In the past year I ran through three different wetsuits. If you purchase a high quality wetsuit, it can last up to 10 years. But it also depends on how much you surf and where. I’m in the water almost everyday. Sometimes, I manage to go 2 times per day on the weekends.

Let’s examine.

Cost

If you’re conscious about cost like everyone, cost plays a major role in the selection process. However, if you want quality you’re going to have to shell out the money. A wetsuit is the most important equipment you’ll have in your quiver. The warmer you are, the longer you can surf. If you’re a beginner, make sure you’re committed until dropping some loot on a quality wetsuit.

The mid-market wetsuit market ranges from $250-$600. That’s a big spread. But there are high quality wetsuits out there within the lower price range, you just have to know what to look for.

What to look out for,

  • Find wetsuit sales that offer 20-40% discounts during October – November
  • Look at wetsuits that range in the mid $500s – these type of wetsuits offer top quality material
  • Search online/research and compare in your local surf shop – nothing beats supporting your local surf shop and evaluating in person before you purchase.

Material

O’Neill Wetsuits started in San Francisco, California and there’s a reason why the best wetsuits are developed in Northern California. Shit gets cold quick. I started out with a 3/2mm wetsuit and ran through 3 of them in a year. Do not purchase a 3/2mm for Northern California surf. Purchase a 4/3mm.

I am grateful for Jack O’Neill for developing the wetsuit to keep surfers in the water all year around. And the new O’Neill wetsuits are definitely high quality, especially with the Firewall technology and stitchless neoprene.

What to look out for,

  • No stitching – the more stitching and thread to keep the material attached, the higher chance there will be a leak – go for the stitchless neoprene. Open the wetsuit and examine the inside. Feel its thickness and examine for stitching.
  • Front zipper – I hate how back zippers open up after you get drilled by a big wave. Front zippers are protected and when you wipe out they are less likely to open up exposing you to cold water. Not fun.
  • Thickness – in NorCal, go for a 4/3MM (a must).
  • Neck, Wrists and Ankle enclosures – you want to ensure that nothing gets into your wetsuit. Examine the tapping and welds.

Let’s compare.

  1. O’Neill Pyscho Freak Z.E.N. 4/3 – $519.95
  2. RipCurl E-Bomb Wetsuit 4/3 – $339.95
  3. Isurus Alpha Elite 434 – $539.99
  4. Body Glove Full Suit 4/3 – $337.99
  5. Hurley’s Phantom 403 – $480.00
  6. Patagonia R3 Yulex – $469.00

After examining all 6 wetsuits online and visiting in store, I shortlisted the ones that didn’t meet my standards based on my preferences and usage.

  1. Patagonia R3 Yulex – $469.00
  2. O’Neill Pyscho Freak Z.E.N. 4/3 – $519.95
  3. Isurus Alpha Elite 434 – $539.99

All three of these wetsuits were top notch and I knew I needed a high-end wetsuit. I went online and examined the videos attached in the links provided above. Patagonia R3 Yulex was made of high-quality weld similar to O’Neill’s and Isurus’, but fell short of the lack of neoprene design.

The Pyscho Freak was definitely my number one choice if cost wasn’t an issue. However, Isurus’ Yamamoto Neoprene is made from limestone and not petroleum, and the it’s design was made specifically in a surfer’s full extended form. Isurus’ top notch design and build was definitely tempting.

After checking out the wetsuits in-store and negotiating with my local surf shop, I  went with the Isurus Alpha Elite. NorCal Surf Shop hooked me up with a 30% discount! Make sure you support your local surf shop or stop by to see what NorCal Surf Shop has in store if you’re in the area.

The Isurus Alpha Elite is the best wetsuit I have ever worn. I actually sweat while surfing and it’s amazing to be working out while in 54 degree water. Any of the top three wetsuits I shortlisted are definitely options you won’t regret. You want to spend the money on a good quality wetsuit if you’re going to surf. If don’t have the budget, wait for new wetsuits to hit the market and purchase last year’s model. But make sure you purchase a 4/3mm and not a 3/2mm. Any 4/3mm is better than a high-end 3/2 since it will keep you warmer.

Thanks for reading and feel free to ask me any questions or suggest anything I missed.

 

 

 

2 thoughts

  1. Hi there Thanks for the wetsuit product review. My husband wears an O’Neill wetsuit so he was thrilled to hear its one of the good ones. I’m yet to get my gear. I’m learning at a very very slow pace at kitesurfing. My husband also has surfboards so I might even get him to teach me to at least stand on a board lol Cheers from Perth WA @lismoran ________________________________

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol nice! Your husband might say he’ll teach you but once he gives you a board and you’re on the beach he’s no where to be found 😂 he might help but like me, the waves are too good to teach 😁 try enrolling into a surf school. The cool thing is, you’ll make friends that are also beginning. Hope to see some videos of you shredding it up soon 🤘

      Like

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