Even if you surf in Southern California, there’s a good chance that your hands get cold at the end of long sessions. It’s normal—your extremities lose heat fast, and even if the water’s in the high 60s it can still take a toll on your fingers after a while. That’s where wetsuit gloves come in. You don’t have to surf in Alaska or Patagonia to appreciate keeping your hands warm, and gloves also give your hands a bit of protection from sharp fins and reefs.
One of the biggest decisions in picking gloves is how many finger slots you want—that is, whether you want mitten-style gloves, gloves where all your fingers are separate, or something in between. If you’re surfing somewhere moderately warm—somewhere you typically wear a 3/2 wetsuit—then a standard five-fingered glove like the Quicksilver Ignite will do the trick. If you typically wear a thicker wetsuit, lobster-style gloves, like the West 2 Finger Mitten, provide a nice compromise between warmth and flexibility. And for those of you dodging ice in the lineup, we carry full mittens like the Rip Curl Flash Bomb 7/5.
Thickness isn’t quite as important with gloves as it is with wetsuits, but it’s still important to consider. In general, it’s better to err on the side of getting a thicker glove. Having that extra neoprene won’t really affect your performance when you’re paddling or standing up or grabbing rail in the barrel, and it’ll keep your hands warmer so you can keep surfing longer.