Next up is Quiksilver’s Cypher Chest Zip 3/2. MSRP $304.95
Yeah – just $305 BUCKS!!! Let’s start there. All the suits tested so far have been $400+ and a couple are at the $500 mark. That means you could buy two of the Quiksilver’s and always have a dry one to put on for only an extra hundred bucks. A wet wetsuit is probably one of the things I hate most. It’s cold, damp, hard to put on… ewe. Well worth a hundred bucks.
So what’s this suit all about? I talked to the Quik team and the Cypher is all about balance. It’s a balance of flexibility and warmth. They make a suit that is more flexible (Ignite) and they also make a suit that is warmer (FuseFlex) but this suit is the perfect balance of both.
Let’s start with Flexibility. Inside the suit 3/4 of it is “F’N Lite Neoprene” – in the upper and lower body. When it comes to flex you are not talking the neoprene rubber alone. Neoprene rubber will stretch until it snaps. The real driver of stretch is the combination of the rubber plus the nylon jersey that is laminated to it . In this suit Quik has a more flexible jersey to ensure the suit has solid stretch. But like all neoprene warmth is the essential function. The neoprene rubber in Quik’s new F’N Light neoprene has more air-cells pumped in the foam itself. The extra air cells have two benefits; 1. They heat up when against your body faster thus providing incremental insulation. 2. Because of the extra air cells, the neoprene is also lighter-weight (bonus).
The other 1/4 of the suit is made of Quik’s “Dryoprene” thermal lining. These panels surround your core and back areas. It’s the primary heat retainer and is strategically placed around your core. If your core stays warm the rest of your body will tend to stay warm. The Dryoprene thermal lining is made with a coconut, charcoal infused polyester filament. The coconut charcoal filament acts like a conduit (Think electricity through a copper wire) – the thermal lining draws the heat into the fabric from your body and retains it over a longer period of time than standard polyester filament. It is woven into a diamond shape so there is less surface area against your body making it more pliable and eliminating weight. Another side benefit is it wicks water away faster than a flat sheet.
On the outside of the suit we have the Hydrolock Seam Seal. This is a thin bead of liquid tape used on a Glued Blind-Stitched seam. Some of you are thinking only a single seal, wont it leak? Well, not really. It’s pretty much just what you need to have a proper seal. The double seal adds weight and reduces flexibility but does offer more durability. Quik has opted for flex and less weight. To lock you into this puppy they’ve placed a YKK Semi-Dry “Water Block”chest zip with offset teeth to eliminate flushing.
So how’d it do?
The conditions… 3-4’ and like every suit I started my 120 minute session in the dark. The skies were clear and there was a constant 10-15mph wind. It felt especially cold because the air was 52.5 when I paddled out into a 62.0 ocean. Honestly, I didn’t care, the surf looked super fun and there were lots of waves – lots.
After telling you all the tech spec on the suit it feels weird to start with the seals in the cuffs and ankles but hey – they are good. I mentioned in a previous wetsuit test that it was something that needed to be tweaked and they did. The new cuffs are super tight on the wrist and ankle, providing great seals and little to no leakage. The suit was very stretchy and easy/comfortable the entire time. The suit did run colder than other suits we tested but I want to attribute that to the solid offshores wind and chilly water. It’ll be something I watch for in my second session.
The suit was very flexible and with good surf I stayed out longer than the 120 mins (stopped taking readings after 120mins). So while it was chilly the increased flexibility made for a really fun session.
Session 2 (with booties).
Several weeks have passed since test #1 and the surf was smaller this time 2-3’+. The air temp is even colder 51.0 and the water has dipped to 60. The wind was nowhere near as strong with only a light 5mph offshore. Still freaking cold out, but without the heavy wind it felt about the same. Air temp ended at 55.0.
My 120 min session was okay, but starting in the dark with small surf and cold temps tends to make me a little grumpy. I was stoked to be wearing booties though. The sand was sooo cold. My feet were starting to get that tingly feeling and nobody wants to surf with numb toes.
The suit did much better without the wind. My readings showed the suit was on average 3.7 degrees warmer even though the water and air were both colder. Yes, some of that can be attributed to booties, however the booties are so tight they do not circulate warm water throughout the suit.
This suit tested colder than the other suits in the test and that was hard for me to believe. I felt warmer in this than others and it just didn’t make a lot of sense. Even though the data tells me it’s colder I feel warmer and the proof is that I use it when I surf and am not taking recordings. And it was in those freesurfs when I found out the magic of Quik’s Cypher Wetsuit. This suit performs best when the sun is out. I could feel a big difference in warmth in a mid morning session vs. a dawn patrol session. Once the suns rays get on the suit it comes alive – see you already have the flex but when you can add a few degrees of warmth it quickly becomes one of my favs. Add into that the $305 price point and it’s for sure in my rotation when my other suit is wet.
And now let’s watch the pro’s rip in these suits.
Tags: 3/2, cypher, Quiksilver, Winter Wetsuit Review