What wetsuit for me?
We get asked this question several times a day. It depends entirely on your answers to the following questions: What? Where? When
What activities are you doing? Where are you doing it? Are you in the water or on the water? What is the water temperature? When are you doing it? Summer? Winter? How do you feel the cold? How long do you want to stay out?
The best wetsuit for you comes down to three main criteria:
Chinese vs Japanese:
- Rubber: Chinese or Japanese, standard or super stretch.
- Style: coverage, thickness, construction.
- Fit: firm or loose, standard size, custom-fit
What kind of rubber your wetsuit is made from is really important. Chinese rubber is made from Petroleum and has less thermal properties. We use Japanese Yamamoto neoprene exclusively in our wetsuits. Made from Limestone and filled with nitrogen air, it's warmer, lighter and more durable. [Read more about the different kinds of rubber
Standard or superstretch:
What you do in the water usually indicates how strechy you will need your suit to be. Standard neoprene is durable and great for all kinds of watersports where flexibility isn't as essential. Superstretch rubber is less durable but perfect for sports where ease of movement, comfort and performance is important.
a term coined from Steamer Lane, a famous surfing
location in Santa Cruz, California
, is used to describe a full length wetsuit - long sleeve and long legs — this gives you a full body cover and the warmest option.
A Spring wetsuit
also known as a 'shortie' has short sleeves and legs and is usually better for warmer temperature waters.
A Long John
style is like a singlet top with long legs. And Short John
style with short legs.
Our wetsuits come in a number of thicknesses and are measured in millimeters, such as 2/2, 3/2 or 4/3. The first number indicates the core thickness of the suit (the body), with the second number for the extremities (arms/legs). For example a 3/2 suit is 3mm in the body, 2mm in the arms and legs. Generally, the thicker the suit the warmer you will be, while thinner suits are more flexible.
The way a suit is constructed really effects warmth. With advances in wetsuit technology, we can now make thinner but warmer suits. For example, a glued & sealed 2/2 is warmer than a flatlocked 3/2 — so thickness isn't everything. Make sure you think about how a suit is constructed and what kind of seams it has. [Read more about wetsuit construction
Firm or Loose:
The firmer the fit, the warmer the suit. If you're in the water, a firm fit is essential. A bad or loose fit will flush/ let in water and 'pool' at any air pockets inside your wetsuit. However, if you are out of the water (on a jetski, kayak etc) then you can get away with a looser fit than, say, a surfer or swimmer.
Seventhwave make a full range of standard sizes in men's, women's and youth.
We've found approximately a third of people don't fit a standard sized wetsuit. Tailored to your specific colour, size and body shape and hand-crafted on site — the warmest, best fitting and most flexible wetsuit is one that is custom made.
Now that you've had a browse, why not try our Interactive Product Finder
How do your wetsuits compare to other brands?
Our suits really are different to other brands. Basically it comes down to the rubber we use — other brands use a Chinese or Taiwanese made rubber (Seamate, Sheico etc) which has an air count of 60% and is petroleum-based, meaning the longer you are in the water the more water it absorbs and the less warmth it holds. It is also made using a highly chemical process involving messy and hazardous petro-chemicals. Only a handful of companies around the world use the premier rubber we use — Japanese Yamamoto — which is made from limestone and has a closed-cell content of 94% Nitrogen air, is better for the environment, and is longer lasting.
What this means in simple terms is that our suits have a lot more air bubbles inside the rubber than other brands (30% to be exact), don't soak up the water
, weigh nearly identical wet or dry, and are quick drying. All this makes for a really warm, light suit great for surfing and other sports. Our 3mm rubber would be as warm as Chinese 4mm, simply because of the thermal properties of the air inside our rubber. Add Titanium and you really are cooking!
What is the difference between flatlocked and glued & sealed (G&S) seams?
There is a big difference — flatlocked seams are breathable, whereas glued and sealed seams are water tight.
Flatlocked seams are achieved by lapping the neoprene together in order to create a flat, comfortable and breathable seam perfect for spring, summer and autumn waters in New Zealand (or water temperatures around 15˚ upwards). The breathable seam allows a thin layer of water inside the suit, which is trapped and heated between the rubber and your body. This is not really suitable for cold, winter waters.
