Breaking Down the 2012 Title Race

Posted in Jack's Surfboards on November 13th, 2012

It looks like the ASP World Title race between Joel Parkinson, Kelly Slater and Mick Fanning is going to be as contestable as the 2012 presidential election, with Kelly playing President Obama, Parko as Mitt Romney and Mick Fanning playing the unlikely successor, but still hopeful Roseanne Barr.

Here’s the breakdown as the ASP moves to Hawaii for the 30th Triple Crown: Parko is currently in first place with 53900 total points, closely behind is Slater with a total 50700 points and still in the title hunt is Fanning with a total 47000 points.  For either of these three men to win the world title there are a plethora of if/then scenarios that must occur:

  • If Parko finishes 5th or lower at Pipeline:
  • then Slater needs a 5th or better to win his unprecedented 12th world title;
  • then Fanning needs to win the contest to win the title (Slater cannot finish 5th or better)

  • If Parko finishes 3rd at Pipeline:
  • then Slater needs a 3rd or better win the title;
  • then Fanning needs to win the contest to win the title (Slater cannot finish 5th or better)

  • If Parko finishes 2nd at Pipeline:
  • then Slater needs to win at Pipeline while simultaneously becoming the ASP champ;
  • then Fanning cannot win the title

  • If Parko wins at Pipeline then he will be the 2012 ASP champ.

Let’s take a look at the past to try to forecast the future.  Last year Parko took down Kelly in the semifinals and Fanning did not surf the event.  During the 2010 Billabong Pipeline Masters, Kelly made it to the semifinals again, while both Parko and Fanning lost in the third round.  In the 2009 contest, Kelly lost in the final, Fanning lost in the quarters, and Parko lost in the third round.

Personally, I think Kelly is too strong of a competitor to lose the title when it is within arms reach.  That being said, Parko’s three Triple Crown victories and Fanning’s two World Titles cannot be ignored, but an incumbent is hard to dethrone and Kelly has proven time and time again that he is king.

Wetsuit Hoods: The Unsung Heroes of Winter Surfing

Posted in Jack's Surfboards on November 8th, 2012

xcel surf hood

xcel surf hood

You may have heard the old bit of folk wisdom about how most of your body heat leaves through your head. It turns out that, in general, this is completely false. The amount of body heat you lose depends on the surface area you have exposed, so a larger surface area, like your leg, naturally loses more heat than your head.

But if you’re already wearing a full wetsuit, then your head probably is your biggest source of heat-loss—it’s the largest uncovered surface on your body. That’s why a good wetsuit hood is one of the unsung heroes of winter surfing in California (or year-round surfing in colder climates).

If you live in California—and not in the far-flung northern reasons—your go-to wetsuit probably doesn’t have a built-in hood. Most of the year it’s unnecessary and only gets in the way. But for a few months of the year, having a hood can make the difference between a fun session and a session where you dread every duck dive.

That’s why we carry a number of hoods that you can use with your current wetsuit. The Rip Curl Flash Bomb 3mm, for example, is a great hood to wear with your 3/2 fullsuit. It has flash lining, which means that the hood is warm and comfy, and that it dries in around fifteen minutes. Which is great, because the only thing worse than putting on a wet wetsuit is also putting on a cold hood.

If you want something super warm to go with a 4/3 or 5/4 wetsuit, we recommend the Hyperflex 5/3mm Bibbed Surf Hood. Not only is it a bit thicker for additional warmth, but it has a bib. Basically, the bib tucks under the neckline of your wetsuit and extends to your upper chest, which means that there’s no gap in your neckline to allow water into your wetsuit or into the hood.

O'Neill 2MM Sport Cap - Men's

O'Neill 2MM Sport Cap - Men's

For a hood that you can use year-round for warmth and sun protection, check out the O’Neill 2mm Sport Cap. It’s super light and unobstructive, but it’ll protect your ears and face from the sun, and it’ll give you a bit of warmth on windy days or early mornings.

Hoods are relatively inexpensive, and they’re a great addition to any non-hooded wetsuit—and you won’t have to worry about exactly how much heat you lose through your head.

Body Glove Pr1me 3/2 Wetsuit

Posted in Jack's Surfboards on October 26th, 2012

body-glove-pr1me-32-cz-fullsuit-mensOne of the most awkward parts of surfing is the get-into-your-wetsuit dance in the parking lot. You know the one: where the zipper is jammed or you haven’t worn your wetsuit in a while or it didn’t fit right to begin with, and you’re in the parking lot doing yoga contortions to get into your wetsuit and get it zipped. It’s awkward and unpleasant, especially if you have to get one of your friends to zip you up.

