Best Wetsuits for Larger Ladies

Best Wetsuits for Larger Ladies

This guide is for all the ladies eager to enjoy the water without hesitation. We understand that there's no single solution for every body type, especially for those who are beautifully full-figured. Whether you're tall, stocky, or somewhere in between, your body is uniquely yours, with its own beautiful curves. Feeling comfortable in your gear is key to feeling confident and performing your best. Whether you're purchasing your first wetsuit or getting back into surfing after a break, we're here to support you. Below we’ll explore some of our top wetsuit recommendations for larger ladies who are water sports enthusiasts.

Best Larger Sized Wetsuits Reviewed

Best overall wetsuit: Billabong Women’s Synergy Wetsuit: $199.95+

Best budget-friendly wetsuit: O’Neill Women’s Epic Wetsuit: $219.95+

Best wetsuit with flair: Roxy Women’s Swell Series Wetsuit: $249.95+

Best value wetsuit: Manera Women’s Seafarer Wetsuit: $279.00+

Best mid-range hooded wetsuit: Buell Women’s RB2 Wetsuit: $299.95+

Best high-performance wetsuit: Xcel Women’s Infiniti Wetsuit: $419.95+

Best spring wetsuit: O’Neill Women’s Reactor II Spring Suit: $109.95


Wetsuit Industry Insights and Updates

Before we dive in, I want to mention that I personally wear a size 8 women’s wetsuit. While I may not be larger or plus-sized, the Cleanline Staff and I have helped women of all shapes and sizes throughout the years. Drawing from this extensive experience and our deep understanding of wetsuits, we're here to provide insights and recommendations based on what's currently on the market.

Moreover, being a woman in the surf/wetsuit industry means acknowledging that we're part of the minority with somewhat limited options. However, reflecting on my five-year tenure in this field, gradual progress is evident. Today, there's a notable increase in the variety and availability of wetsuit options and sizes. However, it's still glaringly apparent that there's a significant gap for wetsuit brands to offer sizes catering to plus-sized women.

At Cleanline Surf, we empathize with the frustrations stemming from the limited choices for bigger ladies. From the perspective of the manufacturers, wetsuits are incredibly expensive to mass produce. Less common sizes are even rarer in the surfing world–especially when it comes to cold-water wetsuits. Continuously, we’re actively seeking avenues with our vendors to expand our size range as new options emerge.

While advancements have been made, there remains a considerable journey ahead. Billabong’s Shapes campaign and #ilovemyshape are bringing attention and awareness by “celebrating all shapes and sizes because surfing is for everybody.” Our hope is that this shift will continue to gain traction and that the wetsuit industry will recognize the obvious need for actual plus-sized options.


Billabong Women's Synergy - $199.95+

“Best overall wetsuit"

Billabong Women's Synergy Wetsuit

    Pros

    • Great fit for curvy bodies
    • Wide cut to neoprene
    • Sizes up to 16 in the 5/4 model
    • Pliable neoprene

    Cons

    • Not available in tall sizes
    • Only partially lined

    Our Take: The Billabong Synergy is the top recommendation for the average-height yet larger woman. With its wider cut in the body, the chest has space for the big-busted surfer. With the generous opening of the back zip entry, there is no need to squeeze your body through the tiny portal found on many chest zip surf wetsuits.

    Aside from the entry, the sizing chart on the Synergy accommodates curvy body shapes better than most wetsuits. We’ve found the Synergy to also fit well on women with stocky or muscular builds and broad shoulders. In addition, there’s more room in the upper leg and lower torso compared to other suits on this list. For reference, a size 12 Synergy is recommended for someone weighing between 150 and 175 lbs. with a chest measurement around 38.5-40.5”. The Synergy fits on the bigger side, so if you are just over the measurements, still take a shot at trying on the suit.

    Lastly, the Billabong Synergy is not only an excellent larger-sized option, but it's also full of high-end technical features. Produced with a super comfortable Superlight neoprene and Graphene internal liner, the Synergy is one of our best-selling women’s wetsuits.

    Read our full review here: Billabong Women's Synergy Wetsuit.

