The first wetsuit we tested is Rip Curl’s Flash-Bomb Plus. This is Rip Curl’s top of the line winter suit. Holy shit…not having a new wetsuit for four years and then jumping in this thing is like night and day.
The first thing you notice with this suit when you step in is the Flash Lining. It looks nothing like neoprene, feels nothing like neoprene and is seriously pillowy. The advantage of this lining is not only the increased comfort factor but Flash Lining is the crux of Rip Curl’s rapid drying technology suite.
There are actually two layers of lining – the outside red, inside grey (yeah we cut it open). And the red actually absorbs the water and takes it to the grey layer that pushes it out of the suit – when it is hung to dry.
What’s the benefit of a rapidly drying wetsuit? Ever put on a cold, damp wetsuit in a mid winter morning? I know guys who would rather not go out then live through that freezing 5 minutes.
The other crazy thing you notice when you wear this wetsuit is that it’s not smooth. You can actually see a ton of tiny dimples under the outer layer of wetsuit – like it had been wrapped around a golf ball. This is Rip Curl’s Titanium Air Lock E3 layer. A thin layer of intentionally porous neoprene that is sandwiched between two titanium layers – designed to lock in body heat.
All in all we counted 7 different layers of material in this wetsuit. From inside out here’s what you’ve got:
1. Flash Lining 1
2. Flash Lining 2
3. E3 Neoprene
5. Air-Lock (the porous layer)
7. Outside E3 Neoprene
The biggest challenge we saw with the suit had nothing to do with it’s performance. It actually had to do with taking it off. All these layers of warmth and comfort snuggly wrap your body made it hard to get out of. The first time I tried to take the suit off I struggled. It was like trying to escape from a cocoon. Yes, I eventually got it off, but it was surprisingly challenging. That may be the new norm – remember it’s been 4 years since I had a new suit.
Overall, we were very pleased with Rip Curl’s Flash Bomb Plus. Super comfortable, plenty warm when we tested, and more features than we can list in an initial evaluation. We are very happy with the suit, excited to see the amount of research and development Rip Curl has placed into keeping us warm and flexible in the water and excited to see how it stacks up against the competition.
If you want more info on the exact details of the suit check out these links to Rip Curl’s website:
Wetsuit overview: http://bit.ly/RipCurlSuitOverview
Technology explanation: http://bit.ly/RipCurlSuitTechnology
Rip Curl Video explaining how/why they built the suit: http://bit.ly/RipCurlFlashBombGenesis