Tag Archives: Triathlon Wetsuit

Open Water Swimming in Triathlon

The shortest leg of the race in triathlon is often funny enough, the most feared. By far, you’re certainly the least out-of-control of your surrounding environment in this leg, which can allow for the capability to put a nice damper on your time. Most triathlons take place in some kind of a body of open water, so assuming your pool skills will transfer right over isn’t the case, and often times, can be dangerous. There’s many tips that can be followed to keep yourself safe, and drop seconds to minutes on your swim. We spend tons of money on gadgets, wheels, aero-dynamic and light-weight everything to save seconds and minutes, so why not take the time to practice open-water techniques for the swim? Below are some triathlon swim tips.

Pool Swimming

Pool heaters, a line to follow, lanes to keep our flailing bodies in, and visibility as far down as the eye can see. What’s not to like about training in a pool? Well, it’s not a realistic representation of the race environment. Certainly, it’s great for things such as speed-work and interval training, but it needs to be used in conjunction with your open water training. We’re not required to lift our head up in a pool to see where we’re going, or to modify our breathing according to surprise waves smacking us over the head, and if we get tired, oh boy! …a nice wall or lane line to grab onto won’t be there. Certain aspects of oceans and lakes call for specific gear, technique, and safety measures. Train to increase your conditioning, practice being in the environment to get you mentally prepared for the elements.

Necessary Equipment

So you’ve been training in the pool and want to venture into a lake, river, or ocean swim. Where do you begin? Most people do fine with some swim goggles, some find that a wider-lens goggle allows them to spot better in the open water. Here’s an example:

Wetsuit? Or no triathlon wetsuit? You’ll find at your triathlon races, about 95% (depending on temperature) of triathletes will be in wetsuits. Your first idea about this is probably that they’re wearing them to keep warm. Swim purists are strictly against this notion of wearing neoprene to swim. I myself was one as well, until I saw friends who I was lapping in the pool beating me in the open water. Not gonna fly. Tri wetsuits will give you quite the advantage. Sure they’ll keep you warmer than not having one, but they’re designed to make you more buoyant and reduce your drag. This allows you to conserve power, thus saving you energy and making for a faster time. My advice: get one.

Chaffing. It’s painful and unnecessary, but has a strong likelihood of happening with your tri wetsuit if some kind of a lubricant is not used. The chaffing will most likely happen around the neck, but there’s a few areas we strongly recommend as well to put the lube. Below are the two options, BodyGlide and TRISlide.

TRISLIDE

Body Glide

Both will protect against chaffing, and also aid in getting the wetsuit off quickly. We suggest putting it around your ankles, wrists, and neck prior to putting on the wetsuit before training and races.

Now that you have the necessary gear, there’s a few things you should consider prior to your open water swim training. It’s best to be checking the swells and currents prior to when you’ll be swimming if you’ll be swimming in the ocean. In a recent race I did at the Camp Pendleton Sprint Tri, the starting wave did not take note of the strong current and swam an additional 200-500 yards at least. Those that caught on and realized they needed to start their swim further down to avoid fighting a current, were able to gain a few hundred yards (which equates to at least a 2-5 minute lead) HUGE.

For Your Safety..

If you’re not an experienced swimmer, trying to get past the waves (or break) will be almost impossible if it’s a large wave day, and incredibly dangerous. Check to see if there is a lifeguard on duty if possible, who will quickly notify you of any potential dangers such as undertows or rip currents. If you do have a higher anxiety about open water swimming, choosing a day when there’s greater visibility out in the water (usually on a sunnier day) is certainly a smart idea. If the ocean seems far too terrifying, I would highly recommend swimming in some kind of bay or lake if you can access one. There’s fewer possibilities of potential anxiety triggers, and will serve as a great way to segue you into unprotected open water swims. It’s incredibly important when you’re getting into any body of water to not go alone. You never know what’s going to happen in the water. As an example, a fellow friend of mine was swimming in the bay when an unsuspecting 10 foot wood oar split his head open from a boater. He luckily had friends to drive him to the hospital. With that said, there’s a reason fish swim in schools. So should you!

