How to Choose Your Wetsuit and Rash Guard


When choosing what wetsuit you need, test range of motion by raising your arms overhead and arching your back, then bending and touching your toes. Do some squats. Pay attention to the suit's response, if you're getting pinched by the neoprene or if it is going taut then you'll need to try a different suit.


It's possible to get a good price on a used wetsuit as well. Check to see how intact the seams are and look in high-wear areas (underarms, hindquarters) for neoprene damage. As neoprene ages it stiffens and shrinks. Used wetsuits are thus a good idea for the beginner who isn't sure about sticking with the sport.

Ladies will find additional problems in that most wetsuits are cut for men. There are womens' suits out there, ask your shop if they carry any. Don't just order one right off the bat without getting a chance to try it on. If you're going with a swimsuit, look to get a 1-piece suit or a pair of ladies' boardshorts.

Rash Vests

Rash Guard

In warmer climates you'll need a rash vest to stop the wax from rubbing the skin on your stomach off, and to stop sun-burn. It can be really painful! Most good surf shops have rash vests for sale. Make sure it is tight fitting and the length reaches your hips, so it doesn't creep up when you are in the surf.

Many good rash guards these days have a small loop at the front bottom hem. This is to tie into your boardshorts to prevent the rash guard from creeping up.


Some people get a bit confused about Lycra and Spandex. You will even get friends and others telling you to only buy lycra because it is better then spandex. Don't believe them, spandex and lycra are the same thing!

Lycra® is a brand name for spandex and is registered by Dupont®.

Visit the Wetsuit & Rash Vest Shop

Other FAQs

How to fix your surfboard

How to spray paint your surfboard

How to forecast the surf

How to ride a body board

Where can I find Learn to Surf Books & DVDs?

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