This guide will make your search for the perfect kitesurfing wetsuit simple.
Having spent the past few years beach bumming and kitesurfing in Asia, I’ve thankfully had about as much need for a wetsuit as a fish needs a fur coat.
But alas, times are a’changing:
What with myself and Jim making an imminent move to Ireland, we’ve got wetsuits on the brain. Big, wooly, warm ones. And also pints of Guinness- but that’s a topic for another day.
My point is: there’s heeeella lotta wetsuits on the market these days, and trying to find the perfect kitesurfing wetsuit can make you feel kinda like this guy:
Listen, I feel you. I’ve been exactly where you are; trawling through online shops, trying to work out which wetsuit will fit over your butt and which’ll look like a very, very expensive bin bag.
So to help ease you through the process, I’ve compiled all the info I found during my own deep dive into the world of wetsuits and created what I THINK is a pretty user-friendly guide. Plus also some funny gifs. Because who doesn’t like those guys?!
In this guide, you’ll find simple comparison points and must-know info about each product, which should help you decide which one is best for you (or at least make you feel a little less like head butting your laptop).
We’ll also go through each of the factors you should consider when buying a kitesurf wetsuit, from the cut to the fabric and everything in between.
Meanwhile, Jim and I will continue to update this list as we get around to trying all the suits we can get our hands on!
Let’s dive in:
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How to pick the perfect kitesurfing wetsuit
Front zippers and back zippers, wind skin and stretchy stuff, rubber and neoprene… jeez Louise, there’s a lot to consider.
The perfect kitesurf wetsuit can look pretty different to different people. But no matter what your preferences, you’ll want to think about things like:
- Warmth factor and thickness
- How restrictive it is
- What the fabric is made of (is it comfortable? Is it eco-friendly? Is it suitable for the climate you’ll be kiting in? More on all that coming up.)
- The sizing and cut
- The price. Of cooourse.
Most importantly, it’s crucial to try to pick the suit that’s going to fit your body type most comfortably (errg, I know it’s easier said than done when it comes to buying a wetsuit online, but stay with me here).
Not every wetsuit is created with the same reference point in mind; some brands have particularly thin legs and arms, for example, while others might have an especially short/long body.
We’ve done our best to highlight these factors for each of the wetsuits listed below, so hopefully that’ll give you a solid baseline to work with.
Surf vs. kitesurfing wetsuits: what’s the difference?
Okay, so this whole article is about kitesurfing wetsuits, right? But is that even like, a thing?
Here’s the deal:
A lot of times brands differentiate between kitesurfing wetsuits and, say, surfing wetsuits purely for the sake of branding. In fact very few (if any) of the brands we’ve included on this list market their suits specifically/exclusively to any sport. Whether it’s surfing, kitesurfing, windsurfing, wakeboarding or water skiing, those wetsuits fill meet the needs of most watersports, except of course diving, which can present radically different designs especially as you go up the price range.
But that said:
Some brands have a background in a specific sport, and so their products are often tailored most towards said sport.
Some products have differences in cuts and reinforcement (for example, kitesurf specific wetsuits often don’t have the same flexibility in the arms/armpit area that’s required for paddling in surf).
Conversely, some kitesurf wetsuits have a thicker layer of smooth skin on the chest which provides extra protection from the wind (which surfers don’t have to deal with as much).
If you ask me, it’s a bit of a potato po-tah-to scenario.
A lot of experienced water sport lovers will tell you that surf wetsuits have been around much longer than kitesurf wetsuits, and have therefore benefited from greater r&d. Soooo, you may find some of the more established surf/outdoor brands have higher quality suits.
But at the end of the day, it’s all down to finding the product that works best for you.
Here’s our selection of kitesurf wetsuits to suit a variety of preferences and budgets:
Our selection of kitesurfing wetsuits for men
If you’re on the hunt for a kitesurf wetsuit that’s comfortable and unrestrictive, the O’Neill Psycho-Freak should be right up your street. It’s made using the brand’s exclusive ‘Technobutter’ fabric which is designed to allow total freedom of movement (which also makes it gloriously easy to put on and take off).
