Check the latest from Body Glove, O'Neill, Rip Curl & Xcel
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 21 September, 2015 - For a lot of us winter is a season of plenty here in the northern hemisphere: offshore winds, heaps of swell and thinner crowds. It’s also a season of give and take. The waves are more powerful and conditions are cleaner, but the air and water are also much colder. To take advantage of this bounty and sessions happen on a consistent and freeze-free basis you need a good wetsuit.
Surfersvillage has gathered wetsuits from several brands (and the wetsuit companies description) and listed them in the below "Wetsuit Preview". Body Glove, O'Neill, Rip Curl and Xcel have provided information on three of their best suits.
We’ve also included a crash-course about neoprene, seams and fit so you can make an educated decision when purchasing your winter suit.
The holy trinity for wetsuits is: neoprene, seams and fit. Fit doesn’t cost anything extra, that’s up to you. But seams and neoprene are a whole other world where the saying “you get what you pay for” often applies.
Neoprene is amazing. At its most basic level it’s just rubber with little gas bubbles blown into it. By blowing more or fewer bubbles into the neoprene one can control warmth and flexibility. Each major wetsuit brand has its own top-shelf neoprene, which is to say their own secret recipe for warmth and flexibility.
A wetsuit’s interior lining is the new frontier in performance as companies create innovative ways to boost a suit’s performance on the inside. Sometimes this is done with neoprene, while other times it’s accomplished with woven infra-red celiants, high-tech fabrics or even wool. Each company has a branded interior material to fit against your skin.
Wetsuit seams at the basic level are glued and blind stitched which, while strong, does allow some water to seep in. This is the type of seam you’ll find on your not-too-expensive suits or warm-water suits.
The next level up is interior-taped wetsuit seams. This means the suits have flexible tape glued along the inside seams. This type of seam provides a good water barrier and plenty of flexibility.
The top-shelf method for keeping water from seeping through the seams is having interior tape and exterior ‘liquid’ tape. This pretty much means the suit’s seams are waterproof - at least while the integrity of the inner and outer tape material stays pliable and in tact. The only drawback is that heavy taping along the seams can decrease a suit’s flexibility.
This is the most often overlooked component of a wetsuit. When we hear complaints from surfers about a particular suit that flushes or wears out prematurely in one place, most times it’s because the suit didn’t fit correctly in the first place.
To ensure your hard-earned money is spent well, take the time to try on several suits at your local surf shop and find the best fit. A more expensive, proper fitting suit is a much better deal than that bargain online closeout wettie you found.
Also, when you buy at your local surf shop you have a place to field questions, concerns or returns should you need those resources.
The most advanced stretch materials and all new Heat Retention System (HRS.), the Red Cell pushes wetsuit technology into its next generation so you can spend more hours in the water. Special smart fiber infrared technology magnifies and retains body heat , while the most advanced stretch materials including Evoflex, Microbead, and Liquid Weld make the Red Cell the most comfortable, watertight wetsuit ever built
Everything you need in a mid-level suit to keep you warm no matter what the water temp is. Full Magna Flex neoprene, with hollow fiber Thermoplush insulation in the chest and back, the special blend of VooDoo technology will maintain your body’s core temperature without sacrificing stretch. From Maine to San Diego, this suit has you covered.
4/3: Hooded $319.99
5/4/3: Hooded: $329.99
6/5/3: Hooded $349.99
The crown jewel of the women’s collection, the Topaz is specifically designed for a women’s body with top of the line materials. A horizontally opposed entry system allows for an easy in and out entry (because getting in and out of a wetsuit shouldn’t have to be harder than paddling out). With our combination of Evoflex and Microbead on the outside, along with Thermoplush and Liquid Weld on the inside, the Topaz shines as the lightest, warmest, and most comfortable suit in the women’s market.
All new for 2015, the Psycho Freak blends the best features from the Psycho 3 and Psycho Freak of the past. The lightest firewall ever produced with O’Neill’s TechnoButter 2 Air-Insulation and rapid drying TechnoButter Neoprene make this highly innovative, technical design the best performing wetsuit available.
Women’s 4/3 $499.95
O’Neill’s NEW Psycho Tech combines our exclusive TechnoButter 2 Neoprene with TechnoButter 2-Air Firewall insulation, Single Fluid Seam Weld and a F.U.Z.E. Closure System. Lighter, warmer, more insulating and quick drying with improved ease of entry. Psycho Tech is the latest advancement in cold water wetsuit technology from the leaders in innovation for over 60 years.
5.5/4 with hood $469.95
4/3 with hood $439.95
The Psycho One minimal seam madness is the ultimate high-performance coldwater wetsuit. Built with TechnoButter 2, and available in both F.U.Z.E. and Z.E.N. Zip Closures. The patented Z.E.N. Back Zip Entry with Drain Hole creates the flexibility and feel of a zipperless suit with the ease of entry/exit of a traditional back zip.