Glued and stitched (G&S) seams are glued, blindstitched and/or taped, making a totally sealed seam that will not let water pass through. Apart from the extremities of your body (wrists, ankles, neck etc) a glued suit is basically like a dry suit — most of the time you will take the suit off and find that you are still dry inside. Therefore G&S seams are perfect for colder waters, and when combined with the right neoprene thickness can ensure comfortable activity in 6-8˚ waters. [Check your local water temperature here
Our sealed seams are created by a double coating of glue, butted together and then blindstitched on each side. Blindstitch is created with a curved needle and does not penetrate through to the other side of the neoprene, meaning a complete, watertight seal. A glued seam is flat, supple, watertight and flexible. [Watch a video of a blindstitched wetsuit being made
What's the difference between your steamer range?
We have four main steamer models—Vortex, Viper, MAX and TRITON—each with different features. [Watch this video for a full tour of the steamer range
We start off our range with the Vortex 3/2
steamer. It's one of four different steamer suits we make.
Our most economical model, the Vortex is made from Yamamoto standard stretch neoprene. It features breathable overlocked seams, back zip, ankle zips, and armatek kneepads, and with care and maintenance will give you 5 plus years of service.
The Viper 3/2
is a versatile model constructed from breathable, flatlocked seams. It features a mix of standard neoprene through the torso and legs and super-stretch neoprene through the arms and shoulders, for flexibility and paddling power. The back zip version includes an extended v-neck seal. The neck entry version has a chest zip, and ensures more stretch, a better seal through the shoulders, and less flushing. Like the back zip Viper it has superstretch through the upper half, flatlocked seams, and has a titanium-lining in the arms and shoulders.
The Viper 3/3
is the sealed version of the 3/2, or referred to as glued & stitched construction. It is a neck entry, fully titanium lined winter wetsuit, and features glued and sealed, water-tight seams. It is made of a combination of neoprenes. Standard stretch neoprene, through the legs and torso and super stretch neoprene through the arms and shoulders.
is our most high performance, ergonomic and lightweight wetsuit. It comes in back zip or neck entry, and is totally made from superstretch, yamamoto neoprene. It features flexible Kevlar kneepads and curved, flatlocked seams for added comfort and stretch. The MAX is fully titanium lined - increasing warmth by up to 40%.
zipless model is even stretchier, and can be made in a super light 1.5mm competition model. Our MAX winter model includes a custom-fitting in the price, can be made as a neck entry or back zip and in a number of different thicknesses, and features fully glued, sealed and taped seams.
s fixed hood, sealed seams and fluffy zirconium neoprene makes it the warmest suit in our range. A single point neck entry system designed to match your stance, a crossover inner, an AQUASEAL zipper and shoulder tensioner ensures comfort and warmth in the coldest of climates. Kevlar kneepads for comfort, and Plush-lined Aero Zirconium Yamamoto Neoprene from the chest to ankle keeps the TRITON super warm and dry.
Our entire range can be made in men's or women's models, colours, and custom-fit to your unique measurements, so to get yours started go to our custom fit
page and download the form.
How stretchy are your suits?
Stretchy! Being a lighter material also means performance and stretch is increased. Our Viper model has a superstretch rubber in the shoulder, arm and underarm panels, while our MAX model is 100% superstretch rubber — giving our suits amazing elasticity, memory, and multi-directional stretch capacity.
While Chinese rubber can be made to feel super soft, it often stretches after a few seasons and ends up being a size or two larger than when you purchased it. Our superstretch rubber is both soft AND has what is called 'memory' — meaning our wetsuits mold to your body shape and doesn't get loose over time. It also has an elongation of 480-580%. Compare that to the elongation of the human skin under the arm, which is 60-70%, and you get an idea of how stretchy the MAX model is. And if you get a custom fit, your performance is maximised!
What's the lifespan of your suits?