      Shop By Model

      Billabong Women's Synergy 3/2 Back Zip Wetsuit - $199.95+
      Billabong Women's Synergy 4/3 Back Zip Wetsuit - $249.95
      Billabong Women's Synergy 5/4 Back Zip Wetsuit - $279.95
      Billabong Women's Cleanline Synergy 5/4 Back Zip Wetsuit - $239.95


      O'Neill Women's Epic - $219.95+

      “Best budget-friendly wetsuit”

      O'Neill Women's Epic Wetsuit

        Pros

        • Easy back zip entry
        • O’Neill durability
        • True to size fit
        • Sizes up to 16

        Cons

        • Only available in 3/2 and 4/3
        • Smooth skin panels tear easily

            Our Take: O’Neill has been around for years and is known for producing quality surf gear for all ages and body types. The Epic wetsuit delivers whether you are a mom returning to surfing or a teen who just hit a growth spurt. What sets the Epic apart from many wetsuits is it’s available in larger sizes and has a simple back zip entry.

            Many first-time buyers reach for the Epic because it’s a solid entry-level wetsuit backed by the O’Neill name. O’Neill runs true to size and offers a wide range of sizes. The suit tops out at size 16, which is excellent for ladies who weigh between 165 and 185 lbs and have chest measurements near the 38.5-40.5” range.

            We currently stock it in both 3/2 and 4/3 models: the 3/2 is for water temperatures between 59 and 66 F, and the 4/3 is for water temperatures between 54 and 58 F. The UltraFlex neoprene lives up to its name with performance and a comfortable feel. In addition, the suit stays warm with glued and blind-stitched seams for a watertight seam and prolonged durability. The Epic is an excellent choice for ocean surfers, river floaters, and everyone in between.

            Read our full review here: O’Neill Epic Wetsuit.

            Shop By Model

            O’Neill Women's Epic 3/2 Back Zip Wetsuit - $219.95
            O’Neill Women's Epic 4/3 Back Zip Wetsuit - $229.95


            Roxy Women's Swell Series - $249.95

            “Best wetsuit with flair”

            Roxy Women's Swell Series Wetsuit

              Pros

              • Easy entry
              • Feminine curves
              • Taller hourglass fit
              • Sizes up to 14

              Cons

              • Slimmer waist
              • Higher price point

              Our Take: Are you looking for a wetsuit with a feminine flair in both fit and style? The Roxy Swell Series might be perfect, with a roomy chest, hips, and a slim waist. From experience, we’ve noticed that Roxy runs more slender than the other brands on this list. Their largest size is a 14, which is excellent for ladies who weigh between 140 and 160 lbs and have a 37-39” chest measurement.

              The attached back zip leash is about a foot and a half in length, which is standard among most brands. Many folks with average mobility can reach behind their backs to grab onto the end of the leash and pull it upwards to zip up themselves. For surfers with limited shoulder mobility, have a buddy nearby to help with the process. The wetsuit doesn’t have a wide body cut like the Billabong Synergy, but it’s an excellent option for lanky ladies with a few T (tall) sizes available.

              Roxy has been around for many years, developing solid suits with dependable features. Cut from recycled StretchFlight neoprene, the Swell has a comfortable and flexible feel. The wetsuit boasts a WarmFlight internal fleece liner for added warmth when surfing in the cold. 

              Read our full review here: Roxy Women's Swell Series Wetsuit.

                Shop By Model

                Roxy Women's Swell Series 3/2 Back Zip Wetsuit - $249.95
                Roxy Women's Swell Series 4/3 Back Zip Wetsuit - $269.95
                Roxy Women's Swell Series 5/4/3 Back Zip Wetsuit - $289.95


                Manera Women’s Seafarer - $279.00+

                “Best value wetsuit”

                Manera Women’s Seafarer Wetsuit

                  Pros

                  • High-tech design and manufacturing process
                  • Affordable price point
                  • Focus on flexibility and comfort
                  • XL fits up to 6’3

                  Cons

                  • Not available in short or tall sizes
                  • Limited size range

                  Our Take: Manera’s Seafarer is the best bang for your buck if you're a larger surfer looking to find a deal on quality gear. Made with S-Foam neoprene and X10D+ Fleece, its glued and blind-stitched seams offer flexibility and warmth that can outlast more expensive suits in terms of durability. Plus, it comes as a back zip model in sizes up to XL. 

                  When it comes to sizing and fit, Manera’s 3D design provides a better fit than the commonly used 2D patterns. In addition, strategic seam design and placement increase overall flexibility and stretch capacity. A size XL is recommended for ladies between 167 and 180 lbs. When trying on the suit for the first time, expect it to fit snugly, which is part of Manera’s design. After a few sessions, the neoprene will relax for a better fit.

