Cart Details Should Go Here
Attention all locals and legends, groms and grommets, surfers and bodyboarders: The season has changed! Say so long to the warm days of summer and hello to the cold, offshore mornings of fall!
Let’s be honest, there is nothing worse than rocking up to the beach with the temperature gauge reading in the mid 30s - 40s (or colder if you’re on the East Coast) and putting on a wetsuit you know is not going to keep you warm. That little trickle of ocean water running through the tear in the side of your suit is all it takes to give you the chills as you paddle out. We’ve all been there, and the same dialog runs through our head every time: “Next year I’m going to invest in a new fullsuit so I can surf 2 hour sessions no problem.”
Well, that time has come and to help make your decision a little easier, we decided to take an in-depth look at a few fullsuits we think are worth checking out:
1. O’Neill Psycho Freak
Back in 1952, a man named Jack O’Neill, who coincidentally taught Don Hansen how to shape surfboards, created the first neoprene wetsuit. Since then, O’Neill has been a major influencer in wetsuit design and innovation, and their 2016 flagship wetsuit is no exception. The Psycho Freak combines years of research with athlete testing to bring one of the warmest and most flexible wetsuits to the market.
Thicknesses Offered: 4/3mm, 3/2mm
Zipper Location: The O’Neill Psycho Freak is available in two zipper styles. The F.U.Z.E. style (zipper on the chest) is slightly more difficult to change in and out of, but will offer less zipper surface area for water to potentially seep in. Additionally, chest zip wetsuits tend to offer more flexibility when paddling. The Z.E.N. zip style (zipper on the back), is without question an easier suit to change in and out of and features an adjustable velcro neck piece that can help to keep water from flushing in. With a zipper running down your back however, you sacrifice flexibility when rotating and paddling.
Material: Both the 4/3mm and 3/2mm Psycho Freak use O’Neill’s “TechnoButter 2” Neoprene. The result of years of research, TechnoButter 2 Neoprene is said to be 20% lighter and 30% less likely to absorb water than other brands. Additionally, the chest and back areas, known as the Firewall, use O’Neill’s TechnoButter 2 Air-Insulation, a proprietary technology that O’Neill developed for this suit.
Seams: The panels of TechnoButter Neoprene on the Psycho Freak wetsuit are held together with O’Neill’s stitchless SuperSeam Welding technology. Prior to welding the seams inside and out with a thin urethane, the neoprene is triple glued for a maximum seal to avoid those small, frigid leaks. Additionally, O’Neill specifically designed this suit with minimal seams in high movement areas to avoid rashing when paddling.
Final Thoughts: Overall, the O’Neill Psycho Freak is a fantastic wetsuit for the serious surfer who is looking to stay warm and maintain maximum mobility. The research and testing by athletes that has gone into the design of this suit are clearly represented by how well it performs and how long it will last.
2. Rip Curl FlashBomb
Over the past decade, Rip Curl has had more surfers win world titles wearing their wetsuits than any other company in the industry. This has allowed them to work with many of the top athletes including Mick Fanning and Gabriel Medina, who provide feedback that is translated into the wetsuits Rip Curl commercially produces. Their top shelf suit for 2016 is the FlashBomb; a fullsuit that will not only keep you warm, but also dries in a flash. Let’s take a closer look:
Thicknesses Offered: 4/3mm, 3/2mm
Zipper Location: The FlashBomb fullsuit by Rip Curl comes in both a chest zip and back zip style. The 4/3 and 3/2 chest zip FlashBomb is quite flexible making it relatively easy to get in and out of compared to other brands. The back zip style of both thicknesses is also very easy to slip in and out of, but as with any other back zip fullsuit you lose flexibility and increase the probability of water seepage.
Material: Rip Curl released a new technology for the FlashBomb called the E5 Flash lining. E5 Flash lining is an update to the pink furry material that has been a signature inside of their upper-end fullsuits over the years. The E5 Flash lining has a lower profile and is 25% more flexible than the older generation, allowing for increased mobility - specifically in the 4/3mm thickness.
Seams: Along with an updated lining for the FlashBomb, the seams for this fullsuit also got a makeover. Rip Curl released E5 Flash Lining Tape that is used on the front and back panels, high stress points, and in the arms of both the 4/3mm and 3/2mm. To further combat water entering the suit, all seams are glued and blind stitched as well as covered with an Aquaban Plus Tape that greatly reduces the chance of rashing during those 4 hour marathon sessions.
Final Thoughts: Rip Curl is one of the most common wetsuit brands you see in the water today, and for good reason. They come in a variety of colorways, are built with quality and functionality in mind, and have some of the most radical athletes backing their product. Needless to say, you won’t be disappointed with this suit and you’ll be warm all winter long.
