With the colder weather and colder seas fast approaching, it’s time to take a look at the 2016 - 2017 winter wetsuits on offer. Here, we focus on the flagship premium neoprene, The Top End. Combining the best in neoprene technology, quick drying properties, thermal insulation and stitchless seams, the technological jargon associated with such high end expensive wetsuits can be hard to decypher. Picking one that will not only suit your budget but also perform and continue to perform day in day out throughout the winter can be a bit of a minefield. Here are 5 of our favourites, hand picked and tested in house, no bullshit, just an honest opinion from our personal experience wearing these wetsuits in the water.
The Drylock from Xcel brandishes a wide range of impressive, scientific features and technological advancements that is to be expected from a wetsuit carrying such a premium price tag. Now in it’s ninth year, the Drylock has been fettled and honed to a truly excellent piece of kit that we can confidently say makes good on its eye watering RRP. You expect a lot of things from a wetsuit that you rely on to get you through the coldest of months, warmth, durability, flexibility and comfort to name just a few. Personally, the Drylock has always been the wetsuit of choice as soon as the leaves start falling from the trees and the clocks are wound back to their winter format. Stitchless seams, quick dry lining, and lightweight neoprene are just the tip of the iceberg.
The Hotwired is C-Skins premium wetsuit to combat even the coldest of conditions. Offering a wide range of features at a price that beats most of its competitors with similar tech, this suit has proven that it is the real deal at a fraction of the cost. After many years testing and improving the suit from team rider feedback, features like the fluffy, heat insulating, quick drying lining and stitchless seams throughout mean the Hotwired keeps you warm and comfortable while maintaining its durablity season on season.
Rip Curl have been creating top-class wetties since 1969, but this time they've blown the doors wide open to give you the maximum in performance, comfort, and durability. Stitchless and zipperless for this year, the Rip Curl team have really gone with the less is more mantra, and we would agree with them 100%. With E-5 fluffy insulating and quick drying lining, E-5 neoprene and E-5 tape, this years Flashbomb Plus is warmer, stretchier and dries even more quickly than last years already impressive incarnation. A truly epic wetsuit thats worth every penny.
The Psychofreak is O'Neill's top of the range model, while perhaps aimed slightly more at flexibilty than warmth, the Technobutter 2 neoprene used is extremely lightweight and warm while the minimal Firewall fluffy lining on the suit helps keep core body heat locked in. A more traditional glued and blind-stitched seam configuration is covered, on both the inside and outside of the suit in a non-chafing silicone based urethane to eliminate any leaking through the seams. If you are looking for the most flexible winter wetsuit, that will still keep you warm, O'Neill has you covered.
The Nieuwland 5 hooded wetsuit is the warmest model in the Finisterre line. Designed for sea temperatures in the region of 4-10 degrees celsius, suitable for winters in the north east UK, Scotland, Ireland, Scandinavia and the US east coast. After extensive team rider and customer feedback, the Nieuwland has been tailored to be as durable and warm as possible. Thicker seam tape, increased lumbar patches for core warmth, and calf loops for easy on-off are a few unique features that Finisterre have incorporated due to the wetsuit tester programme. The 6.5mm chest and back panels speak to how warm this suit really is and the sort of conditions you can still surf it in.