Patagonia vs. Xcel wetsuits

I’m looking at getting a patagonia r3 or a 3.2 xcel drylock wetsuit for the cold san diego mornings. anyone have a recomendation or experience with either? both that im looking at are used. any input is appreciated! 

A Patagonia R3 would be more like a 4/3 in other brands. 

also would either of these be warm enough in central or Northern California if paired with a hood? 

sure you wanna get a used wetsuit?

as already mentioned, patagonia’s equivalent of a 3/2 would be the r2 with 3.5mm. I actually have that one (the newer one) and my last surf was in france in december and I was fine. 


yep can’t a afford a new one. so for the same price you’d recommend a Patagonia? 

Patagonia are really heavy and stiff, and only really warm when new

I have no experience with xcel so I can only tell you that I really like my R2. I used to have rip curl, put ~4 months in my patagonia now, it holds up really well. 

All the things that people say about them (not flexy, stiff, heavy, leaky seams) are certainly not true about mine. I gues that used to be an issue with the old merino lined ones. Or I’m just lucky. 

Fit is pretty important though, have you tried on either?



Xcel was cutting edge 10 years ago but the other manufacturers have passed them by.  I also think my Xcel suits are overly heavy when wet by today’s standards.

Its hard to beat RipCurl and Oniell these days.  Buy what fits the best.


Thanks! yeah I was wondering if the heaviness was only due to the wool which I’m pretty sure the new suits don’t have. I’m 6’3" and skinny, so I need a MT in almost every brand 

But what if I could an r3 for a decent price? Rip curls don’t seem to fit me right, and I have a few oneills that were definitely warm, but didn’t hold up. 

If you are on such a tight budget that you need a used wetsuit, I’d say you are a little to close to going over the edge into poverty. That is, unless you are 16 years old. If that’s the case, put fliers in mailboxes that you mow lawns.

What is your budget? A used 3/2 would probably be a bit chilly up north. 

Either would probably not last you all too long.

I would look into buying a mid/lower end suit that’s new. It will probably keep its flex through the season ( maybe two if only worn in the winter) and it will keep you plenty warm. 

A billabong foil comes to mind. I have a 5/4 I use in new jersey winter and I’m fine.

Patagonia weakness in my opinion is water tightness. The wool lining should stop farther away from the ankle and wrist to give a better seal. I also thought the neck seal was poor for my hunchback. I gave up on them. Too much water flushing through the suit.




How cold are the winters in San Diego?  Not that cold. 58 mid winter. Get by with a spring suit in the summer and fall. Maybe a degree or two colder during spring upwellings.  Find a good suit that FITS. You can get by with a well maintained used suit.  If you lived up here(central Calif.) I’d say buy the best suit you can afford otherwise you’ll be cold and not go surfing anyway.  I have no experience with either of those brands. I don’t by Oneil because of quality issues. Hotline are sturdy but fit me poorly. Rip Curl is in the middle there, but fit me good(shitty zippers).   Mike

I really loved my Excel but it was done after 2 seasons and I had to repair it twice.  I would find a new Oneil, I think the base model is about $130. If you are in San Diego look at the  south coast seconds store or go up to the trestles surf outlet.

One more thing regarding Patagonia: a buddy tore a seam when putting on his R4 (he was surfing in the netherlands in full winter). The suit is 4-5 seasons old easy and they repaired that seam for free no questions asked. 

Go for fit  first. Then brand. But my Patagonia is heavy and stuff I’ll sell it to you cheap.  I weigh 165 and am 5-9. 

My brand is Boz. Low cost super flex best rubber. An best of all they fit me. 

All the best

I’ve an R3 and it’s plenty warm. LA surfer.  It’s the one with wool and it’s stiff as all get out.  I spend most of my energy just fighting the suit while paddling. Don’t buy the ones with wool. Patagonia doesn’t make them anymore for a reason. At least I’m super comfortable floating around.

well now that it’s feeling more like july than february, not sure i’ll need a new suit and would probably melt in either of these.  

Greg- Are the boz’s very durable? Can you get more than a year out of them? I’m tired of spending + $400 for an Oneill psycho & the thing starts breaking down after 6 months.

From the other wetsuit thread on swaylocks last year, I got real interested in the “Boz”. The other problem is up here in Central Cal there is no dealer to try one on.(Really hate buying a different brand that I haven’t tried on first, from the internet). Do you have any knowledge how their sizing chart compares to the Oneill’s?