A bit of semi-technical feedback about the Retro Jacket and Retro Pants.
Tried the Retro Pants for the first time in water a couple of weeks ago, when the water was ranging 7° to 8°C
, which is way below the limit for 2mm, but I was just wading into the lake for two minutes to retrieve a piece of kit that had gone adrift over the winter. My feet, in cheap warm-weather neoprene socks, froze immediately, but I was up to my navel in the pants at one point and, while conscious of the cubic acres of COLD WATER all around me, I didn't utter the smallest scream. This was encouraging.
This past weekend, the water was between 13° and 15°C, the lower end of where I'm comfortable in my triathlon fullsuit. I was trying out a bunch of new stuff at those temperatures, just so I'd know that it wouldn't be worse than this in the pit of midsummer, and at one point I threw on the Seventhwave Retro gear, uppers and lowers, put a pair of fins on (over slightly warmer socks), and pitched myself into the lake atop a dollar-store styrofoam boogie board to see how long I'd live pushing a plank in coolish water wearing 2mm smoothie with untaped seams, with a jacket that was guaranteed to flush.
The water was about 14°C that evening, I think, and you couldn't pay me to walk into that without insulation, but I felt absolutely zero thermal shock. Infiltration along the leg seams, yes, but because of the tight fit, the wetsuit immediately started acting like a wetsuit.
I was so amused by the way the pants were working that I decided to slide off the board and go up to my neck. Expected a massive flush down the front, followed by shrieking, flailing, prayers for death, etc.
None of that. Just a small, cool flush at the front, which got trapped and warmed immediately. And I learned something: an expected flush down the front beats a cold, surprising trickle through a high-tech back-zip, any day.
I know that, being a surf shop, your kit's not designed for prolonged, deliberate fitness swimming, but I decided to breaststroke in it for a hundred meters or so because, well, I was already in the lake, and it's the only stroke I know. Just to see what would happen. The jacket didn't ride up anywhere near as much as I thought it might, and even when it did creep, there were no sharp coldwater shocks to my waistline. And I don't remember neck-flushing being a problem, even though that could be expected because of the cut of the jacket's neck, and that stroke. All credit to the high waist on the pants, and to Seventhwave's pattern maker and cutter for transferring my custom measurements to neoprene.
And, because neck-to-ankle smoothie, I felt fast. Diabolically fast.
The Retro Pants feel like paint, wet and dry. Near-perfect tailoring.
The jacket. On dry land, it's awfully difficult to get into and out of, and the fit is very, very tight. I'd specified "Err on the tight side" on my order form, and upon trying the jacket out of the box, I was afraid I'd overdone it by saying that. But no. As many wetsuit makers and reviewers say, "Wetsuits fit differently when they're wet." With water in it, I forgot I was wearing the jacket. No problems doing a proper breaststroke. And wet, it came off like it'd been buttered. Your cutter either ignored me for being ignorant, or intuitively knew what I meant. Either way, I'm delighted.
I came out of the water actually giggling at how warm and comfortable this deceptively simple, old school, 2mm stuff felt at the lowest end of my temperature range for "happy swimming" in sophisticated sealed-seam triathlon gear. When the water finally hits 18° - 19°C and I feel like going in on a whim, rain or shine, either to push a board for exercise or to just bob around at sunset with 20 fathoms of unknowable benthic grimness under my tailbone, this rig is going to be just perfect.
Wonderful stuff. Very happy with the way it works. Oh, and I look fantastic in it.
I received the wetsuit last week and have had 2 sessions in it.
1) Windsurfing a week ago. It really is lighter and warmer than my 4/3. The forearm sleeves seemed kinda tight and so did the legs. When i first walked to the beach I felt fatigued because they were tight. The fit was great everywhere else and I really did notice that it took on much less water than my hyperlite.
It was way warmer too, and no water came in my neck.
Getting it off was crazy impossible, I needed the one last guy on the beach to help me pull it over my shoulders. I should have watched the video!!!
2) Yesterday I took it out paddle surfing in some nice sized waves. It was great. The arms did not feel as tight this time and I actually got it off all by myself. I wonder if the neoprene got a little more limber with the intial use.
Thank god i did not get it all in maroon or i would have looked like Barney!!
