepage through the seams.
Seam welding means segments of a wetsuit are fused or bonded together without stitching, generally used in combination with seam glue for added strength and water tightness. It offers extremely good flexibility, outstanding comfort while at the same time preventing any water from penetrating the seams. Its generally limited to the more expensive wetsuits on the market.
Today there are various insulating technologies used on the inside of wetsuits to help increase warmth in the water, without compromising flexibility and weight. The majority of wetsuit lining materials are made from a synthetic fabric, normally a nylon and polyester weave. This thermal fabric is then glued into the key regions of the suit to provide additional insulation.
Chest zip vs. back zip wetsuits
Choosing between a chest zip and back zip wetsuit can be a tricky decision. Back zip wetsuits are the most common and a good option for those with previous shoulder injuries. Although a chest zip can be more difficult to enter and exit, they generally hold a more consistent seal around the collar line, making it harder for water to penetrate the neck and flush the suit with cold water.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your Surfing Booties wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of Surfing Booties
- №1 — WETSOX Fully Reinforced Fin Socks
- №2 — Water Shoes
- №3 — NeoSport Wetsuits Premium Neoprene 3mm Hi Top Zipper Boot