Wetsuit Guide to the Great Lakes

The Surf Ontario shop staff have a combined 36 years of Lake Surfing experience. Some of us have learned the hard way and together we know exactly what to wear and when. Here's a brief summary to help you know what to wear as the air heats up and the water temps lag behind. Although not listed below, 1 to 2mm tops, shorts, socks or tanks can be used to fine tune your wetsuit experience. 

 Keep in mind everyone is different, however if you want to stay warm and surf for more than 30 minutes, invest in the proper gear - it works, it lasts and it will get you in the water NOW! 

 March - April:

6/5/4 hooded full suit

5/4 hooded when air is warm

7-8mm boots - the water is still near ice cold

5mm gloves/mitts/lobsters 

 May - June:

5/4 or maybe 6/5 hooded full suit on Lake Ontario

5/4 or 4/3 hooded on Lake Erie and Lake Huron

3, 5, 7mm boots depending on activity - SUP or Surf

3-5mm gloves/mitts/lobsters depending on activity

Flat water SUP - just booties - but don't fall in :)

 July - August:

4/3 or 3/2 or sometimes boardshorts & bikinis in August

Sometimes 3mm boots Lake Ontario 

Flat water SUP - boardshorts or bikinis


most lakes 3/2 or 4/3 full suit

no boots

no gloves

no hood - although a light hood can take the edge off on a cool North wind


all lakes 4/3 full suit

3-5mm boots

maybe gloves

2-3mm hood likely


all lakes 4/3 to 5/4 full suit with hood

5-8mm boots

3-5mm gloves or 5mm lobster gloves

hood mandatory & usually attached to 5/4.


all lakes 5/4 hooded, 5.5/4 hooded psycho or 6/5/4 hooded full suit

7mm boots

5-8 mm mitts/gloves/lobsters

maybe thermal layer under 5/4 for added warmth

 January - February:

all lakes 6/5/4 hooded full suit

maybe 5/4 hooded

7-8mm boots (wetsuit socks optional)

5-7 mm mitts/gloves/lobsters