The Great Unbiased Wetsuit Review Thread

shshlens

Miki Dora status
Apr 27, 2006
4,999
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Santa Barbarea
Doug: ... on second thought, forget it. In any event, notice how I said I've never even considered another O'Neill suit?

Southcoast: It's about $50 more than a top of the line 4/3 from the majors. It was $450 ($448.99), which is a little less than the Patagonia I didn't like. Considering the top of the line 4/3 Billabong is $400, the top of the line Xcel 4/3 is $390, the top of the line 4/3 Body Glove is $390... etcetera-etcetera, I'm not too torn apart paying an extra $50 if this suit lasts.

By the way, they sell them at www.wetsand.com now. I know Brownfish has a short sleeve 2/2. His review convinced me to give it a shot. I'm cautiously stoked. Now to see if it really lasts!
 

kai kane

OTF status
May 15, 2003
331
7
18
pacific

I bought a Body Glove Matrix 3/2 a week ago and it's a great suit so far. It's a front zip suit and one step from the top of the line Vapor. It's real warm and flexible so far. No complaints.

I had been holding out for a Patagonia but this suit was almost $200 less and I could get one in my size right away.
 

gene_can_sing

Billy Hamilton status
May 23, 2005
1,384
0
36
United States
Got a Boz Thermo recently and first impression is good. I had to return the first one, as neoprene around the zipper wasn't trimmed, and the zipper kept getting caught. But the 2nd suit they gave me works well.

I had a Psycho 2 and it was the warmest suit I've ever had. Really, really warm, but it only lasted one season (and I'm a 9to5er). Now, it's freezing cause it leaks so bad. My GF just got me a Boz Thermo as a gift. It cheap for their top of line suit ($219), and it seems pretty good so far. Not as warm as the Psycho 2, but the construction look a lot better. It seems like it's built to last, but we'll see. The Oneil fits a bit better, but the Boz is a LOT stretchier and easier to get in and out of. It actually paddles like I'm wearing a spring suit or something. The Boz has the "fewest seams in the industry," which can be good or bad. The good is that obviously, there's less seams to tear, the bad is that certain areas (like the crotch) fit kind of weird (could use an extra panel there or something).

As for Oneil, I've wore them for years, but they never seem to last more than 1 or 2 seasons max. Great warm, but crappy quality. The Psycho 2 is also heavy, hard to get into and pretty stiff. But if you want warmth, it's freaking warm (at least until it falls apart).

It's strange to say, but a light, flexible wetsuits does make a difference in performace. With the Boz (because it's so flexible and light), I feel a lot less fatigue from paddling. Strange... but true.... and something I never thought of when buying a wetsuit. Before, I used to mainly look for warmth and fit, but now I realize that flexiblity and weight are also major factors.
 

toreador

Phil Edwards status
Apr 1, 2006
6,052
0
0
socal beachbreak barrels
quiksilver cell 6 3/2: by far my favorite suit ever. quiksilver is really on to something with the drastic reduction in panels used in the suit. my only complaint is that the neck is a little tight, but that's true of all my suits, and its not as bad as the the rip curls, which cuts off circulation. its a very form fitted suit, and is extremely flexible...by far the snuggest yet least restrictive suit i've ever owned.

rip curl f-bomb 3/2: i've had two of these in the last year, and in both, the glue seams fell apart and caused insane rashes once they did. the quiksilver was given to me by the shop free because of all the problems i had with the rip curls.

my buddy had the same problem with his rip curl f-bombs, so they sent him a free '08 model, which rip curl told him is back to the old formula for the seam glue--apparently, they didn't properly test the stuff.

having said that, the f-bomb 3/2 is almost as warm as any other 4/3 i've ever had.
 

