The Best Wetsuits For Bigger Surfers

The Best Wetsuits For Bigger Guys

Surfers come in every shape and size, age, and background. It can sometimes be difficult for the big guys out there to find a good-fitting, quality wetsuit. Fortunately, now more than ever, there are some excellent options out there for the big surfers, tall surfers, and the big n’ tall surfers. In our list of plus sized wetsuit recommendations, we included something for everyone from budget-friendly to premium quality, as well as full suits, spring suits, and rashguard options. Here are our top picks as we review the best wetsuits for bigger surfers.

Wetsuits Reviewed

  • O’Neill - Epic Wetsuit - $219.95+
  • Billabong - Absolute Wetsuit - $229.95+
  • Rip Curl - Dawn Patrol Wetsuit - $259.95+
  • O'Neill - Heat Wetsuit - $389.95+
  • Hotline - Ultra Hot Combo Wetsuit - $439.95
  • O’Neill - Reactor II Spring Suit - $109.95+
  • Rashguards and Neoprene Tops - $45.95+

O'Neill Epic - $219.95+

“Affordable Durability”

O'Neill Epic Wetsuit

For the fellas out there, O'Neill has been a trusted name in the surf industry for ages, renowned for crafting top-notch gear. The Epic wetsuit is a standout choice whether you're a dad getting back into surfing or someone looking for an affordable big and tall-sized suit. What makes the Epic stand out is its availability in larger sizes and convenient back zip entry.

Many guys opt for the Epic as their first wetsuit because it offers solid performance and carries the trusted O'Neill brand. Sizing is reliable across a wide range of options. The largest size, 4XL, is perfect for men weighing 250-270, with a chest measurement falling in the 51-53.5” range. We stock 3/2 and 4/3 models which are recommended for different water temperatures: 3/2 for 59-66°F and 4/3 for 54-58°F. Whether you're hitting the waves or floating down the river, the Epic has you covered.

Despite its reasonable price, the Epic boasts high-end features usually found in pricier wetsuits that can cost upwards of $350. The UltraFlex neoprene delivers on its promise of performance and comfort, while the glued and blind stitched seams ensure warmth and durability by keeping water out.

Don’t hesitate to read more about the O’Neill Epic Wetsuit in our comprehensive review.

Highlights and Features

  • Durable Ultraflex neoprene
  • Easy back zip entry
  • Sizes up to 4XL

Shop By Model

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

Billabong Absolute - $229.95+

“Broad-shouldered reliability”

Billabong Absolute Wetsuit

For the average-height man with a more muscular or stocky build, the Billabong Absolute is a popular choice, especially the back zip models. Designed to cater to those with broader shoulders and a larger chest, this wetsuit offers ample space where it matters most. Bid farewell to the struggle of squeezing through tight openings – the back zip entry provides a generous opening, ensuring hassle-free wear.

The Absolute is offered in bigger sizes up to 2XL. For reference, a 2XL will comfortably fit most folks within the 205-220 lbs range and roughly a 44-46” chest measurement. Beyond its accommodating fit, the Billabong Absolute is packed with high-end technical features. Crafted from super comfortable Superlight neoprene and featuring a Graphene internal liner, the Absolute ensures warmth and comfort, even in cooler waters.

Look for more insight into the Billabong Absolute Wetsuit with our full review.

Highlights and Features 

  • Great fit for broader shoulders
  • Easy back zip entry
  • Sizes up to 3XL

Shop By Model

Billabong Absolute 3/2 Back Zip Wetsuit - $229.95
Billabong Absolute 4/3 Back Zip Wetsuit - $249.95
Billabong Cleanline Absolute 5/4 Back Zip Wetsuit - $239.95

Rip Curl Dawn Patrol - $259.95+

“Incredible Value”

Rip Curl Dawn Patrol Wetsuit

For bigger guys on a budget or who need a quality backup wetsuit, the Dawn Patrol is easily the best suit for under $300. Better yet, it’s available as a back zip and in bigger sizes like XXXL for the larger surfer.

The Dawn Patrol is basically a Flash Bomb from previous years, using the same E5 neoprene and E5 Flash Lining previously found on Rip Curl’s most expensive wetsuit. Surprisingly flexible and warm, the Dawn Patrol outperforms anything else comparable in its price range. The seams are all triple-glued, blindstitched, and sealed with E5 tape on the inside for added longevity and warmth. The fit is comfortable, and in terms of durability, it holds up better than many pricier wetsuits.

We can’t say enough good things about this version of the Dawn Patrol, as it really is an insane value and quickly became a go-to here at the shop. Don’t sleep!

