Finally, after months of lane swimming, the open water season is back. As I prepare for the half-Ironman race in Muskoka on July 7th, I was able to do several open water swim sessions in the HUUB Varman wetsuit. Being part of the HUUB wetsuit family that includes the Brownlee Agilis and Archimedes III, the Varman is an option for triathletes looking for something a bit more affordable (CAD 750) and durable.
Related: What not to do when lane swimming
The Varman wetsuit boasts an extremely buoyant material, particularly in the hips and thighs. HUUB claims that its +43 Foam – neoprene technology – is 43 per cent more buoyant than standard neoprene. Though I’m unable to confirm the exact numbers in my review, I can reference the feeling I had when testing the wetsuit in Lake Vernon (Huntsville, Ontario).
On a windy afternoon, I suited up in the Varman and went for a quick swim in Lake Vernon. Despite the choppy conditions on the water, I was impressed with how my lower limbs sat in the water when looking for the turn buoy. My hips remained high as sighted my surroundings and my feet didn’t dip as I continued to make my way against the current.
Unfortunately for this particular swim, I made the mistake of wearing my sleeved tri-suit underneath the wetsuit. I quickly found out that this was a big no-no as it restricted my shoulder rotation. Note to self, for the swim keep the sleeved tri-suit unzipped. Then when you come out of the water and into the transition zone, put your arms through the sleeves and suit up.
In a subsequent swim, I did retest the Varman wetsuit and was impressed with how natural and unrestricted the catch and pull phase of my stroke felt. As I brought my arm out of the water and slapped my hand out ahead, I felt very little resistance. And over the course of a 30-minute swim, little shoulder fatigue. (Nothing out of the ordinary.) I also noticed how much elbow flexibility I had when wearing the suit. HUUB claims that this – and the improved shoulder flexibility – is thanks to their Arm Neutral technology. This technology appeared to give me tonnes of shoulder and elbow flexibility, while still wearing a wetsuit.
- MSRP: $750
- HUUB’s exclusive +43™ buoyancy foam delivering 43% more buoyancy than standard neoprene.
- Rotational Freedom™ upper body design.
- Arms Neutral™ exclusive HUUB technology.
- Buoyancy and body alignment constrictor system (patent pending).
- Exclusive 3:5 buoyancy profile.
- M.A.D System tested.