Chest zip suits are getting more and more popular. The benefits are that the length of the zip is shorter and it frees up the entire back of the suit to increase flex when paddling. CHEST PANEL
Sometimes chest panels have an interior laminate to wick water and increase insulation. Also can be on the back, or other areas on high-end suits. KNEEPADS
Flexible, yet more durable rubber is used for a high-friction area. KEY POCKET
Many suits have them on the outside, though some brands put them on the interior. BACK ZIP
Back zips are the traditional entry system. Many brands are making the zip as short as possible, as its typically the least-flexible part of a suit. DRAIN HOLE
Lets any water that slips in the neck drain out here instead of going down your suit. WRIST SEALS
Liquid tape, or similar material is put on inside of wrists and ankles to help keep out water and keep from overstretching. ANKLE SEALS
Liquid tape, or similar material is put on inside of wrists and ankles to help keep out water and keep from overstretching.
Surfers love fall because the wind mellows out, surf bounces in from the north and south making for some magical combo swell days, and the water clears out from summer madness. The other wonderful part of fall is getting a crispy new fullsuit. Sure, you're not in trunks anymore, but the neoprene is soft and comfy, the seams are sealed, and you're actually warm again. With that in mind, this guide breaks down what the best wetsuit brands have on offer this year, and it's impressive. There's a suit for every budget, from entry level all the way up to some Gucci stuff. Dig in and enjoy!
Try on more than one brand. Brands have different fits, which is the most important aspect of deciding on a suit. Some suits fit certain body types better than others, so don't be lazy, get a second (or third) opinion.
Bring a plastic bag, or ask the shop if they have one you can use. Put it over your foot and it helps to slide the suit on. The first suit you try on should go on smooth. After that, things tend to get kinda sticky.
Go to a wetsuit demo. Trying on a suit in a shop is a start, but paddling out in a suit is a way more telling experience.
Ask around. You can get some valuable feedback from word of mouth. Ask friends or people in the water how they like their suit. Also keep in mind that wetsuit brands are constantly evolving and changing fabrics and technology, so if someone tells you they had a suit from so-and-so five years ago that was horrible, the brand might not even make that model anymore, or has addressed any issues.
2011 Wetsuit Price Guide: A quick and easy guide broken down into different price ranges.
($100–$140) Mostly lower-end neoprene with some superstretch in areas. The suits on the bottom of this range will have flatlocked seams, which lets water pass through while the top of the range have glued and blind-stitched seams (GBS), making them warmer.
($190–$280) All suits in the mid-range should have GBS seams which raises the warmth of a suit. These suits are also likely to have more superstretch material and better closure systems. Also look for additional seam sealing with tape, which further improves water tightness.
($290–$400) Suits in this range will be made of nearly all high-end rubber. Seams will be sealed with additional tape, more flexible kneepads, and other design upgrades like fewer seams and panels of ultra high end material.
($400+) These will have the softest, warmest materials, and most advanced seam technology. Suits in this range will have all the bells and whistles, and be soft, comfy, and warm.
Describe your most used board: It's called the tweener—it's a twin fin/thruster hybrid, 6' long and shaped by Fletcher Chouinard.
Current favorite board: Fletcher and I have been working on a design called the KMRP (Keith Malloy round pin)—it's an all around great board for average to piping waves
Favorite surf accessory or two: Destination Surf board bag. I use it everyday, other wise my dog chews on my board in the back of my truck
Best surf tip you've given or received: shred or die
Worst surf tip: Once I coaxed my friend into a wave out of his league and he ended up getting stitches—I still feel guilty about that…
Leash or no leash? Depending on the waves and what mood I am in, I am usually too lazy to wax my board, so in that case I wear a leash
Most boards (or broads) you've packed into a boardbag? Maybe 7
Favorite stash spot? Cory Lopez showed me the leash pocket... seems like a pretty good one.
Glass on or fin system? Glass ons are better, but too hard to travel with so I use Futures.
Describe your most used board: A Rusty Redline R1.
Favorite board of all time: One of my first Rusty EPS boards I got a couple years ago. It lasted all year and had some insane surfs around the world on it. At that point I hadn't ridden much EPS and that board went so good.
Current favorite board: Rusty, R1 model. EPS resin, PU foam. That seems to be the perfect combination of flex and weight for a shortboard around here in California.
Favorite surf accessory or two: Bose headphones for on the plane, baby Taylor guitar for the after surf jams, Soleo sunscreen, my OAM traction pad, and my wife.
Best surf tip you've given or received: Top secret board bag tip when checking in: Slip your back pack underneath your surfboard when they weight it at the check in counter, Never been caught, shaves about 20 pounds off your board bag and it works every time. Also when traveling with a friend take one of his boards and he takes one of yours. That way if one of the board bags gets lost or doesn't make it to your destination you still have one board that made it
Leash or no leash: Leash for sure. I don't like swimming for my board, I think its stupid not to wear a leash especially somewhere like Trestles where there are too many people surfing as it is. One guy out there without a leash could be your death sentence.
Most boards you've packed into one bag? 9. The thing was massive. Checked it in with Singapore and got it on for free, crazy. If that would have been United Airlines I would have needed to take a second loan out of my house.
Favorite stash spot? Putting my passport between that mattress and the spring board. If that gets stolen you're f—ked. Hide it well.
Glass ons or fin system? Future fins. They have epic fins and for traveling they are amazing.