Teahupoo2000

Michael Peterson status
Jan 29, 2002
3,466
0
0
quiksilver cell 6 3/2: by far my favorite suit ever. quiksilver is really on to something with the drastic reduction in panels used in the suit. my only complaint is that the neck is a little tight, but that's true of all my suits, and its not as bad as the the rip curls, which cuts off circulation. its a very form fitted suit, and is extremely flexible...by far the snuggest yet least restrictive suit i've ever owned.
I thought that I was the only one who like that wetsuit..... <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/applause2.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/applause2.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/applause2.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/applause2.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/applause2.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/applause2.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/applause2.gif" alt="" /> Really Really Really confortable.
<img src="/forum/images/graemlins/cheers.gif" alt="" />
 

donniedarko

Michael Peterson status
Jul 26, 2004
2,585
0
36
The Coast
4mm Yamamoto rubber is way too much warmth today but I'll bet you're loving it during spring time dawn patrols.

I never got a neck rash from my patagonia as the neck is super soft and not wool. You may want to take it back to where you got it because something may be wrong. Is it the 2 or 3 mm?

My only complaint is that it's a bit tight in the crotch. That's a problem that may not affect everyone but the Cadillac of a man that I am doesn't come without sacrafice.
Its not conventional 4mm neoprene. Imagine a waffle with a thin lam of neoprene on top. Matuse hava amazing suits. The Matuse actually is not so warm from the Hollow Chamber but the glide skin top. Stuff attracts heat from the sun like solar panels. Its crazy. My patagonia I had leaked from the waist down and seams broke down. Matuse could adjust some things too FWIW. At the end of the day my Psycho I is most used. Psycho II for overcast greybird days, and for when I go north surf the strand north I use my Matuse. To be noted I have two Billabong Solution Plat's and one I use for when I SUP, and the other sits in the closet with tags still on it. Im trying to sell it.

That's my report.
 

CAtoFLtoCA

Gerry Lopez status
Aug 10, 2006
985
0
16
N. County SD
Had a Body Glove 3/2 zipperless (had the pull-over neck with
velcro) that was comfy, warm, and cheap that worked well for
about 1 1/2 seasons before it started wearing.

Now I own a 3/2 Hotline Firefly (not taped seems) that seems
to be holding up well going into it's second winter. Fits
well and is comfy. Not the most flexible material out there
but it's holding up better than most past suits and I've
been happy with it. I'd definately go with the full taped-
seam version next time though as the seams to let some water
through, which is no fun on colder days.

Bought a 4/3 Xcel Infinity chest zip from Whiskey Militia
recently and wore it last week for the first time just to
see the difference. DAMN, that suit is WARM. No water
let in whatsoever, fairly flexible (but feels much thicker),
and seems like a great suit so far. Fits great and the only
complaint I'd have is that it's not the easiest to get on or
off, but I think that's mostly due to the fact that I've
never had a 4/3. I'm glad I do now though cuz I think I'll
be VERY comfortable this winter with this and the new Xcel
booties I bought.
Will have to see how well it holds up now.

I'd definately recommend both Hotline and Xcel.
 

toreador

Phil Edwards status
Apr 1, 2006
6,052
0
0
socal beachbreak barrels
quiksilver cell 6 3/2: by far my favorite suit ever. quiksilver is really on to something with the drastic reduction in panels used in the suit. my only complaint is that the neck is a little tight, but that's true of all my suits, and its not as bad as the the rip curls, which cuts off circulation. its a very form fitted suit, and is extremely flexible...by far the snuggest yet least restrictive suit i've ever owned.
I thought that I was the only one who like that wetsuit..... <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/applause2.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/applause2.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/applause2.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/applause2.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/applause2.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/applause2.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/applause2.gif" alt="" /> Really Really Really confortable.
<img src="/forum/images/graemlins/cheers.gif" alt="" />
the thing feels like it is custom molded to my body...there isn't a crease or pull anywhere in the suit.

btw, i also have the dirt cheap billabong (foil?) that was only $100 (think retail is actually $120), and it has the airlite neoprene...it is unbelievable value, and it doesn't even really get wet, dries instantly, and is the lightest suit ever...can't believe how much i like such a dirt cheap suit.
 

robbrunette

OTF status
Mar 15, 2006
249
0
0
MY 'COLD' IS NOT RELATIVE TO ANYONE ELSE'S 'COLD'.

