Surf Equipment: Quality Gear

sdsrfr

OTF status
Jul 13, 2020
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San Diego
FWIW, I think whether the quality justifies the cost is a personal choice. If you can get last year's model Oneil/Xcel/etc on a discount it's surely a better "deal." If you're going to pay full price for a suit and/or you just like having quality gear I think the the price premium is justified.
this has been my method for the last 5yrs. Resulted in new suits every year it seems. Still, some don’t even last the full year.

if I spend $200-$250 for last years mid-tier suit, I wonder if I could get 2 yrs from a $500 suit. In the end it’s the same amount down the drain.
 

Sharkbiscuit

Tom Curren status
Aug 6, 2003
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Jacksonville Beach
The "last year's model" you are getting needs to have actually been produced last year AND not turned into a stiff brick.

I got the Billabong Solution Silver, Xcel Drylock, and Hurley Phantom the autumn they were first released. All of those wetsuits cost me a fortune, except the Solution Silver I won that from a magazine giveaway (I think it was -ING) and they were all worth every penny.

Backcountry/Evo discount site suits have been hit or miss. Sometimes I get a turbo score. Other times I get a straightjacket made of lead.
 

sdsrfr

OTF status
Jul 13, 2020
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San Diego
The "last year's model" you are getting needs to have actually been produced last year AND not turned into a stiff brick.

I got the Billabong Solution Silver, Xcel Drylock, and Hurley Phantom the autumn they were first released. All of those wetsuits cost me a fortune, except the Solution Silver I won that from a magazine giveaway (I think it was -ING) and they were all worth every penny.

Backcountry/Evo discount site suits have been hit or miss. Sometimes I get a turbo score. Other times I get a straightjacket made of lead.
I grabbed phantoms on clearance directly from hurly. 202 and 303 for $250, IIRC. 1.5 season suits at best. Silver surfer liner wore off and they were noticeably less effective. Then the neoprene on both wore thin and became permeable in the armpits and let in water like the neoprene was replaced with a cotton T.
 

Sharkbiscuit

Tom Curren status
Aug 6, 2003
11,422
2,735
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Jacksonville Beach
I grabbed phantoms on clearance directly from hurly. 202 and 303 for $250, IIRC. 1.5 season suits at best. Silver surfer liner wore off and they were noticeably less effective. Then the neoprene on both wore thin and became permeable in the armpits and let in water like the neoprene was replaced with a cotton T.
I used the 202 for 4 years, and I normally get 2-3 years. That's probably the best wetsuit I've ever had. YMMV.
 
Dec 27, 2019
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this has been my method for the last 5yrs. Resulted in new suits every year it seems. Still, some don’t even last the full year.

if I spend $200-$250 for last years mid-tier suit, I wonder if I could get 2 yrs from a $500 suit. In the end it’s the same amount down the drain.
For me:
- 2.2 zipfree I got last June. Used during some surf trips and last fall/this spring. Still feels brand new.
- 4/3 I got two years ago when I was still in SF. Used for two seasons out there and now I wear it during the shoulder months here, it's definitely starting to wear out but I think I could get through one more SF winter in it if I had to.
- 5/4Ti I got last summer old-stock. I've had one winter in it here, still feels brand new.

I don't surf every day so YMMV but I try to get out whenever there's swell here. I'm also pretty careful about rinsing them.
 

sdsrfr

OTF status
Jul 13, 2020
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San Diego
Yeah. I dunno. def better than the fusion and the rest of the suit held up. Was disappointed at the armpits.

I rinse the thing after every surf, change in my shower and dry it indoors out of the sun.

ymmv indeed.
 
Dec 27, 2019
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59
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Yeah. I dunno. def better than the fusion and the rest of the suit held up. Was disappointed at the armpits.

I rinse the thing after every surf, change in my shower and dry it indoors out of the sun.

ymmv indeed.
Sounds like it's probably worth trying an Isurus then ;-)

I've talked to a billion people wearing them out in the lineups and I've never heard anyone say they only got one season out of a suit. Most say 3 and that matches my experience with the 4/3 at least. Maybe it's just because only kooks who like fancy gear but dont actually surf that often buy them, but I'd guess they actually do last longer.
 
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jkb

Phil Edwards status
Feb 22, 2005
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Central California
My experience with a 3/2 Isurus was that the quality was good, but it wasn't all that warm. Felt much more like a 2mm to me. This was a few years ago before they had a liner in their wetsuits so I'm sure the liner makes a difference.

The fit was really nice and it dried quick. It lasted me a couple of seasons as well.
 

stringcheese

Gerry Lopez status
Jun 21, 2017
1,208
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Finally put my thumb through the shoulder of my hurley suit getting it on. Made it maybe 100 sessions. I'll be buying another one.
 

JeffRSpicoli

OTF status
Aug 9, 2019
197
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A little late on this thread as it has transitioned to wetsuit:
Rip Curl Dawn Patrol, best value IMO: my 5/4 hooded ($289) has outlasted my 6/5 Xcel ($499) by two seasons and easily has another season left, making it 4th season I think.
-recently picked up 4/3 Dawn Patrol back zip $269, I love it. Haven't had a back zip in ages.

Leashes
Have to add those of us that have to surf with gloves/lobster claws/mittens = me, I find that the Dakine leashes are so hard to get off. Minimal amount of material to pull at, a bit of a pain at the end of a session or adjusting during, especially when hands are cold, but I always fear in an emergency situation you would be screwed when a release was necessary, which might be an unlikely occurrence until it isn't.
-Creatures of Leisure leash, with that band on the leash cup, is far superior for releasing and a quality leash in other respects.
-Can't go wrong with Hotline either, love how big the leash cup is.

Oh and the FinPuller tool is good to have too, works on Futures fins, seems like it's marketed more to FCS II, Futures being the fin boxes I have in all boards.

Kids old insulated lunch box to store wax, wax comb and emergency cash: primarily Sex Wax or Palmers.

Patagucc board shorts for me, I am admittedly a "board short whore", have way too many...

Have a dedicated surf rig: old VW PASSAT Station Wagon ~250k miles on it, Thule Racks, which are basically frozen on at this point.

And have found that "Aloe Up" brand sunblock is the best for me, stuff seems like you could eat it.
 

LifeOnMars

Legend (inyourownmind)
Jan 14, 2020
479
242
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The "last year's model" you are getting needs to have actually been produced last year AND not turned into a stiff brick.
Backcountry/Evo discount site suits have been hit or miss. Sometimes I get a turbo score. Other times I get a straightjacket made of lead.
A few drops of hair conditioner in a tub with cool water goes a long way. Notice suits that I don’t wear for a while shrink up and get stiff. Good method for when the suit gets stinky too. Usually have spring suits for a few years and it’s no problem
 
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sdsrfr

OTF status
Jul 13, 2020
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San Diego
What’s better chest zip or zipper free?

zipperless used to cost more butter now it costs less? isurus and rip curl specific. Others may apply.
 

chilly1

OTF status
Jan 4, 2010
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What’s better chest zip or zipper free?

zipperless used to cost more butter now it costs less? isurus and rip curl specific. Others may apply.
Chest zip is going to be much looser, but not necessarily better. I would imagine it's cheaper because no extra costs associated with zipper. For isurus, I get flushed a bunch and if you don't want to risk that may want to go with the zippered one.