Post general kiteboarding discussion topics here!
So my wetsuit 4/3 O'Neill from a few years back is feeling pretty tight, used for bodyboarding. So I decided to get a new one.
Few problems though.
What is everyone using in the bay for kitesurfing season, 4/3 or 3/2?
O'Neill fills out my tall and slim structure very well but has outdated technology (slower drying) and they are still using liquid tape that barely stretches, which makes their cuffs unbearably hard to get through on arms and legs. Very expensive, but has 4/3 and 3/2 in my LT (Large Tall) size.
RipCurl has limited selection but at 30% off because a new model is soon to come out. Has quick drying material on the inside, very elastic material, cuffs stretch ALMOST twice as much as O'Neill. No 3/2 LT suits. A few 4/3 LT suits. Primarily looking at Flashbomb model and backzip. Great technology compared to O'Neill.
I found out that front zip is not for me because I'm in between sizes and the suit gets stretched on me as it is, so putting anything over the head requires the already stretched suit to stretch more and it's uncomfortable, both to get in and out at neck and shoulders.
For some reason RipCurl is making their suits 4mm thick on the legs in a 4/3 combo, while my O'Neill is using 3mm in a 4/3. The legs feel a lot bulkier and I can feel the thick material when I bend my knee. I'm trying to figure out if 3/2 will do for the bay. Mind you I do get cold pretty fast.
I went to O'Neill and RipCurl shops in Santa Cruz.
Not sure what to do at this point since RipCurl doesn't have 3/2 suits in my size.
the OLNY thing I bought again in my long kiteboarding history is my Oneil wetsuit. The only component which lasted long enough (8years) to really justify the price. I grabbed the same model line again which is the Epic, lowest cost and seems to keep forever. So the ONLY real endorsement I can do for all my kiting gear do is to Oneil. My whole fam is running on Epics...
3/4 in case you want to hit the big waters too. I just keep the zipper open in the bay over the summer.
U pick, G
In my opinion, 4/3 is a better all year around wetsuit choice.
I definitely enjoy wearing a 3/2 at Sherman or even alameda/3rd on a hot day but definitely not enough for Crissy or OB.
Winter: 4/3 or thicker for sure.
Like you, I can't deal with front zip.
I have 2 wetsuits: a 3/2 for the hot days. And a 4/3 to which I can add a 2mm neoprene shirt when it gets really cold.
How did the lessons go?
Kites: 2013 F-One Bandit VI: 12m, 9m and 7m.
Board: 2013 F-One Acid 134x42 & 5'6 Fish.
Harness: Underwave "Imperial" vaccust.
Wetsuit: Underwave Sultan shortleg 4/3.
Easy. Once I tried launching and landing several times, I was comfortable at it. Piloting the kite on the water was a breeze too, controls are as simple as I thought.
I did some body dragging down the beach, but because I have yet to find a cheap board to buy, I can't go upwind so I walk the kite back. I'm looking for a 137-143cm x 39-44cm board, preferably 2011+.
The only problem I encountered was that my skin was being pulled apart on my stomach area between my hip bone and my groin area. I was body dragging with my tight suit, so the torso was being pulled by the kite and the legs were being pulled behind me by the water, hence stretching my skin, it was very painful. I have several ideas of how to fix it though. New suit for more comfort and elasticity, do more stretches, and try to stretch the skin in those places myself.
I have always used o neill till i bought a xcell. i will never go back, easyer to get on warmer ect. Wise surfboards has lots of brands to try with good prices
Riding used and closeout kites and boards from e-bay,craigslist,ikitesurf, and local surf shops.
I will never go to WISE AGAIN!
Their June sale is $150 off on F-BOMB RipCurl wetsuits, sounds good no? $270 instead of $420
Only problem is RipCurl shop in Santa Cruz has 30% off on Flashbomb wetsuits for ~$280.
Ohh, the difference? Flashbomb is this year, F-Bomb is last year. And there's a new version of Flashbomb coming out in about a month. So WISE is selling you a 2 year old suit.
E3 neoprene material is this year, E4 is next years, more elastic, coming soon. Nothing much different in technology wise, so E3 is bang for the buck, if you can find a size that fits...
One other thing wetsuit manufacturers are pissing me off about:
They cut out the material incorrectly for their arms. There is a grain to the material they use on the ams, both O'Neill and RipCurl. When you insert 1 arm the neoprene is smooth and your arm glides in, the other arm is chaffing like sandpaper on your skin. If only they reversed the direction of the cutting die, then the grain would be in reverse and the grain would be in the direction of inserting the arm.
I bought a mystic majestic 5/4 frontzip for the surf. I was getting cold in my 4/3 after a few hours and went for something warm and toasty. Super happy with it... I ended up getting a MT. The Med was to tight from waist to neck and the L was to big in the shoulders. Make sure it fits correct, sucks trying on several 5/4 suits in the shop but worth having it fit nicely. Oneil and Xcel are probably better suits but mystic are tailored for kiters... More comfortable but doesn't last as long IMO.
I took out my Xcel shorty for a sick bay session on Saturday. Love rocking the shorty on summer days.
2010 UG FLX
2012 Firewire Flexfire Strapless
i like the NPX Assassin and Zealout. They rebranded the NPX line to 'Neil Pryde Surf' this year, so now they have different names. Anyway, i see the NPX stuff that shops have as surplus going for pretty cheap. I use the Zealout 4/3.
The suit is really comfortable. Its stretchy, great range of motion in shoulders and chest, i've never thought about feeling restricted. Goes on and off easy. In the 4/3, i've been out in low 50's water temps and never thought about being cold, even though my feet were getting numb. The little thing that goes over my head before i zip it up keeps the water out. To be honest, I just dont think about the suit or being warm at all, so i feel like its a good one. I've had 2 other suits, both were a big pain. I wore an NPX for the first time doing a 'Kite The Bay' trip, been wearing one ever since.
I've heard the oneill techno butter stuff is pretty neat stuff too.
The Clymb has a bunch of wet suit stuff on sale right now, 6/10
For what it's worth, Wise guys have always treated me totally straight over the years, no complaint. Dissing them based on pricing on one item seems like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. For the most part, they get good reviews and I like their surf report.....which is increasing in importance since Surfline's accuracy seems to have gone way downhill since the passing of Sean Collins. I think the Wise guys are good folks.
Wetsuits continue to get better across the board.....but you should take care to make sure that material that's used will hold up against windchill factors you may experience more in kiting rather than surfing where you are more constantly immersed in the water. Elasticity is probably a bigger factor in surfing rather than kiting.
4/3 works for me on the coast through the year, although it's a little chilly on the southern Oregon jaunts.
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