I had heard about the elusive lightweight, extremely warm and flexible Yamamoto neoprene, but had never actually seen or tried it before
. I was apprehensive at first about purchasing something I knew so little about, but was admittedly, very curious. After researching the famous Japanese neoprene and discovering Seventhwave Wetsuits online, I become even more curious about this alleged breakthrough innovative neoprene material. I began reading various testimonials from users that were overwhelmingly positive, and began to think there must be something to these innovative wetsuits.
I surf in New Jersey, located in the northeast area of the US, where frigid water temps typically drop to the low 30's F in the wintertime here (almost 0˚C). I finally made the decision to order the 3mm Viper Ti Steamer
last fall and surfed the entire winter using my new 3mm Seventhwave wetsuit, and never had the need to pull out my old standby 5mm winter wetsuit — which by the way was much bulkier, less flexible and not as warm. I am very pleased to report my new Seventhwave wetsuit outperformed my old 5mm Rip Curl winter wetsuit and would highly recommend it to anyone interested in a high performance, lightweight, exceptionally warm wetsuit for the most extreme conditions!
As a result I've rediscovered the stoke of winter surfing. I used to dread putting on a bulky, non-flexible, or very warm wetsuit to surf in the middle of winter. But now with my new Viper Steamer I once again look forward to winter surf sessions.
When it came to customizing the wetsuit, I was overwhelmed how accommodating the Seventhwave team was with all my requests — from logo/branding positions and orientations to material colors. Every design detail was accurately captured per my requests. Not only does my Viper Steamer provide outstanding performance, it looks crazy awesome as well! I also love the lightweight, flexibility and warmth provided by Seventhwave wetsuits.
I would absolutely recommend your 3mm Viper Steamer to anyone looking for added warmth, flexibility and lightweight in extremely frigid winter conditions.
Keep up the great work!
New Jersey, USA
My MAX G&S 3/2 Steamer is the BEST
— it's light, thin, flexible and warmer than any other 4/3 wetsuit I've worn. Because of the Yamamoto rubber I can practically see my suit drying after use, which which is sweet because I travel a lot and it sucks to carry around a wet wetsuit.
I have had O'Neil, Rip Curl, Billabong and this is seriously way more comfortable than all three! It doesn't bunch up or give you awkward rashes, and it doesn't peel off you when the set waves roll through. It doesn't even feel like your wearing a wetsuit it's so light and flexible, but it still keeps you warm in the coldest conditions. I am stoked on my Seventhwave custom-fit wetsuit — its definitely the best wetsuit I've ever owned!"
Santa Cruz, USA
Seventhwave wetsuits are by far the sickest wetsuits out there!
Not only are they made in New Zealand, they only use the best, high quality Japanese Yamamoto Neoprene material, tailor-made to fit your specific body measurements, and there's a lot of cool colors you get to choose from that allows you to get a little creative and set your custom wetsuit apart from the rest.
Seventhwave wetsuits are everything you want and look for in a wetsuit. The MAX
is definitely one of the most versatile wetsuits out there — it's very thin, super light, super flexible and it keeps me very warm which allows me to surf longer and really enjoy each surf session with comfort and style.
Paul and the crew at Seventhwave are super creative and very easy to work with. They really take the time to make sure that every custom wetsuit made is built to your satisfaction, and they even have helpful tips on how to make it easier to take your wetsuit on and off and how to care for your wetsuit so that it lasts longer (which I found really helpful). I'm super stoked and very thankful for all their support."
Melanie Bartels, Hawaii
ASP World Tour Professional Surfer
and current World No.8
In the late 1990s, you could drive up directly to Seventhwave's factory in Ferrymead, on the outskirts of Christchurch, and explain to the good folks there that you needed a wetsuit with longer arm and leg-lengths. They'd reset the machines and churn out a better-fitting suit than you could find in the States, one that would be ready the next day. (That suit lasted me until it was unceremoniously left to dry on a shrub at Torquay and no doubt inherited by a lanky local).
A decade after that original purchase, living in land-locked Philadelphia, I find that Seventhwave is still the place to buy a wetsuit, for use now in frigid Northeast and mid-Atlantic. Ordering a custom-made, Yamamoto neoprene suit that, given a favorable exchange rate, is still competitively priced against its American brand counterparts, remains compelling. Now if only my love of cannoli could keep me within the bounds of those initial measurements ... "