2x SIMA Image Awards Wetsuit of the Year lives up to its name
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 19 November, 2013 - The Rip Curl Flash Bomb is likely the most popular high-end wetsuit on the market. On a recent trip to Jeffreys Bay, South Africa, I put the 2-time SIMA wetsuit of the year to the test.
The most important factors in wetsuits are: warmth, flexibility, and comfort. The Flash Bomb not only met my requirements in these categories, but it has lived up to its fastest-drying wetsuit title, giving it an extra x-factor.
E4 Flash Lining and Comfort
When I first tried on the Flash Bomb, I was surprised by how soft and fleece-like the lining felt. The flash lining material is made up of two layers: the inside layer wicks water into layer 2, which rapidly funnels water out of the suit. Translation: a really quick-drying suit.
The flash lining technology lived up to its name. I brought two suits with me on my recent trip to Jeffreys Bay, but the quick-dry factor of the Flash Bomb beat out the competitor’s suit. Although the arms of the suit stay damp to the touch, the chest and legs are lined with the flash lining, sparing you the pain of putting on a cold, soggy suit.
At about 62-64 degrees, the water in J-Bay wasn’t frigid by any means, but the wind chill was the challenge. One particular day it was extremely windy, and the Flash Bomb did not block the wind as well as I would have expected. However, with normal conditions, I was comfortable and warm, staying out for marathon sessions like anyone would do on a trip to one of the best right points in the world.
Style & Fit
With wetsuits turning back to color patterns circa 1980s, I was pleased with the simple styling of the women’s color choices for the Flash Bomb. The suit looks good without drawing too much attention. As far as the fit goes, I have to say that the chest panel feels a bit restricting and I am by no means a busty woman.
The angled zipper on the chest helps with entry, although it is a bit tough to get on and off if you have broad or tight shoulders. After you get the hang of entry, the Rip Curl’s E4 super stretch tape technology gives great stretch and flexibility overall.
The suit looks really well made. With the last suit I had by Rip Curl, the neoprene started to wear relatively fast at the shoulders and neck—the areas that receive the most stretch from entry and paddling. The neck entry area on the Flash Bomb is significantly better designed, with a drainage system that lets water out.
However, I haven’t had the suit long enough to say how long it will last or judge the durability. I have worn the suit consistently for just over two months, and it still feels and looks new and hasn't stretched out at all.
Price & Specs
This is a top of the line suit, retailing at around $420 US. In my opinion, it is worth the price tag. I have really appreciated the quick dry factor in the Flash Bomb technology, as well as the extreme flexibility of the suit.
The new E4 Neoprene makes this suit 30% more flexible and 20% lighter than E3. The E4 Flash Lining with two engineered layers that funnel the water rapidly out of the suit once it is hung up.
Other features include Stitchless Technology, 4-Way Stretch Panels, seamless underarms and shoulders and Hydro-Lock Collar.
Tripled glued, double stitched seam only penetrates one side of the neoprene allowing high stretch, strength, and minimal water entry.
Internal seams are taped with E4+ super stretch tape, allowing for maximum seam stretch while giving ultimate seam sealing and comfort. The Hydro-Lock adjustable collar seals the neck and prevents water flushes.