Surfing Gloves FAQ: 8 Useful Things You Need to Know

Although surfing gloves are not very common among surfers in warm climates, they are a common and important accessory for surfers that brave the frigid northern waters.

Recently, I received the following question from a beginner surfer, “How Do I Find out More Information About Wetsuit Gloves for Surfing?”

In order to provide some useful information, I asked some surfing friends, did a bunch of research and provided answers for some of the most common questions below.

Gloves are an important accessory that is worn with a wetsuit to provide warmth for your hands when surfing in cold water. Surfers should consider the following important factors when choosing surfing wetsuit gloves including fit, comfort, style and thickness.

To help you out, I have summarized answers to some of the most popular questions about surfing gloves below.

Growing up surfing in Canada, I have tried dozens of different wetsuit gloves for surfing over the years and I thought I would share some of my field tested tips so you don’t make the same mistakes that I did!

Keep reading to find out all Top 8 Useful Things You Need to Know about Wetsuit Gloves for Surfing.

1. Why Do Surfers Wear Wetsuit Gloves?

As you probably already know, surfers wear gloves to keep their hands warm when surfing in cold water.

Or more specifically, the water is too cold for surfers to surf without their hands going numb.

Surfing with numb hands is difficult because you need feeling in your hands to paddle for waves and push yourself up to a standing position.

You can tell when surfers have cold hands because they will shake them out, put them under their arm pits or blow on them, all in an effort to keep them warm.

2. Why Don’t Surfers Like Surfing Gloves?

Wetsuit gloves have a bad name because most surfers find that gloves impact movement, flexility and connection with their surfboard.

Where I grew up surfing in Western Canada, you can get away with bare hands in the summer but wearing gloves is a must when surfing in the winter.

I have found that having warm hands is more important than a slight loss in performance.

As well, wetsuit glove design has advanced a lot in the last few years and you probably won’t even notice you are wearing anything on your hands after a few weeks of regular use.

3. How Do I Choose the Correct Glove Size?

Choosing the correct wetsuit glove sizing is important to make sure that your hands are comfortable when surfing. Gloves should fit snugly but there shouldn’t be extra room around your hand and wrist.

Because wetsuit gloves will stretch slightly when wet, you don’t want to size them too big because they could fill up with water and become very heavy.

Too much water sloshing around in your gloves is a definite sign that you have too much extra room inside your glove.

If you are looking for some awesome tips to help you select your next pair of gloves, check out my post titled, Best Gloves for Surfing & A Helpful Buyers Guide

4. Do Surfers Wear Gloves Over or Under a Wetsuit?

Gloves should be worn under the wetsuit so they don’t fill up with water.

Ideally, the wrist cuff of your wetsuit should overlap the top of your glove by 3-4 inches.

How to Put on Surfing Gloves:

  1. Put on your wetsuit first
  2. Roll up the sleeves of your wetsuit 3-4 inches
  3. Put on your gloves
  4. Roll the sleeves of your wetsuit over the wrist cuff of your glove
  5. Make sure they are both laying flat without any bunched up areas
  6. Now you are ready to go!

5. What is the Best Way to Get Surfing Gloves On & Off?

Getting your gloves on and off can be a struggle if you don’t use some simple hacks to make it easier on yourself. Follow the tips below for the best way to get your surfing gloves on and off.

Top Tips for Putting on Surfing Gloves:

  • Make sure they are a bit damp – putting on dry gloves is way harder than when they are damp or wet. If your gloves are dry, pour a little bit of water inside, slosh it around and dump it out before you put them on.
  • Roll Down Your Glove Part Way – roll down the wrist cuff of your glove before you try and put it on, that way your hand will have less material to contact on the way inn. Once your glove is on, just roll the cuff back up.

Top Tips for Taking Off Surfing Gloves

  • Roll Down Your gloves part way – when you are taking off your gloves, roll down the top cuff part way before you try and pull it completely off. It will be easier this way because there will be less material to contact on the way out.
  • Use Your Thumb for Leverage – Once the wrist cuff of your glove is rolled down, insert your thumb inside of your glove near the palm of your hand in one motion, push your thumb down and your glove should slide out.

6. How Do You Wash Surfing Gloves?

When you take off your gloves after a surf session they will have a small amount of warm, smelly water inside.

Once you get home, make sure to rinse your gloves after every surf session with fresh water. I usually fill up my gloves with water from the hose, then dump it out and and hang them to drip dry in a shaded area.

Every once in a while, it is recommended to wash your gloves with mild soap. Check out the step by step instructions below.

How to Wash Your Surfing Gloves

  • Throw Your gloves in a tote filled with water and mild soap (organic hand soap or shampoo works great)
  • Slosh them around making sure they are fully submersed
  • Let them soak for several minutes
  • Rinse with fresh water and hang to dry

Regular washing should keep your surfing gloves clean and smelling fresh.

7. How Do You Stop Surfing Gloves From Filling with Water?

You can stop surfing gloves from filling with water by overlapping the wrist cuff of your wetsuit over the top cuff of your gloves by 3-4 inches. This will keep water from entering your gloves.

That being said, a small amount of water in your gloves is a good thing because your body heat will warm it up and your hands will be toasty.

If you notice that you have water sloshing around in your gloves when you are out surfing it may because of one of the following issues.

Why Your Surfing Gloves are Filling Up with Water

  • Your gloves are too big or loose
  • You have a hole or tear in your gloves
  • Your wetsuit wrist cuff isn’t overlapping the top of your glove

8. Do Surfing Surfing Gloves have Grip So Your Hands Don’t Slip?

The primary function of surfing gloves is to provide warmth for your hands but they don’t provide much grip on your surfboard.

Surfboard wax is what provides traction for feet and every other body part it comes in contact with.

By waxing the areas where you will be placing your hands when you are pushing up to standing or duck diving, your hands won’t slip even when you are wearing gloves.

In Conclusion:

If you still have questions about gloves for surfing feel free to click on the link to check out my post titled, Best Gloves for Surfing & A Helpful Buyers Guide.

If you surf in cold water and are interested in similar information for booties, feel free to check out the following posts:

Best Booties for Surfing & A Helpful Buyers Guide

Surfing Booties FAQ: 9 Useful Things You Need to Know


I am the person behind Surfers Footprint. Thank you for taking the time to read through the post! If you want to know more about our story, scroll down and click on ABOUT SURFERS FOOTPRINT at the bottom of the HomePage.

Recent Posts