                  If you're looking for an affordable go-to suit, the Seafarer is it—don't miss out on this opportunity to get your own.

                    Shop By Model

                    Manera Women’s Seafarer 3/2 Back Zip Wetsuit - $279.00
                    Manera Women’s Seafarer 4/3 Back Zip Wetsuit - $289.00


                    Buell Women’s RB2 - $299.95+

                    “Best mid-range hooded wetsuit”

                    Buell Women’s RB2 Wetsuit

                      Pros

                      • Soft neoprene
                      • Rare larger sized hooded suit
                      • Durable seam construction

                      Cons

                      • Size 14 is only available in a 5/4 and 6/5
                      • Ankles and wrists are roomier - could flush on petite, limbed bodies

                      Our Take: Buell is the brainchild of Ryan Buell, a former wetsuit designer for Hotline Wetsuits, which is known for its larger-sized wetsuits for men and women. Buell was the first to introduce the slant zip chest entry and it’s now standard on most chest zip suits among competitor brands. That said, Buell is known for quality suits that prioritize comfort without breaking the bank. 

                      What excites me the most about the RB2 suit is that it’s a cold-water hooded option available in sizes up to 14. It's recommended for ladies between 172 and 190 lbs. Options like this are hard to come by, so it was a no-brainer to highlight this specific suit. In addition, the wrists and ankle openings run slightly bigger, making for a more comfortable fit in those areas, especially when pairing the suit with booties and gloves. 

                      Regarding product features, the RB2 is considered a mid-range suit: it’s got what you need to perform your best out in the water at a reasonable price, considering that many hooded wetsuits are $350+. What stands out the most is the soft Ninja neoprene, comfortable thermal internal liner, and durable sizzle seam seal found on all the exterior seams. What do you say – time to try on an RB2 for yourself?  

                      Read our full review here: Buell Women’s RB2 Wetsuit Review

                        Shop By Model

                        Buell Women’s RB2 5/4 Hooded Chest Zip Wetsuit - $299.95
                        Buell Women’s RB2 6/5/4 Hooded Chest Zip Wetsuit - $329.95


                        Xcel Women’s Infiniti - $419.95

                        “Best high-performance wetsuit”

                        Xcel Women’s Infiniti Wetsuit

                          Pros

                          • High-performance features
                          • Sleek design
                          • Warm and comfortable
                          • Pre-fed attached chest zipper

                          Cons

                          • Smooth skin panels tear easily
                          • Higher price tag

                          Our take: Did we save the best for last? You tell us. Brand new to Cleanline Surf, the Xcel Infiniti is a welcome addition to the list of “best wetsuits for larger ladies.” The Infiniti is Xcel’s suit of choice for superior quick-dry warmth, performance, and comfort.

                           Xcel fits true to size and suggests sizing up if you are in between sizes. For example, the largest size available in the Infiniti is a 14 or XXL which is recommended for women 160-180 lbs with a chest measurement around 44”. Once you’ve got the suit on, the pre-fed chest zipper is a breeze to open and close.  

                          The Infiniti is, without a doubt, the most expensive suit on this list. However, with that extra cash, you’re investing in a sustainably manufactured suit with everything you need to stay warm and happy in the cold. Terms like Radiant Rebound core and Channel Flex essentially mean you’ll be dialed in no matter the weather when surfing in the Infiniti. Check out this suit if you’re in the market for a workhorse.

                          Shop By Model

                          Xcel Women’s Infiniti 5/4 Hooded Chest Zip Wetsuit - $419.95


                          O'Neill Reactor II 2mm Spring Wetsuit - $109.95

                          “Best spring wetsuit”

                          O'Neill Reactor II 2mm Spring Wetsuit

                            Pros

                            • Easy entry
                            • Extra long zipper leash
                            • Affordably priced
                            • 3 color options

                            Cons

                            • No short or tall sizes
                            • Smooth skin panels tear easily

                            Our Take: The O’Neill Reactor II combines quality workmanship and generous sizing. Most ladies seek an affordable spring suit for comfort in varying summer water temperatures. Over the years, we’ve had everyone from Oregon river kayakers to ladies in their 80s swimming in Minnesota lakes reach for the Reactor II. The Reactor II is sized up to 16 and has the same build as the previously listed Epic full wetsuit.

                            The Reactor II is built for comfort in warmer waters. A 2mm spring wetsuit is recommended for use in water temperatures 70℉ and up. The wetsuit is engineered to move and flex with your body from the Fluid Foam and UltraFlex neoprene blend to the breathable Flatlock seam construction.