You won’t have that problem with the Body Glove Pr1me 3/2 Wetsuit. It might be the easiest-to-get-into fullsuit on the market. It has what Body Glove calls an E-Z Entry Slant Zip, which is basically a zipper that goes diagonally across the chest. What’s great about this is that it gives you a bit more space to get your body into the suit without sacrificing the warmth of a snug fit once you’re in the suit—and the zipper’s right there on your chest when it’s time to zip up.

Of course, if you were going to buy a wetsuit just because it’s easy to get into you’d just wear boardshorts—a wetsuit’s whole purpose is to keep you warm while you surf. And the Body Glove Pr1me 3/2 does that as well. It has Pyrostretch insulation for added warmth from the chest down, and it has a shoulder bib cinch that lets you seal the bib up nice and tight to keep water out.

The Body Glove Pr1me 3/2 is also good and comfy once you have it on. It has a Glideskin neck, because no one likes neck chafing. And the whole thing is made of Body Glove’s Evoflex material blend, which ensures that it’s flexible and won’t hold your surfing back. So if you want a wetsuit that’ll keep you warm and comfortable, and want to be able to get into that wetsuit without the awkward get-into-your-wetsuit dance, look no further than the Body Glove Pr1me 3/2 Wetsuit.

JACK’S SURFBOARDS WINS 2012 OAKLEY SURF SHOP CHALLENGE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP IN BALI

Posted in Jack's Surfboards on October 9th, 2012
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

CANGGU, Bali/Indonesia (October 8, 2012) —Team Jack’s Surfboards, from Huntington Beach, Calif., claimed the 2012 Oakley Surf Shop Challenge National Championship in Bali, revoking Sunrise Surf Shop’s domination of the one-hour Final in a nail biting come-from-behind victory.

2012 Oakley Surf Shop Challenge National Champs: Jack's Surfboards Photo: Lowe-White

2012 Oakley Surf Shop Challenge National Champs: Jack's Surfboards Photo: Lowe-White

Now in its eigth year, the Oakley Surf Shop Challenge has seen its most competitive series yet with nearly 300 surfers from 70 shops around the U.S. competing in seven regional stops for a chance to ink their names in Surf Shop Challenge history.

For the first time in the events tenure, the National Championship battle took place on the wave-rich coastline of Bali Canggu in conjunction with the Oakley Pro Junior World Championship. 28 competitors from seven shops earned the coveted Oakley sponsored trip to Southeast Asia including Surf Ride (Southwest), Wave Riding Vehicles (Mid-Atlantic), Heritage Ocean City (Northeast), Jack’s Surfboards (West), Town & Country Surf (Hawaii), Sunrise Surf Shop (Southeast) and Pacific Wave Surf Shop (Northwest).

Four teams earned a Finals berth: Jack’s Surfboards (Huntington Beach, Calif.), former National Champions Sunrise Surf Shop (Jacksonville Beach, Fla.), Surf Ride (Solano Beach, Calif.) and T&C Surf (Aiea, Haw.).

Sunrise Surf Shop whammy rider Asher Nolan, whammied a powerful 9.4 in the Final, which put Sunrise in temporary contention for the title. However, with a team stacked full of former Regional Champs, the Jack’s crew implemented the perfect combination of skill and strategy to succeed in the unique Surf Shop Challenge format - a four-man rotation (two pros, two shop employees) with one team member designated a wildcard “whammy” rider. (Each surfer got a four-wave maximum to contribute their best possible score to the team’s heat total.)

Chris Waring, Jack’s designated “whammy” rider, played a pivotal role as always, staking claim to his best score, a 8.67 (out of possible 10), for double the points and to take a commanding lead. When asked about his clutch performance, Waring said, “I was stressing. I was just waiting for that certain wave and it didn’t come for the longest time. I can’t believe I got that one, I’m so stoked. I’m stoked for all my boys; Vance, Bobby, Pagan. This is epic. We just won 10 g’s boys!”

Chris Waring, slicing into a meaty Canggu left-hander. Photo: Lowe-White

Chris Waring, slicing into a meaty Canggu left-hander. Photo: Lowe-White

In addition to the trip of a lifetime, the Jack’s team won a $10,000 cash prize, a full-page shop profile in SURFER Magazine, online ads on Surfermag.com, a custom Muscle Milk Beach Cruiser with surf racks and the priceless title of the “Best Surf Shop” in the U.S.A.

