Back Zip — The original wetsuit entry design. Back zip suits have a long zipper running from your lower back up to your neck, with a cord attached to the zipper so you can get in and out of the suit.

Batwing — A stretch of neoprene extending over the back to prevent flushing and water entering through the zipper.

Bottom — Usually worn with a neoprene top for cooler tropical water. Can range in length from the thigh to ankle.

Chest Panel — A section inside the suit covering the body’s core that uses a special fabric or material to generate extra warmth.

Chest Zip — An entry featuring a zipper that runs across the chest to maximize flexibility throughout the suit.

Double Blind Stitched Seams — A type of seam typically used in cold water suits, where two pieces of neoprene are joined together by glue and then stitched together by only penetrating the outside of the neoprene. This creates a durable seam that does an excellent job of preventing leakage and is best used in cold water suits.

Drainage Hole — A small hole or set of holes, usually located on the back chest or shoulders, that allows excess water to drain out easily from the suit.

Flatlock Seams — A type of seam found on wetsuits where panels of neoprene are laid over each other and the stitches go all the way through both of them. This type of seam is very strong, flexible, and best suited for warmer waters.

Fluid Seam Weld — Also called LFS (liquid fluid seam) or external fluid seam, a liquid rubber tape that covers the exterior stitching of the suit and helps to make the suit much more durable and watertight.

Glued and Blind Stitched Seams (GBS) — A type of seam found on wetsuits connecting two panels of neoprene. The edges of both panels are pushed together and secured with glue before being stitched. The stitching on this seam also differs as it doesn’t go all the way through the top and bottom of each panel, making it more watertight and therefore better suited for cold water surfing.

Hood — A cover of neoprene that can be stretched over your head to keep it warm. A must-have for cold water surfing, hoods can be purchased separately or come attached as part of a hooded wetsuit.

Internal Tape — Tape that is glued over the stitching of seams. This tape can be made of neoprene and helps to make the suit more watertight and extend durability.

Jacket — A neoprene top with full-length arms to provide warm to your core. Ideally used with board shorts, for early morning sessions or if the wind picks up.

Key Loop — A small loop or pocket to stash a car key while you’re in the water. Usually located in the leg, the key loop allows you to safely keep your key on your person and will not affect the performance of the suit. Also called a stash pocket.

Knee Pads — Reinforced padding over the knee caps, found on almost every suit today, to extend durability and comfort.

Long John — Also sometimes called a Farmer John, a sleeveless but otherwise full wetsuit. Long Johns give the rest of your body warmth while allowing unrestricted paddling and freedom in the arms. Ideally used in temperatures around the high 60s to low 70s.

Neoprene — The material that almost all wetsuits are made of. Neoprene is used for its incredibly flexible, comfortable, and stable properties. Neoprene technology is constantly evolving, helping to make suits more high performance than ever before.

Offset Zipper — A zipper design where the teeth of the zipper overlap, creating a more watertight seal.

Rashguard — A shirt, typically made of polypropylene or neoprene, that is used to help protect your body from UV rays, provide warmth in your core, and prevent rashes from wax. Commonly found in both long sleeve and short sleeve variants.

Seams — Seams on a wetsuit are where two or more panels of neoprene meet and are held together by stitching and other materials.

Short John — A sleeveless, short-legged wetsuit that extends from your torso down to your thighs. Ideal for warmer waters and sometimes used as a substitute for board shorts or in conditions that are slightly too cold for board shorts.

Slant Zip Entry — A chest zip entry system where the zipper runs at a diagonal angle from your right shoulder down across your chest. This entry is popular for its ease of entry and exit.

Smooth Skin — A type of “dipped” neoprene that is commonly used in the chest and back regions for its water and wind resistant properties. It helps to provide comfort when lying down on a surfboard, better traction with the wax, and improved insulation to keep your core warmer.

Spring Suit — Also known as a “shorty,” spring suits are typically thinner wetsuits (1-3mm) that have short sleeves, legs or both.

Yulex — Developed by Patagonia as a more environmentally friendly and sustainable wetsuit material, Yulex shares the same flex and warmth characteristics as neoprene with a smaller carbon footprint.

Zip Free Entry — Also referred to as zipperless, this entry is basically the same as the chest zip minus the zipper. Zip Free suits are found in higher-end performance suits with ultra stretchy neoprene which tends to allow for a fairly easy entry even though the hole you get in through is smaller.