So its that time of the year again where the mornings are getting fresher and the offshores are starting to show. It looks like its been a couple of years since there was a discussion about it so I am looking for wetsuit recommendations.....
Whats everyone wearing/buying or not wearing/buying and why?
in vicco im using need essentials 4/3 for when it gets colder, currently rotating between a 3 season old flashbomb 3/2 and a 3/2 heat seeker thats 1 season old and feeling fine in the water. Need is great for the price you get, still use my 4 season old 4/3 need in the summer as i cut the arms and legs off it and use as a springy up until end of march each year.
had an oniel 4/3 for a bit but do not rate the cut for a tall lanky person at all (im fairly tall and skinny)
I'm based in the Furneaux Islands - my go to winter wettie is the Isurus 4/3 - sees me through the guts of winter....in its 3rd season and still toastie in 10-12 degree water. Way worth the extra $ and highly flexible.
It gets cold in NZ, seventh wave make good suits and they ship to Aus free over a certain price
The thing with Isurus is most people see the price tag and shy away from them but it's a false economy. They simply outlast any other wettie on the market by a long shot and are streaks ahead in warmth, fit and flexibility.
Mine is into it's 5th season and is only just starting to deteriorate on the arse a bit. I use mine with a Thermolution rash vest and that is as warm as you will get.
Totally agree Garyg - like a lot of older surfers who have transitioned along the very broad spectrum from woollen footy jumpers to the Isurus, it's been by far the best purchase I've made and keeping my 60+ year old ligaments and bones free enough to keep on going in some of the coldest waters in Oz....the mainstream wetties don't come within a cooee
Goofy4... Furneaux Islands sounds fkn chilly! How hardcore were we all in the old days tho! Don't now how we did it as kids... Southern NZ in a footy jersey, or the top half of an old dive wetsuit that gave ya rash scars I still have today! Spidermonkey knows how cold NZ gets!
Even my cheap QS 4/3 today was too warm for the Surf Coast.. which was awesome this morning.. Autumn rocks in Vicco.
I haven't come across those Isurus wetsuits before. Their prices seem fair compared to the upper end wetties of the big brands.
Big +1 for Isurus wetties over here too.
Two years back I got a 2mm version as a winter wetsuit, swayed by the spiel about "reduced thickness, increased warmth".
Decided to give it a go. I mean, technology is always improving but I'd been wearing the same thickness wetty (3/2mm) every winter since 1982.
In 2019, for the first time since I was a grom I went less than a 3/2 all winter with no sacrifice in warmth. Did it again last year, and two weeks ago I pulled it out for its third innings. Despite feeling thin like a summer vest, there's no stretching or wear on the neoprene.
My only complaint was that sometimes the chest pull thing loosened and I got a cold flush when duckdiving. Didn't happen often enough to stop using it, but worth noting. Spoke to one of the guys at Isurus and thought maybe the panel that pulls over your head could become the sole 3mm panel just so it sits tighter.
Dunno if that woud fix it or not, but like I said, a minor matter.
Patagonia R4 hooded yulex. Bitch to get in and out of but super warm. Not as flexible as my old R4 made from normal neoprene. Got 5 seasons out of my last one. Paired with Xcel Drylock booties (5mm) and Patagonia R3 gloves. Very cold here in winter, temps close to freezing, wind chill in the minus double digits sometimes, water temps as low as 9°.
Never really get cold, worst part is changing but I hate wetsuits anyway. Bloody rubber- necessary evil imo.
Normally just go with Rip Curl suits but with all these comments im now really curious about Isurus.
Im about to buy a new 3/2 too, as im due for a new one and thinking if i get a new one now i will try to wear it as far into winter as i can before having to pull out the 5/4/3.
Fair few crew wearing Needs down here in SA - by all reports very fair price and good quality
Nothing a bag of hot dog poo won’t fix though, ay zen
Manna from Dog.
Scuse my dyslexia Eta.
Hey Zen, how do those Patagonias go in radioactive water? Sounds like you're gonna need something with lead neoprene over there soon.
Thanks Stu for the comments on Isurus.
A few mates here in Vic (and SA) have gone down the Needs route and have been on the whole very positive.
Got em in springy, short arm and steamer
No problems 2nd & 3rd season in
Hey Adam, the Yulex wetties are like lead I reckon. Super warm but not as flexy as they should be imo.
Adam, google the ALPS system developed by Hitachi co. to treat the waste water. The water is as pure as tap water, probably cleaner and without getting into it, it's a pretty emotive and heavily politicised subject. 1,000,000 tons or roughly 400 olympic swimming pools worth and in contaxt, barely a drop in the ocean.
How old is the Pata Yulex one, Zen?
I had one about 3-4 years ago and it was kinda stiff, but I saw Needs were about to start doing them and looked into it. The Yulex has changed and is no longer made from the Guayale plant (though I'm not sure what they're using instead, should do more research before posting).
