Top 5 neoprene wetsuits

The wetsuit is essential for surfers, wakeboarders or swimmers. But choosing a wetsuit is far from simple. Are you looking for the best way to practice your favourite water sport? Here are the top wetsuits prepared by the Nootica expert.

The advantages of a neoprene suit

Neoprene is a synthetic rubber with small gas bubbles. It provides water sports enthusiasts an effective thermal protection without restricting their movements. 

This second skin is not waterproof, however. A thin net of water between the suit and the skin provides warmth to the riders. The second advantage of the wetsuit is its ability to improve the buoyancy of swimmers. The lighter it is, the more it carries you through the water. It allows you to save effort during practice. Finally, the wetsuit optimises your hydrodynamics. You glide through the water better and save precious time.

The wetsuit is a great way to get in and out of the water.

Surfers in Surf Wetsuits

The buying criteria for a neoprene wetsuit

Are you looking for a wetsuit for wakeboarding, surfing or another water activity? Brands like Billabong, Rip Curl or O’neill offer many different models. Here are three criteria for making the right choice.

The different types of surf wetsuit

The wetsuits are available in several models.

    • The shorty wetsuit has short legs and a long or short sleeve top.

    • The overknee suit is between the shorty and the overknee with the legs stopping below the knees.

    • The overknee suit is between the shorty and the overknee with the legs stopping below the knees.

The size of the surf weitsuit

The size choice is important. Too big, the wetsuit won't let the water in. Too small, it limits your movements. To find the right size, here are the checks to make.

  • Make sure the wetsuit fits in the shoulders, knees, lower back and crotch.

  • Move around during the fitting to check that the suit is not too tight.

  • Pinch the wetsuit: it should remain soft and bounce off the skin.

Neoprene is a material that stretches when wet. The suit may feel tight when it is dry. However, it should never prevent you from rowing or turning.

If you are not wearing a wetsuit, you should wear one that is tight enough for you.

If you're a woman, there are women's surf wetsuit and specific sizes that are better suited to your body shape.

The thickness of the wetsuit 

Surfing wetsuits come in a variety of thicknesses. They allow you to adapt to the temperature of the water. Some areas of the wetsuit are softer than others. The thickness is indicated by 2 or 3 numbers.

  • 2 digits: the 1st one indicates the thickness at the trunk. The 2nd on the rest of the suit.

  • 3 digits: the first indicates the thickness of the trunk, the second the arms and the third the thighs.

The 3/2mm wetsuits are perfect in water temperatures between 16°C. The 4/3 mm suits are versatile. They are suitable for many sports and water temperatures between 13 and 17 degrees C. 5/4 mm suits are essential if you swim in waters of 9 to 12 degrees C.

Female surfer in a wetsuit

Top 5 surf wetsuits for women

For this winter, we have chosen some fairly versatile internal surf wetsuits that we have evaluated according to 5 criteria: warmth, waterproofness, closure system, size and budget.  

1) Rip Curl Dawn patrol 4/3 front zip wetsuit for men

Recommended for fairly long, regular sessions due to its maxi length.

The Dawn Patrol wetsuit is a great choice for those who are looking for a little more comfort.

This intricate Rip Curl Dawn Patrol comes in men's or women's models in various thicknesses.


• 4/3mm (Temperature 12°C - 17°C)

• Front zip closure 

• Mesh panels 

• Neoprene E5 

 Rip Curl Dawn Patrol surf suit


Constructed from natural materials, it provides comfort and warmth with its combination of Freeflex and Thermo lining materials, and features mesh panels that capture the sun's heat and protect against wind.


Elasticity and comfort

The premium E5 fabric offers maximum stretch during the session.

The E5 fabric is made of a high quality and durable material.

and proves to be super stretchy, lightweight and ultra comfortable when worn. The S-flex knee has reinforcements at the knees for durability without sacrificing flexibility.

Furthermore, Flash Lining technology allows water to slide off and evacuate quickly with less heat loss.

It has no seams on the shoulders and under the arms for maximum flexibility and freedom of movement.


Front zip closure

The front zip ensures maximum tightness and flexibility for surfing, despite the difficulty of putting it on. You stay dry and warm because less water seeps in than with a back zip.