                            Spring wetsuits lend themselves to fit a wider variety of body types since the suit is designed with short legs and short sleeves. Many women running on the shorter side but with a larger chest measurement find the Reactor II best fits them well. Getting the suit on and off is a breeze with the generous back zip entry system. The back zip leash on the Reactor II is noticeably longer than leashes on other spring wetsuits. This feature makes it easier for ladies with limited shoulder mobility to close the zipper when suiting up independently.

                              Shop By Model

                              O’Neill Women's Reactor II 2mm Short Sleeve Back Zip Spring Wetsuit - $109.95


                              Rashguard and Neoprene Tops

                              The Billabong Women’s Core Loose Fit Long Sleeve Rash Guard is an excellent option for ladies who recreate in warmer areas. The rashguard has a loose fit design and is offered in women’s specific sizes up to XL. The soft polyester/elastane fabric blend has a nice stretch for ease of getting it on and off and offers UPF 50+ sun protection.

                              Looking for a neoprene top with a front zipper? Check out the O'Neill Women's Bahia 1.5mm Front Zip Jacket. The jacket can be used by itself or layered underneath your wetsuit for added warmth. The ultraflex neoprene is the same type of rubber found in the Epic and Reactor II mentioned above. With sizes up to 14, the Bahia is a great option for that early morning dawn patrol session.


                              Honorable Wetsuit Mentions

                              Roxy Women’s Prologue Wetsuit: We currently carry this specific suit, but for Fall 2024, we are planning to stock a size 16! The Prologue is a simplified version of the Swell Series. Although the materials used are considered “entry-level,” it makes for a more affordable option.

                              Xcel Women’s Axis Wetsuit: The Axis will also be available in size 16 for Fall 2024. Similar to the Prologue, the Axis is a step down from the Infiniti. By cutting a few high-performance features, the Axis still excels in terms of comfort and warmth with a cheaper price tag.

                              O’Neill Men’s Heat Wetsuit: Although it technically runs in men’s sizing, the Heat is worth mentioning for its offerings of larger sizes and top-of-the-line materials. From the super soft and pliable Technobutter neoprene to the generous back zip entry, don’t pass on the Heat if you have a more rectangle body shape. I’ll dive a bit more into the details below about the overall fit of a men’s suit.


                              Wetsuit Size Chart Comparison

                              Locating each brand's size chart can be daunting. We did the hard work for you and created a chart showing the largest size of each wetsuit brand we carry. As you can see, each brand has its own unique sizing system and fits slightly differently.

                              Wetsuit Brand: Size

                              General Fit

                              Height

                              Weight

                              Chest

                              Waist

                              Billabong: Size 12 (XXL)

                              Roomier fit in the legs, torso, and shoulders.

                              5’9”-6’0”

                              150-175 lbs

                              38.5-40.5”

                              32-34”

                              Buell: Size 14

                              True to size with more room in arms and legs.

                              5’10”-6’2”

                              172-190 lbs

                              N/A

                              N/A

                              Hotline: Size 16

                              Boxy cut.

                              5’8’-6’2”

                              185-200 lbs

                              N/A

                              N/A

                              Manera: Size 10 (XL)

                              Initially fits snugly.

                              5’3”-6’3”

                              167-180 lbs

                              N/A

                              N/A

                              O’Neill: Size 16

                              True to size.

                              5’9”-5’11”

                              165-185 lbs

                              38.5-40.5”

                              33.5-35”

                              Patagonia: Size 12

                              Runs small.

                              5’7”-5’9”

                              130-150 lbs

                              35.5-37.5”

                              28-30”

                              Rip Curl: Size 14

                              Runs small with a longer torso.

                              5’9”-5’11”

                              145-165 lbs

                              38-40”

                              29-31”

                              Roxy: Size 16

                              Runs narrow in the waist and curvy in the bust and hips.

                              5’9”-5’11”

                              160-180 lbs

                              38.5-40.5”

                              31-33”

                              Sisstrevolution: Size 14

                              Runs small. 

                              5’9”-5’11”

                              145-165 lbs

                              38-40”

                              29-31”

                              Xcel: Size 16

                              True to size.

                              5’7”-5’10”

                              180-200 lbs

                              47 ½” 

                              39 ½” 

                               


                              Wetsuit FAQ

                              If I am short, do you recommend cutting a wetsuit?

