i have the 6/4 f-bomb no hood back zip.
they don't make it since a few years ago for a reason.
i call it 'restricto.'
wrench your shoulders getting it on and off.
good and warm,though.
only for the coldest,windiest,craziest days of bleak midwinter.
I've got a pair of the Xcel Infiniti 7 mil mits...and 3 seasons w/ them and they are still as toasty and water "phobic" as new (and I can't say that about many of my other wetsuit products that have some extended use).
The mits I have, were the predecessor to the Drylock that's available now (which I can only assume would be at least as great).
The Xcel mits/gloves/booties, just all seemed much strechier than most of the competition, and I think that that just makes them that much easier to put on and take off, w/out actually stressing anything too much.
Like I've said, I'm big handed and even bigger footed...so the strechiness is nice getting into stuff...and since the cuffs of the suit go on top of the mits/booties, everything is actually as snug as it needs to be w/ the suit doing the final sealing.
Sometimes, mostly for psychological reassurance, I'll put my home-made velcro "cinch-straps" on (you can get the buckles at EMS and elsewhere...a few stiches, and it's good for a variety of things). Alternatively, there's the old duct tape route (I pull out a foot or so, taping the last 1/2" or so back onto itself so I have a pull tab to grab and let myself out when done, and stick them to the window before donning mits)...realistically, it's not necessary w/ decent fitting stuff...but I remember surfing when it was 15 degree (air) and 32 degree (water)...I was happy to make it into my car w/out snapping a finger off (the ice actually froze on my board during the walk back).
What I like most about the Xcel stuff (though others have followed the band wagon), is that in addition to the flatlocked and blindstiched seams, they actually go that sensible extra measure to glue over the exterior seams w/ a sealant (extra protection against things splitting).
But I hear you on the gloves...that's why I went w/ Xcel mits (fewer seams, less chance of leaks)...it's so cool the way you can just sumberge your hand for minutes on end, and you never perceive the water getting in (you actually can feel your dry hands sweat at first).
I had some Rip Curl 5 mil gloves a few years back...and literally, on every outing, they'd spring a leak between at least one of the finger to palm intersections (I probably put 2 tubes worth of Aquaseal on them before I gave up and remanded them to wamer water use...still wet hands mind you).
If I had my choices, I'd say go w/ what fits you best (as in the short term, a proper fit w/ out water sloshing and quick transference, will make for a longer cozy session).
Durability doesn't always come at the expense of comfort...but given my options, I'm opting for slightly less than ideal size for comfort, but knowing I'll be warmer and drier.
Even w/ the mits...you'd think it could make for a colder setup (and if water sloshed into them w/ the same rush as it did w/ the Rip Curl 7 mil round toe F-bomb booties, it sure would be an awfully painful experience). But, in reality, it's so watertight, that your fingers and palm actually do all share the warmth, and for me, make for the warmest hand setup I've had...again, it's because the water seepage is so slow, and the neoprene is actually working to do what it was designed to do (competitor's theories, combined w/ shoddy craftsmanship and poor design, can use the same good stuff and leave you cold).
I have a 5/4 Rip Curl F-Bomb and love the thing. I have access to just about any suit I want and this was the suit i picked. As for the boots and gloves, I use those aswell and haven't any problems at all, this year or last year. I've worn the Xcel Drylock and this suit is amazing aswell. And by the way, Rip Curl still makes the F-Bomb in a fullsuit. And if anyone is looking for a great suit for a good price, check out the Rip Curl Fireskin 4/3. It's priced under $250 and it comes with liquid taped seams. Also Hyperflex offers killer suits at amazing prices. You can get a 5/4 (with hood) taped seamed suit for $219, a lot of surfers around town are stoked on them. Remember with all the new technology put into wetsuits now, prices are going up more and more.But brands like Hyperflex are trying to give a little back to average joe.
I am a bodyboarder that has gone through h20 odessy boots. I was looking at the rip curl classic 7mm boot. No arch strap, taped on the inside, sole to prevent holes (so easily). i was wondering if this boot has as bad of reviews as the f-bomb. Thanks
Also...West 7mm boots? They have an easily cutable arch strap. Any reviews?
Actually, the Rip Curl 7 mil Classic bootie, is the version I've been using for the last 3 years (and might actually be what I resort to using again).
It's "adequate" but not great...in terms of flexibility and sensitivity, the F-bomb was better (and fit too)...but in terms of keeping my feet warmer, and holding up better (at least, compared to new and defective leaky F-bombs), the Classic is still doing a half decent job even w/ the leaks it has.
For me, again sz. 14 "bigfoot", the reason I think I can get away w/ squeezing into a sz. 13 Classic, is that compared to most modern new versions, it's just a simple, more cheaply made, bootie.
It's that simplicity, that lets it flex and give a bit more...but, by the same token, it has it's stress points as well.
Because it does have a comparatively more rigid toe box and heel cup, these are the areas, that when stressed (i.e. a slightly oversized foot in there w/ constant pressure) that will yield at the bond between neoprene and rubber.
On one foot, I had to reseal the whole toe seam...on the other, everything has stayed in tact.
If I do repurchase them, I'm thinking, from the get go while they are new and before they see water, I may just dob on some of the black Aquaseal, or better yet, use some liquid electrical tape or tool dip, to beef up and strengthen the seams/bonds/junctions between solid rubber and neoprene.
The fly in the ointment, is that in doing so, I automatically void any warranty...but, in the hopes that it actually precludes or delays the inevitable failures I've experienced, it may well be worth the gamble of a few extra bucks spent to have warmer feet in the long run.
So, in summation...the Classic is "ok"...but I think there are certainly better alternatives that will fit more snugly (warmth), and conform a bit better to the fit (sensitivity and dexterity).
Think of the Classic, as a milder version of a Scuba Bootie (does the job, thicker sole, defined heel and toe cap...sort of like you're sliding into a "shoe", and is good enough)...I've never found fault w/ the way it worked on my foot, just how it's held up...but then again, they don't last forever (and at least it's almost half the price of the F-bomb).
The F-bomb...well, that was just like pulling on a warm snuggly sock (until I stepped in the water)...obviously, some people haven't had issues w/ there's.
I'd say, if your entertaining the F-bomb...flip it inside out and take a look before purchase, see if all the seams are really lined up and glued tight, inquire and understand the return policy, and do a clean water test in a cold bathtub first before subjecting your feet to an otherwise foot-numbing session.
For my $, one bad experience is plenty to turn me off to it, and seek other alternatives, rather than try to find one properly crafted (at the price they ask, for what it is, they should've set some better Quality Assurance standards in place before letting the public get numb toes).