Temperature guide for wetsuit thickness

wetsuit temperature chart

If you live in the UK, or somewhere with similar water temperatures, it’s essential that you buy the right thickness wetsuit for seasonal surfing. We have drawn up and easy to use wetsuit temperature chart, so you can choose the right thickness wetsuit, for the correct water temperature range.

Waters around the British Isles can be extremely cold especially in the winter months when temperatures can reach as low as 5c. The temperature of the water in winter and summer is governed by geographical location. Sea temperatures on the North East coast of the UK are much colder than the South West coast. The reason for this is because the Gulf Stream doesn’t pass over the North Sea, unlike the South West Atlantic. It is the warming of the Atlantic from the Gulf Stream which keeps water temperatures warmer on the west coast of Scotland compared to the East coast. Even in the summer time when the waters aren’t as frigid, water temperatures can still differ. In summer months from May to October in the south, it would be suitable to wear a 3mm wetsuit as the water temperatures in a good summer can reach 18c. However, on the North East coast it is more advisable to wear a 5mm wetsuit from May to the end of September. So, depending on where you want to surf, and at what point of the season, will determine which thickness of wetsuit you will need to use.

Other factors such as wind chill will also determine which thickness of wetsuit you should wear. Wind chill can really affect a wetsuits performance. The jersey (fabric material covering neoprene) of the wetsuit soaks up water and the wind cools water trapped in the jersey. So, if you were to wear a 4mm wetsuit on a cold and windy day, you may well feel the cold more than you would wearing a 5mm wetsuit. In an ideal world, different thickness of wetsuit for every winter condition would be suitable. However, not everybody can afford a 5mm and a 4mm wetsuit, so it’s important you choose a wetsuit which will suit as an all-rounder. It is also advisable to wear wetsuit boots, gloves and hoods in the winter months. These accessories help keep the cold water from causing painful aches and discomfort.

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