Winter time is upon us, and with each day that passes, our UK seas get colder by the degree. It's time to hang up our summer wetsuit in favour of a thicker winter wetsuit to keep us warm, comfortable and active in the water all year.
You might be asking yourself, what is the best way to stay warm in the water this winter? There are so many winter wetsuits on the market in various designs, so the choice can sometimes be overwhelming! Unfortunately, there is no straight answer as it all depends on your hardness to the cold, desired flexibility and price range. However, there are still a number of factors to consider before purchasing your winter wetsuit set-up.
Why Is Wearing A Hood When Surfing In Winter Important?
Because of the extra thickness of the neoprene and the intricately thought-out design of a winter wetsuit, it is not uncommon for a decent one to be a little pricey. However, investing in a high-quality winter wetsuit will keep you in the water for much longer, which is what any surfer wants when the pumping winter swells roll in, so overall, the investment is worth it.
Whether the wetsuit is hooded or you sport a detachable wetsuit hood, they both work excellently at protecting your head from all wintery water issues. Say you catch a wave, and the lip breaks right onto your head; a wetsuit hood can be the difference between a gnarly wipeout that you recover from and a gnarly wipeout that forces you out of the water with significant brain freeze and muscle tension.
Wetsuit hoods also protect against the dreaded surfer's ear, caused by repeatedly exposing your ears to cold water and wind. The exposure causes a small bony growth to develop within the ear, resulting in pain and hearing loss. However, a form of wetsuit hood and some surfers ear plugs protect you from the dreaded surfer's ear.
What Is The Difference Between A Hooded Wetsuit And A Wetsuit Hood?
The difference between a hooded wetsuit and a wetsuit hood is relatively self-explanatory. Whereas a hooded wetsuit has a hood built into the suit, connected with stitching and tape, a wetsuit hood is a separate piece of kit you put on before slipping into your wetsuit; it is not a part of your winter wetsuit.
Pros and Cons Of A Hooded Wetsuit
A hooded wetsuit would probably be the better option for the surfer who fears no weather and is ready to chase the winter swells come snow or shine. This is because they offer more protection from the cold water due to the minimal gaps and seams in the neoprene. The solid suit prevents the majority of the water from being able to seep into the suit and lowers your body temperature, therefore keeping you in the water for longer, even on the coldest days!
Hooded wetsuits are also often composed of much thicker neoprene which ensures that the core of your body remains warm; however, this can sometimes result in the wetsuit restricting your movement due to the resistance caused by the neoprene.
Pros Of Hooded
Cons Of Hooded Wetsuits
Higher price range
Extra protection from thickness
Harder to put on than a regular wetsuit
For more information regarding the thickness of neoprene that would best suit your requirements, check out our wetsuit thickness guide.
Pros and Cons Of Detachable Wetsuit Hoods
A detachable wetsuit hood is a fantastic option for all-around use. If the idea of freezing cold water in the darkest parts of winter is enough to put you off grabbing your board when a swell hits the UK coast, investing in an expensive and thick hooded wetsuit might not be the most financially practical option.
However, purchasing a detachable wetsuit hood can be a fantastic alternative for those wanting to dip their toe into the wintery ocean occasionally but aren't going to be jumping in on the regular.
One of the most notable benefits of a detachable wetsuit hood is the versatility that comes with them. You can pair them with any wetsuit of your choice. If you don't appreciate the restriction that comes from a 5/6 mm wetsuit but still want to stay warm and comfortable for as long as possible, you can pair a thicker wetsuit hood with a thinner wetsuit such as a 5/4mm wetsuit like the O'Neill Hyper Freak.
Furthermore, when you buy all of the components to your waterwear separately, you can add thermal rash vests or Neoprene vests with, built-in hoods such as the Excel Infiniti hooded vest.
One thing that is worth noting about detachable wetsuit hoods is they don't offer the same amount of thermal protection that a hooded wetsuit would. This is because there are more areas where cold ocean water can flush through the suit, as the two pieces lay atop each other rather than being connected with stitching and taping.
Pros of detachable surf hoods
Cons of detachable surf hoods
Versatile and customisable
Less thermal protection
Offers more movement
It can be tricky to get on and off
Susceptible to wear and tear
The Best Hooded Wetsuits
So you have decided that a hooded wetsuit is the best option for you, so let's take a look at some of the fantastic options available from Wetsuit Centre.
Best Budget Hooded Wetsuit- The O'Neill Epic
The O'Neill Epic hooded wetsuit is an unparalleled option for purchasing a hooded wetsuit on a budget. This suit offers a range of professional-grade qualities without the professional-grade wetsuit price tag. The suit is constructed of high-quality UltraFlex Neoprene in 6/5/4mm, with a chest entry system and glued and blind stitched seams, ensuring you stay warm in the icy water.
Not sold on the O'Neill Epic? No worries, as we have other suggestions for the best winter wetsuit to buy on a budget.
Best Performance Hooded Wetsuit- Xcel Drylock X 5/4mm Wetsuit
The Xcel Drylock hooded wetsuit is unparalleled in the combination of warmth and performance. The slightly thinner neoprene allows the wearer a full range of motion while still providing excellent thermal protection. Each section of neoprene and each seam has been strategically placed for optimum flexibility, while the 100% watertight construction guarantees you warmth and comfort in the water.
Check out our Xcel Drylock X Wetsuit review for more information on this wetsuit.
The Best Wetsuit Surf Hoods
So you don't fancy splashing the cash on a thick hooded winter wetsuit, let's look at some of the best options for detachable wetsuit hoods. If you still need to buy your regular winter wetsuit but don't know where to start, why not read through our suggestions for the best winter wetsuits for surfing that can be paired with our wetsuit hoods this winter season?
Best Budget Wetsuit Hood- The O'Neill Psycho Wetsuit Hood
The O'Neill Psycho Wetsuit Hood was designed with anatomy in mind and is well shaped to the human head. Created with techno butter firewall neoprene and a smooth skin exterior, you can be sure this wetsuit hood will keep you warm even in the coldest of waters.
Best Performance Wetsuit Hood- Xcel Drylock 3mm Wetsuit Hood
The Xcel Drylock 3mm Adults Wetsuit Hood offers the best on the market wetsuit hood, and its engineered design and quality will keep you in the water for hours on end this winter without any 'ice cream headaches. The Drylock hood is constructed with glued and blind stitches and taped seams to ensure warmth and less water leakage. The Smoothskin seal and cinch keep you comfortable in the water.
Best Hooded Wetsuit Vest- The Xcel Thermolite 2 mm Hooded Vest
The Xcel Thermolite 2mm Hooded vest is created to be worn under your wetsuit in the winter so that you benefit from the fit amazing radiant rebound thermal lining, which is impressive at retaining body heat for longer. The built-in hood is also great for maintaining head heat and seals you in your wetsuit, preventing flush-throughs of cold water.
Hopefully, we have been able to help you decide on whether you require a wetsuit hood or a hooded wetsuit going into the autumn and winter swell this year.