Wetsuits: How to Measure Yourself


Buying a wetsuit can often be a little confusing. Especially when you’re buying one for the first time. Generally, it’s the thickness of the wetsuit that is on the top of your mind – which is fair enough as you want to ensure you’re kept warm, so you can stay in the water longer.

As your surfing progresses, things like stretch, stitching and entry-systems become important. However, this article isn’t about the thickness or design of the wetsuit. It’s about measuring yourself, so you can ensure you’re purchasing something that is going to fit you comfortably.

How to measure yourself for a wetsuit

Getting the right fit for your wetsuit is so important, as it will affect how comfortable you are, how well the suit can do its job, and how long it will last until you need a new one. Wetsuits are a worthwhile investment for anyone having a go at watersports, but we know it can be a little baffling to choose between all the options available. 

To make the process as easy as possible for you, we’ve put together this guide explaining how to measure yourself properly, so that you’ll be able to easily pick out the perfect size for you, even if you’re shopping online.

When you’re wearing a wetsuit, you want it to fit snugly to your body in order to trap a thin layer of water against your skin, as the water is key in providing insulation. If your suit is too big you’ll just have cold water flushing through the suit, too small and it won’t be comfortable and will restrict your movement.

Below are all of the important measurements you’ll need to get the right size wetsuit, and how to get the most accurate measurements. It’s worth jotting them down on a piece of paper as you go, as it’ll make it much easier to compare them against the sizing charts later on.

Step 1 - Measure your height and weight

  • Grab a measuring tape and a set of weighing scales
  • Measure your height and weight
  • Write down your figures

Step 2 - Measure your chest

  • Measure your chest (note: measurements should be taken against your skin. This means no clothing)
  • Grab the measuring tape and place it against the broadest part of your chest (a lot of the time this will be the peck/breast area)
  • Start the tape measure from this point and loop is symmetrically around your body until the initial spot has been found
  • Write down your figures

Step 3 - Measure your waist

  • Measure your waist
  • Find the halfway point between your bottom rib and the top of your hip bone (this should end up being very close or in-line with your navel)
  • Once found, start at the designated mark, and loop symmetrically around your body until the initial mark is reached
  • Make sure it’s level all the way around, and don’t hold your breath (unless you plan on not breathing for your entire surf). Take the measurement right after you exhale.
  • Write down your figures

Step 4 (optional) - Measure your neck

  • Measure your neck to ensure the wetsuit you end up purchasing isn’t going to be too loose or tight (note: not all brands give a neck measurement - so don’t panic if it’s not there, as the neck lining will be fine according to all the other measurements)
  • If a brand does offer a neck measurement, find a starting point and wrap the measuring tape snugly around your neck just above where it meets your shoulders
  • If it’s somewhere just below your larynx (voice box), then you’re doing it correctly
  • Write down your figures

Step 5 - Measure your hips and inseam

  • Measure your hips and inseam
  • The hip measurement is taken from the widest point and should always go around your buttocks
  • It’s worth getting a friend to help you out with the inseam measurement, as you need to be standing with your legs straight for the measurement to be accurate.
  • The inseam is from your crotch (inner thigh) to the bottom of your ankle (note: be sure to stand straight when taking this measurement. If you have recently bought a new pair of pants (trousers) that fit perfectly, you can rely of that measurement as a reference point)
  • Write down your figures

Now you can use these measurements to find the right wetsuit size for you. Each wetsuit will have a size chart on the product page, so you can always check the specific fit. We also have an overview of the wetsuit size charts for our most popular brands.

Follow along with our resident neoprene expert Wetsuit Will as he demonstrates these key measurements in the video below, wearing a Rip Curl E-Bomb.

Each brand will have a size chart that differs from another. Therefore it’s important to know your measurements – as you don’t want to get caught out when shifting brands.

Click here to see our full range of wetsuits.


Updated on 30th June 2023

Originally published on 9th August 2018 in Wetsuit Guides

Visiting from United States?

US Flag Continue to AU

Your browser is extremely out of date. We strongly recommend that you try a different browser for the best experience when using our website. Close.