Favorite board of all time: My Maldives 6'0'' Proton Low with glass ons and French flag CI logo. I love France, so everytime I saw the logo it got me psyched.. Thing was on inversion trails on the Backhand.
Current favorite board? 6'0'' Cheesestick by Yadin Nicol. It's fast as f—k and still wafts tail off the top. For me its the hybrid between the Proton and the Whip.
Favorite surf accessory or two: wax and Go Pro
Best surf tip you've given or received: Damo Hobgood at Teahupoo: "If you're coming out, you're not deep enough."
Worst surf tip: Damo Hobgood "If you're coming out, you're not deep enough."
Leash or no leash? No leash, seen Wardo do it a bunch as a grom and I think it looks pissed.
Most boards (or broads) you've packed into a boardbag? Dane, Tanner, and I, three years ago had 34 boards in four bags going to Hawaii... Since then we've figured out about storage units on the island.
Favorite stash spot? In colder temps in my shoes' soles, or socks. In the tropics I just keep anything I'm carrying in my waist line in the trunks.
Glass on or fin system? Fin system... one board becomes three just by changing the fins.
Describe your most used board: 5'9" Stretch with a 5-fin setup (pretty much two boards in one)
Favorite board of all time: 5'5" thing, I've had the thing for more than a year and it's still going strong!
Favorite surf accessory or two: The Pickle, makes boards like new!
Best surf tip you've received or given? Never underestimate the power of the ocean
Worst surf tip: It's hard to get a bad tip—most people just try and help or I'll immediately erase it from my memory.
Leash or no leash? Leash, who wants to swim?
Most boards you've packed in one bag? 7
Favorite stash spot? In my leash
Glass ons or fin system? Fin system
Favorite board of all time: 9'8" that I won the Eddie on.
Current favorite board: 10'7" gun recently made for paddling Jaws. I call her the "Troublemaker". Biggest board I have had made or ridden to date. She's an absolute beast and takes my mind on a wild adventure to waves of magnificent proportion every time I look at her. Sure to make some of those thoughts a reality in the future...
Favorite surf accessory or two? Leash strings and fin keys. Can never have enough of either.
Best surf tip you've given or received: Always make sure you're having fun. If you aren't then you've lost the plot. My pops told me that.
Worst surf tip: Haven't had a bad one yet. Some have had better waves or been a better experience than others but each one is an adventure and that's all I'm after.
Leash or no leash? Small waves no leash. Always wear a leash in any sizeable surf. It can become your lifeline. Something goes wrong it's the only way somebody will find you.
Most boards (or broads) you've packed into a boardbag? 8
Glass on or fin system? Future fins on all my boards. Best system by far.
Favorite board of all time? My Favorite board really only works on my favorite wave. But would have to be 5'11 round tail.
Current favorite board? Sharpe eye 5'10 swallow—fast and fun and easy to maneuver.
Favorite surf accessory or two? Board bag, with wheels
Best surf tip you've given or received: Received: Don't be afraid to use your arms. You look like your wearing a straitjacket.
Worst surf tip: "Put your booties over your wetsuit"—(You know who you are)
Leash or no leash? Leash! Because I like surfing, not swimming.
Most boards (or broads) you've packed into a boardbag? 5
Favorite stash spot? Too many to list…
Glass on or fin system? Futures Fin system. Traveling with glass ons is just too big of a mission. Where would I put my shoes then?
Describe your most used board: I was home a lot this year so I was trying a lot of different boards but the one I have been riding lately is actually an old shortboard template that I made three inches short and a half inch wider and it has really low rocker its called the "little joey" 5'8 x 19 x 2 1/4
Favorite board of all time: The last shortboard I just had was the best board I have ever had but the good ones always break sooner or later.
Current favorite board: I have a 5'8" pocket rocket made by Dan Taylor. It's made for hollow waves only, so when I use it the waves are good. It has really low rocker and the wide point is forward with a rounded pin and it's a quad cause you want as much speed as you can get.
Favorite surf accessory or two? Traction pads are the best accessory. I have slipped off the back of boards so many times.
Best surf tip you've given or received? Remain as calm as possible when you fall.
Leash or no leash? No leash. I just like the freedom of not having one on—you don't have to worry about it getting caught in your feet.
Most boards (or broads) you've packed into a boardbag? 7 a long time ago when I went to Oz.
Favorite stash spot? The sand
Glass on or fin system? Futures
Describe your most used board: My most used board is a Proton, I pretty much ride that in any kind of waves.
Favorite board of all time: I have had so many good boards, but I would say the first Merrick I ever got was one of the best for sure.
Current favorite board: I just got a new proton (5'11 x 18 3/8 x 2 1/8) that feels magical. It just goes everywhere you want it to go, and goes from rail to rail very nicely.
Favorite surf accessory or two: fin screws and leash plugs
Best surf tip you've given or received: Have fun
Leash or no leash? Leash when there's rocks, no leash when its sand.
Most boards (or broads) you've packed into a boardbag? 6 (5 with glass ons and one with fin system)
Glass on or fin system? Fin system nowadays
"Transworthy" is a stamp of approval from the editors here at TransWorld SURF. Being lifelong surfers and gear geeks, any product deemed "TransWorthy" has been tested and approved. Whether it's a surfboard, pair of trunks, or sandals made from a beer cozy, you can trust that your bros from TransWorld SURF wouldn't steer you wrong.
BOARDS:Boardworks Rusty Veneer SUP
MR 1982 Concave Retro Twin
JS Mystery Groveler
O'Neill Hybrid Freak
Quiksilver Cypher Alpha