The Technobutter Firewall material covers the chest and back, which helps to protect from extra wind chill and serves to keep you super toasty. Hydrophobic neoprene ensures water stays outside of the suit without leaking in; and the quick-dry properties and light foam rubber core keeps the suit from feeling bulky or absorbing water.
While that may sound like a wetsuit dream come true (he he) it’s important to keep in mind that supple material tends to degrade faster, so if you’re going to be putting this kitesurf wetsuit to very heavy, regular use, you may find yourself needing to replace it sooner than if you went with a more robust wetsuit.
A crowd favourite for kiters who frequent super cold waters, the NP Mission is a kitesurfing wetsuit that’s all about combining flexibility and durability in one.
With bio ceramic lining and Yamamoto Limestone Neoprene, it’s actually one of the most supple wetsuits in Neil Pryde’s catalogue, but still does the job when it comes to keeping you warm when it’s f’ing freezing out– and extra points for the fact that limestone neoprene is petroleum free and way better for the environment than traditional neoprene.
The NP Mission also features a back zip.
Xcel is a name that comes up time and time again whenever people are talking about affordable wetsuits- and the Xcel Axis wetsuit fits that bill pretty damn well.
And it’s got plenty bang for your buck, too:
It’s one of the warmer kitesurfing wetsuits we’ve come across; especially when you compare the cost of this one with more expensive brands.
And if warm is what you’re after, take a look at their fully sealed limestone neoprene 5/4 hooded full suit. It’s made with eco-friendly ‘Superprene’ Japanese limestone which is designed to be extra durable while remaining lightweight. It’s also reinforced on the chest with watertight smoothskin and on the knees with extra padding.
If you dig Xcel’s bargain prices but don’t have the need for the full suit above, they’ve also got lighter versions like this 3/2 with thermo-lite chest lining and a handy front zip.
There’s a lot to love about the Hyperflex Access wetsuit. In short, it’s a) super snug fitting and warm, and b) cheaper than any other wetsuit on this list. In fact, I’m gonna go ahead and say it’s the cheapest wetsuit we’ve ever come across full stop.
But as those who’ve tried Hyperflex will tell you, the cheap price doesn’t reflect the high quality of the wetsuit.
It’s made from extremely tight celled material which is known to do an extra good job of keeping you warm. Meanwhile, the smoothskin raw neoprene chest panel helps to block excess wind chill. It’s also got particularly low profile seams, which means they won’t rub against your skin (which is a really big bonus if you’re used to kiting for long periods of time).
The one thing to note about the Hyperflex Access is that it tends to fit a little on the small size, so we’d recommend buying one size up than you normally would.
On that note, the Access is also a wee bit more restrictive than other suits on this list, so while that does make it extra durable, this might not be the ideal one for you if you prefer a wetsuit with more flexibility .
Rip Curl Flash Bomb
Legendary surf brand Rip Curl are well known for their wetsuits, but how does the Flash Bomb hold up against the others on this list?
Well, with the extra stretchy E5 flash lining, it’s one of the comfier ones- but it doesn’t sacrifice anything in the way of warmth. Add that to the smoothskin on the chest and the full hood option and you’ve got yourself a damn warm wetsuit for kitesurfing.
In fact, the manufacturers also claim this is the fastest drying wetsuit in the world. Damn.
Now, for anyone who’s ever known the travesty of having a wetsuit literally fall apart at the seams, the blind stitching and gluing on the Flash Bomb is going to be a huge step up.
As for flexibility:
While this suit isn’t exclusively designed for surfing, Rip Curl is first and foremost a surf brand, so you can be pretty sure that this particular wetsuit allows for plenty of freedom of movement around the arms (to accomodate paddling on a surfboard).
The one thing we’ve noticed about Rip Curl’s wetsuits in general though, is that they tend to run fairly slim on the arms and legs. Check out their exact sizing specs for full details on this; but keep in mind that these suits typically fit slim/athletic builds best.
Household name Mystic has a pretty decent line up of kitesurf wetsuits, with the main Mystic Majestic model heading the pack these days.
It’s made with featherlite neoprene, which is designed with large cell material to reduce weight and density of the suit. While this might sound a little on the shivery side, Mystic have chosen to line the inside of the wetsuit with Teddyprene, which is a fleecy material that serves to keep you super snug, even in strong wind and freezy-cold water.
