Here is my general scheme based on water temp. I usually surf dawn patrol in RI.
Below 45 degrees- Hooded 5/4, 7mm boots, 5mm lobster claw gloves
45 - 60 degrees - 4/3. Low end of this range, go with hood and heavy boots and gloves. Middle of range, go with 3mm gloves and 3mm boots, no hood. High end of range, drop gloves and boots.
60 - 65 degrees - 3/2mm
65 - 68 degrees - 2mm spring suit
68+ trunks plus neoprene vest
Straight trunking it at 6:00am in New England during the summer is not really necessary and is more just a novelty. Air temp is rarely above 75 in the morning and water temp usually only hits 70 in late August. If you surf a lot during the day, I could see trunking it a lot.
I am most comfortable wearing 3/2 with 3mil booties. Light wear, warmth, lots of traction and best of all the crowds dwindle with more rubber needed.
You guys crack me up, been trunking it since late march. I know, we don't count down here in FL
I swipe wetsuits throughout the seasons to adjust for the temp (craigslist is my friend much to my wife's attitude on spending money on MORE surfing gear).
I am now wearing a long john suit and have been for about a month which seems to be great for the air and water temp in Va Beach (though everyone else is in full suits).
I drop the suit also about at 68 to 75 depending on air temp.... but my kids do not seem phased by the water temp and already running out and playing in the water... and turning blue. End of this month the temp should be there when we skip spring and go right into summer again....
Regardless of where I've lived on East Coast,
If air temp is warm enough, I'm trunking in 63 degress +. Don't mind my wetsuit, but feeling the water/added mobility = priceless.
But who cares what other people are wearing, just be comfortable. You're only out there for yourself.
as soon as its trunkable, i dont hesitate. i always trunk it in upper 60's
During my session this afternoon, I could SWEAR the water warmed up overnight. So I checked the buoy and sure enough... up about 5 degrees since this time yesterday! I know the buoy readings and the surf zone are not usually exactly the same, but it's a good indicator.