For all of the latest information including photos, video highlights, results and more, check out surfshopchallenge.com.

Congratulations to Jack’s and special thanks to Oakley and other event partners, Muscle Milk, Rusty, Bubble Gum Surf Wax, New Era, Futures Fins, Waterman’s Applied Science and Mizu for their support, without which the Surf Shop Challenge series would not be possible.

With the help of turns like this from Vance Smith, Team Jack’s was able to take the 2012 National title. Photo: Lowe-White

With the help of turns like this from Vance Smith, Team Jack’s was able to take the 2012 National title. Photo: Lowe-White

Oakley Surf Shop Challenge Championship Final Results

1. Jack’s Surfboards (33.35 pts)
Chris Waring, Matt Pagan, Vance Smith, Bobby Okvist
2. Sunrise Surf Shop (32.40 pts)
Asher Nolan, Ryan Briggs, Dane Jefferys, Garrett Carmichael
3. Town & Country Surf Shop (25.70 pts
Dustin Cuizon, Kekoa Balcaso, Geoff Wong, Travis Hashimoto
4. Surf Ride Surf Shop (21.54 pts)
Darrel Goodrum, Dayton Silva, Brent Reilly, Gabe Garcia
5. Wave Riding Vehicles (23.37 pts)
Blake Jones, Mark Yonkers, Brendan Petticrew, Kevin Hodges
6. Heritage Surf Shop (14.36 pts; including 5 point late deduction)
Zack Humphrey, Ian Bloch, Andrew Gesler, Jamie Moran
7. Pacific Wave (8.33 pts; including 5 point late deduction)
Randy Bonds, Kyle Buthman, Miles Clanton, Willie Eagleton

About Surf Shop Challenge
Originally conceived to provide a fun and competitive format for the hardcore surf shop riders, the SURFER Shop Team Challenge was one of the most popular and exciting Southern California contests of the early 1980s. Through the years the contest has evolved, with seven qualifying regional events around the country, culminating in a national championship in Bali, Indonesia for the first time in 2012. The underlying principles, however, have remained the same. The Oakley Surf Shop Challenge is still about giving back to the shops, the true backbone of the industry and the heart of the sport of surfing. Each year the competition level rises, the stakes become greater and the prizes become bigger.

About Oakley, Inc.
The global leader in performance sunglasses, goggles and prescription eyewear, Oakley also offers technical and lifestyle apparel, footwear, watches and accessories. The company was created for athletes who see impossibility as just another challenge, and their dedication inspires Oakley to seek out problems, solve with innovation and wrap invention in art. Exceeding the limits of possibility for more than thirty years, Oakley serves the demands of world-class athletes with unbeatable technologies including High Definition Optics® (HDO®). Additional information is available at oakley.com

About SURFER
In 1960, SURFER Magazine began as the original. After a long history of delivering provocative and insightful editorial features, revealing interviews and award winning state-of-the-art photography, SURFER remains the authoritative voice of the surfing world and thus earned the moniker “the bible of the sport.” The SURFER brand has also grown to include Surfermag.com, Fantasy Surfer, and the SURFER message boards. All of these assets combine to make the SURFER network the most current and reliable channel of information to the surf community. The magazine is published by Source Interlink’s GrindMedia, which reaches more than 22-million active sports enthusiasts through an integrated network of magazines, online properties, events and television programming. To learn more, visit www.surfermag.com

About GrindMedia
Source Interlink Media’s GrindMedia is home to renowned action and adventure sports magazine brands Surfer, Surfing, Snowboarder, Skateboarder, Powder, Bike, Canoe & Kayak, SUP-Standup Paddler, Dirt Rider, ATV Rider, and Paved. Along with our standalone websites, including GrindTV.com, Newschoolers and Motocross.com, GrindMedia is the leading provider of print and online action sports and entertainment content in the United States. Delivering significant reach across both action sports enthusiast and various in-market consumer audiences, GrindMedia produces more than 20 leading events and webcasts such as Surfer Poll Awards, Powder Video Awards, Nike 6.0 Lowers Pro, EnduroCross and International Surfing Day. GrindMedia is also the exclusive action and adventure sports content provider for Yahoo! Sports. To learn more, visit www.grindmedia.com

Three Lessons Learned from the Quiksilver Pro France

Posted in Jack's Surfboards on October 7th, 2012

__id-199-5-victoire_kellyIf you live on the west coast of the U.S., you probably think of the European leg of the ASP World Tour as the surf competitions that are on really late at night. In case you were sleeping while the world’s best surfers were battling it out, here are three things we learned at the Quiksilver Pro France.

