31 December 2007

Buying a Wetsuit

Recently I've been looking for a new wetsuit. I bought my tired and biggish 5/4 O'Neill on the Washington coast about 3 years ago, and the 4/3 Hotline I got just 10 months ago hasn't held up well. It's really hard finding a wetsuit in women's size 2, but I was resigned to getting my next wetsuit at Hotline anyway since at least it fit. The O'Neill wetsuits I've had before seemed much better quality, but the smallest size was 4 so they were always a bit big on me. That's why I was happy to find O'Neill has started selling some of their line in size 2. I called the store before I drove down to make sure they had some:

Me: Do you have any 4/3 wetsuits in women's size 2?
O'Neill Wetsuit Room Guy #1: Oh, yeah, we have PsychoII, Mod, D-Lux, Epic, all of those here in size 2.
Me: Great! All in stock in size 2?
WRG1: Yeah, yeah, in stock.

He lied. Here's my in-store conversation with a different guy:

Me: So you only have the D-Lux and Epic in size 2?
WRG2: Yeah.
Me: Well, can you order in the Mod?
WRG2: I dunno. I'll check.... No, O'Neill doesn't make the higher end suits in size 2.
Me: Because size 2 women wouldn't want to buy higher end suits?
WRG2: Riiiight.

To make matters worse, I was kind of counting on a new 4/3 being warm enough to get me through the winter, since the Hotline mostly did last season. But the D-Lux I bought, though it fits well enough, is too low-end to pull it off. I felt the cold right away today, so after a brief sesh, I headed back to the store in search of a 5/4. Alas, O'Neill also doesn't believe size 2 women would want to do dawn patrol in January in NorCal, because they don't make 5/4s for us either. So in O'Neill's mind, women my size all dust off our Softtops and go surf just a few times a year on warm, sunny summer days. Sigh.


  1. I buy men's wetsuits. There were no women's wetsuits when I started surfing, so we had no choice but to buy mens. I still buy men's because there is a better range to select from with the high end wetsuits.

    Otherwise try getting one custom made from seventhwave in New Zealand. That is the next wetsuit on my shopping list.

    Hang 10 :)

  2. I've tried men's suits (boys, actually, to get close to my size) but they're cut wrong. So I've stuck with Hotline for the last few years; they do well enough.

    Although if I ever get back to NZ, I'm tempted to check out a custom from seventhwave!