The most important factor in choosing the right wetsuit for you-is size. This may seem obvious, but all too often first time wetsuit buyers get a wetsuit that is too large for them. They think if I get a wetsuit one size larger than I need it will have more room inside, therefore I will be more comfortable In fact the opposite is true-that extra space inside leads to the wetsuit moving around too much and can cause rashes or even chaffing! If you must get too large of a wetsuit, at least get one with an inner liner- like the XCEL Infiniti or the Syncro by Quiksilver wetsuits. But in general if you stick precisely to the manufactures sizing information you can't go wrong.

The second most important factor to consider when buying a wetsuit is the type. Wetsuits come in a variety of types for every kind of water activity. Shorties, which have leg length above the knees and short arms, are great in warmer waters and when you need extra mobility in your arms and legs. O'Neill and Billabong wetsuits are excellent choices here. Full suits are best suited to colder waters. These have full-length arms and legs that help you to retain more body heat. The Rip Curl E Bomb wetsuit is a high quality full suit that you can't go wrong with.

The next thing to consider is wetsuit thickness. The right thickness of a wetsuit is dictated solely by the water temperature you'll be in. But before describing what thickness you should look for, let me tell you what those numbers in wetsuit ads mean.

Wetsuit thickness is specified like 4/3, or 6/5/4. These numbers mean the wetsuit thickness in various sections. 4/3 means the wetsuit 4 millimeter thick in the torso/upper legs and 3mm thick in the arms and lower legs. A 7/6/5 means the wetsuit has a hood-the hood is 7mm thick, the torso 6mm, arms are 5mm. XCEL wetsuits makes a 7/6/5 wetsuit that is sure to keep you nice and toasty.

So what thickness should you look for in a wetsuit? If the temperature of the water you'll be in is below 40 degrees-get a 7/6/5. Based on these numbers you can tell it has a hood to help your body retain more heat. If the water is between 40 and 50 degrees-try a 5/3 wetsuit, or even a 6/5/4. Between 50 and 60 degrees go with 4/3. In warmer waters above 60 (but below 75) degrees use a 3/2 and you mean want to consider using a shorty for extra mobility.

Lastly, remember a wetsuit can be a bit of an investment so stay with the quality brands when buying a wetsuit. Some of the best are made by Rip Curl wetsuits and XCEL wetsuits.