wetsuits - back zip or front "closing"

Hello all

I have a 5/4 matuse front zip i surfed all winter

There is still water coming in, despite me tightly closing the ropes on it

Do other wetsuits with the same kind of closing system have similar problems?

I ask, because i want to get the Billabong SG-5, but not sure yet to choose back zip or front zip

How much more manoeuvre ability do you really need? Back zips worked fine 4 me and seem more water tight.

Thanks for your thoughts and experiences


I have a front zip Patagonia.  Flushes if water hits from the side, Fine if Duck Diving straight on. 

On the side, wetsuit was a mistake.  Slowest drying, Stiffest, heaviest, worst fit.  Least elastic rubber, so it is never tight in the lower back area.  Cold water pools there.  And the wool is so irritating!  Only thing it is good for is keeping wind out.

Excell imo make the best dry non flush wetsuits.

Chest zip is good and  dry pretty quick as well. (bamboo fibre lining)


Rip curl are ok, with batwing but dont seem to last as long as excell with the seals. chest zip rip curls dont really havea good system as they load water as the cut shape is not designed to clear water

The 6/5/4 Excle’s I wear have the front/top entry and I get flushed 1-2x year at most.

  I've had over 40 backzip suits, maybe 10 front zips, 4 backzip across's, 2 no zips.

  No zips the best for stopping water flow, but impossible for me to handle getting in and out.

  Backzip across's work as dry suits, sealed zip, but not for wetsuit zippers....huge leakage.

  Front's all leaked, because perfect fit is hard to achieve.

  Back all leak, but they're easy to put on and take off, an a flap inside helps.

  Pick your poison.

I got a new top entry that I’ve only worn twice. Great suit, but too short in the body for me. The flap that comes over my head and zips across the front is hard to zip up and then the suit feels like it is compressing my spine. Spoke to other tall, thin bloke who have similar problem. The design is good enough to drop a mm thickness over rear zip.

My answer to flushing is to wear a chicken vest.

I bought my Hotline freeze fighter which is an all 4mm Ultra hot combo in 2001. Never had a seam leak …ever.Just sold it a month ago and bought a 2-year-old used Ultra Hot Combo in perfect shape… No holes in it and all the taped seams are still good. For some reason I get leaks all over the place on the seams? Has Hotlines quality gone downhill or what?  Do you guys get leaks on the seams in your newer UHC.

The tape on this newer UHC is narrower than the 2001 .The glue seems to be differet as well? Or is it the rubber?

I’ve had great luck with the xcel wetsuits, only time it seems to flush is high speed kiteboard crashes or a couple times when I’ve gone over the falls (and have bigger things to worry about than getting wet)

I switched from Billabong to Xcel this Season and have all front zip suits A 3/2 Infiniti Drylock, 4/3 Infinity Drylock and 3/2 Infiniti Xzip2 Comp They have all been great. Super flexible, the Drylocks are better than the Xzip 2 but not by huge leaps. I will say I like the quality better than the Billabongs, I had last years SG-5 and the Drylock is hands down a better suit. 

I dunno, I’ve had xcel, hotline, oniel, ripcurl, hurley, and billabong, but by far my matuse is the lightest, stretchiest, and dries quick. Flushes through the neck on knarly duck dives and hold downs, but who cares. I guess back zip would be better.

Hi Wouter,

is this with a hooded wetsuit? Never had a big problem with the front zip flushing on the wetsuits I’ve had with front zips. I have a hotline which is open on both sides in the front zip, get tiny amounts of water in but not bad, it has a too big hood for me though so I get some flushing there. The hyperflex wetsuits I have and the quiksilver wetsuit I had have no flushing problems whatsoever. Most guys around here use the Xcel wetsuits, and are pretty happy about them. I think a tight good fit is the key, my biggest problem with the front zip is getting out of it after surfing, tired, cold and stiff… it takes some swearing.

Are there any good wetsuits out there with back zip and integrated hood?

excel works great.  you can get them on great deals after season, I've been wearing the infinity drylock. great suit, great price.


All suits flush you once in a while. if you are not getting flushed, den u aint surfing.

My previous wintersuit was a Hyperflex 5/4/3… however it rapidly deteriorated (stiching and glue coming undone).

I now have an Oneil Heat 6/5/4…It was well priced ($380), is super flexible, and super warm. The front zip never flushes. The only flushes I recieve are via the hood if you take a decent wave on the head.

I also have the summer 4/3 of the same model…Again, awesome suit. I wear this one slightly bigger than my winter, cus its so warm that flushing in the summer is a good thang!



Thanks all for the replies

Since i can get the Sg5 for 200$, with either of 2 zip options, i will go with the back zip

The front zipped Matuse suit is not easy in and out. And I am not doing mind boggling airs or narrow tubes… so that special flex is lost on me i guess.

Plus the 4/3 water is never really cold

I dont care about flushing too much, but was amazed that it happened. Never had a front zipped suit before. Pretty silly at that price really?

LeeD made a good comment about pick your poison


I have a new 5-4 ripcurl front zip hooded.  Warm and fits good like all my ripcurls.  Sometimes they hold up better than others. They stand behind their product, too.   I have a tub of old rips that are in good shape but no longer warm enough for daily use.  They’re usually good for one season. I fricken HATE getting out of the front zip suit and will avoid buying another. Try threading that little zipper deal on a freezing morning.  Sucks.  An occasional flush is invigorating, isn’t it? I wear my 4-3 back zip whenever possible.  Mike

If its Last years SG5 I would pass that thing wasnt very good. This years is better and if its this year I would go for the Zero if you can.

I love my Matuse. I use the 3/2/2 chest zip… Have never had any problems with flushing, in fact I switched from wearing a 4/3 Rip Curl F-Bomb to a 3/2 Matuse… The 3/2 is just as warm as the 4/3, not to mention the suit is softer on my skin…I don’t take cold water kindly either… So I would always recommend the Matuse… Suit has been a beauty.