Our wetsuits are made to perform. Another advantage of Japanese rubber is its lifespan. Because of Yamamoto's independent closed-cell content, cell walls aren't connected and will not tear as easily as standard rubber — meaning our wetsuits are a lot more durable, harder wearing and longer lasting. Most people find our wetsuits last twice as long as their other suits. We find if you use them a lot and take good care of them between surfs' you should get 2-3 seasons from a Max, 3-6 seasons from a Viper and even longer from a Vortex. All our wetsuits are made in New Zealand and are covered by our limited warranty
on materials and construction.
What are those zipless suits all about?
Unfortunately, zips can let in water and don't stretch. That's why we also make zipless wetsuits. A zipless wetsuit really is warmer, simply because of the complete seal around the neck and the elimination of the cold, metal object (zip) down your back. Also having no back zip means greater freedom of movement in the back panel, allowing more stretch and a wetsuit that feels like a second skin.
Zipless suits are entered through a super stretchy and durable neck panel. You then stretch the 'bib' over your head from the back shoulders, which then seals and zips into place high on your chest. With good technique a zipless suit is easy to get in and out of, and adds a number of benefits back zip suits don't have. [Watch a how to video
Smoothie or non-smoothie? What's the best option for me?
' has become a common way to describe single-sided nylon neoprene. This is neoprene with a nylon (fabric) finish on one side and a rubber finish (smoothie) on the other. The trend over the last 20 years has been to use smoothie in the center chest panel and center back panel. It was originally used in these panels to lower the wind chill factor, as after immersion in water the smoothie drained away any water particles. Because the smoothie did not hold water the wind chill factor against the chest was much lower.
Because Seventhwave uses non-absorbent Limestone neoprene, we have found we no longer need to use smoothie. So on some wetsuits we offer you the choice of having smoothie or not. To help you decide what option is best for you, check out this helpful information on what smoothie is and how it works
What's your policy on deliveries, returns and privacy?
We pride ourselves on exceptional customer service. Without customers we are nothing! zilch! nada! walla-isshi! So we've made sure all your delivery, returns, and privacy concerns are covered. Feel free to browse our policies here: [Delivery Policy
] [Returns Policy
What happens if my custom-fit wetsuit doesn't fit?
Most of us after finally doing the measuring thing and ordering a new wetsuit, can't wait for it to arrive. Once it does, we dash home to try the wetsuit on. "Great, fantastic, awesome!" are the usual replies we get but for a small percentage of you we have had small problems affect you getting your perfect fit first time round. Well the good news is we are very keen to get any sizing issues corrected and as soon as possible. This helpful guide
shows what we do in that unlikely scenario.
How do I use my online coupon?
- Click Login or Join in the top right of any page, and follow the instructions to login or join.
- Go to the products page and find the item you want to purchase, choose the size, option, thickness, etc.
- Click on the add to cart button : your order will appear in your shopping cart.
- Click on the shopping cart icon (top right of the menu).
- Enter a coupon code in the space provided:
- Click apply coupons and then click Checkout (if you don't have a coupon just click Checkout).
- In the checkout enter all details in the Required fields marked with a *. Choose your payment option and click Place Order
I have only worn my neck entry wetsuit a couple of times and there is a small tear in the front of the neck. Is that common?
This is common with all our Neck Entry wetsuits.
The neck entry panel on all ZB (neck entry) models is the most vulnerable panel on the whole wetsuit. This is because of the high stretch required for the entry and exit process to get your body through this opening.
Over time and with use it will fray and tear a little around the neck.
There are reasons for this. * We leave the opening as a raw edge as this way the neoprene opening has the maximum stretch possible. This is because there is nothing sewn along the edge. As soon as anything is sewn around this opening it drastically reduces the amount of stretch available and makes it very difficult for entry and exit.
*The length or circumference around the neck opening is slightly smaller than necessary for most people. This way the overlap when the collar panel is pulled over is always sufficient to seal the wearer from any unwanted water entry.
We recommend leaving the tears as they are covered up with the collar. Even if they get quite big they do not compromise the performance of your wetsuit.
In severe cases we have trimmed the neck opening to tidy up the raw edge of the opening. But it is also critical not to over trim and end up with too large an opening, this leads to water penetration.
Care and attention to the correct way to enter and exit a ZB or neck entry wetsuit is advised and critical to longevity. Check our 'how to'
video page for advice.