This applies to more than just kitesurfers, it applies to most watersports, and even more so if you participate in multiple sports. Whilst you can get away with a single suit in the UK, it is not ideal. You need a winter suit - it gets cold. However these are the most expensive suits, and often too warm in the summer. It does not make sense to use this all year round if you can afford not to. We think there are 3 key suits you should own.
The Winter Suit
This can take various forms depending on exactly where you live and how much you feel the cold. For us, this should be a 5/4mm, or 6/5mm suit, and preferably with a built in hood. If you do not feel the cold so bad, then a 5/4 without a hood will be your go to. If you really want all out warmth, take a look at a 6mm suit with a built in hood. Typically you will use this suit from November to April. It will vary year to year. If you plan to ride a fair bit over winter, this is the suit we advise spending the bulk of your budget on - this is where you do not want to compromise. If you do not really go out much in winter, then maybe a cheaper option works.
You will want wetsuit boots for sure. If your suit does not include a hood and you feel the cold, you will need a hood or neoprene beanie. When it is really cold, the gloves come out.
Mens Winter Suits / Womens Winter Suits
The Summer Suit
Summer can be a bit fleeting sometimes in the UK. This is going to be a 3/2 or 2/2 suit in some configuration. There is plenty of personal preference here and it varies from sport to sport. Surfers prefer a full suit, windsurfers like a long leg and short arm, whilst kitesurfers prefer a short leg and long arm. This would be the place to skimp, it is the suit you will use the least, they are cheaper anyway, and performance is less critical.
Mens Summer Wetsuits / Womens Summer Wetsuits
The Spring (& Autumn) Suit
These suits are probably technically still winter suits on paper. This is a full suit which you wear from April through to summer, then probably September till its too cold again. I lasted till the end of November this year. For most people a 4/3 is perfect. It is warm enough, but noticeably lighter and more flexible than a winter suit. For us, this is probably the suit we actually wear the most.
If you were only able to have 2 suits, this is probably one you would drop. You would just have to go for a 5/3 winter suit and use it most of the time, adding a hood in winter.
If you need help picking a wetsuit then get in touch. We would be happy to make recommendations based on your needs. Believe it or not, we do actually love chatting about gear all day.