East Coast Wetsuit Guide: Central East

East Coast Wetsuit Guide: Central East

The East Coast is home to an array of seasons and waves to chase throughout the year. Amazing swells are produced by massive storms that the local surfer tracks all year long. But with chasing those hurricane swells in the late summer into the frigid Nor-Easters of the winter comes many changes in water and air temperature. Two surfers that are surfing the same storm swell could be wearing completely different gear. If you plan to surf year-round, you’ll want to get set up with the right wetsuit quiver in order to stay comfortable on the East Coast.

We’ve created a three-part East Coast Wetsuit guide based on each region and season to help narrow down the best quiver for your surf year. If you’re curious about what gear you need for the other regions of the East Coast check out the following links.

East Coast Wetsuit Guide Part 1: North East Coast

East Coast Wetsuit Guide Part 3: The South East Coast

We suggest using the National Centers for Environmental Information to keep up to date with your region's air and water temperatures. Following those recommendations will help narrow down what gear will work best for you before paddling out. The temperatures referenced in this guide will be based on Fahrenheit.

The Mid East Coast includes the following states: Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina.

*This guide is based on temperature estimates & personal experiences*

What does the Central East Coast Surfer Need?

The Central East Coast has the most temperature fluctuations of the East coast. You could go all the way down to your bathing suit in the summertime when the water temps range from 65-75 degrees F. Throughout the winter the water temperatures can range from 30-45 degrees F paired with wind chill which will put you in some thicker neoprene. So, you’ll have to be prepared for anything if you want to surf all year round. Buying a ton of gear at once can be overwhelming, but this guide will help you narrow down exactly what you can get by with each new season.

Surfer hanging five
Capture by Sophia Knox

Central East Coast Wetsuit Recommendations


Spring in the Central East Coast begins around late March and lasts until early May. A 3/2mm is an excellent wettie to have in your surf capsule for the season. The waters will still be chilly going into the summertime, so it’s a good choice to last you until you’re able to just go down to your bathing suit. This type of wetsuit is perfect for surfing during a change of season and specifically for water temperatures ranging from 60 - 65 degrees F.

A 3/2mm full suit is a versatile piece of gear to own because it provides warmth without the resistance of thicker neoprene. The 3/2mm wetsuit is easy to find and there are plenty of options in a range of prices to fit any budget. We highly recommend the O’Neill 3/2+ Hyperfreak, made in both a women’s and men’s design. The Hyperfreak series uses incredibly flexible neoprene called TechnoButter and an extra 0.5mm of neoprene to keep you warm, but extremely mobile. This is that piece of equipment that you’ll be stoked to pull out for an incoming storm swell.

A girl on a East Coast board walk checking the surf.
Capture by Alex Hayes


Summer temperatures on the Central East Coast begin in late May and usually lasts until the end of September. The Central East Coast can get pretty hot and humid during the summer with air temperatures consistently between 70 - 80 degrees F and water temperatures ranging between 70 - 75 degrees F. Swells are usually on the smaller side, so it’s a great time of year to bring out the log or learn how to surf.

With water and air that warm you’ll be good to go just with a bathing suit. However, sun protection is important so it would be worth your while to invest in a 1mm neoprene jacket, hooded rashie, or 1-2mm spring suit. A hooded rash guard is a great accessory that’s easy to throw in your surf bag and will keep you safe from the sun. On the other hand, a proper spring suit is nice to have on hand if you get chilled easily or if you want to dawn patrol the cool summer mornings. Save yourself from sunburn and head out to the lineup with the gear listed below.

Let’s review the “I only surf when it’s warm” complete wet suit package

For someone surfing along the Central East Coast who just wants to enjoy the sunny warm months, here is what we suggest:

Women's and Men's Rash Guard or Neoprene Layer

Women's and Men's 3/2mm Full Wetsuit

If you’re on a budget choose a suit for the spring/summer season that will fit your body's needs best. Do you run cold? Do you run warm? We can also help you narrow down the right suit, so don’t hesitate to contact our support team for product information.

Girl with her longboard walking on the boardwalk.
Capture Sophia Knox


Every year starting late August until early November, the local eastern surfer obsessively tracks potential hurricanes forming off the coast. With these dangerous storms comes the potential swell of the year, hence the transition into a full wetsuit.

For early hurricane season (September - early October) your 3/2mm full suit from the spring season will provide a nice layer to keep you warm and wind protected in the lineup. If you’re chasing swell more North, or later in the year in late October a 4/3mm full suit will be the best option. When the air and water temperatures drop and the wind picks up, you’ll appreciate having the thicker 4/3mm for warmth. If your 4/3mm doesn't have a hood it’s a great idea to purchase that accessory for the extra windy days.

Around this time of year, you might want to start thinking about investing in some boots and gloves as well. A set of 3mm boots are the perfect pair to get you through the late hurricane season and even carry you into winter. From personal experience, I found that they aren’t always necessary. Likewise once those water temperatures flip I did not hesitate to get them on my feet.

Surfers viewing the epic swell
Photo by Cate Brown - @catebrownphoto


The Central East Coast winter begins around November and will last until mid-March. Cold fronts bring air temperatures ranging from the high 40s F into the low 30s F plus wind chill. The water in early winter will start to drop into the low 50s then it will continue to drop into the low 40s F or high 30s F in the dead of winter. If you’re looking to continue chasing swell through the harsh winter months, get the gear that will keep you warm in the lineup.

A 4/3mm suit that has a thick liner and welded seams along with thick boots and gloves can get you by at the beginning of winter. The Rip Curl Dawn Patrol series is a popular choice among surfers that want a thick 4/3mm wetsuit for the colder months. On the contrary, investing in a 5/4mm hooded suit will give you the freedom to stay in the lineup even longer. We also recommend investing in 5mm boots such as the Hotline Reflex 5mm Round Toe Boots and the Buell 3mm Five Finger Gloves.

New 5/4mm suits are more flexible and comfortable than ever, so why not have the extra neoprene to protect you in all of the winter conditions. Billabong created a cold water collection for both men and women called the Furnace line. The heat-generating graphene lining paired with the ultra-flexible SMART foam neoprene makes for a fantastic suit to have handy during the winter. Feel free to chat with our team to learn more about the Billabong Furnace line.

So, you’re the year-round Central East Coast Surfer. That’s impressive and it also means you’ll need an impressive assortment of gear to get you through the many different weather conditions. Here is our list of what the “Year-round” Central East Coast Surfer might need in their wetsuit quiver.

Women's and Men's Hooded Rash Guard or Neoprene Layer

Women's and Men's 3/2mm Full Wetsuit

Women's and Men's 4/3mm Hooded Wetsuit

Women's and Men's 5/4mm Hooded Wetsuit

3mm-5mm Wetsuit Boots

3mm Wetsuit Gloves

Let’s Wrap it Up

The Central East Coast is home to punchy beach breaks, busy summertime boardwalks, and some really fun surfing. Hurricanes and winter storms will generate swell that the local surfer won’t want to miss, while summer is the perfect time to nose ride and catch a tan. We want you to feel as prepared as possible for any conditions throughout the entire year. Whether you’re a surfer on a budget or someone looking to expand their wetsuit collection, this guide will help narrow down the best options for you.

If you've got any questions about the ideal set up for you, don’t hesitate to call our support team at 888-546-6176, drop a comment below, or email us at support@cleanlinesurf.com.

Still on the fence about what to get? Shop our full selection of wetsuits.


Cleanline Surf

Established in 1980, with locations in Seaside and Cannon Beach, Cleanline Surf is the Northwest's Original Surf Shop and remains your leader for surf, skate, and kitesurf needs..