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Which Wetsuit Thickness is Best for USA?

So you're about to purchase a wetsuit and you're not sure which thickness is right for US water temperatures. The right thickness depends on where in the US you're surfing and what time of year.

If you're surfing down in Florida during summer then you won't need anything more than a thin 1.5mm wetsuit top. However, up in Massachusetts in the winter months the water temperature can drop as low as 42°F (6°C), in which case you'll need a thick 5mm steamer plus booties.

What do the numbers mean in a wetsuit thickness (e.g. 3:2)?

The 1st number is the thickness of the neoprene around your chest and torso.

The 2nd number is the thickness of the neoprene around your arms and legs.

Example: 3:2 is 3mm around the chest and 2mm around the arms & legs.

 

Which Wetsuit Thickness is Best for USA?

 

***West Coast***

 

Santa Monica, California:

WINTER (DEC-FEB):

Water Temperature: 58°F (15°C)

Best Wetsuit Thickness: 5:3mm or 5:4mm PLUS booties

Best Wetsuit Type: Steamer (Full Length Wetsuit)

 

SPRING (MAR-MAY):

Water Temperature: 58°F (15°C)

Best Wetsuit Thickness: 4:3mm or 5:3mm

Best Wetsuit Type: Steamer (Full Length Wetsuit)

 

SUMMER (JUN-AUG):

Water Temperature: 65°F (18°C)

Best Wetsuit Thickness: 1.5mm or 3:2mm

Best Wetsuit Type: Steamer (Full Length Wetsuit) or Wetsuit Top

 

AUTUMN (SEP-NOV):

Water Temperature: 63°F (17°C)

Best Wetsuit Thickness: 3:2mm or 4:3mm

Best Wetsuit Type: Steamer (Full Length Wetsuit)

 

 

 

Santa Cruz, California:

WINTER (DEC-FEB):

Water Temperature: 55°F (13°C)

Best Wetsuit Thickness: 5:4mm PLUS booties

Best Wetsuit Type: Steamer (Full Length Wetsuit)

 

SPRING (MAR-MAY):

Water Temperature: 54°F (12°C)

Best Wetsuit Thickness: 5:3mm

Best Wetsuit Type: Steamer (Full Length Wetsuit)

 

SUMMER (JUN-AUG):

Water Temperature: 56°F (14°C)

Best Wetsuit Thickness: 3:2mm or 4:3mm

Best Wetsuit Type: Steamer (Full Length Wetsuit) or Springsuit

 

AUTUMN (SEP-NOV):

Water Temperature: 57°F (14°C)

Best Wetsuit Thickness: 3:2mm or 4:3mm

Best Wetsuit Type: Steamer (Full Length Wetsuit)

 

 

 

 

***East Coast***

 

Nantucket, Massachusetts:

WINTER (DEC-FEB):

Water Temperature: 42°F (6°C)

Best Wetsuit Thickness: 5:4mm with hood PLUS booties

Best Wetsuit Type: Steamer (Full Length Wetsuit)

 

SPRING (MAR-MAY):

Water Temperature: 44°F (7°C)

Best Wetsuit Thickness: 5:4mm PLUS booties

Best Wetsuit Type: Steamer (Full Length Wetsuit)

 

SUMMER (JUN-AUG):

Water Temperature: 64°F (18°C)

Best Wetsuit Thickness: 3:2mm

Best Wetsuit Type: Steamer (Full Length Wetsuit)

 

AUTUMN (SEP-NOV):

Water Temperature: 60°F (15°C)

Best Wetsuit Thickness: 3:2mm or 4:3mm

Best Wetsuit Type: Steamer (Full Length Wetsuit)

 

 

 

Cocoa Beach, Florida:

WINTER (DEC-FEB):

Water Temperature: 71°F (22°C)

Best Wetsuit Thickness: 3:2mm

Best Wetsuit Type: Springsuit

 

SPRING (MAR-MAY):

Water Temperature: 75°F (24°C)

Best Wetsuit Thickness: 1.5mm

Best Wetsuit Type: Wetsuit Top

 

SUMMER (JUN-AUG):

Water Temperature: 83°F (28°C)

Best Wetsuit Thickness: 1.5mm

Best Wetsuit Type: Wetsuit Top

 

AUTUMN (SEP-NOV):

Water Temperature: 81°F (27°C)

Best Wetsuit Thickness: 1.5mm

Best Wetsuit Type: Wetsuit Top

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