Best of all, Mystic really have covered all bases by offering the Majestic wetsuit with both a back zip and chest zip design option. Check out the mega popular back zip version in either wolf grey or classic black; or switch things up with the chest zip version in dark olive.
Patagonia Yulex R1-5
Age-old outdoor brand Patagonia has us head over heels for their collection of insanely high quality Yulex wetsuits. But it’s not just their trademark durability that we love about these suits:
Yulex (which makes up 85% of the fabric content) is natural rubber that’s been sustainably sourced from locations approved by the Forest Stewardship Council and certified by the Rainforest Alliance (the remaining 15% of the suit’s fabric is made of synthetic rubber).
All of Patagonia’s wetsuits are neoprene-free, which means that anyone who buys one of their wetsuits is essentially helping to eliminate one more little slice of nasty petroleum-derived chemicals and products from the world.
Considering this, the Patagonia wetsuit is the ‘greenest’ one on the list– which earns it two big thumbs WAY up from us!
But let’s not forget about the other important stuff like functionality, durability, and comfort. How does Patagonia compare with others on this list?
Performance-wise, the range includes 5 different suits (from the lightest R1 to the heaviest duty R5) which are designed to insulate and regulate body temperature to the highest standard possible. They’re stretchy, warm, and come in front and back zip models– with full suit hoods also available for those kiting in super nippy conditions.
And to top it all off, Patagonia offer a LIFETIME warranty for their wetsuits. Life. Time. Warranty. Holy bananas!
Our selection of kitesurfing wetsuits for women
Patagonia Yulex R1-5
Kicking off our list of ladies’ wetsuits is the ripper from Patagonia that we know and love, the Yulex R1-R5 collection. Just to reiterate, the super green Yulex fabric is like, the most eco friendly alternative to neoprene known to woman. Not only that, but they offer a lifetime warranty for their wetsuits. So we love them. Big shtyle!
Their suits are super durable thanks to their 85% natural rubber material, yet still they maintain a fair level of flexibility and overall suppleness. They’re available in 5 different thicknesses, from the lightest R1 which is designed for temps of 65-75 degrees to the snuggliest R5 which promises to keep you toasty in temps as low as 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
There’s also a full suit hooded version for those of you needing maximum warmth factor!
If you’re looking for a kitesurf wetsuit that’s gonna be just as kind to Mama Nature as it is to you, this might be just the one you’re looking for.
Yes, for sure you pay a premium for the green factor here, but the quality more than makes up for it.
However, those of you on a tighter budget will want to keep reading to hear which cheaper wetsuits we rate!
Ride Engine Elara
Ride Engine also have their eye on their wetsuits environmental impact, as they’ve made sure to eliminate petroleum and toxic hydrophobic coatings from their Elara suit.
Instead of traditional oil-based neoprene, they’ve used limestone neoprene. Not only is this better for the environment, but it also means that the material is a whole lot more comfortable thanks to its dense closed cell structure– suppleness, stretch, and warmth in one.
With a pull-over neck gasket, liquid rubber seams, and extra thick padding around the core, the Elara suit is designed to be super warm and leakage-free, but still comfortable and easy to move around in thanks to the flexible fabric and padding that tapers off towards to arms and legs.
The suit is also lined with extra soft poly-fleece and comes with a pop of turquoise on the outside. Sweet!
As someone who’s worn Roxy apparel and bikinis for years, I was definitely curious to see what kinda standard we were looking at for their wetsuits. The one thing I hear which I LOVE is that Roxy’s suits tend to fit best on people with a small waist and big hips– which is exactly my body shape.
So the Syncro is pretty much their most popular model thanks to its versatile Thermal SMoothie Neoprene (not so eco-friendly, but warm AF), thermal lining, and strong seams. AND purse-friendly price tag. Just sayin’.
Though this isn’t a surf specific wetsuit, it does have a few surf-friendly features which a kiter wouldn’t necessarily looks for, such as extra padding around the knees (but hey, doesn’t hurt to have it!).
What you can count on if you got with a Roxy wetsuit for kitesurfing is a suit that’s relatively easy to get in and out of, looks good, and is water resistant and warm.
Most importantly though, is that the platform selling these Roxy wetsuits makes it extremely easy to return the product if it doesn’t fit as well as you’d like upon arrival. Thanks internet shopping people!
