Best Wetsuit Hoods

“You’re not going outside without your hat and gloves!” said every mother on a cold day. Well they were right about this when it comes to cold water surfing. Most people already know that you lose warmth through your extremities, so if you are brave enough to face the elements during the cold months of the year, then making sure you’re wrapped up warm with a wetsuit hood and gloves is essential for any water sport enthusiast.

Quick Verdict

O'neill wetsuit hood

This hood uses O’Neill’s butter firewall technology to keep that heat locked in.

The smooth outer layer keeps the wind at bay making sure you can enjoy your cold surf session

What to look for in a Wetsuit Hood?

Well the key thing to consider here is what you intend to use the wetsuit hood for? They come in various designs which we will discuss, but if you want the best wetsuit hood, decide what you need it for first so that you get the right design for you. A stand up paddler will hopefully not face too much time in the water, so a beanie design may suit better. However if we are surfing, that can mean a lot of static time waiting for waves, or time underwater when duck diving. If this is going to be in a cold location, then something with a seal will really help to fight off the cold while in the water and minimise flush throughs. 

What type of Wetsuit Hood should I get?

  • Ultra-seal hoody – this features a specific section of material that tucks under the collar of the wetsuit, while the neoprene goes on the outside of the suit. It provides the feeling of an “all in one” wetsuit and will really reduce any water entering into the suit. Ensure you get this fitted correctly and utilise the toggle attachment so that you have a good seal to keep cold water at bay when surfing.
  • Cold Water Hood – this is almost identical to the ultra-seal version, except it doesn’t have the material which fits under the wetsuit. Helps to keep heat inside with a thermal lining and is one of the most popular versions of surfing hood. You will find this type of hood less restrictive than the ultra-seal version.
  • Sports Cap – This is a great option if you don’t like wearing surfing hoods but need some type of warmth on your head when you are in the waves. Less restrictive than other surfing hoods and allows you to look over your shoulder more easily while helping to fight off some of the cold. Useful in keeping your ears warm too.
  • Beanie – Perfect for the SUP crowd. Waterproof and warm enough to keep that head warm throughout the water.

Getting the right fit of wetsuit hood is important, you don’t want the threat of suffocating while trying to pull on a wetsuit hood that is too small for you. Therefore get the measurement of your head right first. Ideally the flat type of tape measure used to size up suits will do the trick to help give you the most accurate reading. Unlike measuring other body parts – there is no need to exaggerate as you want this to help you when choosing the right wetsuit hood. Where in between sizes I would always try to round up – especially if you have long hair and want a pleasant process when putting the hood on or off.

Our favourite Wetsuit Hoods

O’Neill Psycho 3mm Hood

Best oneill wetsuit hood

Jack O’Neill is the Godfather of wetsuits and he hit the sweet spot when he designed the O’Neill Psycho Hood as it works extremely well in those cold water months. There are lots of technical points to mention on this wetsuit hood. Firstly take a look at the inside of the hood, it features O’Neill’s techno butter firewall which is used in all their cold water gear. It is designed to keep the heat locked in during your time in the water which is the first thing you want from a premium wetsuit hood. The outside after wetsuit hood features a smooth skin to help keep the wind at bay.  There is nothing worse than having cold ears and the wind battering against them, this wetsuit hood will keep you nice and toasty when everything around you suggests it’s freezing.

It features the adjustable strap on the face of the mask which makes it versatile for all users and also has an anatomical fit – with this mask you will feel locked in and protected from the elements.

Rip Curl Flashbomb 2mm Wetsuit Hood

Rip Curl wetsuit hood

This wetsuit hood is perfect for keeping you warm on the cold water days in the North Atlantic. If you are aiming at surfing in more extreme cold water spots then you’d probably favour a thicker neoprene, but at 2mm, this wetsuit hood gives you good flexibility while not sacrificing the warmth. The Flashbomb features Rip Curl’s Flashdry lining which aims to dry much faster than other wetsuit materials and also ensure that the heat stays inside the hood. The smooth skin interior helps to keep out that wind chill, so you don’t feel exposed to the elements. One of the best wetsuit hoods on the market, so if you are someone who feels the cold a lot, this is a great hood to consider.

Billabong Absolute 2mm Wetsuit Hood

Best winter wetsuit hood

With graphene thermal lining for warmth, this wetsuit hood can stand up against its rivals in terms of performance and heat retention. Now you may have read “graphene” and thought that was a spelling mistake….graphene is Billabong’s attempt to revolutionise the wetsuit market. Under testing it’s been hard to find out whether this type of rubber is truly any different from other neoprene, but we have found that it’s excellent when it comes to keeping you warm. This wetsuit hood has a full balaclava feel to it and a small face opening to help keep the majority of your face covered, which is excellent for cold water surfing. The adjustable toggle helps this even further as you can really get a snug fit when it is worn. A small peripheral visor is attached to the hood to help keep water from running down into your face while you are riding those winter swells – a really good surfing hood to consider.

O’Neill Neo Beanie – Abyss

Oneill Neo Beanie

Is there an occasion when a beanie isn’t cool? I am guilty of wearing a beanie in any weather, so the chance to have one on in the water was always going to be music to my ears. This product is perfect for stand up paddle boarders as you get the warmth needed for any weather and if you fall off your board you don’t need to worry about your hat getting wet. There is also the added benefit that when the heavens open, your head will stay warm, which means you get to focus on what you enjoy. The hidden key pocket is a nice feature as it give some additional storage. My friend uses one for open water swimming, so this gives a useful feature to an already useful product. There is a leash on the back of the beanie – you can use this to attach the beanie to your wetsuit, so if you take a heavy wipeout, you don’t need to worry about your surf hat being washed away in the whitewash! One of the best wetsuit beanies on the market.

C-Skins Element 2.5mm Wetsuit Hood

best budget wetsuit hood

A budget option wetsuit hood for someone who is looking to get a wetsuit hood that offers high performance at a lower price than some of the better known brands. The benefits of this wetsuit hood is the neck strap that can be adjusted to suit your own frame. Most wetsuit hoods on the market have an anatomical fit – you put it on an it moulds to your frame. This one gives you a little more control as you can loosen and tighten the strap to your own needs. At 2.5mm thick it is warm enough for almost all waters and the neoprene is flexible to have good manoeuvrability. A solid option if you plan to surf in the cold only a few times a year.

O’Neill Youth Kids Wetsuit hood

best kids wetsuit hood

Are you looking for the best wetsuit hood for children? Then stop your search here…every little winter gromit will need to get themselves a surfing wetsuit hood. Children tend to have less meat on their bones than your typical adult, in which case they will feel the cold more. You don’t want to spend your summer months grooming your child to become the next Gabriel Medina, only to see the cold water put them off from surfing forever. This Psycho wetsuit hood performs just as well as the adult version. It has all the same features, such as the anatomical fit, the wind-proof smooth skin and trimmable visor to block out the sun and keep water out of your eyes. I think you’ll struggle to find a better wetsuit hood for kids – well worth the investment for any kids wanting to spend the winter months in the water.