How to find the right wetsuit for your child.
There are many different options when it comes to picking out the right size & thickness wetsuit for your child.
Below we break down a few different options and the temperatures they are ideal for, along with how to make sure your wetsuit fits properly.
As mentioned in our previous post, ‘How to tandem surf with little kids’ we briefly touched on how important wetsuits are for not only keeping your kids warm in the water but also protecting their bellies and arms from board rash.
There are 2 main types of children’s wetsuit styles - Spring & Full.
Spring suits are wetsuits that have a ‘short’ arms and legs which only cover down the knee & just above the elbow and typically only come in a 2mm or 3mm thickness.
These wetsuits are meant for climates where the air is warm/hot and water is just slightly cooler (70s F range) . Or on windy days where it’s nice to have a layer of coverage.
Full suits are wetsuits that provide coverage fully down to the ankles and wrists. The thickness of full suits can range anywhere from 2mm up to 5mm. I really don’t recommend a super thick wetsuit at 4 or 5 mms for kids unless you are doing something in a cold place that requires it.
This is because the thicker the wetsuit the more challenging it is to get it on them (let’s be real a 2mm spring suit is hard enough at times ha) and they are much stiffer to wear making it harder to move in.
If your family plans to be somewhere like California or in the Northeast/Northwest over summer where the water is slightly cooler, I would recommend getting a 2mm or 3mm full suit.
Does your child’s wetsuit fit properly?
Unfortunately, wetsuits are not an item that you can buy big for your child to ‘grow into’.
Your child’s wetsuit should fit snuggly with no loose openings at the neck/arms/ankles.
A wetsuit that is too big will ‘flush’ the cold water through it, making it pretty pointless to wear - like this video. You can see how the arms/neck/legs fit too loose on the child.
Honestly, wetsuits are tricky items to buy online as the sizings really do vary. If you’re looking for something new, it’s best to go in store so you can make sure you get the right size for your child.
However, since kids grow so fast I actually recommend buying their wetsuits second hand if you can.
Try hitting up some of your local surf schools at the end of their busy season to see if they are getting rid of any of their older wetsuits.
It should fit snuggly but not be too tight that it feels like it’s cutting into the neck/arms/legs
Stay tuned for the next post on our tricks to putting on your wetsuit!
In the mean time, here is a cute video of a dad getting his son all suited up in his new wetsuit.