My last wetsuit was falling apart…literally. I had a big tear from the neck to the chest that I had repaired haphazardly with some wetsuit repair Goo, and the knee had a hole in it almost as big as my knee cap that would send a chilling rush into my nether regions as I entered the water. It was time for a new suit.
I wasn’t sure what to get but was going for price and knew that pretty much any suit these days is pretty killer. I remember some of the early suits and let me tell the youngins that we are sooo spoilt with all the new neoprene and blind stitching, glued, taped this and that.
The new Patagonia suits are pretty killer. They are super warm, made of sustainable materials etc. The price tag was the ultimate killer though. I just didn’t have it…and needed a new suit pronto. I checked O’neill as I knew that they were pretty solid…I even checked out a few of last years models. I found an Excel 4/3 that looked that it would do the trick, pretty straightforward and cheap. Then I stopped by the Hotline HQ and got sucked in by their $159 4/3 sale only to be disappointed in finding out that they were all sold out. I’ve never worn one, but they seem pretty simplistic. I like the rasta colored suits and wanted to support local.
On a whim I stopped by the Surf Outlet in Santa Cruz to check it out and see what kinds of goodies they had in stock. They turned out to be an outlet for Rip Curl suits…selling them at a fraction of the cost that you would find elsewhere. They had tons to choose from and they were coming in at a cool $200 for the new models which were atleast $100 cheaper than anything comparable around town. If it weren’t for the excellent salesmanship of the lady behind the counter, I might not have taken that bad boy home, but I couldn’t resist.
I picked up an XL Rip Curl eBomb without even trying it on. Just eyeballed it and with the sales gal’s help found what I thought would be a perfect fit. My last O’neill was a large tall, so this was a bit stockier but actually fit like a glove.
My first session in it was amazing. Entering the water I felt invincible, not a drop of water was able to penetrate. The O’neill had a bit of slack around the ankles and wrists and was a bit heavy in comparison. The XL eBomb I picked up had no slack what so ever. It was actually so tight that I was concerned I got too small a size. Those fears were easily squashed as I duck dove the cool overhead surf in complete bliss. I didn’t have to wear booties or a hood and I was hot. I had to dump water over my head to keep me cool.
I was throwing myself over the lips, doing backward flips and launching into the flats without getting flushed…it was a whole new experience.
Getting it on and off was a bit more difficult, but I think I’ve got it down now. I am worried that I might tear the suit cause its so lightweight and stretchy…so far so good. Its the best wetsuit I’ve ever had in terms of warmth, flexibility, and functionality.
The only complaint I have is that the neck is so high and tight that it can chafe you and leave you looking like someone tried to hang you or something. Other than that, I’m stoked on my new purchase and would recommend picking up one for the winter. Its got all the bells and whistles, good value, and it’ll make you surf like Mick Fanning. Future World Champ!!