Wetsuits for the Warmer Months in the Colder Locations
I don’t know about you, but consigning my 4/3 to the back of my cupboard, where it will remain for many months, is one of the things I look forward to the most as the weather begins to warm up. That first spring day when you paddle out in a 3/2, or even better a springsuit, offers a sense of freedom which must be akin to heading to your local for the first time after a three-month lockdown. But it can’t just be any old wetsuit – you want one so flexible that you could wear it to yoga, crossfit, F45 or whatever it is that keeps you surf fit without batting an eyelid. So let’s help you out.
Rip Curl Men’s E-Bomb 2/2 Zipperless Short Sleeve Steamer
Rip Curl Mens E-Bomb Zip Free 2/2 Sealed Short Sleeve Wetsuit
Rip Curl Mens E-Bomb Zip Free 2/2 Sealed Short Sleeve Wetsuit
Hate zips? So do the designers of this Rip Curl E-Bomb, apparently, joining the growing list of zipperless wetsuits in the process. Their reasoning? This wetsuit is all about stretch, and according to Rip Curl, zips are the only part of a suit that don’t stretch. Hard to argue with that. The E-Bomb is constructed entirely using E6 neoprene, and is touted as the most flexible wetsuit that they offer – a significant claim for one of the biggest wetsuit manufacturers on the planet. It’s also covered in E6 thermolining, something which essentially creates a funnel for water to travel along without it getting to your skin to ensure you remain bone dry. There’s also no stitching at the armpit, which combines with the short sleeves to give you as much freedom as possible in your paddling.
O’Neill Hyperfreak 3/2 Chest Zip Steamer
The aforementioned benefits of slipping into a lighter wetsuit are on full show with the O’Neill Hyperfreak, and the brand themselves want you to know it. Their description of this suit calls it so light that ‘you’d swear you were surfing naked’ – which is exactly what we all want, isn’t it? Made out of a combination of featherlight pre-stretched TB3-X neoprene and hydrophobic super stretch TB3 neoprene, the Hyperfreak is among the most comfortable wetsuits on the market – if not the most comfortable – something which its minimal seam design only serves to add to. It also offers plenty of durability to boot – you’ll get a whole lot of spring sessions out of this one, meaning that even though it’s around the middle of the pack in terms of price, from a dollars-per-surf perspective the value is extremely good.
Pricier…But Still Good!
Billabong Revolution 3/2 Long Sleeve Fullsuit
Billabong 3/2 Revolution Chest Zip Long Sleeve Steamer
302 REVOLUTION CZ
Colour: ANTIQUE BLAC
Billabong’s lightest and most flexible wetsuit ever…are you noticing a theme here? It seems like most wetsuit manufacturers are coming out with their lightest and most flexible wetsuits ever of late, but it’s certainly not just posturing – the technological advancements and improvements in materials mean that wetsuits really are getting better, and the Billabong Revolution is part of the, well, revolution. This one is produced with sustainability in mind, using 100% recyclable materials for the Airlite Recycler exterior, which combines with neoprene scraps and upcycled car tires to produce what they called Smart Foam. But it’s not just sustainable – it’s also very good, and that Smart Foam helps with both thermal retention and lightweight stretch to keep you warm and minimise restriction on movement. The Billabong Revolution has a chest zip and exactly zero seams on the back panel, making it easy to get into, easy to paddle around in, and easy to get out of.
Xcel Comp X 3/2 Wetsuit
The Xcel Comp is a 3/2, but it’s certainly on the warmer end of the spectrum in terms of wetsuits of that thickness. Produced using a lightweight exterior hydrophobic gridded material, the wetsuit has a thing called Thermo Dry Celliant (TDC) that you’ve probably never heard of and which runs from the chest to the ankle helps to increase the blood flow, keeping you warm and limber even in relatively fresh water. Depending on where you live you probably don’t want to be wearing this one when the water’s at it its warmest, but you can get away with it in water temps up to around 18oC. Of course, as is a prerequisite for all of these wetsuits, it’s also very flexible, enabling you to move around with ease. You might not have as much of a sense of nudity as you would in the Hyperfreak (are there degrees of nudity?), but nonetheless you’ll feel somewhere close to it in the Xcel Comp. It’s not the cheapest going around, but it’s produced using high quality materials and will get you through numerous springs and summers.
Vissla High Seas 2-2 Long Sleeve Spring Wetsuit
Vissla enters the fray with one of the most economical options on the market; a 2/2 long sleeve, short leg springsuit that the company has called its most flexible and lightest suit. It’s produced using a Japanese limestone-based neoprene called I-foam, a flexible material which Vissla are so happy with they have termed it ridiculous rubber. With just 2mm covering your body it’s evidently made for warmer waters, but it keeps your upper body pretty cosy despite the light weight. Like the Rip Curl E-Bomb, Vissla have created this one without much in the way of seams to improve flexibility, plus it uses eco-friendly anti-fade and lamination for the environmentally conscious among you. Short legs and long arms aren’t for everyone, but given that any stitching issues you’re likely to have in a wetsuit – at least in my experience – often occur in the lower leg area, the complete removal of material down there can certainly help out with durability. You can find this one for around or even under $300, making it among the best value options out there.
With the weather warming up and the water temperature being dragged along with it, it’s nearing the time for you to chuck that 4/3 out of sight for a few months, and enjoy the freedom that comes with a lighter wetsuit. Whether you’re after the best of the best, have a preferred brand or want something a little cheaper but still of high quality, there should be something in the above options that tickles your fancy.