Seamless The three-way taped/sewn seams are strong and waterproof.



With a wide range of sizes available whatever your body type is, you should choose the most fitted, without hindering movement.

Beware though, as Rip curl does run a little smaller than average. Please refer to the manufacturer's sizing chart.



Medium range and ideal quality for regular use. You have to equip yourself properly, otherwise you'll have to change your suit pretty quickly.

The frontzip is a bit more expensive than the backzip.


The plus 

Light and warm at the same time, thicker at the bust to gain a few degrees. Available in 5/3 for cold water. Quality and rip curl knowledge. Good value for money for almost top of the range performance and durability. Great choice of colours, thicknesses and sizes! Its feminine floral print pattern looks great on the Slate pink. It comes in a Women's 5/3 Surf Wetsuit


2) Billabong Absolute 5/4 Front zip wetsuit for men

Recommended for surfing below 16°, for cold weather or all weather riders.

 This Billabong Absolute wetsuit for men is also available for women but in one colour.


-5/4mm (Temperature 10°C - 15°C)

-Front zip closure

- Invisible glued seams

- Carbon fibre inner lining


In addition to its thickness of 5 mm in the trunk and 4 mm in the legs, it is made of graphene-coated yarns capable of trapping body heat even during long sessions. Its internal foam lining made of hollow fibres positioned on the chest and back ensures warmth and quick drying and makes it lighter.

The lining is made of foam and is designed to be easy to wear.


Elasticity and comfort

Raised in 100% recycled and durable AX2 Nylon, its Superflex weave has an optimum 4-way stretch effect, while minimising water absorption, for an unbeatable drying speed


Closing & sealing

The front zip opening system located on the chest makes it easier to put on and take off.

This is the most popular system, although you have to have a knack for putting it on.

Thanks to the sewn, taped and sealed outer seams, there is little seepage, especially as the inner seams are covered with Superflex tape in strategic areas, even those most subject to pulling when putting on and taking off.



With a wide range of sizes available regardless of your body type, you need to choose the most fitted, wrinkle-free, movement-friendly fit.

Beware, Billabong sizes quite large: refer to the manufacturer's recommendations and watch for the weight/size indications, Small or Tall.



A mid-range model that is perfect for frequent use for long sessions in cold water, even in winter. It's worth investing a little in a good wetsuit.

It's a good wetsuit.


The pluses

Fit, long sleeves, quality and performance, strategically placed seams, fabric with advanced manufacturing techniques.

Please note

3) O'neill Epic 4/3 Back zip wetsuit for men

This integral O'neill Epic is offered for men or women in a back zip and is also available in a thicker women's surf suit.

Recommended for most water sports, due to its flexibility.



• 4/3mm (Temperature 12°C - 17°C)

• Back zip closure 

• Glued seams not apparent 

• 100% UltraFlex fabric

O Neill Epic 4/3 back zip


It features a very warm Superseal two-layer design with a soft inner lining throughout, capable of generating almost as much warmth as a thicker wetsuit, but with less stiffness. It is therefore more insulating and technical to gain in mobility.

So, it is a good choice for the future.


Elasticity and comfort

Totally adjustable and waterproof, its 100% Ultraflex DS / Fluidflex n&epr&eprène is actually a super stretchy high performance fabric with a tough outer layer that resists velcro abuse. With over 150% elasticity, Fluidflex is soft and pleasant to wear.

Fluidflex Additional comfort is provided by knee reinforcements.

The seams of the fabric are designed to be easy to clean.

The seamless zone is a great way to keep the fabric in place.

A seamless area under the sleeves quickly prevents chafing and offers complete freedom of movement.


Closing & sealing

Waterproof and secure, its easy to put on back zip fastening is free from any nasty surprises. It makes up for its lack of waterproofing with a clear black-out closure that is water resistant and blocks water better than a standard zip.



Choosing your size as a second skin gives it better thermal efficiency even if it is tighter at the fitting than in real conditions it must allow movement without blocking the action. Refer to the manufacturer's recommendations.


This mid-range suit allows you to enjoy yourself without investing too much and to have a good combination néoprène passe partout. 


The pluses

It has a solid and secure outside key pocket.

They also have a large pocket for keys.

