Should You Wear Board Shorts Under A Wetsuit? NO Here’s Why

Most wetsuits are made from neoprene, making them feel soft to the touch. However, some people get chafing from their wetsuit because, as soft as it is, the material can't feel coarse on the more sensitive parts of your body. That is why so many people ask should if they should wear board shorts underneath their wet suit?

Putting your wetsuit on over a pair of boardshorts is usually extremely uncomfortable. The board shorts will ride up and create bulges or lumps that will press into your skin. You will constantly be trying to pull the board shorts down through your wet suit, and overall it is not worth the effort. Wearing speedos or nothing at all underneath your wetsuit is a better option.

Many people don't want to feel naked underneath their wetsuit, and I understand that. So, instead of only focusing on only board shorts, I want to discuss the best things to wear under your wet suit and answer any other questions.

Why You Should NOT Wear Board Shorts Under Your Wetsuit

I've been there before, for some reason or another I've forgotten my speedos and I'm wearing boardshorts but the water is too cold and I want to put my wetsuit on.

The thought of getting into my wetsuit naked being too much for me I've thrown my wetsuit on over my boardies. It has never worked out well for me.

It may seem weird that wearing board shorts underneath your wet suit is not a good idea. After all, most people that surf in warm oceans typically do so in board shorts.

However, when wearing board shorts under your suit, there are a few issues you're likely to incur. These include:

  • The board shorts WILL rise and cause lumps in your suit.
  • Because wetsuits are tight, the stitching on the boardshorts can dig into your skin.
  • The board shorts can cause chafing.

The bulking up of the boardshorts is basically inevitable but it's the chafing that is by far one of the worst on that list. While board shorts alone don't necessarily cause chafing, It is essential to remember that a wetsuit has elasticity, even though they feel tight and secure.

So not only are the board shorts pressed against your skin, but the shorts are also constantly moving, which could cause chafing on your inner thighs. The pain here is real!

Then you have the problem of the stitching being pressed into your skin. Some board shorts have thick stitching for aesthetic looks. I had personally encountered an issue where the waist of my board shorts dug into my waist when I tried to wear board shorts underneath my suit. Especially when my body weight was pressed against the surfboard.

It is not a pleasant feeling, especially after spending an hour or two in the water.

Sure, boardshorts can be worn under your wetsuit in a pinch or if you're really self conscious, but 99% of the time it's not worth it and there are better options.

Plus if you want to look good in a wetsuit then having a huge bunch around your waist and ass is NOT a good look.

3 Best Things To Wear Under A Wetsuit: Men

One of the best things to wear under a wetsuit for a man is a pair of speedos, also know as cossies, togs, swimmers or natively as the “budgie smuggler”. They are well fitted, will keep your private parts private but they won't bunch up or ride up or cause any issues.

Anything you do wear under your wet suit should be well fitted. That way, there is very little room for whatever you are wearing to move around with a wetsuit on. That said, here are a few things that you can comfortably wear underneath a wetsuit:

  • Thermal rash vest
  • Speedo
  • Running tights 
  • Nothing at all

If you are surfing in cold water, thermal tights with a thermal rash vest can be worn under your wetsuit for extra warmth.

With both the rash vest and running tights, try and make sure that they are full-body if you have a full-body wetsuit otherwise you might struggle to stay as warm as you want in your wetsuit plus there's also the chance they can bunch up when you're putting your wetsuit on.

4 Best Things To Wear Under A Wetsuit: Women

The best thing for a woman to wear underneath a wetsuit is a bikini. During the warmer months most women surf in a two-piece bikini when not wearing a wetsuit.

Having a bikini underneath makes it so much easier to take the wet suit off while still on the beach. Other than that, here are four things that women can comfortably wear underneath a wetsuit:

  • One-piece bikini
  • Two-piece bikini
  • Rash vest
  • Running tights
  • Nothing at all (be careful though!)

Again, you want anything you wear underneath your wetsuit to be all fitted. Remember that a wetsuit won't keep you dry so anything you wear under the wetsuit will get wet.

If you opt for wearing nothing at all, which some girls do, you'll just want to be careful taking it on and off…though pretty much all women I know are pros at getting changed and revealing nothing. It's like a secret art form and as a guy I personally lack that grace and skill.

Should You Wear A Rash Vest Under A Wet Suit?

It depends on what type of rash vest you want to wear. If it is a cheap rash vest that isn't well fitted, you will have a similar problem as you would with board shorts underneath your wetsuit. It will start to lift and become relatively uncomfortable.

Plus a regular rash vest won't keep you warm and your wetsuit will already be protecting you from the sun rending the rash vest useless and annoying.

If you want to wear your rash vest under your wet suit, there are three things to look out for:

  • Thermal rash vests are perfect for wearing under your wetsuit.
  • The rash vest must be well-fitted. If it is too small or too big, it will be uncomfortable.
  • Any rash vest made from Polyester and Elastane should be secure under the wetsuit.

If you are going into cold water for diving or surfing and your wetsuit isn't quite warm enough then you should try wearing a thermal rash vest underneath your wetsuit. You want that thermal protection to be the final layer between your body and the water.

Ultimately though the reason surfers wear wetsuits is to keep them warm and any extra layers will make paddling harder and slow you down. So you should try to get a wetsuit that is warm enough that you don't need a rash vest underneath.

I have seen people surfing with a rash vest over their wetsuit but it's rare.

Should You Wear Underwear Under Your Wetsuit?

Traditional underwear will feel a lot more comfortable underneath your wet suit than a pair of board shorts would. However, some people still experience a problem when the underwear becomes uncomfortable after an hour or two.

Remember, unlike a Speedo, underwear will become loose when wet. It will also start sticking to your body, and trying to pull the underwear off of your body while under your wetsuit can become a challenge that can see your surf or dive session become not as relaxing as it should be.

If you're got briefs that are longer around the legs then these are also likely to bunch up just like boardshorts would.

Overall, I do not recommend wearing underwear underneath your wetsuit. There are better alternatives which I have already discussed. With that said, if you are using somebody else's wetsuit and you don't have anything else to wear between the suit and your body, underwear will be fine.

Final Thoughts

Look, I understand that some people wear boardshorts under their wetsuit and have never had problems. So, if you want to try wearing your board shorts, you might end up enjoying it.

That said, I highly recommend trying some of the alternatives that I mentioned, especially if you spend longer than an hour surfing or diving every day.