THERE'S NO EXCUSE TO NOT SURF RIGHT THROUGH WINTER. WETSUITS ARE SO TECH THESE DAYS THAT GETTING COLD IS NOT AN OPTION. HERE ARE A FEW POINTERS...
1. SUITS YOU SIR!
It sounds obvious but getting a wetsuit that fits you is your main priority. Too loose and you'll get flushed with cold Atlantic brine and do some top notch swearing. Too tight and you'll go purple. There are plenty of tall/short options so whatever your shape there's a suit for you somewhere. Getting it on and off shouldn't be a long process. So figure out what entry works for you be it back zip, chest or zipperless.
Be aware that one brands 'Medium' isn't the same size as another, so support your local shop and try on the suits that fit your budget and needs to get the perfect match.
2. GET THE RIGHT SUIT
Do you surf for three hours or one? Do you tend to sit and chat a lot or are you windmilling around the line up maxing your wave count? A 6mm hooded suit might be too hot for a frother so there's always the 5mm and separate hood to consider.
A good suit is the foundation of your winter armour but don't stint on the bits and bobs. Good gloves and boots finish off your get up. You get what you pay for and again fit is key.
4. REPLACE? RENEW? REPAIR?
If you need a new suit fair enough, but check out your old one. Could it be repaired and used as a second suit? Quality wetsuit repairs are amazingly cheap and well worth the effort and a back up winter suit is always a good idea so one is always vaguely dry.
5. SURF SMART
Your wetsuit is your defence in the cold war but in any war it's winning the little battles that count. Rinse and dry your suit, on a proper hanger, nowt worse than a frosty suit. Use changing mats/dry Robes to keep you warm before you jump in. A flask of hot beverage will get you internally heated between sessions. For frosty suits a gallon container of hot water chucked in your wetsuit bucket can warm it a bit en route then you can pour it over at beach for a toasty change. Commit to a session, don't 'umm' and 'aah' for twenty minutes losing vital temp and froth levels.