The Title Race is Going to Come Down to the Wire
Coming into the France stop, Mick Fanning led the title race, and a win there could’ve made it pretty hard for anyone to catch him. But Mick went down in round three, and Kelly, Joel, and John John all made the semis or better, tightening an already tight race. Those four surfers are all within 7,000 points of each other, so it’s tough to imagine that the title will be mathematically decided before the last stop at Pipeline.
What’s great about this title race is that all four of these surfers are at the top of their game. Kelly continues to get better with age, Mick and Joel have refined their acts and are surfing almost flawlessly, and John John has largely figured out how to use his top-notch free-surfing abilities within competition. Some years the winner—usually Kelly—runs away with the title because no one’s surfing consistently enough to challenge him. This year there are four surfers surfing at some of the highest levels we’ve ever seen, and any one of them could win it.

To Win France, You Have to Get Lucky
The beachbreak at Le Graviere might be shiftier than any stop on tour, even Brazil. The waves were incredible, especially on the last day, but you had to hope that you stayed out of a rip long enough and got lucky enough for one to come right to you, and then you had to hope that the barrel stayed open long enough for you to make it out without snapping your board.
Bad luck is what brought down Mick Fanning. As the number one seed, Mick was paired up with the lowest seed in round three, a wildcard. Typically that’s a big advantage, but the wildcard this time was Dane Reynolds—not your typical just-happy-to-be-competing-with-the-big-boys wildcard. Mick’s second stroke of bad luck was that he just didn’t get any waves in that heat, and Dane got more than enough to take Mick out.

Dane Still Rips
Dane Reynolds’s run to the finals, where he lost to Kelly, was probably the most enjoyable part of the contest. Dane’s never been the most consistent competitor, but the shifty but heavy beachbreak peaks seemed to play perfectly into his devil-may-care style. He didn’t have to think much about priority or other competitive tactics—never his strong suit—and was free to just go out there and surf. And watching Dane surf is always a treat.
Dane had some good luck to go with his great surfing. He won two heats—one against Mick, one against Kolohe Andino—not so much because of his surfing but more because his opponent literally drifted out to sea. All Dane had to do was avoid the rips long enough to score a few points. And Dane won his semi-final against John John by the smallest of margins—it could’ve gone either way, but Dane won the coin flip.
But it seems that even the luckiest surfer can’t match Kelly Slater on a hot streak, and Dane didn’t seem like much of a match for Kelly in the final. That’s two wins in a row for Kelly, and he seems like he’s on a roll. We’ll see if anyone can stop him at the next late-night stop, in Portugal.

Glacier Surfing: An Awesome Sidenote in Surfing’s History

Posted in Jack's Surfboards on October 1st, 2012

glacier-surfingOne of the fun things about being a surf fan is watching how the sport progresses. Just when you think everything’s been done—guys are doing turns! On waves!—someone comes up with something totally new, like taking their surfing to the air.

In the past few years, we’ve seen a ton of progression in surfing, some of it within surfing proper—rodeo flips are now common, and guys are now paddling into waves of unprecedented size—and some of it in a sort of tangential way, like stand-up paddleboarding, wakesurfing, tidal-bore surfing, wave pools, and so on.

These sort of progressions usually end up going one of three ways. Some of those progressions stick and become a permanent part of the sport—wave pools seem to be headed in that direction. Others splinter off and become their own more or less unrelated activities, like wakesurfing. Others are simply novelties that no one ever touches on again.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that glacier surfing is going to go route three, a novelty that never really becomes anything. But it’s an amazing novelty. Here’s how it works:

In places where glaciers feed into lakes or oceans, from time to time a huge chunk of ice will break off from the glacier and drop into the water—it’s called calving, and it’s pretty cool to watch in itself. Whenever you drop a large chunk of anything into the water, it creates a sizeable wave. And if there’s something for that wave to break on, that wave can be surfable. Of course, you’ll probably have to tow into it, because you’d have a tough time finding the exact right spot to sit and paddle. But once you tow into the wave, there you are—you’re surfing a wave

These guys are the pioneers—and some of the only practitioners—of glacier surfing. Check it out:

Glacier Surfing

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKRR9RMmcIQ

The difficulty of getting all the pieces in place probably means that glacier surfing probably won’t catch on as a widespread sport. It’s a lot of effort for just one wave, and glaciers typically don’t calve all that often. But the difficulty of the whole thing makes it all the more awesome: these guys spent a bunch of time and a bunch of money—and surely did a ton of research—all just to see if they could do something new with the sport of surfing. So even though glacier surfing will probably just end up as a sidenote in the history of the sport, we can still be glad that these guys went to all that effort to plant a surfing flag on one mushy but awesome wave.