I went with the Body Glove 3/2 Vapor this season. Not too impressed so far. I was originally looking at the 4/3 Vapor, but I figured as it's their top of the line/'water resistant' neoprene suit that a 3/2 could do the job. I also had corroboration from the guy at ET - a 4/3 would just be too bulkey. Thin and warm was the selling point for me, and I've never had one of their full-suits before. Only used the 2mm short arm, which still reminds me of night-time Summer sessions. Mmmmmm.

I'm 6'3", 185lbs, and 30 years old. In my getting older I can't handle 'cold' water, as it wasn't ever a problem when I was younger. Being lanky sucks. I have the idea that Body Glove is full of it. Their Vapor material is really not any better than Quik, Hurley,Bong,Xcel's standard neoprene. I've had Solution Gold's that are warmer, lighter, generally better than my Vapor. And they're about $100 less.

I'd advise some cynnicism when considering Vapor suits. They're just standard noeprene with a cool hyped name, they're not some armor against cold water. It's also flushing through the neck after about two months use, which feels awesome.

I'm going to go with the Hurley 3/3 Smoothie zipperless suit. I've had the 3/2 smoothie before, and it cooked, though the smoothie fell apart after six months (but was relapced, no questions asked). As smoothie takes on NO water at all, hopefully it will be thin enough to paddle for hours, but stay warm.

I'm desperately fighting the purchase of a 4/3 suit, as they feel awful just trying them on, like I have a phonebook tucked under my arm. I'd like a thin, super warm suit that doesn't cost half a grand. Too much to ask for?

I guess I was expecting some crazy warm suit from the Vapor, but it's just an expensive standard suit. I think their Matrix is just as effective, and cheaper.

When sitting in the line-up I think to myself, 'Oh, THIS is why you wanted a 4/3 for the Winter...' <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/socrazy.gif" alt="" />
 

BrownFish

Michael Peterson status
Mar 5, 2005
2,862
227
63
I'm still wearing my SS Matuse 2mm fullsuit. Except during super dawn patrol session. The suit is great. Super light. Super flexible. Takes in hardly any water. I'll be buying my 4/3/2 in about a couple weeks. I'm hoping that next year they come out with a taped, sealed, all 2mm suit. That would probably be the best suit ever. Most likely would be plenty warm to get through the winter in San Diego.
 

ThaDood

Michael Peterson status
Jul 29, 2003
2,222
95
48
Playa Zen
I guess I'll chime....I've had an Oneil 3/2 zen zip for 4 years and it held up nice but it always felt heavy.

I just bought the Bodyglove Vapor 2/2 thier top of the line suit. (not cheap, over 3 bills) I believe it to be the only 2/2 full suit on the market and I wanted thinner for more flex. I also bought the Vapor Short arm 2/2 as well for the days when it's sunny and less wind. I can take the cold better than most people that I know, so I went with the 2/2.
 

