Have you ever taken a look at the description of a wetsuit in a surf shop, online, or in a surf magazine? It's probably become clear that there are a number of terms used to describe the type, size, and fit of a wetsuit. Here we'll look at how to choose the right size based on your height, weight, chest / bust, waist, and hip measurements.
Wetsuit manufacturers produce a range of wetsuit sizes, and use letters to describe the different sizes. You'll have to look at a brand specific wetsuit size chart to find out which suit will fit you correctly. Although manufacturers use the same letters in their ranges, the sizes for those letter ranges differ between brands. (i.e. one brand's extra large wetsuit will be a different size to another brand's extra large) Make sure you look at the size chart for the right wetsuit brand.
Most brands produce ranges from XXS to XXL. The letters correspond to a mixture of sizes and heights. Here's what the letters stand for:
So, XL is extra large, MT is medium tall, and so on. Take a look at the size chart, use your own height, chest and waist measurements, and there you'll have your letters. For example, if you're 5'8 tall, weight 150 pounds, have a 40 inch chest, and a 32 inch waist, it's likely that you'll need a MS (medium small) wetsuit.
The above chart is based on the Xcel mens wetsuit range. Women's sizing charts will be slightly different, with bust, waist and hip measurements used.
The above image shows where the measurements should be taken
Although you now know which wetsuits to choose from, there are a few other things to keep in mind. Not everyone will fit exactly into one size, and even if you do fit into a range on the size chart, the suit may just not feel right. It is a good idea to visit a surf shop and try on a range of wetsuit models, and suits from different brands. Different brands and different brand models will have a different fit and feel. If you are determined to buy online, visit a surf shop and find the right suit, make a note, and head for the internet cafe!
Happy with the sizing? Now you'll need to choose the right thickness, seam construction, neoprene type, zip type and location, and look. Who would have thought it would be so complicated?
Further wetsuit information
Sizing is one consideration, but what about the type of surfing wetsuits?.
If you would like more information about the types of wetsuit stitching and seams (sealed / flatlock), it's explained here.
Take a look at our main wetsuit details page that explains how they work.
Don't forget to take care of your wetsuit once you have made the purchase.
Our definitive wetsuit buyers guide.
Take a look at the huge range of wetsuits we feature in our surf shop. We have wetsuit from all the top brands. Click here to buy a wetsuit.
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