Youth 4/3 $249.95
Xcel’s most advanced wetsuit now features even more TDC Thermo Dry Celliant, our warmest wetsuit lining ever. TDC’s clinically proven Smart Fiber Technology recycles your body heat into infrared energy for maximum warmth and enhanced performance. In the Drylock, TDC is featured in a plush wave pattern high pile in the front and back torso from the upper chest to the knees, and in an infrared print low pile in the upper body and lower legs. The Drylock is also the only fullsuit with a 100% waterproof zipper, stitch-free FusionWeld seams, and full water-repellent Quick Dry Fiber exterior. A two-part SmoothSkin hem seal and innovative magnetic zip closure, and inner Thermo Dry seam tape are just a few more of the many features that make the Drylock our most advanced fullsuit series ever.
4/3 mm $499.95
The ultra-premium Revolt now features even more TDC Thermo Dry Celliant, our warmest wetsuit lining ever. TDC’s clinically proven Smart Fiber Technology recycles your body heat into infrared energy for maximum warmth and enhanced performance. In the Revolt, TDC is featured in a plush wave pattern high pile in the front and back torso, and in an infrared print low pile in the lower body and legs. The Revolt also features a watertight X2 front entry system, Xcel’s exclusive Drylock Wrist seals, a two-part SmoothSkin hem seal, innovative magnetic zip closure, and inner Thermo Dry seam tape that all combine to deliver advanced levels of performance, warmth, and stretch.
3/2 mm $394.95
The ultra-popular Infiniti Comp is now available with TDC Thermo Dry Celliant, our warmest wetsuit lining ever. TDC's clinically proven Smart Fiber Technology recycles your body heat into infrared energy for maximum warmth and enhanced performance. In the Infiniti Comp, TDC is featured in an infrared print low pile from the upper chest all the way down to the ankles. The most flexible of all Xcel fullsuits, the Infiniti Comp gets its name from the large front and back ''comp''(etition) ready panel that has zero seams from the upper chest to the knees for maximum range of motion. The Comp is also extremely lightweight and fast drying, with ultra-premium V Foam.
The 3X SIMA award winning Flashbomb has been updated with E4 Neoprene to make this suit 20 percent lighter and 30 percent more flexible. Now with Zip Free construction, this suit is a perfect balance of warmth, comfort and flexibility. You’ll have to try this one to believe it!
The tried-and-true, 3X SIMA Award winning Flashbomb is a modern classic. Updated with E4 Neoprene to make this suit 20 percent lighter and 30 percent more flexible. It’s the go-to suit to keep you warm all winter long.
Newly designed, featuring external Aquaban Plus liquid tape, providing stretch and performance while maintaining durability and warmth. The new simple paneling and light construction allows the highest level of flexibility and incredible comfort.
The Furnace Carbon is Billabong's supreme warmth and premium lightweight cold-water wetsuit. The 4/3 Furnace Carbon full suit is suitable for frigid temperatures 42 - 52 F. It's key features include Japanese Tatara Carbon Lining - an internal carbon jersey that's stronger, lighter and warmer than previous thermal materials. This suit also features the world's first zipperless entry with Boa(R) closure and stitchless seam construction.
Zipperless entry with Boa(R) Closure System.
Stitchless seam construction - no stitch, no holes, no leaks, stronger and better sealed seams.
Furnace internal quick dry thermal lining.
Japanese Tatara carbon lining.
Minimal seam design - strategically positioned for maximum fit and fledibility.
Furnace Temp Guide: Frigid 6 - 11 C / 42 - 52 F.
Model: AG47 2X bonded steamer
Entry: chest zip
Pliotech thermal air chamber chest & back panels
F'N Lite neoprene: is packed with air cells for the lightest of lightweight warmth
Dry Flight far infrared heat technology thermal lining retains body heat by conducting it back into the lining
Plio-Tech Thermal Air Chamber Neoprene: Multi-layered XTX closed cell neoprene technology that has air chambers to trap heat for better insulation
Red Seal Seam is a thin, ultra-light & flexible seam sealant that gives water tight reinforcement
Hydrolock seam seal system for thinner, lighter & more flexible seams, sealed with liquid tape to prevent leaks
Water-Block Dry Zip: Featuring coated, off-set teeth to create a watertight seal that eliminates zip flush
Flush Lock 2.0 Seals: Helps prevent flushing through the wrists and ankles
Fused Edge: Beveled edges on the neck, wrists and ankles create a seal so water flushes over and not into the suit
Ecto-Flex Knee pads: Durable, lightweight and flexible outer knee pads that protect you and your board
Glideskin Neck Seal: Ultra smooth neoprene liner for superior comfort along with a watertight seal
Internal key pocket that keeps your keys safe and sound
Suitable for water temperatures of 12 - 16°C/53 - 61°F