What to Wear for Surfing?

What to Wear for Surfing?

Surfing is an exhilarating water sport that requires the right attire to ensure comfort, safety, and optimal performance. Choosing the right clothing and gear can greatly enhance your surfing experience, allowing you to ride the waves with confidence. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced surfer, here is a comprehensive guide on what to wear for surfing.

1. Wetsuit:
A wetsuit is an essential piece of clothing for surfing, especially in colder water conditions. It provides insulation and protection against the elements. Wetsuits are typically made of neoprene, a stretchy material that traps a thin layer of water against your skin, which is heated by your body, keeping you warm. The thickness of the wetsuit depends on the water temperature, with thicker suits for colder conditions.

2. Rashguard:
A rashguard is a lightweight, quick-drying shirt that protects your skin from sunburn, rashes, and irritation caused by rubbing against the surfboard. It is typically made of UV-protective fabric and is an excellent option for warmer water or when a wetsuit is not necessary.

3. Board Shorts:
Board shorts are the go-to bottoms for surfers. They are designed to be lightweight, comfortable, and quick-drying. Look for board shorts with a secure tie waist or a Velcro closure to prevent them from slipping off during intense waves. Opt for board shorts made with durable materials to withstand the wear and tear of surfing.

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4. Surf Booties:
Surf booties are essential in colder water conditions or rocky surf spots. They provide insulation, protect your feet from sharp objects, and enhance grip on your surfboard. Choose booties with a thick sole and a snug fit to ensure comfort and stability while surfing.

5. Surf Hat:
A surf hat offers protection against the sun, helping to prevent sunburn and heatstroke. Look for a hat that has a chin strap to keep it securely in place during intense movements. A wide-brimmed hat is ideal as it provides shade for your face, neck, and ears.

6. Sunscreen:
Sunscreen is a must-have item for any surfer. Choose a waterproof and sweat-resistant sunscreen with a high SPF to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Apply it generously to all exposed areas of your body, including your face, neck, and ears. Reapply frequently, especially after being in the water.

7. Sunglasses:
Invest in a good pair of polarized sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun’s glare and improve visibility in the water. Look for sunglasses with a secure strap to prevent them from falling off during wipeouts.


1. Can I wear a swimsuit for surfing?
While a swimsuit might be comfortable for swimming, it is not ideal for surfing. Swimsuits tend to move and shift during the vigorous movements of surfing, which can be uncomfortable and may lead to wardrobe malfunctions. Opt for a rashguard and board shorts for a more secure and practical option.

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2. Do I need a wetsuit for warm water surfing?
If the water temperature is warm enough, you may not need a wetsuit. In such cases, a rashguard and board shorts would be sufficient to protect your skin from the sun and potential rashes caused by the surfboard.

3. How do I choose the right wetsuit thickness?
The right wetsuit thickness depends on the water temperature. Generally, a 3/2mm wetsuit (3mm thickness on the torso and 2mm on the arms and legs) is suitable for water temperatures around 60-70°F. Thicker wetsuits, such as 4/3mm or 5/4mm, should be considered for colder water conditions.

4. How should a wetsuit fit?
A wetsuit should fit snugly but not restrict your movement. It should feel tight around the neck, wrists, and ankles to prevent water from entering. However, ensure that it does not cause discomfort or restrict blood circulation.

5. Can I wear regular sneakers instead of surf booties?
Regular sneakers are not suitable for surfing as they are not designed to withstand prolonged exposure to water. Surf booties provide insulation, protection, and grip, making them essential for any serious surfer.

6. Do I need to wear a surf hat even if I have sunscreen on?
While sunscreen provides protection for your face, a surf hat offers additional shade and prevents heatstroke. It also protects your scalp from sunburn and reduces glare, enhancing your overall surfing experience.

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7. Can I wear any sunglasses for surfing?
Not all sunglasses are suitable for surfing. Look for sunglasses specifically designed for water sports with polarized lenses. These lenses reduce glare and improve visibility in the water, allowing you to spot the waves more easily. Additionally, make sure they have a secure strap to prevent loss during wipeouts.

In conclusion, wearing the right attire for surfing is crucial to ensure safety, comfort, and performance in the water. Invest in a good wetsuit, rashguard, board shorts, surf booties, and other accessories to protect yourself from the elements. Remember to apply sunscreen, wear sunglasses, and consider a surf hat for added protection. With the right gear, you can fully enjoy the thrilling experience of riding the waves while staying safe and comfortable.

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