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Old     (jordanh)      Join Date: Feb 2013       08-26-2014, 6:09 PM Reply   
Alright. I live in northwest minnesota for starters. I wasn't able to comfortably get in the water until the second weekend in June. Yesterday the high was 59 degrees... So basically this riding season has been crap. My wife and I are now looking to purchase wetsuits. I've never even worn a wetsuit before. So I'd like to hear everything you'd recommend. I've done a bit of reading on forums and the article in Aprils wakeboarding mag. From what I've read I think I'd want a 4/3 suit. Any suggestions on that? Also please let me know what suit you have and what temps you've been able to ride in. Looking to extend my season from mid May to mid October. (Or beyond)
Old     (phillywakeboarder)      Join Date: Sep 2008       08-26-2014, 6:26 PM Reply   
If you live in Minnesota, I'd go with a drysuit. This is a well known model.

If you wanna get nuts, wear this underneath.

With this setup, you can add a ton of time to your season.
Old     (jordanh)      Join Date: Feb 2013       08-26-2014, 6:43 PM Reply   
To be honest I was hoping for an under $200 budget. But if a dry suit is what I need then I would be willing to save. Although, from what I have read, I think I will have a hard time keeping people out in the boat in temps below what a 4/3 wetsuit is capable of. But that's exactly why I am asking for first hand experience.

This drysuits look terrible uncomfortable to ride in. Opinions?
Old     (T_A)      Join Date: Feb 2013       08-26-2014, 6:59 PM Reply   
Dry suits aren't too bad, wetsuits are slightly (just slightly) more comfy but the dry suit is better and warmer IMO. I wear dry suit in total comfort in 40* water and 60* air in the middle of our texas winters. Just depends on how cold you plan to go I guess...with 55* and above water temp I'd go with a good wetsuit. Anything colder, def dry suit.
Old     (nick_in_ssp)      Join Date: Aug 2006       08-26-2014, 7:03 PM Reply   
I live near Fergus Falls (Ottertail Lake area) and the determining factor for when my boat comes out is when it drops into the mid 20's over night for more that a couple of nights in a row, don't want a cracked block. I have had a 4/3 Billabong suit for a couple of years and love it. When it was new I would wear my boxers underneath and nothing else and when I was done boarding/skiing my boxers would be 90% dry still. I have had it for the better part of 10 years and use it for a month or so when ice goes out and a month or so in the fall. No that it is a little older it still works great but the seams leak so I get wet but my body warms the water like it is supposed to and it keeps me nice and warm. When the water is super cold your feet and hands become the problem but your core is still great. I go from long underwear with full coat and snow pants(snowboarding), to 4/3 full body wetsuit, to heater top and trunks, to trunks, and then back again. It's a vicious 6 month non stop cycle of bundled up to shedding to bundled up again.
Old     (behindtheboat)      Join Date: Aug 2006       08-26-2014, 7:05 PM Reply   
4/3 Oneill with Technobutter. Almost as dry as a drysuit anyway.

I prefer a 3/2, but you'll need the extra warmth more than movement.
Old     (snyderaaron)      Join Date: Mar 2010       08-26-2014, 7:39 PM Reply   
Get a drysuit, I had a wetsuit and was still cold. Drysuit, no problem at all.
Old     (99Bison)      Join Date: Sep 2012       08-26-2014, 10:03 PM Reply   
We ride NW MN from ice out to mid October in 4/3 xcel chest zip wetsuits. They have such good seals they are virtually dry suits. Daughter has a standard 3/2 that doesn't have awesome seals and it does fine in October, but not so good right at ice out, but a 2-4 weeks post ice it's fine.

As someone else posted hands, feet get super cold, especially in the ice out time frame is biggest issue. You can use gloves and closed toed bindings do help, but gloves get annoying to wear IMO.

Note: you can find high end wetsuits ($450 msrp) around 200-250 on clearance from time to time, that's when we got ours.

Last edited by 99Bison; 08-26-2014 at 10:06 PM.
Old     (TomH)      Join Date: Jan 2014       08-27-2014, 7:21 AM Reply   
I'd go with a 4/3 unless you like to be on the lake right at ice-out. If that's the case, a dry-suit wouldn't be a bad choice, and if you and your wife are somewhat close in size, you may even be able to use the same dry-suit.