LiamUnknown

Nep status
Jun 16, 2004
902
97
28
Here's what I've learned about suits so far. For the most part suits are the exact same. I've worked in surf retail for around 5 yrs now, this has been off an on but even when not working in it im sponsored by a few different companies, wetsuits being xcel. I've demoed many different suits and gone through clinics for all but body glove, matuse, patagonia, victory and boz. Nearly all big companies have their suits made in the same factory as oneill. I know this for sure applies to quiksilver and im fairly certain billabong as well. I think Xcel also has their suits made sure although I'm not positive on this either. However nearly every suit on the market today shares a factory with at least one other company and often times many more. The main differences are materials used which actually are often the same stuff with different names. As far as the basics, all suits are using pretty much the same glue and liquid seam tape. Exceptions being xcel with their stretchy tape(actual tape) and I can't say anything about patagonia or matuse. Hotline has their own little program which is pretty old school, using less stretchy rubber for durability and not liquid seam taping their seams but taping them with old tape which also increases durability. As far as billabong suits last year, the reps said they did have tons of issues, it was an issue with the glue on the seams and them getting a faulty batch. Suits were already on the market so they decided to basically replace any suits which came back. this year they've supposedly figured it out but platinums will always be incredibly undurable, good news is you're pretty much guranteed a new one if you send it back. Quiksilver is essentially an oneill, that's it. Oneill runs the longest clinic and has the most technologically advanced pamphlet out there, but the truth is the words are all fluff and its the same shiz as is in quiksilver, xcel, billabong etc. Japanese rubber in the matuse and patagonia suits is considered far superior and I'd love to try out one of those. Billabong is saying that with their platinum this year they basically took all the team guys suits, which they get custom made in japan, and tried to incorporate as much as that as possible into a suit that the public could afford. They said straight up the suits aren't too durable but it's for the very top notch guys in the market who want the best. They also said with the platinums is nearly a guranteed new suit with every return. So that's the lowdown and here's my quick picks for suits as well as what im wearing.
Currently wearing
Xcel's(obviously) front zips and back zips, definitely like the front zips way better but i never like back zips.
Probably will buy a billabong platinum soon just to try it out

What i like(all this in short term enjoyment not durability)
Billabong platinum pull over velcro closure
Matuse, seen a few look good
Xcel-super comfortable/warm and fairly durable
Quiksilver-new suits this year are looking really good and reps were most honest about what they copied, what was new and what they used.
Rip Curl- too many models to get a handle on what does what, seems like it's either stretchy or warm and they don't have a suit that does both.
Oneill- oneill suits have always bothered me, i've always thought they've been a little overhyped and underperforming. I've tried a lot but they always felt a little cold and not as flexible as other suits. Furthermore you can't get a straight answer out of any of the reps and you feel like you are always getting fed bullshit. Their clinic lasted 2 hrs basically talking about how their suit/factory was better then anyone elses which is bullshit considering a fair amount of people share that factory with them. Oneill's got the name but is generally not nearly as good as other suits, at least new. I used body gloves a long time back and was never impressed with their quality over time in comparison with other suits. Felt warm the first day and within a week I already felt a substantial difference. I'd really look at patagonias, matuse's, xcels, quiksilvers and billabongs this year as suits to have. the rest are either overpriced or lack the quality of a good top of the line suit, i.e. stretch and warmth
 

surfsquish

OTF status
Dec 17, 2006
190
0
0
Good Review. Million Dollar question?

If you had to pick one wetsuit (from all the ones you tried), which one would you go with?
 

shshlens

Miki Dora status
Apr 27, 2006
4,999
0
0
Santa Barbarea
They have Nineplus at FFF (Foam,Fins&amp;Fiberglass)in Ventura. Looked at them, but they don't look like they have knee pads. Can that be correct? Plus, I can't personally get over how dorky I'd feel wearing a suit that said "Nine Plus" on a board that is anywhere under nine feet.

That said, you have often bragged on here about your abundant/enormous natural, ermmm, "talent." Perhaps you'd place a mark like this -- " -- next to the word Nine on your own wetsuit... now wouldn't you? <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />
 

shshlens

Miki Dora status
Apr 27, 2006
4,999
0
0
Santa Barbarea
That said, you have often bragged on here about your abundant/enormous natural, ermmm, "talent." Perhaps you'd place a mark like this -- " -- next to the word Nine on your own wetsuit... now wouldn't you? <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />
Like any good lawyer you're asking me to tell a half truth.
<img src="/forum/images/graemlins/cussing.gif" alt="" /> -- Hey! I resemble that remark... I mean, resent!! Resent it, I say!!
 

LiamUnknown

Nep status
Jun 16, 2004
902
97
28
i'm assuming you mean as an average consumer where durability would be an issue. I really like the billabong solution golds for a back zip, they've got a new barrier system which is pretty cool. For a front zip I'd pick an Xcel but I'm biased towards them for obvious reasons. As for me, I will actually most likely get a solution platinum although I don't recommend them for most people since you'll have to send them back constantly. My reason is just to try one out and I have a steady stock of xcels at my house.
 

