I am relatively new to the surfing scene in Delmarva and had a few surfing equipment related questions.
First, at what point does the water get warm enough to start using a lighter wetsuit and eventually no wetsuit at all? Is it typical that most surfers use their winter wetsuits (4/3 or greater) till the water gets warm enough to move to board shorts and a rash guard instead of buying a lighter wetsuit.
Also, is there a typical time during the year when surfboards go on sale and prices are the best?
As for your wet suit question:
Here is a rough guideline for Delmarva/New Jersey:
January through March (5/3) - 40's
April (4/3) - low 50's
May through early June (3/2) - upper 50's to low 60's
End of June through September (spring or trunks) upper 60's to low 70's
October through early November (3/2) upper 50's to low 60's
End of November through December (4/3) upper 40's to mid 50's
surfboards dont really go on sale too often, but there is usually a bunch of used boards that are reduced in price at most shops. Also, some shops have a surfboard swap where people come to sell their boards. You can usually find some good deals at the swap. If you are just starting out, a used board is perfect for you.
In the least you will probably want a 4/3 and 3/2. There will be some days that are too cold for the 4/3 when you will want a 5 or 6 mil suit. There will be some warm days when you wont want the 3/2 but still too cold for board shorts. But those two suits are the bare minimum for year round surfing. I wore my 4/3 all winter this year and only put on the 6/4 once. But this was a mild winter. In the past I've been forced into the 6/4 for most of Feb and March. You will eventually want a spring suit, probably a 5/4, and even a neoprene top to bridge the gaps between the 4/3 and 3/2 which will be your primary suits.
The best time to buy a board is the winter. There isn't much mark-up on surfboards. Some shops mark up $100 or less, which isn't much when you realize that most other products are marked up 100% or more. I know Surf Unlimited on LBI will have a $100 off sale every year for the week after Christmas. Some other shops will have a midnight madness in the winter. You can usually find a sale in winter, but you have to keep your ears open and stop in the shops often.
I actually made it several years with just a 4/3 and a spring suit, the 4/3 will make you sweat in the warmer months until a spring is good and cold in the colder months but is doable. Still have never owned a 3/2, actually in the market now for a new suit and am debating a 3/2 or 4/3 to go with my 6/5/4 any suggestions? also looking at the hypeflexes any opinions on their quality?
hyperflex is the best wetsuit purchase i've ever made
I have a pair of hyperflex boots and the quality is just as good as Excel and O'neil. They do run a bit narrow though so it really comes down to fit. I wouldn't hesitate buying one of their suits based on quality. O'Neil seems to fit my body the best so I mostly buy their suits. I have been very interested in Matuse though. Supposedly they use more environmentally friendly neoprene and make a warmer more flexible suit. But you pay for it. About $450.