While you're at it, I'd pick up a couple heater shirts, as they'll bridge the gap between wetsuit and board short season really well. I keep a 2mm and a .5 mm heater shirt and use them all the time.
Old     (99Bison)      Join Date: Sep 2012       08-27-2014, 7:58 AM Reply   
FWIW, these are the xcel dry lock suits we have we have and where we got them (for a good bit less than this listing):
Old     (JEr)      Join Date: Sep 2010       08-27-2014, 8:37 AM Reply   
Originally Posted by 99Bison View Post
FWIW, these are the xcel dry lock suits we have we have and where we got them (for a good bit less than this listing):
That suit is hands down one of the best out there. I live in Alberta and we too have the joys of riding the day ice comes off until the day the ice is on. I have a drysuit but would prefer to use my wetsuit as much as i can. This year i didnt use my drysuit once and like i said earlier i ride the day the lake is ice free. A drylock 4/3 will be the best investment that you could ever make as it will allow you to add 2 months of riding and use of your boat. only thing i can say is don't take the "cheap" route and get what ever is on sale. Xcel's x-zip with anything in the infinity line or higher is crazy good, best suits i have been in . That being said i also have a oneil 4/3 superfreak and it holds its own to my xcel. and thats my 2cents
Old     (jordanh)      Join Date: Feb 2013       08-27-2014, 9:11 AM Reply   
Great info guys! I appreciate all of it. One other thing I'm curious on. When you are transitioning from the wet suit to board shorts in early June.. Will you actually get to hot in the wet suit? I've read all kinda of info as to a wet suit not being warm enough.. But can't find info on what point a wet suit becomes to warm.
Old     (TomH)      Join Date: Jan 2014       08-27-2014, 9:26 AM Reply   
When you transition is up to you and your tolerance for water temp. Some will transition to a lighter suit. Personally, I'm like Nick above. Suit, then heater shirt/vest and boardies, then just boardies and reverse.
Old     (trayson)      Join Date: May 2013       08-27-2014, 9:27 AM Reply   
I have a lot of options. I'm a wimp when it comes to being cold!!!

I wore my 3/2 farmer john with jacket down to about 52 degrees. it was chilly at 52 in that wetsuit. a pair of neoprene gloves helps a lot. I also have a pair of thin neoprene socks that I can wear in my wakeboard bindings. I broke down a bought a pair of booties and a drysuit. with the booties and drysuit, I was totally comfortable surfing for a NYD run in 42 degree water. I also got a neoprene cap, as my head and ears would get cold in that stuff.

I love having a heater jacket and neoprene shorts. I'll put the heater and neoprene shorts on when water temps are in the mid 60's. I also have a short sleeve 1.5 mil heater that's nice to take the edge off on those times when it's transitioning. Yeah, I've had it where I wore the heater jacket (with just boardshorts) when I probably didn't need anything. A couple times yeah, it felt a little warm, but it wasn't a big deal. You'll get used to it. I for the wetsuit shorts, I'll just drop my boardshorts and put them on underneath. (I hate the look of wetsuit bottoms, even if they're shorts).

Now that I have a drysuit, I'll use that more often when water temps get colder. It's really nice to take off the drysuit and be DRY! One time I did a run where I forgot my phone in the pocket of my boardshorts, but with a drysuit I was totally fine. when I did the wetsuit in 52 degree water with 55 degree air, it was COLD stripping off that wetsuit and trying to warm back up in the boat.

The Oneill boost drysuit is the go-to suit. and Wakemakers and Active Water Sports have the best deals on them.
Old     (99Bison)      Join Date: Sep 2012       08-27-2014, 10:29 AM Reply   
Yes, the wet suits get hot eventually when out of the water. Out lake is fairly cool for the area so in the water you could wear it all summer almost this year. In fact the last two years - all the way to July 1 one of us did .

After the wet suit we go with 2/1 top and the ten-80 neo shorts under board shorts. The neo is basically wetsuit neoprene with extra padding. Didn't know they had padding when ordered originally, but since then we wear them to keep warm and when trying new tricks sometimes.
Old     (joshugan)      Join Date: Apr 2005       08-27-2014, 3:21 PM Reply   
Watch for good deals on good wetsuits. My friends bought some there and really like them.

Make sure the suit fits snug so that it keeps water out.