Anyway, wherever it comes from it sounded like there'd been some improvements, enough to convince me to order one. Curious how it might feel.
Downside of the cheaper warm, thick wetties occurred today.. super warm, but an arse getting your front foot forward enough, which is tough enough in them golden girl years. Was an issue in good waves this morning. Time to spend a quid I'm thinking.
Tyres, shoes, wetsuits and hookers... regardless of cost, always money well spent.
Hi Stu, brand new. Bought late last year and haven't been surfing that much. Probs less than twenty surfs since last Christmas. 5 mil is always gonna be bulky. Can't fault the warmth, supremely warm suit. My old R4 felt a lot more flexible though.
Anyone have any thoughts/experiences with Project Blank gear? I like the environmentally friendly approach and I think its Australian (happy to be corrected on this) so would be good to support locals......
@Kooklife, I'd be a little wary of those claims.
Their branding is that of a down-home Aussie start up when in fact the team behind Project Blank is ex-Surf Stitch alumni.
Their website pitches PB as the plucky little guy but they're backed by serious money. A few months ago, if you typed 'Quiksilver wetsuit' into Google, or 'Rip Curl wetsuit' or 'Needessentials wetsuit' into Google, in fact any wetsuit company worth mentioning, you would have received, not the company your were searching for, but the Project Blank link at the top of the pile.
Their searches were optimised to the nth degree covering every competitor, and if you know anything about SEO that takes BIG dollars.
Since then, each company has had to funnel money into Google to retain their position on their own searches, but Project Blank still comes in second on every one of them.
A threadbare start up..?
Not on your life. It's canny marketing from top-end-of-town players, contrived to look like the more authentic marketing from Needs et al.
Seeing through their pitch you may understand why I also doubt their enviro credentials...
sheep shagger wrote: Tyres, shoes, wetsuits and hookers... regardless of cost, always money well spent.
and all involve or require a fair bit of rubber
@stunet wow thanks for shedding some light on that. I don't know much about that sort of thing (internet advertising and such) so I would have very easily been charmed by the story and forked out my hard earned.
Surfing an average of 3 -4 times per week in VIC here is a breakdown of my sorry experience with various wetsuit brands:
Rip curl flash bomb 4/3: v fast drying but seams came apart after 1 year, also lining de-lammed. As I'm in vic, the factory is here and repairs are quick.
Rip curl dawn patrol 4/3: less than 1 year repaired under warranty, not warm, a bit leakey.
Oneill hyperfreak 4/3: super comfy, but after 1 year sprung leaks everywhere
Needs essentials premium 4/3: super uncomfortable low quality limestone neoprene that stretched, v heavy, poor quality fasteners that needed repair after 3 months
Oneill psycho 1 4/3: awesome comfort, lasted 1 year then started to leak, also the neoprene tore in several places
Xcel Drylock X 4/3: super warm, not v comfy, after 3 months lining de-lammed and several seams split, sent back for warranty repair its been two months and I still haven't got it back
Oneill psycho 1 4/3: super comfy and good warmth, just got this, hope it lasts a season
In general: Rip curl flashbomb is the fastest drying suit by heaps, oneill are the comfiest suit by heaps, NO premium suit is built to last more than 1-2 years with a lot of use, they all de-lam, leak in seams, tear etc. This includes suits like oneill with fluid seam welds. Rip curl with their GBS taped seams are way overpriced. Cheap suits like needs are not worth it- better off getting an oneill Hyperfreak and being comfortable
Great review, what about flexibility?
For a long time I've only worn RipCurl suits, i just find them to be the most flexible suits out there, is my perception still correct?
I juggle the year between three suits and find even Rip Curl suits are now lasting me a few years especially my 5/3, but i treat my suits better than most, i always wash them in fresh water and then hang inside to dry, i never hang them to dry outside even out of the sun there is UV rays, and the longest they spend in my car all wet is a few hours but often less than 20 minutes so they point dry after being in just salt water..
The biggest issue ive found with Rip Curl wetsuits an issue that goes back 30 years is the real flex material used under the arms, my 3/2 is still in good condition seems etc, but i noticed it's getting thin in these panels when held to the light.
I bought a Patagonia R3 yulex 4/3 steamer in winter of 2019 and I’m not looking forward to wearing it this winter.
It lets water in around the steak and two veg area (which is uncomfortable obvs) and is noticeably stiffer than previous rip curl and O’Neil suits.
In saying that it’s not the premium Patagonia suit (I think) but I’ve still been disappointed with it and it cost $750.00.
Not sure what to do this winter
Just cut to the chase and buy an Isurus .....
