If you like being in water and you aren’t living in a tropical country 365 days a year… You’ll have to consider getting a wetsuit at some point. Having a good wetsuit means being able to go out and practice surfing, Stand-Up Paddleboarding or kayaking, whenever we’d like. However, in this world of all black suits that look similar, it can be complicated to know what to look for. We made this article for you to have a better comprehension of wearable cold water equipment… A wetsuit.


Wetsuits are made from pieces of neoprene, that cover different parts of your body. The two major cuts are called full suits and spring suits. In Quebec, we use the full suit in fall, winter and spring and then summer comes with the spring suit, when it’s a bit cloudier and cold.

The zip positioning is something important to notice, as a back zip will let a bit more water inside the wetsuit than the chest zip. It’s usually what explain the price difference!


The most important element in a wetsuit is its thickness. Similar to a coat, we like to have one that is thick enough for cold days, without becoming a sauna for warmer days. Here, everything plays in milimiters. To shop for a wetsuit, you’ll need to know the temperature of the water you’ll go swimming in, for the River or the Ocean. Once you know the water temperature, you can check out this grid to find the wetsuit thickness you need.

Wetsuits usually have two thicknesses in their composition: one for the body center, second one for legs and arms. For example, a wetsuit “4/3” means that the wetsuit is 4mm thick for the body center and 3mm in the legs and arms.

Chart made by River Surfing MTL – An app you should really download if you’re surfing in Montreal.


Sadly, not all wetsuits are made for everyone and it’s important to have one that fits us perfectly. Thinking about borrowing your taller friend his/her wetsuit? Not a really good idea…

While wearing a wetsuit, there’s always a bit of water that penetrates inside and your body will warm this water to keep you warm. It’s the very basic science behind a wetsuit. An oversized wetsuit will let too much water in and you won’t be able to warm it, meaning you’ll get cold. A wetsuit too small will limit your movements and won’t be pleasant to wear.

You’ll need to feel stretched, that’s normal. That being said, you need to be able to do every movement you’ll do while being in the water. Here’s a grid describing which size you should wear considering your weight and height, although nothing is better than trying it before buying. It works the same way than shoes!


You’ve seen it in this article already, lower temperatures require boots, gloves and even a hood. Those items might sound lame, but it’s important not to under-estimate them. It would be sad to have bought a wetsuit, good gloves and boots, but to get a brain freeze every time your bald head touches ice cold water. The ideal in changing coldness of water is to have the three accessories (boots, gloves and hood) in your possession, to have to freedom to use them when desired.


Like any piece of clothing, many brands offer different types of quality. In general, quality raises in the same way than the price does. Here are some elements that will make a wetsuit of a better quality, perhaps at a higher price, than another.

  • Life expectancy: If a wetsuit is valued higher than another one, you should expect to keep it for longer, if cared for.
  • Drying: Technologies like Ripcurl’s E4 are made to dry quickly and it works well. It’s ideal when surfing a few days in a row.
  • Flex: A good quality wetsuit will offer higher flex than a cheap one. It changes the feeling while doing water sports.
  • Insulation: Like a coat, a better material will insulate the wetsuit better than a lower quality one, for the same thickness. I remember my first neoprene gloves, which I bought for a way too cheap price. Water was flowing in them like if they were cotton. I wore them twice before resigning and buying decent ones.
  • Style: Last but not least, wetsuit makers are big players in the fashion industry. Some wetsuits brands, Patagonia for example, have a timeless style and provide you with a stylish look.

Overall, a wetsuit is an important purchase because this neoprene well-adjusted skin will change completely your wellbeing in cold water. A good wetsuit for you will make you jump in ice cold water while a bad one will make you hate it. At KSF, we have wetsuits that we wear ourselves in cold water… we tried a few over the years! It would be awesome to help you find one that fits your body perfectly!