This Year’s ASP Title Race: Who’s Going to Win It?

Posted in Jack's Surfboards on September 25th, 2012
Tags: , , , , ,

jon-jon-jacks-surfboards-team-riderYou probably saw Kelly Slater win the Hurley Pro Trestles last week, or at least heard the news. If you watched the event, you saw some of the best surfing we’ve ever seen in competition—giant air reverses weren’t even getting out of the mediocre score range, if that’s any clue.

But perhaps more importantly, the Hurley Pro Trestles set the stage for the end-of-the-season world title race. Going into the final four events, we now have a pretty clear picture of what the race looks like, at least by the numbers.

Quick refresher on the scoring system for the world-title race: first place gets 10,000 points, second gets 8,000, third gets 6,500, etc. There are ten events, but only your top eight scores get counted—you in effect get to drop two scores. If you look at the current ASP rankings, the low scores haven’t been dropped yet, so those rankings might not give you the best idea of what the race actually looks like.

Consider Kelly Slater. He sat out Brazil with a dubious injury, and fizzled out early in Fiji. He thus sits in third place in the rankings. But if you drop those two scores—which Kelly likely will at the end of year—he has a total of 33,200 points. If you drop Mick Fanning’s lowest scores, he has a total of 33,000. So even though Kelly sits in third place on the rankings, he actually has a slight advantage in points over first-place Mick Fanning right now.

Unless someone further down the rankings makes an amazing late-season run—which can always happen—it looks like a three-horse race between Kelly, Mick, and Joel Parkinson, with John John Florence within striking range. If you drop the two lowest scores, Joel’s less than 3,000 points behind Kelly and Mick, and John John’s 3,600 points behind him.

The numbers might look close, but it seems like this would be a tough one for Joel to win, since, despite his consistency, he hasn’t yet won an event. It’d be hard for Joel to pull ahead of Mick or Kelly without a 10,000-point win or two—because whoever wins the title will probably win at least one more event, if not two or more. It’d be different for Joel if he only had one guy to catch, but he can’t really count on both Kelly and Mick fizzling out at the end of the year. A series of second places will probably earn Joel just that: second place.

We might be biased, but John John might have a chance at this thing. Not only has he improved over the season—after starting with a thirteenth and a ninth he hasn’t placed worse than fifth—but he’s shown that he’s capable of winning events. Plus, Pipeline is the last stop of the tour, and John John might’ve surfed there more than anyone else (despite being one of the youngest surfers on tour). So if he can stay within striking range over the European leg and at Santa Cruz, we could see John John make a big move at Pipe. If we could dream up the perfect scenario, we’d have the title race come down to Kelly and John John at Pipe—could anything be better than that?

The waiting period for the France event starts on September 28. After that, we’ll probably have an even clearer picture of the title race. We suspect, though, that it’ll be a close one, and it’ll be fun to watch.

Arnette Newport Beach Surf Championships presented by Jack’s Surfboards

Posted in Jack's Surfboards on September 20th, 2012
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NB Surf Championships Arnette is the proud sponsor of the 24th Annual Newport Beach Surf Surfing Championships presented by Jack’s Surfboards. This is one of the most prestigious surf event in Newport Beach, which lets the locals shine in front of their family and friends.
Our Cash Pot events have been super successful this year. For this time around, we decided to let retailers battle it and do the first ever Arnette Cash Pot Shop Invitational. This event is ONLY open to teams of surf shop employees and it’s one way we’re stoking out influential retailers on a local level. If you’ve got friends at one of the shops invited to participate, drop’em a line and wish them good luck.

