Review : O'Neill 3/2mm Psycho 1 z.e.n. zip (backzip) full Wetsuit 2014
This is the first gen Psycho 1 in technobutter neoprene. The feel is a bit rash. Big BUMMER, your skin do not glide inside when putting on the suit, the same goes for next gen technobutter 2 neoprene.
This wetsuit, in 2014, is overall better than the competition and it has been awarded the best wetsuit 2 years in a row by the solspot.com tests. Great and thorough work by these guys.
I won't be quoting their test, so I encourage you to check on your preferred search engine for that review.
I must say, given the grades, the winner is the one that is better in the aspect that is mandatory for you. In that review, the price for performance had a high ranking value.
I won't talk about what you can read elsewhere. I'll focus on how does it Wear? How long does the material holds it's performance? Design flaw on the long run?
The first thing is the back zip neck closure, I felt it was anoying when paddling, almost hurting. Too tight, you're restricted and unconfortable. Too loose, you get the neck flush (their firewall tech not of much help here). I just couldn't get comfy with that closure. And I went for the L, so it was snugg. I have an XL long torso, so I did not have too much material in that spot.
The second thing with that z.e.n. zip model is that the scratch from the neck closure, rips and damage your suit on the inside, while putting it on / off, storing, cleaning. This scratch makes some real damage on the neoprene. They claim that their technobutter 2 is more resistent to that. Not that much of a difference.
I recommend going with the chest zip they name : Psycho one f.u.z.e 3/2mm full wetsuit, you won't go back to a back zip. Well, that is if you really want that model and no other for some reason.
After a year (aprox 50 sessions) cuffs on arms and legs are not that tight anymore, water comes in a bit. The material also loose some of it's capacity to keep you warm, and i'm not talking here about the biggest downside of the suit : even in 17°C water temps, if there is no sun, you'll get cold after an hour if you are not super active in the water. If there is a litte wind, the same.
If you are not a performance shortboarder guy : AVOID this suit. because you do not sit low enough in the water to stay warm.
The second year, after (90+ sessions), you can keep the suit for cold summer days like 18°C to 21°C water / air temps.
Given the solspot test protocol and grading, it's only the price that makes this suit a winner (for them), but it all depends on what is important to you first. I wonder how you can factor in the price tag that much, especially in a suit you're cold! Staying warm in cold water is the number one reason you buy a suit in the first place! Take that price difference, divide it by 2 years, then think again.
Personnally those are the parameters I factor in: consistent performance for at least 2 years, fit and comfort, warmth, wet weight. I don't factor in stretch because like I said in another review, every neoprene is super stretchy nowadays apart from some matuse or patagonia suits and entry level wetsuits, so I don't think it's really relevant anymore.
If you benefit or really feel the difference in stretch between a Xcel dry lock 3/2 and a Ripcurl flash BOMB 3/2, then you should definitly surf or work out more.
I think you have better options out there in that price range using limestone neoprene. If I had no isurus I-elite 3/2 nor the money to grab one, i'll probably try NEEDSessentials for the best quality / perfomance material / price ratio (they don't offer any warranty though...).