For Mamas Who Play Hard: WETSUITS


At the end of last summer, I bought a wetsuit.  It wasn’t a particularly cold summer, the water temp was…pleasant.  So there was no good reason that I had spent the majority of my time on the hot sand, watching (and cheering) my boys on as they body-boarded, did some stand-up paddleboarding and played in the water.

Yay, Boys!!  You go and do that Boy Thing!

Ugh.  What has happened to me?

Pre-kids, I was always the one on the stand-up paddleboard, the surf board, the wind-surfer.  My Dad was a big believer in taking risks, in trying everything once, and my childhood summers were filled with all kinds of adventure:  that time I took my tiny sailboat out alone and got stuck across the lake (I learned how to tack after that).  The time my friends and I took off with Uncle Jim’s jetskiis and almost ran out of gas (hmmmm…he still doesn’t know about that one).  That insanely frustrating day I tried to one-ski and fell 20 times in a row.  THIS was summer.

So when, exactly, did I turn into the Mum on The Towel?  My downward spiral into spectator-only-mode was, most likely, an effect of years of sleep deprivation and general exhaustion but ultimately….WHO CARES?  It was, quite simply, time.  It was time to take myself back, to show my boys that This Girl Plays Hard, and when I’m 85+ years old sitting on the beach watching my grandkids play (assuming I’ll be so lucky)….hopefully I’ll have a sense of peace, knowing that my days were richly spent.

So.  It was time to tackle my biggest hurdle to ocean play:  Cold water.  I hate (hatehatehate) being cold.  I HATE it.  But I had been resisting the urge to buy a wetsuit because I felt like some kind of poser.  Surfing?  OK.  I get it.  But general frolicking and body-boarding with four year olds?  Uh….seriously?  A wetsuit?


Yes.  Seriously a wetsuit.  Once I got over myself, this wetsuit business completely changed my Mom-at-the-Beach game.  We’re talking hours of playing in the ocean, where my pre-wetsuit-self would only have lasted 20 min tops.

cute wetsuits for jersey shorewetsuit-jersey-shorewetsuits-for-moms


(wearing:  Rip Curl’s wetsuit in fatigue – go up a size, I’m wearing a 6)

Shop My Favorite Wetsuits

All of the wetsuits below are made from neoprene – a thicker fabric that will help to keep you warm.  But size UP, especially if you plan to wear a bikini underneath and take it on/off at the beach.  Struggling into a too-small wetsuit is no fun, and gets harder when it’s actually wet.



Gang, we’re off working on our 2016 Swim Guide.  It’s not yet complete, but if you really want a sneak peek…here it is.  (Also, we’d love some help!  If you have a suit that you swear by, let us know!  Shoot me an email at





  1. Yessssssss. I finally bought a wetsuit for mommy and me swim class despite the — ahem — heated and indoor pool. I plan on rocking it at the pool with my kids all summer. For 39 years I thought I hated swimming, but now I know I just hate being cold! Wetsuits all the way!!

    • Professional swim instructor/lifeguard here: neoprene breaks down completely in chlorinated water. Wetsuits come with warranties, they are not like swimsuits: if you take it in chlorinated water even once the warranty is totally void. You absolutely cannot wear them in a pool, particularly public pools that are heavily treated (like kids’ pools). Wetsuits are expensive and will last a long time if they are used only in fresh/salt water and rinsed out thoroughly after each use. When I was playing with my kids in summer and trying to keep warm, I liked a two piece with board shorts and a black rash guard. The black soaked up the sun and kept me warm while it protected me from nip slip while chasing my kiddos around.

      • So good to know! We have a beach nearby but the boys inevitably want to go to the freezing aquatic center at some point and i would think to where the suit there. Thanks!

      • Thanks for the info! I’m not sure mine is made of neoprene so maybe it’s more of a thick rash guard than a wetsuit? I honestly don’t know the difference. It certainly wasn’t expensive! 🙂

  2. Keeping fingers crossed that you find some good swim options for mamas hiding post partum pooch who also don’t love their thigh situation lol! Looking forward to the swim post!

  3. Hey there, I’ve been waiting for your bikini/two piece reviews/shopping guides. It’s one pieces everywhere. I find them harder to wear. Are we done with bikinis? Any chance you would do a review or recommend any? Regardless, your posts are always a favorite read.

    • Hi Leigh! I’m actually working on the bikini piece right now. Bikinis always take me longer because I can never decide how best to categorize: by shape? pattern? By large bust vs small? I keep changing the categories, blah blah blah. Anyway, I’m hoping to launch the swim guide by the end of this week, and it will include bikinis (one way or another, LOL). Although I suspect we’ll still be working on the bikini section for another week or so. If you have any thoughts about how you like to shop for bikinis, I’m all ears!

      • I would love some that work for small (like very small…tiny…miniscule) bust sizes! I typically can only wear triangle tops because I can’t fill out any other style- but I would love some options!! I feel like most reviews cater towards support and coverage… which I TOTALLY get…but that is basically the opposite of what I need. And I KNOW there are others out there:)))

        • I’m the the complete opposite. I feel like there are millions of triangle top options but hardly any options for D+ cup sizes. Like, I wear a 34H (while nursing) but am a pretty average size 10-12 on bottom and lordy it’s pretty much impossible to find a swimsuit that fits on both the top and the bottom. It HAS to be a two piece that you can order different sizes for each piece and they only seem to exist online (no trying on before you buy). I’ve lost track of the number of swimsuits I’ve ordered and then returned over the years. 🙁 I loved Amanda’s sports bra round-up and would LOVE to hear her swimsuit recommendations!

        • I really like the adjustable French top at jcrew. Similar to a triangle but more stable/sturdy/don’t have to mess w sliding triangles… I end up tying it like a triangle tho instead of using two back straps- does that make sense? It fits my tiny frame better and stays in place. Then fitted rash guards all. The. Way.

          • Thank you! This literally pains me to say because I had SUCH high hopes…. But I tried the lspace wrap top and it It didn’t push anything together… It flattened everything out in an “I wrapped an ace bandage around myself” kind of way. Maybe it’s just me??? I don’t know….I think ruffles will be the next frontier for me.

  4. So glad to see this! We just moved and we’re surrounded by water. I’m looking for a swimsuit so I’ll be glad to see what you are pulling together.

  5. Wetsuits!!! Why did i completely consider them for the boys but not for me? I was thinking about sending you an email but really it boils down to four basic tenets: Jcrew, bikini bottom, french adjustable top, rashguard. This year my goal is to actually stand up on a surfboard while it’s in the water riding a wave and to paddleboard. First surfing lesson this saturday!

  6. An after thought question: do wetsuits prevent board rash? My boys surfed last year and got nasty board burn until we started slathering them in vaseline before every surf day.

  7. Would love to see some boyshort options, please! These were big for a while– now, not so much (and I really like having the option of not doing all the grooming stuff before venturing out to the water). Thanks!

  8. Thank you!!!! I’ve been hoping for a wetsuit post. I picked up a spring Jane from Patagonia last summer. It holds my bikini in place when I fall off the SUP.

  9. I’ve lived on the beaches of California my entire life. The water temps don’t always sync with the air temps, so a wetsuit is pretty standard in your beach/surf repertoir. Billabong is killing it in the spring suit department, with creative retro designs, printed neoprene and flattering cuts ( Also neoprene pants…it’s a thing, and they are awesome. Also, The Seea, is amazing. Such a refreshing detour from your typical fair, and so very functional

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