Sunday, November 01, 2009

Review: RipCurl F-Bomb vs O'Neill Mutant 3/4

RipCurl F-Bomb vs O'Neill Mutant 3/4

I have written smaller piece of information with respect my new RipCurl F-Bomb and O'Neill Mutant suits before. I have two suits because I usually alternate between them and usually buy a new suit 1 to 1.5 season(s) apart, replacing one at a time, but for some odd reasons two of my old suits ripped this year within a few months of each other.

So I had to replace two suits at about the same time. I paid approximately $320 for each Mutant and F-Bom, though I got RipCurl at discount and and O'Neill at more like the full price so this may not be a "fair" comparison since O'Neill Mutant is a bit lower end positioned product. There are higher-end suits costing more than $500, but I am not sure if they last any longer, so I usually opt for a mid-range price stuff, and buy new ones more often. Besides, the two suits I got this time are both warm enough, I see no points in paying more.

Both are front-zip kind and that's basically the only type of suits I will be using. This is because I do not like verclo around the neck. It is almost amazing that people can construct suits without any verclo on them.

Now that I have been out with both of them, I can write a bit more.


I can definitely say that F-Bomb is noticeably warmer. When I am paddling around a lot in the 53-54 degree Half Moon Bay water, I do get quite hot inside. It feels a bit more water tight. There is quite a bit of the "red" stuff inside the suit, whereas on the Mutant the heat shield material seems to be in the chest and back only. So the "red" matter may be making quite a bit of difference.

I do not mean to say that the Mutant is cold, both are nice and warm in Half Moon Bay surfing situations, but if you want a bit more warmth then between the two I'd choose F-Bomb.


The next day I got F-Bomb I ripped the seams on the neck flap. It took almost a month for them do a warranty fix. It came back with more stitches.

What I did was I pulled the neck flap too hard and the threads in the seam on the flap broke. It is partly my fault to have pulled the flap too hard, but I think there is a bit of design issue there since this never happened with the Mutant or other Xcel suits I have owned. I must say that F-Bomb is still harder to get in and out of. I also like the thicker bigger zipper on Xcels. But after several times of getting in and out of the suits I now can do it with much ease.

In terms of the construction, O'Neill always seem to have mastered the quality in stitching. There is not much dangling threads at the end of seams. Seams are clean. I usually tidy those up by cutting them, and on the RipCurl I had to do some of that.

Also the inside collar part on the O'Neill has stitched re-enforcements. I have been using front-zipped Xcel suits for many years and the inside is just scissors-cut without much re-enforcements (later models put tapes around it), and that's where the suits starts to tear (and that's how I lost two suits this year).

A Major Advantage of the Mutant Constructions

All my suits seems to deteriorate first from the collar. Either the collar rubber splits, deteriorates or tears after a while of use when the rest of the suit look practically new. On the Mutant model, I am supposed to be able to buy replacement flaps both in hooded and plain collar styles. This might help me keep the suit longer. I would like the suits to last two seasons.

Please also note that in my case the suits gets more abuse than typical weekend warriors since I usually do dawn patrol 2 ~ 3 days a week and head to work while the suit stays in the car most part of the day all wet. This is, in addition to, weekend surfing too!

I will be sure to revisit the longevity of both suits in the future WavLog.