For a closer look, check out our full review of the Rip Curl Dawn Patrol Wetsuit.

Highlights and Features

  • Toasty warm internal lining
  • Affordable price point
  • Sizes up to 3XL

Shop By Model

Rip Curl Dawn Patrol 3/2 Back Zip Wetsuit - $259.95
Rip Curl Dawn Patrol 4/3 Back Zip Wetsuit - $279.95
Rip Curl Dawn Patrol 5/3 Back Zip Wetsuit - $279.95

O'Neill Heat - $389.95+

“Lightest and Most Flexible”

O'Neill Heat Wetsuit

Our pick for the most high-performance big guy suit is the O’Neill Heat. Like the Hotline UHC, the Heat has stood the test of time and been a shop favorite for decades. The Heat is a solid pick because it’s a back zip and comes in the largest sizes O’Neill makes, like XXXL and XXXXL, and even the super rare XXLS size, making it one of the best wetsuits for big men.

Back zip entries are typically considered the easiest entry to get in and out of, and the Heat has the smoothest back zip system of any wetsuit. The Heat is quick to get in and out of, and the collar's fit has been tailored well to prevent flushing at the neck. It may sound minor on paper, but O’Neill uses by far the best zippers out of any company, and the Heat has its top “Red Zone Zipper.” This zipper runs smoothly and is built for the long run with a metal zipper head and urethane-coated teeth.

The Heat is built from one of the most flexible neoprenes on the market, O’Neill’s TechnoButter 3. This stuff is super pliable and gives you the maximum amount of stretch possible. It is also really lightweight and comfortable in the water.

Some other cool features on the Heat are the TechnoButter Firewall Liner that runs through the bottom ¾ of the wetsuit and the fluid seam welds over the outside stitching. I think the Heat is right up your alley for any bigger guy looking for the most flexible wetsuit they can get.

Be sure to check out our full review of the O'Neill Heat Wetsuit for a more in-depth look.

Highlights and Features

  • Sizes up to 4XL
  • Easy Back Zip entry
  • Buttery soft neoprene

Shop By Model

O'Neill Heat 3/2 Back Zip Wetsuit - $389.95
O'Neill Heat 4/3 Back Zip Wetsuit - $399.95

Hotline Ultra Hot Combo - $439.95

“Best Wetsuit for Big Men with a Hood”
Hotline Ultra Hot Combo Wetsuit

The Hotline Ultra Hot Combo is the top dog on this list for its size range and its user-friendly extra-wide chest zip entry. For bigger surfers or anyone struggling with threading into a chest zip entry, Hotline’s unique “shoulder-to-shoulder zipper” allows for an easier and quicker entry/exit than any other chest zip. Basically, it’s a tough YKK zipper that runs from halfway down your right bicep to halfway down your left bicep. It’s about twice as long as your normal chest zip zipper, which lets you pull the entry slot wide open to make sliding in and out as easy as possible.

Aside from the easy entry, the sizing chart on this suit better accommodates larger surfers better than any other wetsuit. Hotline uses “American Sizing,” which really means that all the sizes are bigger and taller than the other brands. The Ultra Hot Combo can accommodate guys as tall as 6’6” and comfortably fit surfers pushing as much as 280 lbs. For an extra fee, Hotline can also do custom alterations and change the length of a suit. The size chart on this model is very different from any other company, so consult the measurements or call us before ordering.

The Hotline UHC has a reputation of being one of, if not the most durable, wetsuits we stock. The seams are all triple-glued, blindstitched, and sealed with strong internal tape. The knee pads are a Kevlar blend for extra strength, and the hood uses a drawstring. From what we've seen, this drawstring works well and has fewer issues in the long run than cinch cords. If you’re a bigger guy who needs a coldwater hooded wetsuit, the Ultra Hot Combo is unbeatable.

Highlights and Features

  • Incredibly large chest zip entry
  • Barrel chest / broad shoulder fit
  • Old-school durability
  • Sizes up to 2XL

Shop By Model

Hotline Ultra Hot Combo 5/4 Hooded Chest Zip Wetsuit - $439.95

O'Neill Reactor II Spring Wetsuit - $109.95+

“Warm Water Coverage”

O'Neill Reactor II Spring Wetsuit

The O'Neill Reactor II is a testament to quality craftsmanship and thoughtful sizing options, catering to a wide range of big and tall sizes. For men seeking comfort and versatility in varying summer water temperatures, this spring suit delivers. From tropical surf missions to seasoned swimmers in their 80s, the Reactor II has garnered praise from all walks of life.

