front chest zip wetsuit

What Is a Chest Zip or Front Zip Wetsuit?

What is a chest or front zip and what are the advantages and disadvantages and what is the easiest way to put on a chest zip. You find the information below.

There are three types of wetsuits: chest / front zip, back zip, and zip-free wetsuits.

The front zip is much like any other wetsuit, however, the zipper is located at the front of the wetsuit (on the chest). The way you put on a chest zip wetsuit differs slightly from other models and can be experienced as difficult. The front zip wetsuit gives you more flexibility and warmth than a back zip.

Are chest / front zip wetsuits better?

These wetsuits are definitely newer than the back zip wetsuits. You would think they are better. I would say it is a personal preference. There are some reasons people think chest zip wetsuits are better:

  • They don’t give shoulder and neck problems anymore while surfing because their back is more flexible.
  • They get less water in their wetsuit because the zipper is shorter.
  • They are more flexible when you are paddling in the water on your surfboard.
  • They are warmer than back zip wetsuits because you are losing less heat through the shorter zipper.
  • They are easier to put on because the zipper is at the front.
  • They are more flexible in general because it needs flexibility while putting the wetsuit on.

What are the disadvantages of a front zip wetsuit?

All the reasons people think the chest zip is better are also why people do not like these wetsuits because the opposite is happening. Some other disadvantages people experience:

  • The wetsuit will lose its stretch after a couple of months/ years. Therefore the wetsuit will not fit perfectly anymore. 
  • The front zipper could be irritating on your chest while paddling on your surfboard.

How to put on a chest zip wetsuit?

Some people think that putting on a chest zip wetsuit is more difficult. It is not directly more difficult but it is definitely different from a normal back zip.

  • Step 1: Reach down inside from the top of the wetsuit with two arms till the hips and grab the inside and pull it out till you have something like a pair of trousers.
  • Step 2: Put your feet into the leg openings of the wetsuit, then pull the wetsuit up to the knees, and then continue all the way up to your waist.
  • Step 3: You need to find the side without the zip, as it allows for more stretch, which will make it easier for you to get your arm in. Usually it is the left arm.
  • Step 4: Put your arm all the way to the end till the wetsuit is up to your shoulder.
  • Step 5: Now try to put the other arm in, it helps if you lift your arm in the air.
  • Step 6: Then put the back flap (neoprene cover on the back) over your head to the front.
  • Step 7: Attach the zip and pull across. You are good to go.

How to take off a chest zip wetsuit?

  • Step 1: First pull the zipper in front across to open.
  • Step 2: Then grab the neck flap and pull it over your head to the back.
  • Step 3: Now grab with one arm to the other side and gently pull it over one shoulder. You can first try to pull one arm out or you can try to do the other arm at the same time.
  • Step 4: Pull the wetsuit down to your hips. If you have some ankle straps, now is a good time to take them off your ankle.
  • Step 5: Try to roll the wetsuit further to the ankles and pull your legs out with your thumbs and try not to stand on your wetsuit.

In the video below you also see some common mistakes on how not to take off your wetsuit.