Check out the classic black Syncro or for something a little different, the feather grey version. And if it’s freezing waters you’re gonna be in, feast your eyes on the super cosy full hooded suit model.
I have one word for the Psychotech wetsuits, and that word is ‘YAAAAASSSSSSSS!!!!’.
From what I’ve seen so far, I love everything about this wetsuit, from the idiot-proof chest zipper entry system to the trademark flexibility of the technobutter material.
Most importantly though, is the warmth factor. The Psychotech suits are designed to stand up to the freeziest temperatures. The technobutter firewall coating on the chest and back has been placed there to act as a barrier to excess wind chill– which is a really big factor to consider when looking for kitesurfing wetsuits in particular.
This is easily one of the most flexible wetsuits on the list, offering full freedom of movement without absorbing any water and getting weighed down.
It’ll put a dent in your pocket, but I reckon the quality makes the price tag worth it.
Check out the current prices now on USOUTDOOR.com
Rip Curl Flash Bomb
Rip Curl have a seriously impressive collection of wetsuits on their line up. I’ve been wearing my G Bomb spring suit for the past two seasons in Vietnam and LOVED it to pieces; but with cold Atlantic kiting in my future, I’ve started to dig into Rip Curl’s cosier offerings.
The Flashbomb wetsuit is one of the most popular full suits that Rip Curl have. Made with neoprene, it comes with flexible E5 flash lining, mesh skin panels which absorb heat and reduce wind chill, and carefully layered material that serves to funnel water out of the suit and prevent it from getting heavy or bulky.
I adore the look of the Flashbomb in navy blue with the tribal print on the forearms. Gorgeous detail and just the right amount of femininity (without suffering from a case of “shrink it and pink it”). It’s also available in classic black for those of you who prefer a more subtle look.
No list of kitesurfing wetsuits would be complete without at least one entry from household brand name Mystic. It’s one of the few brands on this list whose roots rest in the kite world, and even though their suits are not exclusively marketed for kiteboarders, you can be pretty damn sure they’ve been designed with people like you–doing what you do–in mind.
The Dutchess is Mystic’s mid-range wetsuit (the manufacturers call it “a step up from the Star” which is their popular entry level wetsuit). Price-wise, this suit sits pretty much bang in the middle of our women’s selection today, but it stands out in a couple other key ways:
First thing that makes me go all warm and tingly is the awesome look of the suit. The colour block design brings a mix of slate grey and teal to the party, which I think is a perfect blend of feminine and funky.
In terms of performance, the Dutchess design sets itself apart with its super lightweight material and MFLEX Tri-span which allows 100% stretch in every direction. The crossweave lining is made to be extra soft on your skin whilst ensuring durability– even if you wear the absolute shite out of your suit season after season.
While the main material is M-Flex and Isoprene Mesh Neoprene, it also incorporates polygiene which is an antimicrobial agent that eliminates bad smells caused by fungi and bacteria. Nothing worse than discovering a damp, smelly wetsuit that got lost in the boot of your car– good to know it won’t be too vile if you grab yourself a Dutchess wetsuit!
One thing that I noticed when I borrowed a friend’s Mystic wetsuit during one of my trips to Holland, is that the arms tend to fit pretty tight. This is a point that’s been confirmed for me by a bunch of other women who wear Mystic suits; so keep this in mind when considering if the Mystic Dutchess is right for your body shape.
Wrapping it up
Phew– that was a long list! If you’re still with me, kudos to you for sticking through it all.
At the end of the day, this list is far from an exhaustive account of every single kitesurfing wetsuit on the market today– and it’s not meant to be. It’s purely a selection of suits that we’ve narrowed down as some of the best available.
Each of the suits on this list has its own merits, so it’s impossible to truly say which is the BEST best one. That’ll all depend on what you prioritise:
- Eco friendliness
Meanwhile, if you’ve tried any of the suits on this list and have some feedback about their performance, please let us know in the comments! We’re going to try to keep this article alive with updates as we try more models during our time in the cooooold Atlantic waters of West Cork.
As always, if you have any questions about choosing a kitesurf wetsuit, just drop it in a comment below and we’ll get back to you faster than you can say “it’s fookin’ windy!!!”.