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Buyer’s Guide 2018: Wetsuits

When it comes to racing here in Canada, a wetsuit is an important piece of equipment, thanks to the cool water temperatures, especially in the early season. Gone are the days, though, when a wetsuit will feel uncomfortable or restrictive – many of the 2018 models use innovative new technology that will help you cruise through the water with ease. Here are a few options
to look at.

AQUASPHERE Phantom: $540
The unique Core Power System design in the Phantom provides extra support to improve your position in the water, making it easier to rotate your hips and help you lengthen your stroke. Special Bio-Strech Zones – 2 mm panels under the arms and at the lower back) in the suit give you lots of range of motion, while the 5 mm thick panels around the core help put you on top of the water. For those cold, early-season swims the Thermo-Guard technology around the chest, shoulders and legs will help you stay a bit warmer, too.

2XU Propel Pro: $800
Thanks to the 45-cell neoprene and seamless shoulder panels used in the Propel Pro, you’ll enjoy the impressive range of motion and flexibility in this very comfortable and fast suit. Special panels are built into the suit to provide buoyancy exactly where you want it and the extremely flexible rubber provides a comfortable fit. The suit also has Nano SCS and Silicone Hydrodynamic coatings to improve water resistance and help you slip through the water with ease.

DARE2TRI Mach V5: $975
The Mach V5 gets a redesign this year and now offers even more shoulder flexibility – an impressive feat considering the original V5 was renowned for providing an excellent range of movement. The ultrathin 0.5 mm neoprene around the shoulders gives the suit a “barely there” feel and provides excellent range of motion and flexibility through the back and the shoulders, which will be a popular feature for those with a swim background who hate feeling any restrictions around their shoulders. The inside lining of the suit is treated with Teflon so it will absorb less water, too.

SYNERGY Endorphin: $350
You get a crazy amount of features in this entry-level wetsuit, especially in the areas that can make the most difference – flexible arms and shoulders along with a combination of features on the front end of the suit to put you high in the water while also providing lots of hydro-dynamics. The lift comes from special AquaLift SmoothSkin panels along the front and lower leg panels to help put you in a great position, while the SuperFlex and HiFlex neoprene used in the shoulders and arm panels provide a surprising amount of flexibility. A special lining in the suit is designed to absorb less water, too, so it remains light and quick through the water, while also easy to get off in transition. We’ve had great luck with the durability of Synergy suits, too, thanks to the chemically bonded and triple-stitched seams and heat-bonded junctions.

Albacore Project Wetsuit: $1,100
The latest top of the line suit from Huub pulls out all of the stops to provide a suit with outstanding shoulder flexibility, buoyancy, along with a number of features designed to help your stroke. The Kinetic Release technology helps with your arm stroke efficiency, while the DLP panels around the hips and core are designed to provide 40 per cent more buoyancy than other types of neoprene, which will get you nice and high in the water. The breakaway zipper and Calf Release feature make it easy to get out of the suit once you hit transition, too. As one would expect with a suit this expensive, a unique Albacore carry case comes with it, too.

ORCA Alpha: US$699
Better swimmers typically aren’t as comfortable wearing a wetsuit because their shoulders and arms feel restricted and the Alpha is designed with those athletes in mind. The 0.88 Free material used in the arms provide impressive flexibility and forearm feel in the water, while the Exo-cell Buoyancy “dots” provide buoyancy in particular areas that improve your position and help you move through the water faster. Orca uses high-end Yamamoto rubber and a heat-reflective titanium coating to ensure you’ll slip through the water.

ZONE 3 Advance: $310
You get a lot of features most often seen in higher end suits in this entry-level model from Zone 3. Two-mm neoprene around the shoulders and arms, combined with the Extreme Flex material used under the arms allows you to really stretch out and get lots of distance per stroke. Thicker panels are strategically placed to support the legs and hips and put you in a good position in the water. There’s a low neckline for comfort and getting out of the suit is a breeze thanks to Zone 3’s trademark Silicone coated Pro-Speed Cuffs on the lower legs.

BLUESEVENTY Helix : $950
The flagship suit from one of the sport’s flagship wetsuit brands, the Helix gets some updates for 2018. Improved jersey (the inner lining) adds to the comfort and flexibility of the suit, while updated paneling and new technology on the back of the legs improves the buoyancy and fit of the suit, too. The end result is a suit that provides excellent flexibility and support exactly where you need it, regardless of your swimming ability.