3. Xcel Revolt TDC
With over 30 years of experience in wetsuit design, Xcel has mastered the art of keeping surfers and ocean goers warm in all conditions. New Jersey native Ed D’ascoli was very familiar with frigid winter temperatures when he constructed his first wetsuit in the bedroom of his Sunset Beach house in Hawaii. Fast forward to today and Xcel’s Revolt TDC fullsuit is one of the most popular wetsuits on the market. Here’s why:
Thicknesses Offered: 4/3mm, 3/2mm
Zipper Location: Chest Zip
Material: The Revolt TDC fullsuit utilizes high and low pile Thermo Dry Celliant (TDC) - Xcel’s ultra premium lining. TDC material is a unique “smart fiber” that converts body heat into infrared energy that is said to maximize heat production while you surf. The high pile TDC is focused around the core area of the suit for warmth, while the low pile TDC found on the arms and legs allows for greater mobility when paddling and doing maneuvers.
Seams: Xcel’s Revolt TDC full wetsuit has a two-part seam construction to ensure that water does not permeate. First, TDC panels are glued and blind stitched together to create a long lasting connection. Then, all-way stretch Thermo Dry Seam Tape is placed on all interior seams to minimize water entry and maximize warmth retention. Additionally, the wrist cuffs are uniquely designed to keep a tight fit to eliminate being flushed when you have to take a dive.
Final Thoughts: Xcel’s use of the TDC lining to create infrared energy is one of a kind in the wetsuit industry. This, coupled with rock solid design and construction has been a leading factor in the success of the brand. Should you choose this fullsuit, there’s only two things you won’t get - cold and disappointed.
4. Rip Curl E-Bomb Pro Zip Free
As stated before, Rip Curl is fortunate to have a few of the best test pilots in the world for their wetsuits. One bit of feedback they received from these athletes is that the standard zipper on wetsuits is a limiting factor that hinders mobility and performance. With this in mind, Rip Curl set out to create a zipperless suit to balance warmth with high performance flexibility. The result: the E-Bomb Pro Zip Free Fullsuit.
Thicknesses Offered: 4/3mm, 3/2mm
Zipper Location: Zipperless
Material: The E-Bomb Pro Zip Free fullsuit utilizes Rip Curl’s E4 neoprene to keep users warm while maintaining mobility and durability. Getting in and out of this suit is relatively easy with how wide the Super Stretch Material opens at the neck area, and can be closed tight to fit snug using the Lock Slide closure system.
Seams: The seams on the 4/3mm and 3/2mm E-Bomb Pro Zip Free wetsuit are designed with flexibility and mobility as the focus. Because of this, a limited amount of tape was used to cover the glued and blindstitched seams that hold the E4 neoprene together. However, at the suit’s main stress points, tape was used to eliminate the potential for rashing and tearing.
Final Thoughts: If you are looking for an extremely flexible fullsuit that will allow you to surf and paddle more freely than a typical chest or back zip suit, this might be for you. Also, surfers who actively compete tend to love this suit for the lightweight and free-feeling properties it offers in adrenaline filled heats.
5. Women’s SuperFreak™
Along with creating fantastic men’s full wetsuits, O’Neill also produces industry leading fullsuits for women. Aside from cutting the neoprene slightly different for women’s suits, the technology and construction is relatively the same in comparison to men’s wetsuits. For all the gals looking to push the limits this winter, check out the Womens SuperFreak™ Fullsuit:
Thicknesses: 4/3mm, 3/2mm
Zipper Location: The Women’s SuperFreak™ features O’Neill’s F.U.Z.E. technology (zipper on the chest). While this allows for added mobility and flexibility compared to a back zip wetsuit, taking this suit off can be a challenge, especially for women who prefer to not wear a bikini underneath. With the careful use of a towel, however, most women don’t find it too difficult to change in and out of.
Material: To maximize warmth, the core area of the Women’s SuperFreak™ features the Smooth Skin FluidFlex™ Firewall technology. The super stretch material found on the legs and arms of this suit promote movability and flexibility without sacrificing critical warmth. Furthermore, the Double Super Seal neck area of this fullsuit will counter potential flushes of cold saltwater.
Seams: The seams of the 4/3mm and 3/2mm Women’s SuperFreak™ fullsuit are strategically placed to avoid high paddle areas. Where the panels of FluidFlex and Ultraflex neoprene connect, they are glued and blindstitched to create a long lasting, watertight seal. Additionally, O’Neill has taped the critical seam junctions to eliminate potential tears and avoid painful rashing.
Final Thoughts: At the end of the session, the goal is to have maintained warmth while being able to fluidly execute your desired maneuvers. With the Women’s SuperFreak™, it is safe to say O’Neill has constructed a suit that will do exactly that. Whether you are just learning to surf or getting those 3 hour sessions in, the Women’s SuperFreak™ is a great fullsuit for you!
Now that you know the ins and outs of different fullsuits, it’s time to make a decision. Bust out the measuring tape, open up the size chart, and make sure you get the fullsuit that is best for you and your Winter-time, ocean-going needs. When it comes to thickness, we recommend a 3/2mm for water that won’t dip too far below 55 degrees F., and a 4/3mm or thicker for waters that get colder. Furthermore, if you don’t feel like running across a cold sandy beach or dealing with sharp rocks after a long session, make sure you check out our selection of booties.
We know how frustrating it can be when the waves are pumping, but you’re so cold your fingers won’t stay together and you can’t feel your feet. Trust us, aside from being spit out of a head high barrel, there's not a better feeling than unzipping your suit to see steam radiating out.
See you in the water,