Kman

OTF status
Nov 15, 2005
225
0
16
I have 3/2 Hotline phoenix. I got it back in November and so far I like it. The durability isn't what they are cracked up to be. The stitching around the neck entry (not a seam) started to come undone right away and it feels like it is starting to leak a bit in the butt.

That said, the material is super flexible. I tried on o'neils, quicksivlers, Xcels and a few others before getting this suit and by far it is the most comfortable. And it has kept me warm enough on those offshore 55 degree dawn patrol sessions. Not having any slick skin, thecold offshore winds can be a bit tough. And the wrist and ankles use the old rubber that seems to absorb the water. And there is no antiflushing rubber in those areas either like the other high end suits.

Overall, fit and comfort is a 10, durabililty would be an 8. Warmth I'd say is probably an 8 as well. I like it but I am concerned that it will be a leaky bastard by next winter. Time will tell.
 
May 19, 2006
112
0
0
Anyone having problems with the knees on their new O'neill 4/3 Psycho?
2 guys at my spot had them blow out quickly.
It appears that the knee material is pretty thin; maybe due to using 1 part for all different suit thicknesses in the line.
 

R3W

Phil Edwards status
Feb 19, 2002
6,862
30
48
Frisco
Anyone having problems with the knees on their new O'neill 4/3 Psycho?
2 guys at my spot had them blow out quickly.
It appears that the knee material is pretty thin; maybe due to using 1 part for all different suit thicknesses in the line.
They're definitely prone to compression leaks. Knee "pad" is non-existent (a change from a few years ago). I'm in SF and my older Psycho 4/3 has become my "warm water" wetsuit and my Xcel 4/3 has become my cold water suit.

BTW, I sent one Psycho back with a knee problem and they replaced the whole leg, free. Suit was over a year old.
 

shshlens

Miki Dora status
Apr 27, 2006
4,999
0
0
Santa Barbarea
I have 3/2 Hotline phoenix. I got it back in November and so far I like it. The durability isn't what they are cracked up to be. The stitching around the neck entry (not a seam) started to come undone right away and it feels like it is starting to leak a bit in the butt.

That said, the material is super flexible. I tried on o'neils, quicksivlers, Xcels and a few others before getting this suit and by far it is the most comfortable. And it has kept me warm enough on those offshore 55 degree dawn patrol sessions. Not having any slick skin, thecold offshore winds can be a bit tough. And the wrist and ankles use the old rubber that seems to absorb the water. And there is no antiflushing rubber in those areas either like the other high end suits.

Overall, fit and comfort is a 10, durabililty would be an 8. Warmth I'd say is probably an 8 as well. I like it but I am concerned that it will be a leaky bastard by next winter. Time will tell.
Hotline released the original "Phoenix" suit a little bit too early. The neck stitching is a common problem. In fact, all unsold Phoenix suits from surf shops were returned so they could resolve this problem.

The "PhoenixX" (two x's) is the solution. It's a great suit, with Hotline's legendary durability. They loosened up the cut in the calves &amp; thighs a touch, put in a different material in the forearms, and fixed the stitching in the neck. They really shot themselves in the foot by releasing the first gen. "phoenix" before solving those problems.

So, if anyone out there has a "Phoenix" suit, take it back to your surf shop and see if they can contact Hotline for you to either fix it or get you a "PhoenixX." You'll know which one you have by the lettering on the cuff -- there is an extra "X" on the newer suits.

As for the Freebird, I haven't used one but have heard good things from those who have. It's a price-point suit, but totally taped and front zip. That's pretty damn nice.

I'm still a Hotline fan, but this new Matuse suit I have continues to blow me away. Amazing product, from my perspective. If they made a front zip Matuse, I'd be done. So far, so good. But I'm only one season in. We'll see about durability.

-ShShSh