Wetsuits water-temperature-guide-for-wetsuits

Published on February 5th, 2013 | by K


Water Temperature Chart And Required Wetsuit Thickness

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45 Responses to Water Temperature Chart And Required Wetsuit Thickness

  1. Jeff says:

    I recently started surfing, mostly east coast of canada. As you can imagine lots of cold water. Turns out I am allergic to neoprene, as all the good suits are made of neoprene I have no idea what to do. Tried fleece layering no good. I found the surfing drysuit possible solution, but I still need hood, boots and gloves as the best times are when really cold. If you have any help at all that would be great.


    • Ryan says:

      hey man you should try the new rip curl flash bomb wet suit.. its made of a completely different kind of material. might save ya. far as booties and gloves no idea. unless ya look for something with a different backing on it. or go hardcore and dont wear any..

    • K says:

      Jeff, try also the new geoprene neoprene. its made out of limestone, maybe it will work.

    • robbie p says:

      move south my blue friend but if not drysuit and wear a wool beanie under your squid lid

    • connor says:

      Is a 4/3 wetsuit too thick for spring / fall north florida surf? It gets as low 55, but would a 4/3 be to warm for when it gets around 67 degrees?

      • K says:

        If it gets down to 55 you definitely need a 4/3. For 67 degrees water it will be a bit hot especially if you are active and catch a few waves in a row. If there are only a few days when you surf in water below ~59 then get a 3/2 otherwise a 4/3.

  2. Mike D says:

    Dude this was totally helpful. I always wondered why a froze my ass off in Cali even in the summer. ;D I had some bullshit Play it Again Sports oldie suit that fit like dogbladder.

  3. shell says:

    Cheers for this, the guide is fab and just what I need as I am soon to be training for my first open water 1 mile swim, needed some wetsuit info and now I have it! marvellous, thanks dudes

  4. trace carlos says:

    yes the stormtrooper 6/5/4 bodyglove is awesome i trace carlos live in alaska and its my year round wet suit i kite surf and if you no what a slerpy is that what its like in the winter time in the ocean very cold but im farm in my wet suit good boots and warm gloves are key and hood ,,,

  5. Al says:

    good guide i reckon, worth investing in a thermal rash vest too. with that i am warm down to 6 degrees with gloves boots and 2mm hood.(kitesurfing) Also means you can get your summer suit on sooner and have more freedom to move

  6. TC says:

    If you need to wear a 3/2 fullsuit in 72 degree water, please go see a doctor immediately for a full physical.

  7. YeahRight says:

    I guess this guide is basically a good starting point for someone who has never stepped foot into water. You guys are playing it on the overly safe side a bit don’t you think?

  8. MooMoo says:

    I agree with what YeahRight stated. I’ve been in waters 68~ish° with boardshorts on. Round 66° was when the shorty came out. I guess take it with a grain of salt

  9. yeah-ok says:

    i think you guys went a little overboard i pull out a shorty in about 65, 3/2 wet suit u can use when its 58 or higher

  10. Michele says:

    I grew up in Manhattan Beach, Ca and water temps in the summer are between 65-68 and EVERYONE swims and boards in bikinis and shorts. Every once in a while you’d see people in half suits… but they’re wussies!!! :)

  11. Bryan Bugyi says:

    I have been surfing for a few years now. i would say this is deffinitly a great guide for a beginner. just a few flaws:

    if the water is above 70 you don’t need anything. maybe a 1 or 2mm jacket but not a spring.

    4/3=50-62(most versitile)

    any colder then 40f then wtf are you doing out there?!?! but if you must get a 6/5

    p.s. the bootie and glove suggestions are on the point, but the rest of the guide is playing it very safe. YOU WILL NOT BE COLD IN 70F WATER!!!!

  12. Andre says:

    Snorkeling regularly from spring time through fall, in depths usually no more than 20 feet, for the past five or so years off the cool coastal waters off Cape Cod shores, my friends and I typically use 3/2 full suits with rash suits, booties, gloves and hats of varying types to offset the numbing chill of the water quite well. We start the year as the water temp approaches 53 degrees F and go as long as Mid to late October to take in a full season of getting catching lobsters by hand. It’s a real hoot to outwit and capture these delectable creatures then have over for dinner the next couple of nights.

    Do you know how many you are allowed to catch per day?

  13. Clay says:

    is it just me or is 68-72 beyond a trunking it situation?

  14. xenki says:

    Don’t know but it is looking strange to me

  15. sux2bme says:

    ;D just went out in 40 f water and almost died…….p.s. i was bareback…cant feel my head

  16. Michael says:

    I’m a wakeboarder and I’ve ridden in 42 degree weather with a full body wetsuit and it’s not bad. I don’t wear a wetsuit when it’s 60+ It’s not that bad!