                              The quick answer is “no.” Most wetsuits come with a 1-3 year warranty, and brands like Patagonia carry a lifetime warranty. Once you take scissors to the suit, it completely voids the warranty.

                              Is wetsuit sizing the same as clothing sizing?

                              Wetsuit sizing runs entirely differently than clothing sizing. Some wetsuit brands start at size “2” and work up from there, whereas others start at size “4”. Don’t be surprised if you wear size 6 pants but a size 10 wetsuit. Also important to note: many of the size 12, 14, and 16 wetsuits are the same length for height but get wider throughout the chest, waist, legs, and arms.

                              How do I know if the wetsuit fits properly?

                              A wetsuit should fit snugly, like a second skin, but not so tight that your range of motion is limited. The sleeves (if full-length) should fall at the wrist bone and the legs just above the ankle bone, and there should be no gaps, pockets, or rolls of neoprene. Wetsuits fit more snugly than clothing and are meant to be form-fitting. However, you don’t want loose neoprene folds or large pockets of air where water can quickly pool up in your wetsuit.

                              If there isn’t a perfect fitting option for me, what area is the best to sacrifice fit on?

                              Length: wetsuits function best when they act as a second skin, so they must fit properly to insulate. Wetsuits are designed to trap a thin layer of water between you and your suit so that your body will warm up. It will restrict movement if it is too tight; if it is too loose, it will allow cold water to flush through the suit. It’s best to get a suit that fits through the torso and the circumference of the legs and arms of the suit. Extra material at the end of your wrists or some extra ankle showing will be better than having a baggy or too-tight suit.

                              I'm 5'5", 195lbs, and looking to buy a 5/4 hooded wetsuit. Do you have any suggestions?

                              Look at a size 16 Hotline Ultra Hot Combo or a size 14 Buell RB2. Both suits will fit a bit longer on you, but that shouldn’t be a big deal if it fits well throughout your chest and shoulders.

                              What are some tips when trying on a brand-new wetsuit?

                              Become best friends and try it on a few times. As mentioned before, initially, the suit will feel quite snug. Take it off and try it again. With the extra practice, you might find that it’s more comfortable. Pro tips: if you’ve got long hair, throw it up in a bun. Also, trying on a new suit is a full-blown workout: you will get hot. A cool room out of direct sunlight is ideal. Give yourself some grace. The more you practice, the quicker you’ll learn the techniques and tricks that make it easier with time.

                              Can ladies wear a men’s wetsuit?

                              Absolutely. Men’s and women’s specific suits use the same materials, but the biggest difference is the fit or shape of the suit. Men’s suits generally have more space in the arms, shoulders, and crotch areas. In my experience, some women who have a more rectangular or boxy shape fit much better into a man’s suit than into the curvier cut of a woman’s wetsuit. 

                              In addition, it can be challenging for ladies 6’ and above to find something that works. That said, some taller ladies with mature bodies fit better into a tall-sized men’s suit. For example, a men’s MT, LT, and XLT are recommended for folks who are 6’3-6’5.


                              Relevent Blogs We've Written

                              • Women’s Fit Guide - It’s got a great FAQ section, further insight into how the different brands fit, and guidance on sizing a wetsuit.
                              • A Women's Guide to Wetsuit Entries - Curious about the difference between a chest zip, back zip, and zipless entry? Read further for more details.

                              Final Thoughts

                              If you’ve made it this far, good for you! We hope you have found something that works for your body type and budget. Sifting through the many options can be quite overwhelming. Finding the best wetsuit is not just about fit but also about comfort, performance, and style. Whether you’re surfing, river kayaking, or splashing in the waves, a well-fitted suit can make all the difference.    

                              Although they can be expensive, some brands build custom-sized wetsuits. Give us a call, and we’ll be happy to discuss that with you.

                              We use the products we sell and are happy to chat through any of your questions. Feel free to comment below, email us at support@cleanlinesurf.com, or call us at 1-888-546-6176.

                              Sarah

                              Sarah

                              Originally from the rolling hills of New Hampshire, Sarah now calls Oregon home. She started at Cleanline Surf in 2019 and, since then, has grown into the role of the Customer Service and Blog Manager. When she’s not at work helping dial in customers with surf gear, Sarah is happiest out adventuring. From mellow summer surf sessions to winter splitboard missions to ripping down her favorite mountain bike line, Sarah is always ready to go at the drop of a hat.