How to choose your surfing wetsuit

Water temperature, thickness of the neoprene: our advice on choosing the right neoprene wetsuit for surfing, bodyboarding, kitesurfing, windsurfing or even sea wading.

How to choose your surfing wetsuit

The three steps to choosing the right neoprene wetsuit for you

A full wetsuit or a shorty? 5/4 mm, 4/3 mm or 3/2 mm thick neoprene? A back zip or a front zip? When faced with such a diverse offer of neoprene wetsuits, it can be difficult to know which one to choose... Which criteria should you consider when choosing a neoprene wetsuit for surfing?

Choose your surfing wetsuit according to the water temperature

Before you get into the water, carefully choose the thickness of the neoprene of your wetsuit, because this is what will determine how warm it keeps you and therefore how long your session lasts.

Think of the neoprene as a second skin, which will act as a barrier against cold water. It is indicated by two or three numbers: 5/4 millimetres, 4/3 millimetres, 3/2 millimetres or 2/2 millimetres. 

choose your surfing wetsuit according to the water temperature

Surfing shorty

An excellent choice for anyone who feels the cold and is learning to surf or bodyboard, and for kids who enjoy playing in the waves in summer. Essential for warm-water surfing, shorties offer more freedom of movement and are more comfortable when making manoeuvres than a full-body wetsuit.

A 2/2 millimetre (mm) surfing wetsuit means that the neoprene is 2 mm thick on the legs and 2 mm thick on the arms.

How to choose your surfing wetsuit

The ideal wetsuit for spring or autumn

Below 17°C, choose a full-body wetsuit. These suits are thinner at the arms to make rotation and paddling easier. 3/2 millimetres (mm) means that the neoprene is 3 mm thick on the legs and 2 mm thick on the arms.

In the winter, the neoprene on the body is thicker and limits movements. Opt for a front zip (chest zip) for better watertightness and greater freedom of movement when paddling. Since your back is naturally arched when you paddle on your surf board or your bodyboard, the position of the front zip on the wetsuit is designed to offer greater freedom of movement.

How to choose your surfing wetsuit

Choose your surfing wetsuit according to the length of your session 

1-hour session

For one-hour sessions

Opt for a wetsuit that is easy to put on and take off, thanks to the back zip. This is the case with the models in our 100 range.

2-hour session

For two-hour sessions

Your wetsuit must strike a good compromise between easy fitting and freedom of movement. It is made of more supple neoprene with a back zip, and with or without a flap, like our 500 range of surfing and bodyboarding wetsuits.

3-hour session

For three-hour sessions

For longer surfing sessions, opt for maximum freedom of movement with a men’s or women’s wetsuit with the best assemblies and made of very supple neoprene. Check out our 900 range of wetsuits:

Choose your surfing wetsuit according to your body shape 

To make the most of the features of your wetsuit, it is necessary to choose the correct size.

A surfing wetsuit should be a very tight fit and there should be no visible folds, the goal being to provide the best possible thermal protection. When dry, it is perfectly normal to feel like it is too tight, this discomfort disappears as soon as the wetsuit gets wet.If you choose a wetsuit that is too big, folds will appear, you will experience irritation and thermal insulation will be reduced (letting in water).

Important: your three sizes do not exactly match those in the table? The chest size is most important, followed by the waistline, and then the hips.

Once you have bought your neoprene wetsuit, remember to take good care of it: rinse with clean water after every session and avoid leaving it to dry in the sun. Shade is neoprene’s best friend…

One last tip: as an experienced surfer, when you leave the water, always keep enough spare energy to take off your drenched wetsuit!

Size guide

size guide for the men's olaian decathlon surfing wetsuits


size guide for the women's olaian decathlon surfing wetsuits


size guide for the kids olaian decathlon surfing wetsuits


nicolas pelé neoprene product designer decathlon olaian

Nicolas pelé

Product designer

"“Unlike diving wetsuits, surfing wetsuits are not watertight. So, it is quite normal that some water flows through them, which then warms up when in contact with your skin and provides protection against the cold.”"