How to Choose Your Manera Suit for SoCal Surf

Southern California Manera rep Austin Benke fills us in on how to choose the ideal Manera wetsuit for surfing in SoCal based on season and water temp.

When it comes to wetsuits, Manera’s got a suit for every season. We caught up with Manera’s Southern California rep, Austin Benke, to learn more about surfing in SoCal and how to pick the best Manera wetsuit based on water temp and time of year.

Photos by Brittany McCourtney

Hey, Austin! Where’s your go-to surf zone and what is the water temp?
I cruise down to the reefs in Cardiff, CA. Drained tide and mellow to zero wind conditions are ideal. These soft reefs always do a good job absorbing whatever swell passes by — 2-4 feet is ideal. When it turns on it’s so EPIC; perfect bowly A-frames that run and give you plenty of face to work with. The crowd is probably going to be there, but if you put your time in and be kind, you will get your fair share.

Spring just turned into Summer in Southern California — what wetsuit are you rocking?
I tend to stick with the X10D 4.3 (BLACK) until I’m ready to drop down to a springy at the tail end of spring. I get cold easily and I like to surf for a long time, so I stick with the 4.3 until it warms up. I always like to keep both my X10D 4.3 & Seafarer 2.2 spring suit with me in the van in the spring and I always keep a 2mm top in there for quick sessions as well. 

What is your go-to Manera suit for surfing in SoCal? 
In the winter I rock a X10D Meteor FZ 4.3mm (Black) and in the Spring / Summer I trade out the X10D for a Seafarer Hybrid FZ 2.2mm (short sleeves – long legs) & 2mm \ 1mm Seafarer Neo Top 

How does the water temp change throughout the year and how does that determine what wetsuit you choose?
The water temp is mainly driven by what swells we receive. We are beyond spoiled down here in San Diego & Baja. Water temps stay mellowly cold in the winter and feel perfect in the summer. It’s nice when we have a colder winter as it usually means we have decent size swells and it also keeps the crowds away. Then the summer is epic every year, usually delivering small long period south swells and perfect surf temp waters. I choose a suit that best fits for the day. In winter I stick with an X10D 4.3 and in summer you will find me in a Seafarer springy or 1mm top.  

When do you choose the X10D over the Seafarer SS and vice verse? 
It depends on the type of day I am having and how long of a session I am trying to have. Water temps can shift so I always keep them both in the van. 

What is the big benefit of surfing in a short sleeve wetsuit such as the Seafarer SS? 
The flexibility of the SS is unbeatable, it allows me to surf longer and stronger. I enjoy having a thinner suit and less rubber as I feel more connected to the ocean while surfing, and getting my arms a nice tan is also a huge plus.

What is your favorite feature on the X10D?
The 3D design & flex — the suit fits my body and allows movement like no other suit I have had.

What is your favorite feature on the Seafarer SS? 
Durability. I put my Seafarer through the ringer and it still delivers warmth and holds up great. 

How does the fit of both the Seafarer SS and X10D compare to other suits you’ve worn?
The 3D design delivers an incomparable fit to all other suits. The X10D is the ultimate performance wetsuit. In addition to excellent thermal protection, the X10D fleece interior gives flexibility and lightness while providing great comfort.

Do these products help your surfing in any way? 
110%. It’s simple; when I am more comfortable I can surf better and longer. Movement is everything to me while surfing and MANERA’s 3D design allows me to move like no other suit has. 

Anything else you’d like to add? 
All of the MANERA wetsuit ranges are extremely impressive and deliver a viable suit for any water sport environment. I thoroughly enjoy knowing that the philosophy behind the MANERA team is something I can be proud to support and be a part of.  

Austin’s Go-To Suits for Surfing in SoCal:

When Austin’s not repping Manera wetsuits you can find him surfing down at the Cardiff reefs. You can also follow him on Instagram at: @Austinnbenkee