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Which Zip system to choose for your wetsuit ? Chest or Back Zip ?

You often ask us questions regarding your choice of neoprene wetsuit model and mostly which zip system to choose. Chest or Back Zip ? Here is our experts advices to ease your choice.

The Chest Zip Wetsuit 

combinaison neoprene yamamoto homme chest zip 4/3 5/4 mm saint jacques wetsuits

The one that changed everything in watersports. It has a zip system on the front of the wetsuit (on the chest) which opens on the side.

How to put in on

- Take off your watch and jewels
- Make sure that the zip system is on the front
- Slip your wetsuit on up to the waist then adjust the neoprene at the knees
- Pull up the wetsuit as high as possible
- Slip your arm from the opposite side of the zip system opening (the left one on our models) inside the sleeve then repeat with the other one.
- Put the flap in the back over your head
- Close the zip system and the button
- You are ready!


Freedom of motion

The Chest zip wetsuit do not have zip system in the back meaning no hard spot on the spine. That is why it offers a better freedom of movement and saves a lot of effort, especially for paddle surfing. 

Less risk of water entry

Detail fermeture chest zip combinaison

The zip system is not waterproof on a neoprene wetsuit. Our Chest Zip have a 29cm long zip versus 40cm on our Back Zip. With its smaller zip and its tighter collar, the Chest zip wetsuit is more waterproof ! 

Bear in mind that there are two types of zip on the front of a wetsuit : the Chest Zip that opens from one side and the Front zip that opens like an apron, from both sides. At Saint Jacques, we chose the Chest zip. 


The Chest zip brings a "second skin" feel to the rider. It is also convenient for kitesurfers and windsurfers because there is no friction with the harness in the back. 


There is no velcro closing system in the neck on a Chest Zip wetsuit meaning no risk of scratching it on the neoprene and damaging it. 


Last advantage: no need to ask another rider to help you  zip up your wetsuit as your zip is in front of you ! Long solo sessions are now waiting for you !  

Surfer en Combinaison Stan



The Chest Zip Wetsuit is way longer to slip on but also to take off than the Back Zip. Don't worry, at Saint Jacques we worked on this point.


This wetsuit model do not suit every type of morphology (atypical or aged).


A Chest Zip is usually more expensive than a Back zip because we use different materials for its conception. For exemple, the 3/2mm Clovis Chest Zip costs 299 euros and the 3/2mm Clovis Back zip 219 euros.


This first type of wetsuit appeared in 1952 to equip riders. It is made with a long zip system placed along the spine, making it easy to close. 

To put it on 

- Take off your watch and jewels
- Unscratch the wetsuit collar and open the zip system entirely. 
- Make sure that the zip system is in your back then slip the wetsuit on up to the waist
- Adjust the neoprene at the knees
- Pull up the wetsuit as high as possible
- Slip your left arm in the sleeve and adjust the neoprene 
- Repeat with the other arm
- Grab the lining in your neck and pull the hole over your head.
- Grab the cord at the back of your waistline and pull it up to the top
- Scratch the closure system for more security 
- You are ready !



Fermeture Back Zip Combinaison Clovis

The main advantage of this system is the easiness to put it on and off with its wider opening.


All of our Back Zip models have an inside panel along the zip system and a collar lining in order to protect your back from discomfort and water entries. 


The Back Zip system suits every type of morphology. Because it has a wider opening and with its velcro strap next to the collar that helps to adjust it. It is mostly valued by windsurfers that have a large upper body due to their practice because it adapts to their sizes. 


One of the main advantage of the Back Zip is its price that give beginners an opportunity to invest in their first wetsuit without impacting heavily their wallets. But its lower price does not mean that it is less efficient than a Chest Zip, it is just not the same product range. Our model at 219 euros.


Freedom of movement

With its zip in the back, this model offers less freedom of motion than the Chest Zip wetsuit but do not worry, it is not a chainmail ! 

Risks of water entries

With a larger zip, the risk of water perforations increase. That is why our Back Zip wetsuits has a lining on the collar and an inside pannel along the zip system. 

Recap !

The choice of your model depends on what you want to do with it !

If you have an occasional use and if your priority is the ease of putting it on and taking it off, the Clovis Back Zip is made for you ! 

But if you practice intensively and are searching for a second skin and optimal waterproofness that will boost your performances, you will need a Clovis Chest zip, a long term investment ! 

Notice that a Zipless or Zipfree system exists, it is lighter and more waterproof but it is pretty hard to put on, we do not recommend it for beginners. 

Now that you chose which zip system will suit you best, you will just have to chose the thickness of your wetsuit, have a check ! Find all our neoprene wetsuits saint jacques.

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