A good wetsuit can change your surfing experience, and you really do get what you pay for. If you use your wetsuit regularly or hate being cold, it’s worth investing a little for something high-quality. When you can stay out for longer sessions, your surfing improves, and you can catch more sunsets and not worry about the temperature dropping. No suit is perfect, and most of them (like most of us) are outstanding in some categories and average in others. With that said, here’s our roundup of the Best Women’s Hooded Wetsuits for 2019.
O’Neill Psycho Tech 5.5/4mm
This is the crème-de-la-crème of wetsuits, and not to pick favorites, but this suit is my favorite. The Psycho Tech is known for its Techno Butter 3 neoprene, which is super stretchy and easy to move around in. It’s the easiest chest zip to get in and out of, simply because it’s super flexible, which also means you feel looser and more mobile in the water. This neoprene is warm, lightweight, and dries quickly, too. It also has a flattering and feminine cut.
There’s a smooth skin panel on the chest and back that helps block windchill and absorb heat from the sun, so it really offers that extra oomph in the warmth department. O’Neill describes this suit as “psychotically warm.” It’s a strong statement, but I can’t argue with them, as the first time I wore this suit, the water touching my lower back was actually body temperature. Psychotic? Maybe. Warm as heck? Definitely. The Psycho Tech also has high-quality, fluid seam welds so the seams are water-tight and durable.
With every suit, there’s a tradeoff, and because the TB3 Neoprene is so buttery and flexible, it can be susceptible to nicks. With that said, don’t drag it on concrete or dig your fingernails into it (always use the pads of your fingers when putting on a wetsuit, not your fingernails) and it will hold up well.
All in all, the superior flexibility, lightness, and warmth make this suit a staff favorite and my top choice for hooded wetsuits.
Patagonia R4 Yulex 5.5/4.5mm
This is definitely one of the warmest suits available, so if you tend to run cold, the R4 is an awesome choice. Patagonia uses their trademark Yulex rubber, which is not only warm and incredibly durable, but it’s sustainably produced as well. So if you’re looking for an environmentally-conscious option, Patagonia is the way to go.
This is definitely the most durable suit out there, and while you can expect the lifespan of a typical wetsuit to last you about a year with regular use, the R4 will last twice that or more, especially with their outstanding warranty program. Patagonia will repair and replace gear long after other warranty programs expire for a price as well. They really do excel in providing quality gear, and making sure customers are happy for years to come.
While the Yulex neoprene may not be as stretchy as some other top tier suits, it’s a small price to pay for one of the warmest, most durable, and eco-friendly suits available. Plus, the added forearm strength you gain from getting in and out of this suit can help your surfing and jar-opening abilities–at least that’s what I’m telling myself.
Plus, the cut of this suit is simple, flattering, and classic.
Rip Curl Flash Bomb 5/4mm
Rip Curl’s Flash Bomb Hooded wetsuit is their top of the line women’s suit. The Flash Bomb is lined with the highly regarded E5 Flash lining, which is fuzzy and quick drying, making slipping into it on a cold day a breeze- a tropical breeze.
With liquid seam welds and internal taping over the stitching, the Flash Bomb is reinforced and durable. Besides having that fuzzy lining to keep you warm, the seams will remain strong and watertight for longer, which will also help keep you comfortable.
The E5 neoprene is definitely one of the more flexible neoprene options available, so it’s the best of both worlds in terms of warmth and flexibility. If warmth and flexibility are your main concerns in a wetsuit, get a Flash Bomb. Keep in mind with all of these suits, there’s always a trade-off, so while this suit is warm, quick drying, and flexible, it’s not as lightweight as other suits, and it does feel like you’re wearing 5mm of neoprene.
All in all, the Flash Bomb is probably one of the most balanced suits on this list. You get a top quality suit and incredible warmth without any major sacrifices.
Hotline Ultra Hot Combo 5/4mm
If you love the idea of a chest zip preventing excessive flushing all up on your spine and keeping you warmer, but hate the idea of adding an extra challenge to putting on a wetsuit, the Ultra Hot Combo saves the day. The Ultra Hot Combo uses an entry system that extends past the shoulders, making it easy to get in and out of, while still enjoying all the benefits of a Chest Zip wetsuit. The UHC is one-of-a-kind in this extra wide Chest Zip entry system. It’s also an excellent choice for those dealing with injuries or shoulder/flexibility trouble since the entry system is much wider and more forgiving than most suits.
It also has internal taping, seam welds, and is generally flexible and warm. Hotline is also a great brand and has an excellent warranty and repair program if you need it.
It’s a high-quality suit at a fair price, and if you like supporting smaller businesses, Hotline is a long-standing, reputable company out of Santa Cruz that deserves your hard earned cash.
Roxy Performance 5/4/3mm
If you’ve got champagne tastes on a beer budget, as they say, The Roxy Performance wetsuit might be for you. While it’s not necessary the “best” in any category, it does offer a wide range of high-end features at a slightly lower price point.
You still get Roxy’s F’N Lite Neoprene, which is relatively lightweight and flexible, as well as internal taping, to keep you warm and dry, and extend the life of your suit. There’s also seam welds on the legs, preventing flushing, and offering even more durability.
The Warmflight infrared heat thermal lining in the torso and thighs help you retain body heat in crucial areas so you can stay warm for the length of your session. This is Roxy’s nicest women’s wetsuit and is an awesome buy for the money. Also, if style is a concern, Roxy suits definitely have a cute and trendy factor.
Billabong Furnace Carbon 5/4mm
Billabong has made significant improvements in their wetsuit technology in the past few years, and this is clearly reflected in this suit.
If budget is a big concern, but you really need a solid, quality suit, this is an excellent buy. With internal seams that are sealed and taped seams in crucial areas, light flexible neoprene, and quick-drying technology, this suit delivers everything you need at the $300 price point.
Billabong is also making improvements to their sustainability factor, as the “Smart Foam” in this suit is made from upcycled car tires.
The suit also has great flexibility, and minimal paneling to further enhance the stretch factor.
While there is no perfect suit (yet) there are some stellar options available to us, and ultimately, you have to choose what’s most important to you, and make a small sacrifice on something else. We’re surfing cold water and using these suits year-round, so we speak from experience when it comes to our recommendations. If you need further help deliberating on suit selection, sizing, or fit, feel free to give us a call at 888-546-6176 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org