When it comes to wetsuits, there are a lot of great brands out there. Some of these brands are very well established and have built a reputation alongside the growth of watersports, while others are a little newer and breaking into the market.
This makes picking out the absolute best brand quite difficult, as the competition is as stiff as the fit of a brand new wetsuit!
There’s also the caveat of which style of wetsuit you need because not all wetsuits are made equal. They are often made to work for a specific style of watersport, and a wetsuit made for open water swimming won’t always be suitable for surfing.
The best wetsuit brands make bespoke designs to suit many different disciplines, focusing on quality, performance and good value.
Many of these brands sponsor high profile watersports events such as the surfing world championships as well as individual athletes, meaning you’ll often see some of the best performers sporting wetsuits of a particular style and brand, much like how footballers will wear boots made by the leading brands.
The best wetsuit brand is the one that suits your needs best, however, there are some famous ones you should definitely consider looking into, such as O’Neill, Rip Curl, Patagonia, Billabong, Matuse and several others.
It’s really hard to pick one particular brand that is superior to all the others because it is often down to personal preference, your measurements and what you intend to use the wetsuit for.
It’s also difficult to pick a single brand because they are constantly developing and competing amongst each other, so very little separates them as they continually innovate and improve their array of options and features.
For surfing in particular, however, things can be narrowed down to a select few brands which have a great heritage, awesome quality and amazing performance.
O’Neill has to come first, primarily because it was one of the first. Founded in 1923, this brand has been providing quality wetsuits to amateurs and professionals in the surfing world for almost a full century, so it’s no wonder the quality of their products is so good and their popularity is so high. They have many options but the Psycho Tech wetsuit is a favourite, with its neoprene construction and flawless stitching.
Rip Curl is another very popular brand, founded back in 1969 by Brian Singer and Doug Warbrick. These wetsuits come with a range of great features such as Magnet Key pockets and zip free offerings for pro surfers who place a premium on manoeuvrability.
They use high-quality neoprene much like all the best brands today, which guarantees an amazing seal, high resistance to the water and elements while still providing good flexibility and manoeuvrability.
The Rip Curl Dawn Patrol in particular is a great choice, which is very well stitched and glued and is also a great value for beginners as well as experienced surfers.
Patagonia is another iconic brand that started back in 1953, although it never started out in the surfing world. This hasn’t stopped it from becoming a favourite among surfers who value the design aesthetics and ethical reputation that Patagonia has built over the years.
Their suits are actually neoprene free and use a proprietary blend known as Yulex which uses plant-based polymers and rubber, allowing them to remain true to their eco-friendly approach to apparel and equipment.
Naturally, surfers are often among those most concerned with our environmental impact, whether it be plastic finding its way into the ocean or general climate considerations, making Patagonia a great choice for the eco-minded surfer who wants style and performance without any guilt about how their wetsuit was made.
A great choice is the R1 Lite Front-Zip Full Suit which is neoprene free but provides all of the same performance as a neoprene wetsuit, with Patagonia’s textbook focus on quality and performance. There are other neoprene free options available, but Patagonia is an established brand with its roots in the extreme sports world.
No list of great surf brands could ever be complete without Billabong, which has been providing great equipment and apparel since 1973. Their wetsuits are known to be great for warmer climates and you’re able to customize your suit a lot to make sure it’s just right, meaning it will be super comfortable and be easier to break in than a generic wetsuit.
Additionally, they use upcycled car tyres in some of their suits, which again make them a good choice for eco-conscious surfers.
There are also many designs inspired and influenced by professional surfers, who have been sponsored by and cooperated with Billabong to make sure they got the best performance possible out of their wetsuit.
While any of these brands could be considered the best on a given day, there may be others out there we haven’t mentioned, so make sure to have a good look at what’s available to get the best deal possible.
Are O’Neill wetsuits good?
As we’ve mentioned already, O’Neill provides some of the best wetsuits in the world, thanks to their almost 100 years of experience and consistent innovation.
This brand is a favourite among professionals thanks to its focus on quality, however, they also pioneered the development of wetsuits for children, indicating that they believe in making sure everyone can enjoy the water, regardless of age or experience.
Their UltraFlex construction ensures durability and flexibility, and their ability to keep surfers warm and dry is very well known.
Are Rip Curl wetsuits good?
Rip Curl is another of the most famous brands, as mentioned above.
Their focus on providing amazing features is what has allowed them to consistently compete with the best wetsuit brands and provide amazing quality that is sought after by pros and amateurs alike.
They are particularly well known for their winter focused wetsuits, which are designed to be fast-drying which is a massive help in wet and cold conditions.