Wetsuit Guide: Wetsuit Temperature Guide…Do I need a 5/4, 4/3, 3/2 or a 2mm, what’s the difference?

Hello everyone, today we’re covering the different wetsuit thicknesses and what water temperature they equate to.

Yeah, yeah…some of you experienced surfers may hate the fact that I’m even explaining this to our readers. Why? you ask. Well, many surfers, not all, but there are a lot, shun any sort of learning, surf schools or basically anything that can help a new surfer get out in the water. Essentially the thinking is, less surfers that know, less surfers out in the water.

Might I add, I too like less surfers out in the water, I don’t like crowds. I’ll actually go to a spot that is worse with less crowd than go to a spot that looks better with a huge crowd. Not that I don’t think I can compete with the crowd, I can, though I’m not there to compete, you feel me?

The fact is, the larger the crowd, the less respect, generally speaking, you have in the water. A few things in regards to disrespect. You get this ego thing going on and you see the Alpha’s come out, all respect goes out the window. Not only that, you get the inexperienced surfer in a spot that they shouldn’t be, know your place kook! (you may hear). Which is true, know you’re place. A beginner skier doesn’t hit the up the Black Diamond on their first day, do they? So a new surfer shouldn’t hit up that peak either. They should be way off where they waves are barely breaking trying to learn how to stand, that’s the truth. So you get no respect from the beginner surfer because they just don’t know. Learn somewhere else, the reason why is because, trying to learn, on a 7-9 ft fun or long board is down right dangerous. I remember surfing Far Rockaway in the beginning of Summer on year, I wasn’t expecting this crow since it was early, though this in New York City, you’ll get crowds. The scariest moment of my life, I was the target of many, many, longboard missiles. You know, when the beginner surfer is about to hit you, they don’t know what to do, so they jump off their board, turning their 25 lb longboard into a deadly trajectory missile heading straight for your head.

Now we’re on a tangent…that said, I’m all for beginners, please, start slow, start with the bunny slopes and work you’re way up to the Black Diamond. There’s a lot to learn out there, not just how to stand, though where and how the wave breaks and how to interact with your fellow surfer is the biggest part and this takes years. Let’s get into this guide!

Ok, here’s what we have:

The Wetsuit Temperature Chart:

This Wetsuit Temperature Chart is taking you through Tropical to Freezing Waters. Let’s hit them up one by one:

80 F – Tropical Rash Guard
When it’s 80 F+ water, you may think this sounds awesome, though it’s this is too hot, well depending on the outside temp, but it’s hard to stay out for hours when the water is too hot. If the air is cooler than the water, this water temp can be great. You’ll want to get a rash guard or a surf shirt with UV protection to help protect you from the sun, feeling good and staying out in the water for as long as possible. We have every Body Glove Rash Guard and Surf Shirt available, take a look at the men’s surf top and the women’s surf tops to get a good idea of what you may need. For SUP, Jet Ski and Wake, you’ll want this type of rash guard and surf shirt nearly all the time since you’re rarely submerged in the water.

Here are a few examples:

Body Glove Deluxe Men’s Loosefit S/S Lycra Surf Shirt 10182 $19.99

Body Glove Women’s 6oz. L/S Lycra Rashguard 1211W $21

70-79 F  – Wetsuit Top / Short John / Long John Etc.

This is great water temp for water sports. Just cool enough to stay out for hours, though warm enough to wear board shorts. In this case, you’ll want to wear your surf top (click here for ladie’s tops and here for men’s tops) or short johns. The “John” part basically symbolizes any wetsuit that designed like a tank top on the upper portion. Sometimes, even though it’s warm enough just for your board shorts, you’ll want something on to protect yourself from the wind and the harmful UV rays.

Body Glove 1mm Vapor LS Surf Shirt 5155 $55.99

Body Glove 1mm Aura Reversible Shirt 5150W $44.99

65-70 The Long Sleeve Spring & 2mm Short-Arm Fullsuit (even 2mm long arm)

The 2mm Short-Arm Fullsuit is my favorite suit by far. For a few reasons, I usually get to wear the suit when it’s the most fun out in the water and the water is warm. I usually forgo the boardshorts to wear my short-arm full 2mm.

Let’s look at a few examples of 2mm wetsuits.

Body Glove Vapor 2/1mm L/A Springsuit 10142 $93.99

Body Glove Vapor Neo Zip 2/2mm S/A Fullsuit 10151AAA $94.99

Body Glove Vibe 2/1mm Womens L/A Springsuit 10114W $99.99

55-64 F 3/2 Full Suit

The 3/2 Full Suit basically means that part of the suit (in your body’s core section) is 3mm and 2mm in the rest of the areas.
They do this because your core needs to be the warmest and then you want 2mm in the rest of the areas to provide more flex and less restriction, conserving your energy and keeping you out in the water longer.

Body Glove Vapor 3/2 Fullsuit 7103 $179.99

Body Glove 9135w Pro 3 Womens 3/2 Wetsuit $117

48-55 F 4/3 Fullsuit Wetsuit

So same thinking here as the 3/2. You’ll have 4mm in the core and 3mm everywhere else, lets take a look at a few examples.

Body Glove Vapor 4/3mm Fullsuit 7104 $189.99

Body Glove 4/3 mm Fusion Neo Zip Womens Fullsuit 9162W $153.99

40-48 F 5/4/3 Hooded Fullsuit Wetsuit

In this scenario, we usually have 5mm in the core, 4mm in most of your arms and legs and 3mm in your hood.  You can take a look at our 5/4 wetsuit departments here for women and here for men.

Here’s an example of Body Glove Hooded 5/4/3 Wetsuits

Body Glove 5/4/3 Hooded Stormtrooper Full 127W $183. 99

Body Glove 5/4/3 Stealth Hooded Fullsuit 141 $169.99