Surfers come in every shape and size, age, and background. For the big guys out there, it can sometimes be difficult 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. Here are our top 3 picks as we review the best wetsuits for larger surfers.
Hotline Ultra Hot Combo
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 who struggles 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 out there. 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 allows you to really pull the entry slot wide open to make sliding in and out as easy as it could be.
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 just 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 definitely consult the measurements or give us a call at 1-888-546-6176 prior to ordering.
The Hotline UHC has a reputation of being one of, if not, the most durable wetsuit we stock. The seams are all triple-glued, blindstitched, and sealed with strong internal tape. The knee pads are kevlar blend for extra strength and the hood uses a drawstring, not unlike one you’d see on a hoodie sweatshirt. Interestingly, this drawstring works well and actually has fewer issues in the long run than cinch cords from what we’ve seen.
Any Pacific Northwest surfer should be familiar with this suit, if not having owned one themselves, as it’s been a staple since the ‘90s and consistently one of our best-selling models. However, for the uninitiated, Hotline is a core company out of Santa Cruz that makes their gear the right way, with old school durability and modern materials. If you’re a bigger guy (or gal) who needs a coldwater hooded wetsuit, the Ultra Hot Combo is unbeatable.
“Lightest and Most Flexible”
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 for bigger guys 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.
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 fit of the collar 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 smooth and is built for the long run with a metal zipper head and urethane coated teeth.
The Heat has been redesigned for 2020 and is now built out of the most flexible neoprene on the market, O’Neill’s TechnoButter 3. This stuff is super pliable and gives you the maximum amount of stretch possible. It also is 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 for any bigger guy looking for the most flexible wetsuit they can get, the Heat is right up your alley.
*Be sure to check out our full review of the Heat for a more in-depth look.
Rip Curl Dawn Patrol
For bigger guys on a budget or in need of a quality backup wetsuit, the Dawn Patrol is easily the best wetsuit under $300 right now. Better yet for the larger surfer, it’s available as a back zip and bigger sizes like XXXL.
The 2020 Dawn Patrol basically is a Flash Bomb from two years ago, 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 smokes 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 actually holds up better than a lot of 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 hooded Dawn Patrol.
There you have it, those are our three favorite suits for big surfers. An honorable mention goes out to the Quiksilver Syncro, which is 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.
If you have any questions about these suits or any of the suits we stock, feel free to leave a comment, shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a ring at 888-546-6176. Enjoy the water!