Edit for my earlier comment..
just looked at Patagonia website and the one I bought is their premium suit. So yeah, but disappointing
Agree with Billy. I have two 4/3s one a RC (2nd season) and the other a O'Neill Hyperfreak (thrid season). The O'Neill been real happy. Not as compfy as the RC but just as warm, good value and recon it has 2 more seasons left in it. Wouldn't touch QS or Bong suits from my experiences. Need wetties?? got a mate who swears by them and had other that don't rate. Definately buying more O'Neill in the future
My last 4 suits (skinny bloke in Victoria):
Top of range Patagonia 3mm - 2 summers, holding up ok. Has fabric around the neck which chafes if I haven’t worn it in a while (I believe they have a smooth neck now). Let’s in a bit of water too but don’t mind it in summer
Mid range Rip curl 5/4/3 - I think it was euro model, ordered cheap on MSW a few years ago. Good insulation but was always pretty poorly sealed. Was my autumn/spring wettie that’s now retired.
Need - just ordered the fully sealed 4/3 as a replacement for the RC.
Xcel drylock 5/4 with hood - phenomenal suit, 3rd or 4th winter now and still very good condition with no water leakage. Very warm so only gets a couple months use a year. Also pretty stiff but I ain’t a high performance surfer so doesn’t bother me
Does anyone else think that chest zip suits don’t have the longevity of back zips due to the extra stretching required to get in and out of.
Collars get super stretched and eventually tear in my experience but don't rub my neck like a back zip. Having said that I've got an H-Bomb still warm after 10 years and batteries still work!
I bought a Rip Curl dawn patrol 3/2 backzip start of last winter.
it was an epic winter, , I used it just about every day.
zero wear and tear on the seams getting in and out.
total deluxe getting in and out.
I've got a zipper less Isurus 2mm, bought second hand off a bloke.
I'm scared just looking at it.
Haven't tried it on yet.
@indo-dreaming re flexibility: for me by far the most flexible/comfortable wetsuit of those I reviewed is Oneill. By really far. Interested to see vicbloke rate RC as more flexible than Oneill. Maybe part of it is just how well it fits particular body shapes.
Cheers, wow thats a surprise, i use to wear them but found them not as flexible as Rip curl.
A mate had both a few years ago and gave me the impression it was still that way, but i guess it might depend a lot on what models you are comparing.
@billythekid , I purchased the O’Neil hyperfreak steamer last winter and was impressed by how it felt like a extra layer of skin and was not restricting in anyway , super comfortable and watertight. The only fault I found was the lower left leg about 150 mills from foot opening started to fray ( for want of better explanation ) after 6 surfs . I brought it online and couldn’t be bothered sending back under warranty as l had no back up wettie . It’s only done this in the one mentioned spot . It cost me $350 which I thought was good value. Haven’t worn a steamer in 30 odd years as was usually in indo for winter months and got by with a rip curl short john before. I was amazed how far wetties have come .
"I've got a zipper less Isurus 2mm, bought second hand off a bloke.
"I'm scared just looking at it."
Why? Mine's into its third winter - see post above - and no problems at all. Very easy to get in and out of, as easy as wetties get, no wear, and as warm as a 3/2.
supafreak that's the problem with oneill - great stretch and comfort but they tear/de-lamm/fray/etc come apart. Way I see it is they all (with the possible exception of isurus?) fall apart unless you rinse religiously so may as well have the stretch.
@billythekid , yeah its the only fault , i wash then soak in fresh water for a hour after each surf .
Re O'Neill, rinsing and hanging to dry in the shade makes all the difference.
I have two Psychotech, and they are excellent.
I've had O'Neill wetties for years and recently gone off them as I believe the quality has decreased given the issues I've had with tearing, fraying etc. Unfortunately the warranty repairs were poorly done and customer service virtually non existent!
There's a few manufacturers out there at the moment spruiking the limestone neoperene factor in their wetsuits like NeedEssentails and Xcel but I reckon there must be a huge difference in neoprene quality between what they are using and the high quality Yamamoto stuff that Seventh Wave and Isurus use.
I purchased an Xcel Infiniti suit a few months back that claimed to be using Japanese limestone neoprene but compared to the Isurus I have it comes nowhere close. The Yamamoto stuff seems to slide on and off like silk and does not absorb any water, whereas I find the Xcel hard to get on and off and bulks right up when wet.
Be interesting to know from someone in the industry if the limestone product claim is just a marketing tool being used by the cheaper priced products.
spot on, there's limestone neo and there's limestone neo...now I want an isurus - pity about the price!
Billy do you usually do an Indo trip each year ?
if yes then you havent for two years so you have enough spare $ to buy one ..Yew !
Dont use it in a Chlorine wave pool thats a warranty void
i guess all brands state that ?
Billy the difference between an ONeill Psycho Tech 3/2 and an Isurus Evade 3/2 is 20 blocks of wax.
good point Udo.
Any of the tub surfers here seeing chlorine effect their wetsuits?
Thinking that with Covid chlorine % would be raised.