i think it depends on the cash brotha man. patagonia is suppose to be better quality but crazy expensive, rip curl probably a bit less quality and a bit less expensive. also depends on how much you take care of your stuff. i personally dont take care of my stuff as much as i should so i buy on the cheaper end...stupid maybe but i am not crazy picky like some people are.
based on the amount I spent on my drylock two seasons ago, I wish I would have just spent the extra cash and got something that was going to last. I believe patagonia suits come with a good warranty as well. Regardless, I have heard good things about every suit on the market, Like fish said, depends on your cash situation
I can't speak for the flash bomb's, but I do have an R4 Patagonia and I love it. The construction of the suit as compared to my old 6/5/4 F-bomb is superior.
That being said, it doesn't have all the fancy seam taping, etc. that my old F-bomb did, but it doesn't leak at the seams at all. I will also say that the rubber on the Patagonia wetsuit is also not anywhere near as flexible as my old f-bomb was.
I like it because it fits me well and the merino wool lining really does seem to work help keep you warm. If I remember correctly the R4 is a 5mm suit and I can tell you that this suit is definitely warmer then my F-bomb was. I'm not sure why this happened to my f-bomb, but after the first year of use, the neoprene began to get stiff. So far after 2 years, my Patagonia has not done this. Although, neither has my Rip Curl e-bomb.
I have never tried the flash bomb suits so I can't give any comparisons to that.
I got a 5/4 Flash Bomb last winter and was impressed. Was definitely more flexible than my old Xcel 5/4 Infiniti (not Drylock). Comfortable and warm, although last winter here in DE/MD wasn't as cold as other winters. Only strange thing is that when you first enter the water the wicking material actually wicks a bit of the cold water up your legs. But things warm up and you don't notice anything.
I was looking into the Patagonia's (and Isurus) but didn't want to buy without actually seeing the suit first. I did get my first chance to check out the Patagonia's up close and personal at a shop on the Outer Banks. I thought the feel of the neoprene would blow me away, but it didn't. Did not feel as flexible as my new Boz 3/2 - which I have not had a chance to try yet. (Yeah, I'm trying to do the Japanese neoprene thing on the cheap...we'll see.)
I have a Flash Bomb. It's a good suit. The flash dry lining does add some weight. It's noticeably heavier than my other 3/2's, but it does seem a touch warmer. The flash dry lining is the only part of the suit that "dries in a flash". The actual neoprene and the rest of the suit takes just as long as other suits. The rubber is nice and soft and flexible. Doesn't really flush. Durability seems ok so far, but I haven't used it much yet.
I do not have a Pat, but I would not hesitate to get one. I hear they are warmer, but also a bit stiffer. The thing I don't like about the Pats is the neck closure. The shoulder/neck flap entry is attached on one side of the Rip Curl so water can only enter from one side. The last time I looked at the Pats the flap was open on both sides. In my experience with other suits, this allows for more flushing. I'm not sure if they have updated this yet.
I have an Isurus (mentioned by the last poster). Great suit. Very much noticeably lighter than other suits. More flexible than other suits. Fits like a second skin when sized properly. Probably my favorite suit ever to wear as you don't feel as restricted as other suits. The only downside I have noticed so far is that the neoprene is a bit more fragile than other suits. You just need to be a little more careful putting on/taking off, how you hang it, etc...
The Patagonia's have an added internal neck gasket that eliminates flushing. Some people find this extra gasket to be uncomfortable. Similar to what O'Neill does with the Psycho II but more substantial.