Wetsuit descriptions tend to focus on listing tech details and fancy material names, making it hard to decide which suit is best for you.
The good news, when it comes to summer wetsuits, is that you don't have to spend a fortune. The thinner material means you can get away with buying much lower cost suits that still feel great to wear.
However, if you are in the market for a top-end suit, you are spoilt for choice. Advances in wetsuit technology mean you can now surf thinner (stretchier) suits well into the shoulder months.
We are now stocking XCEL wetsuits. But which model should you choose for the summer?
To make your life easier we've worked through the feature lists and cut through the jargon to create this simple list of recommended suits depending on what you are after:
Lowest cost - AXIS - £150
Best value all-round - AXIS X - from £220
Best value, high-performance - COMP - from £199
Best high-performance - COMP X - £299
Best all-around for warmth & stretch - INFINITY - £299
Best for shoulder months / colder conditions - INFINITY LTD - £330
Want a bit more detail? Read on for a short description of what we feel differentiates each suit. Hopefully, it makes your choice a bit easier!
For most people, the Infinity is the go-to wetsuit in the XCEL range. This is a top-end wetsuit that has an excellent balance between warmth and flexibility. Making it a great choice for a wide range of conditions. If you are going to buy one suit for spring/summer this would be our choice.
There are two key features of the Infinity suit:
// A metal-infused lining, they call radiant rebound, that blocks cold coming in and reflects your bodies heat back in.
// An ultra-stretch neoprene they call channel flex which holds less water reducing weight and provides unrestricted stretch.
BUY HERE FROM £299
Winner of the SIMA awards wetsuit of the year. This wetsuit features channel flex and radiant rebound material across the whole body (the Infinity only has it on the upper body). As a result, it will be warmer than the Infinity - allowing you to surf it in colder conditions without compromising flexibility. However, for many people, the full-body lining could be overkill on hot summer days.
The Comp is a great value, high-performance summer suit. Lightweight and designed with one-piece front and back panels to maximise flexibility. This suit is perfect for summer days. But worth noting that the lower pile lining will make it less warm for dawn sessions or shoulder months.
BUY HERE FROM £199
A step up from the Comp. This wetsuit features even stretchier Channel Flex across the whole body. It has an insulated lining (XCEL call TDC) which is lower pile, lighter weight and slightly more stretchy than the Radiant rebound lining in the Infinity. This makes the Comp X our favourite wetsuit for summer in terms of comfort and performance. However, it's worth noting that it isn't quite as warm as the Infinity - so not the best choice if you are looking to buy one suit to get you through from Spring to Autumn.
The Axis is the lowest cost suit in the XCEL range - but that doesn't mean it compromises quality or comfort. Yes, it's not as technically advanced as the top-end suits but you can get away with that when you are buying a thinner summer wetsuit. This suit is an excellent value buy if you are on a budget or just getting started with surfing.
It's the only suit we've featured that has a back zip - which some people prefer.
BUY HERE FROM £150
The Axis X is a step up from the Axis; with a chest zip, chest and lower body insulated lining and sealed seams for extra warmth and strength. This wetsuit is an excellent value all-round wetsuit.
BUY HERE FROM £220
4/3, 3/2 or 2mm?
The final choice you need to make is wetsuit thickness. Traditionally, people choose 4/3mm wetsuits for spring and 3/2mm suits for summer. However, advances in wetsuit technology mean that those definitions have become blurred. If you don't feel the cold a top-end 3/2mm wetsuit like the Infinity LTD can now get you through half the year in the UK. If you like to stay on the warmer side or you want to buy one lower-cost wetsuit for a wide range of conditions it might be worth considering a 4/3mm.
If you are feeling flush and appreciate the freedom of a super-thin wetsuit then a 2mm wetsuit is an excellent addition to your collection for hot summer days.
Clear as mud!
Hopefully, this post helps you with deciding which wetsuit is best for you. If you have questions about which wetsuit to pick we will be more than happy to help.
We don't currently stock suits in our St Agnes store but with free delivery and easy free returns you can order online and try wetsuits on at home safe in the knowledge you can easily return it if it doesn't 'suit' you.