Renting vs Buying A Wetsuit

🕓   5 min read

✏️   Updated on 26th March 2024


This post is for everyone who has ever had that ‘Renting vs Buying a Wetsuit’ dilemma.

Today we’ll be going through the reasons to buy a wetsuit as well as the reasons to rent a wetsuit. I’ll also be trying to give some examples where either renting or buying makes the most sense.

Here is a breakdown of the post…

1. Renting A Wetsuit
2. Reasons To Rent
3. Reasons Not To Rent
4. Typical Scenarios For Renting
5. Buying A Wetsuit
6. Reasons To Buy
7. Reasons Not To Buy
8. Typical Scenarios For Buying

It’s a very quick read, so lets get started!




1. Renting a Wetsuit

The decision of renting vs buying a wetsuit can be just as problematic as ‘Renting vs Buying A Surfboard’. I’ve experienced both renting and buying a wetsuit, so should be able to help those stuck in this predicament.


2. Reasons to rent a wetsuit

  • It’s mega cheap, shouldn’t cost much more than £10 for a whole day
  • Perfect short term option
  • No cleaning or storing responsibilities after use
  • Wetsuit rental shops are already at the beach, so no transportation worries

Renting vs Buying A Wetsuit


3. Reasons not to rent a wetsuit

  • They’re usually in pretty bad condition so might not keep you that warm
  • Continuous renting can get expensive, especially for days in a row
  • Finding an available rental wetsuit for every surf does get tiresome
  • They might have already been used that day so can be supplied wet and sandy
  • Someone else might have pee’d inside it




4. Typical scenarios for renting a wetsuit

I can think of a few scenarios where renting a wetsuit makes total sense over buying one…


1. The new to surfing surfer

Just like renting a surfboard, renting a wetsuit is also perfect for beginners.

The best way to experience surfing as a noobie is to rent both a wetsuit and a surfboard and see how you get on. The rental wetsuits won’t be the best in the world but are perfect for a first timer. At this stage it’s way more about trying surfing out, not the equipment you’re using.


2. The growing family surfer

The second scenario that makes sense to rent a wetsuit regards who the wetsuit is for.

If you’re looking to kit out a growing youngster rentals make the most sense until the growing years have subsided. I remember going to Putsborough a couple times a year throughout my childhood and needed a bigger wetsuit every time.


3. The occasional surfer

If you’re not heading to the beach very often a rental wetsuit makes more sense than anything.

There’s really not point in splashing out on a brand new wetsuit if it’s only getting used once a year. For the occasional trips to the beach a rental wetsuit is the perfect solution. Plus, nobody really wants to be the ‘all the gear no idea’ dude or dudette.


4. The care free surfer

If adult type responsibility is not your favourite thing ever, renting a wetsuit is probs for you.

This is probably the best thing about rental wetsuits – the absolute lack of responsibility. Now let’s not get carried away – they still need returning after your sesh. But once they’ve been returned, you’re free once again to enjoy your wetsuit responsibility free life.

Oh the joy.




5. Buying a Wetsuit

Now, onto buying a wetsuit.

In ways this is the exact opposite of renting a wetsuit. There are both pro’s and con’s to this way of life so let’s take a closer look at the reasons for and against…

If you did actually want a more in-depth guide, check out my ‘Wetsuit Buying Guide’ post.


6. Reasons to buy a wetsuit

  • You’ll always have a wetsuit available for your surf sesh
  • You can get the exact wetsuit type, look and spec you want
  • There’s no more of that tiresome renting a wetsuit hassle before a surf
  • If you grow out of it, it can often be traded in for an upgrade
  • The warmth and buoyancy performance will be different gravy, and yes that means good
  • No more getting into a wet, cold, sandy rental – wahooooo
  • Nobody else would have pee’d in it

Renting vs Buying A Wetsuit


7. Reasons not to buy a wetsuit

  • The biggest downside is the hit on the finances
  • You’re now responsible for it, that means washing, drying and transporting it
  • It will require some storage space when it’s not being used
  • Kids grow up fast and they can quickly grow out of their own wetsuit



8. Typical scenarios for buying a wetsuit

So what are some scenarios where buying a wetsuit makes the most sense?


1. The self-certified surfer

The first scenario that comes to mind is for a surfer that knows surfing is going to be their thing.

This might come after a Summer of rentals or that very first surf lesson. But, once that surfer knows they want a wetsuit – there’s little point in talking them out of it. This is basically what happened to me after a Summer of rental wetsuits.

I also felt like I had really earnt my own wetsuit having done the ground work in the lower wetsuit leagues. It was a great feeling when I put it on for the first time, realising it was mine and mine to keep.


2. The stress free surfer

Buying a wetsuit makes sense for someone who doesn’t mind looking after a wetsuit. The reason they put this effort in though is so that it results in less stress on their actual surf sesh day.

Having spent a long time renting a wetsuit, I certainly know the stress of getting one sorted before a sesh. But, I realised I could cut all of that stress out and get amongst the waves quicker by just having my own wetsuit – so I did that.


3. The hygienic surfer

Now, the final scenario is for those out there who might be more hygiene conscious.

It’s no secret that a lot of rental wetsuits get pee’d in by their wearers. If this is something that really puts you off surfing or trying a wetsuit on, then buying one makes total sense. By purchasing your own wetsuit you are guaranteeing the ultimate hygiene friendly experience.





And that guys is that. I hope you’ve found my ‘Renting vs Buying a Wetsuit’ guide somewhat helpful.

If you’re siding more towards the buying a wetsuit scenarios do check out my ‘Wetsuit Buying Guide’. It contains everything you’d want to know before making that big purchase. It also includes help with wetsuit sizing as that can be an absolute minefield for beginner surfers.

As always, be sure to follow on the usual socials below to keep up to date with the latest surfing content!


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Next read: ‘How To Wash a Wetsuit’

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