  17. jeff says:

    the temps posted are for sull submersion under the water– not surface boarding or snorkling! for the wussy coment you trying staying at 64 degree water 60 ft under for an hour and see if you don’t get cold

  18. Jim says:

    yeah..it seems like the temps are a bit on the safe side, but remember that is YOUR comfort in the water that matters. To all the chillers out there, my 5/4/3 keeps me warm in 34 degree water. :)

  19. Rob says:

    Looking back on 25 years surfing I think the guide is pretty good. It gives you a range for water temps in the context of topside conditions, which are critical to choosing the right suit on the day. Your personal cold resistance is going to depend on how much fat you carry, how active you are in the water and how well rested and fed you are on the day. If you want the most out of your time in the water, go for the slightly warmer option without unduely restricting your freedom of movement. I always take two with me and choose after I’ve scoped out the conditions. Keep ripping…

  20. Paul says:

    Honestly, the warmer you are the better you surf. If you follow this guide, you’ll never be cold and you’ll never be constricted by too much neoprene. If you wanna show off by showing people how cold of water you can stand then go for it, but it’s better to let your surfing do the talking.

  21. Carmen Tyler says:

    I was a bit cold surfing in morocco, I was in rashie and shorts, I dont need a full suit and hate surfing in them so I was going to get a long sleeved thermal rashie or a neoprene one, which is warmer does anyone know?

  22. Duncan says:

    The chart is on the safe side, but it is a lot better to be safe than sorry. Nothing worse than your feet going numb after an hour and the waves are going off.

    And I dont care how cold you can handle it. I am not trying to prove anything when I go out in 50 degree water. I am going out because the surf is good, and if the surf is good I want to be warm (not anywhere close to cold).

  23. Frank says:

    If the air temperature is 55 degrees and it’s windy and cloudy then 72 degree water will make you feel cold, and you’ll likely want a 3/2 suit (especially if you’re in the water awhile). This can be typical in the northeast U.S. particularly early morning in the summer.

  24. Kate says:

    Air temp in NY was in the low 80s yesterday, but with overcast skies, my teeth were chattering after an hour. Woulda gladly been called a wussy, but warm. :)

  25. bobby says:

    awesome awesome awesome!!! Where would farmer johns fit in??

  26. Ed says:

    Bobby, long john is about the same as springsuit

  27. Chris says:

    I work as a beach life guard in England east coast current water temp is 4 degrees c. During peak summer season it peeks at 9 to 12. We always wear a 3/2 shorty during this period, there is no need for a hood, gloves, boots and full thickness wetsuit you get exhausted after 5 mins of being in. I’ve always found rip curl wetsuits to be the best as well as I have used many different ones during my time working the beach and surfing.

  28. joel says:

    I had just bought a 2/3 full suit and was anxious to see just how well it worked so I filled the bathtub up and got the water down to about 45 degrees, I lasted about 6 min. Just incase anyone was retarded enough to try it. Thats the results your going to get lol.

    I do have a realistic question and it might be a stupid one to some, but I just bought a very nice 12’6 paddle board and really wanting to take it out, problem is I live in Denver and the water temp is 50 degrees? Outside Temp is 50 degrees as well. So heres my question, would it be warmer to just put the 2/3 wet suit on with gloves and booties and get right on the board without getting anything wet, or soak for a couple minutes to get the suit wet then climb on the board? didnt know if getting the water in the suit would keep me warmer with my body then just letting the suit stay dry??? dont laugh to hard


    im assuming keep it dry

    • K says:

      Joel, stay dry for sure!!! :) Neoprene insulation properties are not connected to the material being dry or wet, it’s just that wetsuits are never 100% waterproof (you have drysuits for that) and you always get some water inside the wetsuit. This water then gets heated by the body and you stay warm…but this is more of a consequence…not a conditions. Water pulls heat out of the body about 25 times faster than air so you are always warmer being dry than wet.

  29. Sebastian D says:

    Here’s a trick you probably didn’t know about but works incredibly well.
    I live in the south west of France and when the water gets really cold in jan/feb (11°C – 51°F) before putting on my 4/3 e-bomb I rub on some Bengay/Icy Hot on my arms, chest and legs. (+booties and gloves)
    You can surf for over 2 hours and you won’t be cold. And it doesn’t leave a bad smell on your wetsuit. Just be careful not to touch your balls or your eyes when you put the cream on cos it’ll burn..

  30. Steve B says:

    Great chart. Had to do some F/C conversion but not bad otherwise.
    Question: if I have a 3/2 full, and its 11c air, 18c water with 15knot wind, will it be enough? I’ve got a 15 min walk to/from the beach and don’t want to get sick on the way back

  31. Dan Coyne says:

    Me and the boys in Ireland be out for a few hours in 15 degrees in boardies. If your on a budget don’t bother with more than a good set of boardies unless the water temp is below 15°

  32. Gabriel says:

    Could you do a chart for spearfishing/freediving wetsuits? It is different from (above-)watersports wetsuits since you spend more time in the water, both at the surface and below and also different from scuba diving since you spend more time in the water and there is less of a pressure problem.

    Thanks in advance

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