I have a Billabong 3/2 Solution Gold zipperless wetsuit. Great suit. Cost me about $300 when I got it about a year and a half ago. Lightweight, thin, stretchy, nice looking; it seemed like the perfect wetsuit.
Now, it sucks. Time has not been kind to the suit and the once iron-clad craftsmanship has shown its true form and now falls apart at the seams. Literally. A 6" rip in the inseam right above my knee ensures that the second I am knee-deep in cold water, my entire suit is filled with cold water. Oh and it gets better. Rips at the chest/shoulder--coupled with the slash on the leg--have trasformed my once toasty wetsuit into a sieve. Basically, my suit keeps exchanging cold water and I freeze my ass off every session. Wonderful.
The real kicker is that I barely wear the suit. I typically trunk it (or wear a 1.5 mil jacket) from April to November or December and only wear the suit when the water is really cold here in Orange County. Granted, I surf pretty much every day so when it's being used there's not much down time, but, c'mon Billabong...are you kidding me? $300 buys me a season and a half of use? I guess Billabong is keeping themselves in business by making high-end suits with a guaranteed failure not too far down the line so you've got to go buy the newest high-end suit that will set you back 3-bills. Good on ya, Billabong.
Bryan don't play 'dat. I'm ditching my Billabong fullsuit and jumping on team Quiksilver. The mountain and the wave are getting my business for the next suit. Sure, I have a connection that will get me the wetsuit at cost, but it's not all about the money. At least, that's what I tell myself. Will it last longer than the Billabong P.O.S? Hopefully, but probably not. I'm betting than any of the big names all play the same game and if I want real durability I'll have to visit Patagonia or Matuse and cough up the change. But, I'm willing to give Quik a shot...
So, until my Quik suit shows up, I freeze my ass off.