Best Wetsuits for Big Guys

Best Wetsuits for Big Guys

Posted by phil kelly on

Wetsuits for large men

Did you know the perfect Age, Height and Weight for Pro surfing is 24 years old, 5’11” and 169 pounds or so a recent article on The Inertia reported. For those of us not destined for the Pro Tour, we come in many different sizes. If you’re around 6’ of less and about 190 lb or less, it’s easy finding a wetsuit that will fit you.

But what about the rest of us? I’m 6’4” and weight about 210 lb which means I’m too tall for a typical XL wetsuit. If your shorter and start putting on the pounds as you age, you can find 2XL or 3XL out there but if you’re taller than 6’1” or so, it gets difficult.

For a short/short suit even at my height, an XL size will usually work, especially in a 2/2 or 3/2. But when you get into a long/long full suit everything changes. I have tried all these wetsuits trying to find one that will fit me, and I’ll share my results below.

But before we go into specific suits let’s talk about front zip vs. back zip. I know the trend is the front zip over the traditional back zip. I’ve tried both on many different suits, and if you’re a big guy getting a suit for the first time, I’d go with the back zip. It seems to me that the cut is a little fuller with the back zip. Additionally, the front zip can just be a bear to get out of. I’m not one to look for help in the parking lot from someone to help me get out of my suit, so I’m going to stay with the back zip recommendation.

1) Rip Curl – makes an XLT in 3/2, 4/3 chest or back zip and it does fit well. They made the crotch to shoulders long enough to fit comfortably. The XLT is sized to fit 6’4” to 6’7” and from 198 to 231 lb After wearing several, I think up to about 6’6” and 220 lb would be comfortable. Priced around $400
2) Quiksilver – makes an XLT in 3/2, 4/3 chest and back zip but I have yet to try one. Their size chart does list 6’2” to 6’4” for the XLT and to 6’2” for the 2XL and 3XL. An XLT Quiksilver wetsuit might be an endangered species, as I could not find one anywhere in the USA. Priced around $275
3) O’Neill – makes a very good wetsuit. They do have several models 4/3 & 3/2 long/long that come in XLT and their chart says it will work for 6’3”-6’5” – 200-200 lbs. I found a couple available on their website too! Priced around $400
4) Matuse – is a premium wetsuit and they do make an XLT that will fit 6’2”-6’5” and up to 220 lb. They even make a 3XL which can stretch to 6’6” and 260 lbs. I have not had the pleasure of trying one, but I know some guys who swear by them, so they should be considered. Priced around $600
5) Patagonia - is another premium wetsuit who does list an XLT that will handle 6’4” – 6’5” and 220 lb, although they do run on the smaller size. They also make a 3XL for up to 250 lb. Here again I was not able to find an XLT in the USA. Priced around $500
6) Billabong – a good everyday suit. They show they make an XLT in 5/4 back zip and it might be available in 4/3, I was not able to locate one. I’ve worn their suits before. Very respectable and accurate to their size chart. Priced around $230
7) XCEL – makes a very good wetsuit with different features based upon cost and use. I have worn several XCEL suits and find the XLT to be true to the chart. Their XLT will handle 6’3”-6’6” and up to 220 lb. Back zip, front zip, long/long, full hood all available. They had the best selection of XLTs available when I was researching this. Priced around $500


There are several custom wetsuit makers that I didn’t include but if you have the time, you can check them out. One of them is 7till8, that I would recommend. Overall, there are more options for big guys than I thought there were when I started. Wetsuits are a considerable investment and surfing just isn’t fun if you’re pulling and stretching the wetsuit, while in the lineup.

Please let me know what your favorite is or if others should be added here.

See you out there!

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