The full wetsuit, or steamer if you prefer, is a reasonable compromise to make with Mother Nature, in return for a serving of fresh stoke. Sure, you'd prefer to be in just boardshorts, and some are lucky enough to spend summer schralping exactly thus, without having to leave home.

But for most, a good 3/2 is a required defence against non-tropical seas. Fortunately, the modern 3/2 full suit has come on leaps and bounds in recent years, boasting all new levels of comfort, flex, performance and of course, warmth.

But which to go for? Zip, or no zip? Fast-drying furry linings, or thickness-saving standard rubber? Does #AllBlackEverything still have the aesthetic edge over gaiety? Does eco-neoprene actually work?

We did our very best to find out. 

Vissla 7 Seas Tripper 3/2

Vissla 7 Seas Tripper 3/2

Vissla 7 Seas Tripper 3/2 Fullsuit

Materials: Super stretch light neoprene / thermal hollow fiber 
Weight: 1100g
Water temp: 13-18 deg C
Price: €275

Vissla

Vissla's 7 Seas Tripper 3/2 is a super warm, light and flexible fullsuit for estival surfing experiences. Boasting limestone-based neoprene, fully taped sealed seams and thermal hollow fibre lining, it’ll handle the chill morning, the cruel north wind, even summer in Great Britain.

The entry is minimal, simple, effective. There’s no shouty nomenclature featuring lots of X’s and superlatives, just a sweet-looking, great feeling suit. Most Euro dwelling surf enthusiasts will enjoy slip into this in April and keep running it until late November, or the week before Christmas, if you’re surf journalism's hardest vegan, like me. Read the full review 

Rip Curl Flash Bomb 3/2 Zip Free

Rip Curl Flashbomb 3/2 Zip Free Wetsuit

Rip Curl Flashbomb

Thickness: 3/2mm
Weight: 1000g
Price: €400 / £340

Rip Curl


The Flash Bomb 3/2 is a beauty of a wetsuit from Rip Curl, boasting all the high-tech features you could possibly imagine, along with one or two you probably couldn’t.

The eponymous lining, which extends from the ankle cuffs all the way up to the bosom, is composed of two layers, the first or innermost of which rapidly wicks water to the second layer, which funnels it out of the suit. 

Zip-free entry meanwhile, not only allows you to emancipate yourself from mental slavery, but also from physical restraint, too. Read the full review

 

Ion Onyx Select Semidry 4/3

Ion Onyx Select Semidry 4/3 Wetsuit

Ion Onyx Select Semidry 4/3

Materials: Water repellent torso, Plasma Plush lining 
Weight: 1300g
Water Temp: 10 - 16
Price: €420

Ion

Not all summers, dear reader, were created equal. For some hardy souls, summer merely means the chance to liberate the feet from the shackles of booty, the skull from the confines of cap. And if so, the Ion Onyx Select Semidry 4/3 - hero product of the brand - is your kinda summer suit. This suit could easily be used when you would normally be reaching for your 5/4, the warmth is outstanding, thanks to Ion's Plasma Plush lining, and thus this piece of rubber will more than suffice as a winter wetsuit for most of us... Read the full review

 

Rip Curl E-Bomb Pro

Rip Curl E-Bomb Pro Wetsuit

Rip Curl E-Bomb Pro

Materials: 80% neoprene 20% polyamide
Thickness: 3/2mm
Weight: 960g
Price: €290 / £245

Rip Curl

Rip Curl E-Bomb Pro's zipless entry-system is effortless, effective, and a joy to use, as is the closure device on the left chest that pulls the whole thing tight. The industry-standard plastic toggle, which in all honesty never really hit the spot for me, has been replaced with a kind of buckle that clamps neatly shut; it’s supremely satisfying and as far as I’m concerned a marked improvement.

Equally pleasing is the magnetic tab which opens and closes the little key pouch on the outside of the left leg. Obviously there’s an elastic loop in there for you to tie your key to, but the magnet is a nice touch, providing additional security and endearing this wetsuit to me even more. Read the full review

Xcel Comp X 3/2

Xcel Comp X 3/2

Thickness: 3/2mm
Weight:
1041g (for a large)
Materials:
Limestone neoprene
Price:
£285 / €350

Xcel

Think of the Comp X's chest-zip as a microcosm of the whole wetsuit: effective, elegant, intelligently designed, sturdily built. It incorporates plenty of technology but the emphasis is more on flexibility and performance than sheer warmth, hence the Comp appellation. Read the full review

 

Xcel Drylock X 4/3

Xcel Drylock X 4/3

Xcel Drylock X 4/3

Thickness: 4/3mm
Weight: 1615 (for a large)
Materials: Limestone neoprene
Price: £470

Xcel

The Drylock X is a highly robust, super warm high performance for colder climes. If you live or shred temporarily in a land where summer rarely seas the drink nudge the 14 deg C isotherm, Drylock X should be considered a potent weapon in your shred armoury. Perhaps the main difference between this suit, the Drylock X, and the regular Drylock is that on the Drylock the white and black stuff (warmer than the red stuff, owing to a higher hollow-fibre content) is confined to the chest and back panels. The stitch-free power seams — there’s barely any stitching on the whole wetsuit — and waterproof zipper (rather than merely water-tight) are also unique to the Drylock X. Read the full review

 

Quiksilver High Line Plus 3/2

Quiksilver High Line Plus 3/2

Quiksilver Highline Plus 3/2

Materials: Nylon, polyamide, elastane 
Weight: 1073g
Price: €325

Quiksilver

With Highline Plus representing the top end of performance spec, the range the Quiksilver A-Team uses in competition, state of the art features abound. Things like WarmFlight Far InfraRed x 2 lining throughout, water block semi-dry PK#8 metal head zip, Ectoflex kneepads, Thermal smoothie chest back panels against windchill, F’N Lite 2 neoprene for faster drying and Glued taped blindstiched, sealed outside, seams. Read the full review 

 

Billabong 3/2 Absolute X Chest Zip

Billabong Absolute X Chest Zip

Billabong's Absolute X Chest Zip comes in the warmer end of the 3/2 spectrum, as in, it's a warmer suit to surf in relatively cold brine for a 3/2. If you want a step down from your winter thickness, but still need to stave off chill, this is a suit you'll love. The real difference comes from the seams being liquid sealed on the outside, making it stand out for 3/2's in this list... Read the full review

 

Norrona Unstad 4/3 

Ryan VK somehow doing threatening but friendly at the same time. Skill.

Norrona Unstad 4/3

Materials: Naturapreen
Weight: 1585g
Price: €389

Norrona

As 4/3’s go, the Norrona Unstad is heavy duty, with liquid seams on the outside, fully taped inside and a water repellent outer jersey. Tatex print cuffs keep water out of your various orifices, while a YKK aquaseal zip closure ensures seepage is never an issue. 

There’re other endearing things about the brand Norrona to discover. They’re not quite as shouty about their eco-cred, maybe due to it being less of novelty thing in Scandinavia, a default setting rather than virtue-signalling. I appreciate that. Read the full review