The main difference between a wetsuit designed for surfing and one designed for other water activities, such as diving or swimming, is the thickness and flexibility of the neoprene.
Wetsuits designed for surfing typically have a thinner neoprene construction that allows for greater flexibility and range of motion, which is important for paddling and maneuvering on a surfboard. They typically range in thickness from 2mm to 4mm and may have additional features such as reinforced knee pads and seamless panels for greater comfort.
In contrast, wetsuits designed for diving or other water activities where the wearer is not actively moving as much, such as stand-up paddleboarding or kayaking, tend to be thicker to provide greater warmth in colder water. These wetsuits can range in thickness from 3mm to 7mm, depending on the water temperature and depth of the dive. They may also have additional features such as reinforced knee pads and wrist and ankle seals to prevent water from entering the suit.
Wetsuits designed for swimming are typically thinner than both surfing and diving wetsuits and often feature a sleeveless or short-sleeved design for greater range of motion. These suits are designed for open water swimming or triathlons, where the water temperature can be colder than a pool, and typically range in thickness from 1mm to 3mm.
Ultimately, the choice of wetsuit will depend on the specific water activity and conditions in which it will be used. It’s important to choose a wetsuit that is appropriate for the water temperature, provides adequate warmth and protection, and allows for a comfortable range of motion.