i wore ripcurl suits for 10 years until now, i absolutely ruined one in 4 months and that was it for me. i've switched to xcel, and for good reason. they make unreal suits, rated best wetsuit 2 years in a row. as for boardies, the hurley phantoms are THE suit functionally, but volcom and rvca hold it down as far as styling.
i tend to like quiksilver board shorts probably because i love their winter stuff for snowboarding so much
superfreak boardshorts r great, cheaper than phatoms and feel the same 2 me, the worst boardshorts are billabongs. i have a 4/3 xcel infiinite which has been fine for winter in jersey, i did get a little chilly in the hips in feb. it has awesome seams that keep the water out great. . but i just got the billabong revolution 3.2 and thats awesome, if you need a 3/2 for fall/spring (and this summer) give that a try..its only 130 on sale at hsssurf.com i believe. product google it. it will come up at 180 but when u get to the site its 130
phantoms and xcel inf.
oneill boardshorts are definitely the best. way cheaper than phantoms too. if you know someone that works at a surf shop, get them to hold the shorts for you until they have a big sale, and then get their discount on top of the sale. i do that at my surf shop and get superfreaks, psychofreaks, and goorus for like 35 bucks.
as for wetsuits, nothing tops xcel with infinity. back zippers and velcro are a thing of the past. infinity has created a comfortable, durable, elastic, and warm wetsuit that is untouched by any other suit....no comparison at all. ive worn suits from every company and the only ones that come close are the billabong solution platinum and the new oneill animal, aka 'psychofreak' both of which are expensive as hell, but they both have velcro and back zippers.
i do enjoy rvca boardshorts still wanna try out the phantoms though. as for wetsuits i have o'neills but i think quiksilver makes better suits.