If you're not sure if the suit is a good quality suit then just spend the money for what is known to be a good suit.

FYI, I used to hate wetsuits because everyone I tried was too loose on me and therefore did nothing. If a wetsuit does not keep most of the water out and is not good quality then there is almost no point in wearing it.
Old     (rplogue7)      Join Date: Jul 2012       08-27-2014, 3:27 PM Reply   
up here in NH my wet suit is good until October. it's a quicksilver cost me $189 and pretty much makes it feel like the waters not there at all
Old     (dyost)      Join Date: Jan 2007       08-27-2014, 8:53 PM Reply   
Make sure you get a suit with GBS (glued, blind-stitched) seals. IMO a 4/3 GBS is warmer and way more comfy than a drysuit. Dry-suit might be better if you really layer up, but I just find them too restrictive to ride in. Most of my buddies have switched from drysuits to good 4/3 wetsuits. Personally I have ridden 45 deg water in dec in KS with no problem. Feet and hands are the worst part. If really cold I have a pair of 2mm socks I'll put on as well. Helps a lot.

Most suits have a temp rating but keep in mind they are made for surf. Our ride cycle is opposite. They sit in the water for 5-10 mins to ride for one. We ride 2-5 mins and then sit in water for 1 on the pickup. My rule of thumb is cut 10 degrees. Most 4/3s say good to 55 but I've always been comfortable going as low as 45. I do have a high tolerance for cold though and carry more natural insulation now than I prefer also : )
Old     (sja)      Join Date: Jul 2012       08-28-2014, 11:09 AM Reply   
I think the O'Neill assault is a great suit. It is warm (I've been down to mid 40 water temp in it), very comfortable, dry, and has held up well despite my tendency to fall hard and frequently,
Old     (Orange)      Join Date: Jun 2012       08-28-2014, 11:12 AM Reply   
Dry suit all the way. They are far more comfortable than wetsuits. Most of my buddies who have tried them now go straight from a heater top to a dry suit and skip shorties or thin wetsuits altogether. You can easily control the temperatures based on how much you wear underneath. The downsides to dry suits are initial cost and fragile seals. The seals both add to the cost for occasional replacements and can put your suit out of service for a number of weeks if you don't have a local option for repairs and have to mail it back to the manufacturer. The O'Neill boost is the gold standard for wakeboarding.

If you go be wetsuit route, my recommendation is to focus less on the insulating ability while you're in the water and focus more on how to stay warm after you get out and are wet. You're not in the water terribly long, and my experience is you tend to suffer more when back in the boat watching others with wind moving over your wet body. If I had a fixed budget, I'd prefer spending a little less on the wetsuit itself and more on warm slippers, a swim parka, etc to keep you warm and dry back on the boat.
Old     (99Bison)      Join Date: Sep 2012       08-28-2014, 2:26 PM Reply   
In our good wetsuits the problem is staying cool when out of the water... not cool. 2/1 tops, or suits that let the wind or water go through are cool when out, but the good wetsuits are the opposite in our experience.
Old     (ccelia)      Join Date: Sep 2009       08-29-2014, 9:36 AM Reply   
Dicks Sporting Goods has O'Neil suits for half off right now. Not sure how long the sale lasts as it has been going on for a while.
Old     (Andy_Elliott)      Join Date: Jun 2011       09-02-2014, 10:09 AM Reply   
Im mainly a surfer (in the ocean, not boat) who surfs very cold water so i wear a lot of wetsuits. If you're gonna surf water temps that are in the 50's. definitely wear a 4/3. youll be fine in the water but when youre in the boat you just put on a thick ass jacket and youll be good. XCEL wetsuits are really good. you can buy a hood and gloves too. go to and search around for xcel stuff. great deals.

water above 58 degrees a 3/2 will be fine. water below like 46 degrees you'll probably want a 5/4 but ive never heard of anybody wakeboarding in a 5/4 haha

i wear a 6/5/4 from late december through april here in NH. you wont need that though. the new wetsuits are really flexible and IMO wearing a drysuit just seems so ****in cumbersome, especially if youre riding hard and probably taking falls. just get a 4/3, gloves, maybe a hood and you're good to go. and a thick ass jacket for driving. and a beanie.

Last edited by Andy_Elliott; 09-02-2014 at 10:14 AM. Reason: wanted to make it better


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