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Wetsuit Review: Body Glove's new Prime 3/2 fullsuit...

Body Glove Prime wetsuit


Wetsuit Review 

Body Glove redesigned their wetsuit to create one of the stretchiest suits out there

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 5 July, 2011 : - - When twin brothers Bill and Bob Meistrell sought to extend their surf sessions in the cold waters of the South Bay, they began retooling dive wetsuits for an unappreciative surfing population. There was little demand for the suits which were considered ‘unmanly’ by the 1950s Southern California surf community. By the time brothers launched Body Glove in 1965 they had discovered more flexible material and were making surf-specific suits. 

Demand grew as surf culture began to accept the new-fangled surfing wetsuits. Body Glove and the modern wetsuit were born. Flash forward half a century and you’ll find that the latest offering from Body Glove, The Prime, doesn’t disappoint. The Prime is a high-performance, super stretchy wetsuit with all the bells and whistles of wetsuits circa 2011. If one element sets it apart from the other wetsuits of today, it would have to be the neoprene Body Glove chose for The Prime.

Each year wetsuit companies find lighter, stretch-ier, warmer neoprene and give it some cool name (Elastomax, Zero Gravity Superflex, Fiber-lite Neoprene…) In Body Glove’s case with The Prime, that rubber is Pyrostretch which they claim feels softer, holds more heat and holds less water. There is truth in these claims. When picking up the 3/2 fullsuit we reviewed, it felt much lighter when both dry out of the box and when freshly wet from a surf and rinse.

Body Glove has gone beyond relying solely on the material for stretch function but touts a “performance material combination” combining the benefits of material AND construction to keep things loose and flexible. Body Glove nailed it. The suit is one of the stretchy-ist most comfortable suits we’ve seen. The neoprene feels soft and pliable while water absorption is minimal. Let’s check out some of the marketing claims for The Prime.


The Body Glove team includes: Mike Losness, Alex Gray, Nate Yeomans, Gabe Kling,
Cheyne Magnusson, Anthony Walsh, Matt Pagan and Jamie O'Brien

Pyrostretch is composite material lining the Prime from the chest down. In all, it covers 75% of the wetsuit. Pyrostretch feels a bit more ‘wooly’ than regular neoprene, and the idea is that it traps a little more air between surfer and wetsuit. This is the current trend for wetsuits and it’s a good one, as this material kept us very warm for the review.

Glideskin neck lining
Put there for comfort, it creates a good seal as the suit never flushed with water during test sessions.

Vaporlock seams
Par-for-the-course seam seals, nothing extra fancy here except the name ‘Fluidseal’. Vernacular aside, these seams did a great job of keeping out water.

External Liquid Tape
Fluidseal seams cover ALL external seams on this wetuit. For most wetsuits these days seams appear to be the weak link in overall stretch, as the rubber used on the seams never has as much give as the neoprene on the rest of the suit. With the Prime, Body Glove has designed the tape to work with their special foams and laminates. It must be working because water leakage through the suit was unnoticeable.

Nano Tri-tech kneepads
Claim is that they are: super strong with increased flexibility and ‘nearly bulletproof’. However, I’ve yet to hear of anyone purchasing a wetsuit because it has ‘great kneepads’. I’m sure some surfers duck-dive or get to their feet in such a way to cause extra wear so that this is important, but I’ve yet to hear about it.

Double lock S-Seal wrist and ankles
The Prime has a snug and secure wrist & ankle seal that, again, allowed little to no flushing during the tests.

EZ-Entry and Enhanced Top Entry Design
The Prime uses a 15% shorter zipper and places it lower than other wetsuits. The top entry is designed to eliminate the two layers of neoprene over the right shoulder. The result is that you do feel increased range of motion. The only drawback is that this places more stress on the entry points of the suit.


Body Glove's new Prime wetsuit front zip

The shortcoming of reviewing wetsuits is that ‘wear’ is not measurable. For this reason please check on the warranty at your local surf shop. The shop salespeople see a flood of new wetsuits come in each season. They also know which wetsuits tend to come back for repair and can often point out which design features and materials are problematic.

A note about wetsuits with white: Unless you’re Jamie O’Brien and have a crate of single-use wetties at your disposal, we’d advise against a wetsuit with white in it. They soak up parking lot dirt and it’s really difficult to get off, effectively transforming your superhero look from Captain America to Captain-Dirt-Parking-Lot.

In the end we gave the Body Glove Prime high marks for being super strechy, flexible and light. The neoprene used did hold up to water repellent claims and the re-designed entry helped keep shoulder areas free from neoprene overlap and restriction. The warmth factor for this suit was on par with most others out there. But this suit's biggest selling point is how extremely flexible it is.

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