Shops that will be competing include:

Jack’s Surfboards • ET Surf • Frog House Surf Shop • Huntington Surf & Sport • Katin Surf Shop • Spyder Surf Shop • Surfside Sports

2012 Newport Beach Surf Championship Entry Form

Hurley Pro Trestles

Posted in Jack's Surfboards, Team Riders on September 17th, 2012
Tags:

hurley-pro-trestlesWe’ve now completed the first two rounds of the Hurley Pro Trestles, and so far the waves have been pretty good—a little inconsistent, but when they come through they’ve given surfers more than enough to work with. And with a similar but slightly better forecast for the rest of the event, we’ve seen enough of the action to have a pretty good idea of how things might go from here.

Let’s note that Trestles might be one of the toughest contests to predict of the year. Various commentators and media have all picked different favorites—Kelly (of course), John John (always a threat), Gabriel Medina (who tore it up at the Nike Pro at Trestles earlier in the year), maybe a rejuvenated Jordy, or maybe Mick or Parko or—or, really, any of the top 16 guys could win this one.

The big reason this contest is so open is that everyone has filled in the gaps in their game. The younger, more air-focused guys have honed their rail games—Julian, John John, and Jordy can all put it on rail with the best of them. And the older, more traditional surfers can now throw down airs to match the groms: for the best air of the event so far, it’s a toss up between Taj Burrow (age 34) and his full-rotation reverse, and Heitor Alvez (age 30) and his totally unexpected rodeo.

When you have sixteen or so guys who can all match each other trick for trick and turn for turn, and when you have a canvas as easy as Trestles for them to work with, the results often come down to luck and tiny mistakes—both of which are tough to predict.

But one thing we’ve learned so far is that, at decent Trestles, local knowledge isn’t as important as it is at other breaks. Kolohe Andino and our own team rider Patrick Gudauskas probably surf Trestles more than any of the other guys on tour, and both of them went down in round two. Kolohe surfed well but fell victim to Heitor’s rodeo. Likewise, Patrick seemed on-point but lost to an on-fire Jeremy Flores. Both of these guys can surf Trestles with the best of them—and can snag waves when Trestles is at its most crowded—but that didn’t turn out to be enough of an advantage to get out of the first two rounds.

But the good news here is that the surfing action has been awesome, and with the official Surfline forecast predicting the arrival of a nice swell over the next couple of days, it’s only going to get better. If a giant rodeo flip only scores a 9.0, the rest of the Hurley Pro Trestles might feature some of the best competitive surfing we’ve ever seen.

O’Neill Mutant 5/4 Fullsuit

Posted in Jack's Surfboards, wetsuits on September 12th, 2012
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oneill mutant 5/4 fullsuit w-hood mens jackssurfboardscom

O'Neill mutant 5/4 Full suit w-hood Men's JacksSurfboards.com

If you live in Southern California or farther south, you’ve probably never put on a 5/4 wetsuit. It’s a rare occasion when you need all that neoprene down here. But cold-water surfing has seen a renaissance in the last few years, and a lot of great waves have been discovered in places where the water temp rarely gets above 60 degrees. If you want to surf those waves, you’re going to need a 5/4 with a hood, and a lot of our friends up north recommend the O’Neill Mutant 5/4 Fullsuit.

What’s great about the O’Neill Mutant 5/4 is that the hood detaches for those days when the air temp is way warmer than the water temp and your head can stay warm out of the water—a not-uncommon occurrence in, say the Pacific Northwest. When the air is cooler, the hood zips to the wetsuit and can be cinched down to cover everything but your eyes, nose, and mouth. If you throw in some O’Neill gloves and booties, every part of you will stay warm.

If you haven’t worn a 5/4 before, you might notice that the wetsuit will be a bit tight around your Adam’s apple. This is normal. If a wetsuit’s going to keep water from dumping in whenever you duck dive, it’s going to have to be tight around the neck. You get used to it, though.

Another added bonus with the O’Neill wetsuits is their durability. We’ve heard from folks who’ve used their wetsuit regularly through four or five seasons—and when you’re surfing in those colder areas, sometimes it involves hiking through muddy forests in your wetsuit and stuffing it in a backpack for long periods of time. It’s not exactly the recommended way to treat a wetsuit, but the O’Neill Mutant 5/4 handles the abuse.

We should also mention the warranty. One of the reasons we love O’Neill and love carrying their products is their great warranty service. If you encounter a problem with one of their wetsuits in the first year, just send it to them and they’ll fix it for you at no charge. O’Neill makes a quality wetsuit to begin with, and if there’s any minor issue in the first issue they’ll repair it without any hassle. So if you plan on scoring some waves in a chillier area to the north (or the far, far south), we recommend picking up an O’Neill Mutant 5/4 before you go.