The Men's model is available in sizes up to XXXL, ensuring a comfortable fit for everyone. Spring wetsuits like the Reactor II are designed with shorter legs and sleeves, making them suitable for a variety of body types. Many surfers who are shorter in stature but have a larger chest measurement find the Reactor II to be the perfect fit. The generous back zip entry system ensures easy on and off, while the longer back zip leash aids those with limited shoulder mobility, facilitating independent suiting up.

Engineered for warmer waters, the Reactor II's 2mm thickness makes it ideal for temperatures of 70℉ and above. Its construction, featuring Fluid Foam and UltraFlex neoprene blend and breathable Flatlock seam construction, guarantees freedom of movement and comfort.

Highlights and Features

  • Durable UltraFlex neoprene
  • Flatlock seams
  • Sizes up to 3XL

Shop By Model

O’Neill Reactor II 2mm Short Sleeve Back Zip Spring Wetsuit - $109.95
O’Neill Reactor II 2mm Sleeveless Front Zip Spring Wetsuit -

Rash Guards and Neoprene Tops

For bigger guys adventuring in warm water environments, we recommend wearing a rash guard or neoprene top to ward off that early morning chill. They also work great for sun protection as well. 

Looking for a sleeveless spring suit? Check out the O’riginal 2mm Front Zip Vest by O’Neill. The front zip option is a must for those with impaired shoulder mobility, while the smooth skin paneling acts as a solid wind barrier on those brisk days. Also, for those who need the extra space, the 3XL size is recommended for guys who are 230-250 lbs. with a 48.5-51” chest measurement.

If you can make do without a zipper, check out the O’Neill Wetsuits Reactor II 2mm Vest. It’s similar to the O’riginal and comes in the same size range (up to 3XL). The main difference is that the Reactor II vest comes with a boardshort connector, which helps keep the top in place when getting worked in bigger surf.

Lastly, check out the O’Neill Premium Skins Rash Guard for the ultimate sun protection. They’re sans smooth skin panels, resulting in a lightweight top made in short-sleeve and long-sleeve models. The performance fit is pretty snug, so consider size up if you’re in between sizes. Both models are available in sizes up to 3XL for the bigger dudes out there looking to rip.

Bigger Surfers FAQ

Do wetsuits come in plus sizes?

Although not advertised using “plus-sized” language, many wetsuit manufacturers offer a handful of bigger sizes, such as 2XL, 2XLS, 3XL, 3XLS, and 4XL. Hotline Wetsuits has a unique sizing system, with many of their sizes catering to larger guys who have broad shoulders or more of a barrel chest. Brands like O’Neill, Rip Curl, Billabong, and Quiksilver also offer both entry-level and high-end suits in an array of larger sizes.

Does weight matter for sizing a wetsuit?

It sure does! In fact, it's the most important measurement when sizing a wetsuit. Each wetsuit brand has a slightly different fit and size chart recommendation. We strongly urge you to call and speak with one of our sizing experts. When it comes to sizing a new suit, getting the correct size is extremely important, and a quick phone call will save you both time and money by avoiding a return.

Is is better to size up or down in a wetsuit?

If you find yourself caught between sizes, try on both. As we mentioned above, weight is the most crucial measurement; nonetheless, having your waist and chest can help when you're stuck between sizes. Additionally, it's important to factor in potential weight fluctuations and your personal preference, whether you like a more snug fit or not. Remember that a tighter wetsuit may pose challenges when it comes to putting on and taking off, particularly if you lack flexibility in your upper body or have shoulder issues.

How do I know if the wetsuit fits properly?

A wetsuit should generally 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. You don’t want loose neoprene folds or large pockets of air or water in your wetsuit.

Final Thoughts

What wetsuit do you think will work best for you? We hope that this blog has helped you narrow down your choices. With so many options, it can be challenging to settle on just one wetsuit. If you’re looking for something with premium features, the O’Neill Heat is a top option. Or, if you’re new to the game and need something a bit more affordable, the O’Neil Epic is a reliable choice that gets the job done. For all of you cold water surfers, the Hotline UHC suit literally has you covered with its attached hood. 

An honorable mention goes to the Quiksilver Everyday Session, a solid budget option available in size XXXL in the same price range as the Dawn Patrol. However, the Dawn Patrol is a better suit at the end of the day and just edges it out.

From comfort to fit to durability, there’s much to consider when shopping for a plus sized wetsuit. If you have any questions about these or any of the suits we stock, feel free to leave a comment below, email, or give us a ring at 888-546-6176. Enjoy the water!


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.