Spring and autumn wetsuits
What is a spring / autumn wetsuit?
Spring and autumn wetsuits are almost always a 4/3 mm full suits. Don’t get confused with the term spring suit. This term is often used to describe wetsuits with short arms, short legs or shorties. They are often used in European warm summer conditions. But then why is it called a spring suit? The term spring suit originates from Australia, where generally the water is warm and wetsuits are only used in spring, autumn, and winter. In summer, boardshorts are the go-to water wear. Because of this, a short leg long sleeve wetsuit would be perfect for Australian spring. Let’s get back to what we are actually talking about here, the best wetsuits to be used in European spring and autumn, a full suit with 4/3 mm neoprene thickness. A must-have whether you surf a lot or not.
A 4/3mm full suit sits in between a 3/2 mm summer wetsuit and a warm 5/4 mm winter wetsuit. But that doesn’t mean you need to own all three thicknesses to surf all year. Actually, if you’re not very fond of surfing in winter, the 4/3 mm might be the only wetsuit you’ll need to own. The 4/3 mm wetsuit is great for every season, especially if you’re located in southern Europe. It’s warm enough for cold morning sessions but still thin and flexible enough to last through summer. If you’re located more to the north of the continent, a 4/3mm will offer you more flexibility and enough warmth starting around March. In addition, it gives you a little more comfort and insulation in summer than traditional summer wetsuits. In the end, it all comes down to location.
The all-season wetsuit for Spain, Portugal and the south of France
If you want to own just one wetsuit, we recommend a 4/3 mm wetsuit as your all-season wetsuit for Spain, Portugal and the south-west of France. Great for colder and warmer days. If you don’t mind owning more than one wetsuit we recommend buying a 3/2mm wetsuit for summer and warmer days, and the 4/3mm for winter.
The best spring/autumn wetsuit for France
The SRFACE 4/3mm spring wetsuit will offer you more flexibility starting around March, right until the water and air temperatures heat up. Of course, the 4/3mm wetsuit works great for the colder months, from September all the way through to November.
The best cold water wetsuit for Northern Europe
The United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, and Denmark, let’s face it, it’s cold here. Even in summer you rarely get to surf in less than 4/3mm. A 4/3mm wetsuit is great for ‘summer surfers’ as their all-season wetsuit, and for people who surf through winter as their second wetsuit for a little more flex on warmer days.
If you want to learn more about choosing the right wetsuit thickness, have a look at a wetsuit thickness guide. You can also use the SRFACE wetsuit Thickness Calculator to find the right wetsuit thickness based on your location and time of the year you would like to surf.
Seam constructions suitable for a spring / autumn wetsuit
Similar to winter wetsuits, spring/autumn wetsuits work best if the performance, construction, and quality of the wetsuit are up to scratch. There are a few different seam constructions that can be used in spring/autumn wetsuits. Choose a high-end seam construction for a longer lifespan of your wetsuit and at all costs, avoid flatlock seams in any cold water wetsuit. They are not waterproof and will make you get cold quickly. Flatlock seams are only used in summer wetsuits such as shorties.
The most common, but not the most high-end seam construction for all-season and winter wetsuits is GBS. Glued and blind stitched seams prevent water from entering your wetsuit. GBS seams are constructed by first glueing the edges of the neoprene panels together to prevent water from entering the wetsuit. Thereafter, the seams are blind stitched together on the outside, inside, or both sides of the neoprene panels. The needle doesn’t penetrate the neoprene completely, but only stitches through half of the neoprene panel to prevent leakage.
Liquid rubber sealed seams are a step up from traditional glued and blind stitched seams. A liquid neoprene seal can be applied on top of the stitching. This reinforces a traditional glued and blind stitched seams and creates a sealed outside seam. Therefore it’s mainly used on high-end wetsuits only. The sealed seams give an extra layer of protection from water entering the wetsuit. This durable construction lasts longer than normal GBS seams. Although not as thin and clean, S-seal seams are usually more durable and less easy to crack than Powerseams. High-end wetsuit seams can be reinforced on the inside too. Neoprene tape can be applied to create an extra layer of protection against leaks. It also protects the skin against rash caused by the seam. The latest development in inside seam reinforcement is the neat machine applied neotape 2.0.
Double lined vs. single lined neoprene
Should a spring/autumn wetsuit have a single lined rubber chest and back or is double nylon better? Single lined neoprene is the rubbery type neoprene used mainly on chest and back panels. This smooth water repellant neoprene type eliminates windchill in the core of your body where you need to stay warm most. Single lined neoprene achieves this by letting water droplets run off the material rather than being absorbed by the lining. Double lined neoprene, or double nylon, is jersey-lined neoprene that comes in different colours. Double lined neoprene is more resistant to abuse and is less likely to tear. But the lining does hold water, which gets cooled down by wind causing an increased wind chill factor. It might look cool to some, but it’s not warmer.
What is the best wetsuit lining combination?
Most modern wetsuits use a combination of both single lined and double lined neoprene. Panels are strategically placed to enhance their capabilities where needed. Single lined panels are used where you need windchill protection, such as chest and back. While double lined panels are used where more flexibility or strength is needed, such as armpits, arms, and legs. Plush quick-dry inside lining provides extra warmth on the body panels where you need it most. Plush lining makes it possible to use full double lined wetsuits without single lined chest and back panels. But to create the warmest wetsuit, single lined chest and back panels are helpful to retain body heat. When single lined panels are used, you can consider using a slightly thinner, more flexible wetsuit in colder water without getting cold.