I got a deal on a Patagonia R4, used to have an xcel 5/4 which was great. The patagonia isnt as flexible but is by far the warmest suit ive ever worn by a longshot, hope it holds up bc now i cant afford food it cost so much
Got a deal on one too... $200 or so off ebay and had only been used a couple times. Plenty flexible for me. It does seem kind of heavy though.
I had a run in with my fin in my last session and now it's in the shop. They have a pretty solid warranty - even though this repair isn't technically covered they aren't charging me.
For me Surfing in VB and the Banks the mutant is perfect. A 4/3 with hood booties and gloves typically works well enough for hardest part of the winter here with water in mid 40s (typically). Being that I can take the hood off in water 50+ and air temp 50+ I can use a Mutant most of wetsuit season. Its a great suit for my area, but I dont live in Rhode Island, I would think that a 5/4 with a detachble hood might not be needed, but being 12 you will be outgrowing suits and in RI you can proabbly wear a 5/4 without a hood in spring and part of summer.
Bottom line: Mutant isn't the best wetsuit in terms of "tech" but its the most versatile suit built due to the zip on/ opff hood and regular wetsuit neck.
My Mutant is two years old and in great shape.
cheaped out this season and bought an amp 3 hyperflex 6/5/4. hard to get into because the chest zip. ortherwise just as flexable as my old drylock xcel and hotline suit. question is whether it'll last more than one season.
i went with a hooded 5/4 hotline for the past 4 seasons as my go too. if your living in rhode island (where i surf) i'd recommend going a step up and add an extra hour to session by gripping a hooded 6/5/4. remember most often the wind is blowing and it can be your worst enemy
I had a 5/4/3 o'neill mutant for NY winters and I held up fine for most sessions throughout the winter... usually my hands and feet would go well before my core (even with the occasional suit flush through the hood).
Sadly the suit's zipper on the hood just broke and I think I may need to upgrade. You can buy a replacement hood, but you might as well put the money towards a new suit. Can retire it with the non-hooded attachment as a stretched out fall and spring suit.
The Xcel Infiniti Comp X-Zip2 is amazing. I was hot in 52 degree water and felt like I was wearing a 3/2. Super flexible. I also wear a separate hood that is connected to a vest. I think that extra piece trumps the detachable hood option for a wetsuit