Perhaps some of you recall that after replacing the punk rock wetsuit, I intended to write a review of its replacement. Of course, I never got around to it, until now that is.
My original intent was to find a suit not built by one of the bigger companies. No doubt, some of these companies have their product wired but being a fan of the underdog, I figured on going with a smaller outfit. My decision came down to either a suit by then fledgling company Escential and UK based Nineplus. In the end, I went with the Escential suit.
Caveat time. It's probably riskier to go with a newer brand. Bugs need to get worked out and all that. That said, I still pulled the trigger. I ordered the suit(3/2) through Icons of Surf and got it fairly quickly, although it didn't see duty until May-ish.
The Pros - The fit was proper, flushing was minimal, and there is a fleece-like lining in the chest area for added warmth. The suit was also quite flexible.
The Cons - There was no key pocket or loop and within a couple of months, some seams on the inner thigh started to come loose and the glue around the smooth skin on the chest started to gap a bit.
As far as customer service goes, Escential are fantastic. I sent an email to Carl, the owner of the company about the seams and he had me send it back and replaced it with a brand new suit. The newer suit is the one pictured and has held up fairly well, although it has the same problem with the smooth skin around the chest. Apparently Escential has dealt with this problem by doing away with the smooth skin and it has added to the durability, although I don't have one of the newer versions.
So....do I recommend this product? I do. For the price, as well as the fact that the customer service is top notch AND that Escential is going to lengths to address any durability issues serves to make them a company worth checking out. I also dig the fact that they're based on the East Coast.
Once again, I don't get anything for the product placement. I just wanted to give with an unbiased review of a good product. If you need a new suit, support the small guy and check 'em out.