Ok, so I just started surfing this summer in the Myrtle Beach area... I spent all summer doing it and loved it. I am driving down from KY to spend time with family and surf between mid nov until late dec. I know its going to be cold, so should I invest in a suit? I have no wetsuit intelligence. Where would I get one? I wont lie I am fat and am 5'7 so I'm sure I'll have to buy a custom made one.. any tips or advice for buying my first suit?
I would try some XXL or XXL short suits first at a local shop. Custom suits get expensive. A 3/2 suit will probably hold you over that far south. I am in Florida and even in the middle of the cold season a 3/2 can get hot. If you are still chilly, get a hood and booties. Good luck!
You should be fine with a 3/2 (meaning 3 mm rubber in the chest and 2mm rubber in the arms and legs). However, the suit doesn't cover your hands or feet. You might need gloves and booties depending on the weather. I hate having cold feet and love my booties. Be careful with used suits. They are usually being sold because they are worn out. However, if you only need it from November to December, then just get whatever and suck it up for a month.
In MB you *might* be able to get by with trunks and a 1mm top but your gunna be cold. In 65 degree water you should be able to go about two hours before hypothermia begins to set in.... maybe longer if you've got some insulation on ya.
If you do buy one remember that they are supposed to fit very snug.
Most dive shops rent wetsuits. They might be neon 'farmer john' style (with a bib and a jacket) which are certainly not ideal but its better then staying the rest of the day in a hot bath tub drinking coffee to get your body temp back up.
Ohh- you shouldnt need booties but if you decide you want them DO NOT use diving booties. They dont hold their shape like surfing booties and its nearly impossible to stand up with.
Yo bro. If you haven't already got a suit. The most important thing to do is to go to your favorite local surf shop and talk to somebody. You'll get more than enough info. You just have to ask the right questions. Most of the suits are gonna have a size chart/fit chart on the tag. You'll see some people recommend a L/S or S or what ever for your size. Like jeans every company is different. It is also important to make sure you try it on, try it on, try it on. Cause it must fit to perform. If it don't fit it don't work. My first suit was an Oneil Heat 3/2. That means 3mm on chest area and 2mm thick on extremities, then 4/3 and so on. I used that 3/2 all year in the pacific in LA and it does get cold in Jan and Feb but the newer suits are more sealed and a little warmer cause of tech in materials advancing (ask the sales guy to explain air in neoprean and tape) Make sure it fits cause you don't want any flushing or any of that. If it fits then little water will seep in... and you will stay warmer longer. I like Oneil, Xcel, and ripcurl. Make for certain it's not too long! If its too long then when water gets in it will use the extra material to balloon out and hold in water (bad).
Good luck. If you try on an Oneil Heat in S and it fits i'll sale ya my old one which I used in LA for a year and it's still in perfect shape, no holes perfect! Only $100.