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(Friday) 1.3.14

2014 Winter Wetsuit Test – Quiksilver

We tested last years Quiksilver’s FuseFlex and really liked it. The combo of comfort, warmth, and craftsmanship made it one of our favorites. So when the opportunity came up to test this years suit…IN!

 

When you make a suit with as many innovations as FuseFlex had in its debut year you certainly don’t start over in year 2. You make incremental changes that make the suit even better. Quiksilver has done just that. So, let’s go through some of the core tech that we loved from year 1.

 

-       FuseFlex Seams: NO STITCHES! Stiches ultimately lead to leakage. Quik’s wetsuit has the seams physically bonded and sealed at the molecular level. Really.

-       Plio-Tech Neoprene: Multi-layered closed cell neoprene technology around a thermal layer with air chambers to trap heat. Think Swiss Cheese surrounded by neoprene (not pictured)

 

-       Bio-Fleece: The part that touches your body. It absorbs less water, dries faster and weighs less than standard fleece linings.

And now on to the updates for this year.

Let’s start with the 3/2 badge. It’s a bit of a misnomer. The suit is actually a 3.5/3/2. 3.5mm chest and back, 3mm body and legs, 2mm arms. The thought process is to have the core panels thicker so they generate more heat. Then thin out the arms a little so you have better stretch and flexibility. Now we aren’t talking a dramatic change – 1 millimeter is roughly the thickness of a fingernail but if you’re surfing and taking a thousand strokes that added flexibility would add up. Same principle with warmth – ½ an extra millimeter of material may not sound like much but it adds up.

But those are just the dims. What else is new this year? Less… Less weight that is. Quiksilver has swapped out their old neoprene for FN-LITE Neoprene. The new neoprene 16% lighter because it has more air cells in it, and more air cells equal more warmth. FN-LITE has another benefit – it’s more flexible than the previous neoprene – yeah.

When I tested the suit I was very happy with it. I couldn’t notice the 16% lighter neoprene but I think that would be difficult for anyone to notice. Like all the suits I tested it pre-dawn with light wind conditions (air temp 44*, water temp 62*) and then again sunny (air temp 57*, water temp 61*). When it came to warmth this suit stood up very well with no sun and a light breeze. The slick skin really makes a difference on retaining body heat and protecting from that cold wind. It was really freaking cold this morning. My ears were stinging from the wet wind. So thank you Quik for keeping the core warm. Where this suit really takes on new life is in the sun. That slick skin heats up like crazy. I took it out on the sunny day and my back was roasting. It felt so good I barely noticed the chilly water. A huge positive considering the main reason we wear wetsuits is to stay warm.

The other thing I have to mention is the knee pads. Quiksilver does not skimp here. These knee pads are big and burly. Personally I like a fresh topcoat of wax before I surf and the big nobbies on the knees stuck to the board like glue when I would duck dive. They are super cush which means the knees don’t take a beating when surfing a ton.

I was very happy with the wetsuit and glad to see Quiksilver making improvements to it.

The one thing I would like to see them innovate around next is entry/exit of the suit. I completely understand the need to keep that seal around the shoulders as snug as possible – it keeps cold water out! But there has to be a way to make the suit easier to get in and out of. It takes me a solid 5 minutes to get my first shoulder and arm out. After that smooth sailing and no problems, but really? These are super smart guys and I know with all the innovations they have implemented in the past this is something they can solve for.

MSRP: $389.95

 

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