For those divers out there that want to use their dive suits for surfing, there’s a few things to know. First of all, dive suits are cut differently than surfing wetsuits. Divers use their arms less and their legs more, kicking with their arms behind themselves. Therefore, dive suits are cut to allow for more warmth, and not so much for performance movements.
Surfing wetsuits are cut with the arms and legs stretched out to maximize movement. In addition, extra panels, more flexible neoprene, specialized stitches, and things like fluid seam welds are used. This is not to say that surfing wetsuits are not meant to keep you as warm—choosing the right millimeter suit for the water temperature should be considered, along with other materials like wool lining. Also, because diving wetsuits are meant to go deep under water where there is extreme pressure, the neoprene used is much tougher, resulting in a less flexible suit. If you were to take a regular wetsuit for surfing down to a depth of 20 meters, it would come up flat as a pancake, and it will have lost all its water absorption capabilities. Basically, it’s safe to say that dive suits are not cut out for surfing, and vice versa.