Smart, basic design coupled with high-quality neoprene
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 12 October, 2015 - While many suits on the market have invested heavily on new technical interior linings for their wetsuits, from quick-drying fluffy interiors to infra-red heat directing weaves, O’Neill has taken a minimalist approach and focused efforts on their Technobutter line of neoprene.
The difference here is that while most suits on the market will have some type of low or high-pile interior, O’Neill is so confident in their Technobutter 2 that many of their suits feature solely Technobutter 2. It’s like a throwback to when wetsuits were simple and the neoprene on the outside was the same as the neoprene on the inside.
O’Neill claims are that Technobutter 2 is different from first generation Technobutter by being a little bit lighter, more flexible and more resistant to velcro-caused pilling.
“TechnoButter 2 offers the same lightweight quick-drying performance, but now it’s more durable with improved velcro resistance,” said Shane Skelton of O’Neill Wetsuits. “TechnoButter 2 is so nice, it has increased durability, and is even more buttery soft than than regular TechnoButter."
TechnoButter 2, like the first generation, has these lined grooves on the outside, so it looks different than traditional neoprene. The feel of the material is more spongy and it still pulls and stretches like thinner super-flexible neoprenes.
On First Look:
When holding the Psycho 1 it’s obvious that it weighs less than other suits on the market of comparable thickness, in this case a 3/2 mil. This is due in equal parts to the light nature of Technobutter 2 and the lack of heavier smoothie material in the Psycho 1 model.
The Psycho 1 has very few seams. More seams in a design mean more places for water to enter the suit, or more places where interior and/or exterior tape must be applied (which ends up hampering the suit’s flexibility). However, too few seams on a suit result in a wettie that does not fit the contours of the human body. It’s a delicate balance.
The seams on the Psycho 1 have an average-sized outer liquid seam. The seam is wide when compared to top-end-minimal-seam-standards. If you want the super thin outer seam seal (more flexible) then try the next higher-up model, the Psycho Tech.
O’Neill’s outer seams are made of a soft, pliable material. The inside seams just have the stitching with no interior taping. This has made the Psycho 1 very comfortable to wear. On some wetsuits interior seam taping methods can be stiff once glued, or worse, the rubber or silicone ones can crack and decay over time.
Closeup of Technobutter 2's groove pattern
How the suit performed:
The big difference between this suit and others on the market is the TechnoButter 2. It dries quickly, is light, kind of techy looking and very stretchy. This material alone is reason enough to get excited about the Psycho 1. The sheer weight difference of this neoprene compared to others puts it at the top of branded neoprenes list this year.
The TechnoButter 2 claims of being more water resistant are believable as it took several duck-dives and spills to get the inside of the Psycho 1 to feel wet. The warmth factor for Technobutter 2 is average-to-good for the thickness, while the stretch-factor scores in the excellent range.
The Psycho 1 we tested came with a back zip, the Z.E.N. Zip. For a back zip design it’s much less restrictive than other traditional back-zip wetsuits.
Overall it’s a very smart design coupled with a great neoprene. We would recommend this design for users looking for a mid-priced suit that is simple without a lot of bells and whistles. This suit scores big points for flexibility and insulation. But I would not recommend the Psycho 1 for surfers looking for a thicker, more insulative suit. For that go with a design that has the chest smoothie material to help keep your core warm - remember such added warmth tends to restrict flexibility. It’s all about finding the suit that’s balanced for your particular surfing needs. That said, it’s a reasonably priced suit with good insulative properties and superior flexibility properties.
Youth 4/3 $249.95
Psycho 1 interior seam design
Below is a very basic primer in how wetsuit features translate to performance. Give it a look before going out and choosing your next suit.
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 things like 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. Neoprene lining is the new frontier in performance as companies create innovative ways to insulate the interiors of wetsuits.
Wetsuit seams at the basic level are glued and blind stitched which, while strong, does allow some water to seep in through pinholes in the stitching. 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 can decrease a suit’s flexibility.
Sadly this is the most overlooked component when purchasing 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.