In addition, it has all the technical features of top-of-the-range suits: 100% Ultraflex knit, double-breasted collar closure, LSD seams and a redesigned zip that ensures comfort in every session.


4) Rip Curl Omega 4/3 Back zip wetsuit for men

Recommended for a small budget and small sessions, to get around without messing up.


This internal Rip Curl Omega 4/3 Back zip does the job.



• 4/3mm (Temperature 12°C - 17°C)

• Back zip closure 

• Invisible taped seams


Rip Curl omega


His Mesh skin fabric, a particular neoprene, catches the sun and protects from the wind on the most thermosensitive parts and keeps more dry because the water runs off it. 


Elasticity & comfort

Mobility is the priority and its elasticity depends on the thickness and material, as well as the number of seams. On the entry-level models, the comfort is less, but correct. However, on this suit the Freeflex neoprene is super stretchy yet durable. Equipped with flatlock seams, it gains flexibility without irritating the skin


Closing & sealing 

The rip Curl Back zip is the historic and basic combination. Practical to put on, even if you are not very flexible, it has the disadvantage of having less thermal protection due to the inaccessible water inlets. With an inner lining (back gusset) at the back, water is less likely to seep through to the skin, and it is easy to put on and take off for short sessions.

It's a great way to keep your skin warm.



Choosing the right size for your wetsuit is essential even on a small budget! To find out what the right size is, refer to the manufacturer's instructions.

Rip Curl has a reputation for sizing fairly small so check your measurements. If you have long, thin limbs go for a Tall size. If you're stocky, wear a large small.



An entry level budget for this backzip suit, if you are just starting out and don't intend to be in the water all the time, this is enough. If you make progress, you will invest later.


The pluses

Entry-level wetsuit from Rip Curl, very versatile, benefits from the brand's know-how, supple and comfortable, designed to adapt to any shape.


5) Rip Curl Dawn Patrol Perf 4/3 Front zip wetsuit for men

Recommended for regular practice thanks to its high thermal protection without lining

This Rip Curl Dawn Patrol Perf wetsuit is almost identical to the Dawn Patrol but without the lining.



-4/3 mm (Temperature 12°C - 17°C)

- Front zip closure

- Mesh panels

- Neoprene E5



To avoid too much neoprene, there are other lining or reinforcing technologies

localized to strike a balance between warmth and flexibility, while ensuring buoyancy

Without a lining, it combines Freeflex & Thermo lining materials to combine thermal protection and ease of movement. Plus, Flash Lining technology makes it easy to shed water to stay dry.

Please note that this is not a new design.

Mesh panels protect against wind and capture solar radiation.


Elasticity and comfort

The top-of-the-line E5 knitwear combines lightness, comfort and stretch. The S-flex knee is a knee reinforcement system that ensures good flexibility.

The S-flex knee is a knee reinforcement system that ensures good flexibility.

The absence of seams under the arms and at the shoulders allows for great freedom of movement.


Closing and sealing 

Zip front closure limits water infiltration and is easier to handle, while being more comfortable without restricting movement.

The seams are made of high quality polyurethane.



The Rip Curl brand runs rather small, so it's best to refer to the manufacturer's recommendations, which offer options for every body type. The wetsuit should fit without wrinkles, without tightness and allow for unrestricted paddling movement.



Intermediate, if you plan to practice regularly, this is a good compromise. It offers the mobility of a zip front with a reinforced mid-layer of Mesh inserts for added insulation.

It's a good compromise.


The pluses

Cut to surf in warmth without sacrificing flexibility with its snug fit, it is also offered in a women's surf wetsuit in 5/3.


Are you a water sport enthusiast and looking for ways to practice it, whatever the weather? A wetsuit is an essential piece of equipment, just like your surfboard or wakeboard. 

Surfing, kitesurfing, wake or lanyard-type water walking wetsuits? It doesn't matter, if they are flexible and warm, they don't differ much except that they must be adapted to your practice. For example, in surfing they will be curved, in kiteboarding, they will have reinforcements on the harness area. The windproof effect of the mesh will be placed sometimes on the back (kite) sometimes on the belly (surf). On the other hand, the diving wetsuits and on the other hand the spearfishing wetsuits  are not alike, neither in material nor in thickness. 

Crédit Photo,, Rip Curl, Oneill.

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