Specific Open Water Techniques for Racing

Where the heck do you put yourself in the start of the swim pack? Before you answer, consider this: Would you hop in the fast lane on a 5-lane freeway going 45 and expect to not get honked at, tail gated, or dirty looks? Probably not. The swim isn’t a good idea to do this either. Line up according to your ability. Fast swimmer? Jump to the front. Let’s just say if you’re swimming a sub 7 or sub 6 minute 500 yard time, you’d do fine at the front. Mediocre swimmer? Get to the middle. Consider this the equivalent of how people stagger themselves at 5k’s and marathon starts. It’s also smart to place yourself on the outskirts of the pack, not directly in the center. If swimming isn’t exactly your caveat, stay towards the back. You’ll thank yourself later. You will avoid unwanted kicks and elbows this way. Once you’ve figured out how to place yourself, let’s think about how you’re going to get yourself through the waves, or from the sand to the water. With a technique known as dolphin diving, getting through the shallower water and under the waves will save you time and energy (and maybe a few waves to the dome). Below you can find a perfect example of how to do this. I do not recommend doing this if you’re a beginner in very shallow water (let’s say, below the knees). Once you become more familiar with this type of diving, you can utilize it in shallower waters, but I wouldn’t recommend it until you get a better grasp. This method is often used in lake swims as well.

Once you’re past the waves or initial start of the swim, you’ll feel pretty crowded. In the majority of open water swims, the wave of people you start with will spread out within the first few minutes. The only race I’ve participated in that this is not the case is an Ironman. The Ironman Arizona swim will never throughout the 2.4 miles of swimming, spread out. Back to the point. Most races will. You’ll begin to feel synced with your stroke. However, it is IMPERATIVE you are looking up. This is what we call “spotting” in open water. Everyone will tell you differently on how often you should be raising your head to see where you are, but I say a good rule of thumb would be every 10-30 strokes, depending on how experienced with this you are. Most triathlons will have you swimming in some kind of twisted triangle or rectangle similar to the one pictured below:

There will be buoys marking the corners, which are what we’ll call your trackers. They’re huge and brightly colored. You need to make sure you’re staying in line with these trackers, by picking up your head to see where you’re going. The only reason you swim in a straight line in the pool is because of the fat solid black line you swim on top of to keep you in check. It’s a good idea to practice spotting in a pool, or at least practice in open water prior to racing. You can easily add on a few hundred yards or more depending on how long your swim is if you’re not spotting the buoys. You also might swim yourself into a nice kayak, which are often conveniently located right in the middle of the line of swimmers. I myself have smacked my head hard on one of these puppies and proceeded to blame it on the nice kayak volunteer for being in my way. Point being, look up. The example above is of a lake swim. Most ocean swims will have you swimming parallel to shore, which means you’ll have the waves at your back coming in. Body surfing these in and beginning to dolphin dive once it’s about waist deep can save you some precious time.

Key Points To Take Away…

  • Pools aren’t a substitute for open water
  • Get the necessary gear to make your life easier for open water swimming
  • DO NOT swim alone or at least tell someone on shore you’re swimming and to keep an eye out
  • Learn how to study your surroundings; know the currents and swells
  • Place yourself correctly at the start of the swim start in a triathlon
  • Learn what spotting and dolphin diving are and how to utilize them (know your swim course as well)
  • Enjoy it! Stay calm, and remember why you started it all in the first place

Further Guides to Help:

Sleeved Wetsuit or Sleeveless?

Choosing the Right Triathlon Wetsuit

Printable Triathlon Gear Checklist

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Wetsuit Fitting Diagram

Do I Need a Wetsuit?

A common question among first time triathletes is, “Do I need a triathlon wetsuit?” Wetsuits are almost always recommended in triathlons, but I’m writing this from the perspective of necessity.

This is a big concern because it’s often a hefty monetary investment, beating out the entry fee for a first timer. You can usually borrow a friend’s bike, or use your own hybrid/mountain/beater, but wetsuits are a different story because the fit is particular to a person’s body.

So do you need a wetsuit?

Wetsuit Fitting Diagram

I know it's not the most appropriate image for the article, but hey I thought it was helpful.

It depends.

Off the bat, when the water temperature is warm enough, wetsuits can be banned outright by the race, or permissible but rendering the athlete ineligible for awards.   If you’ve signed up for a race that falls under this instance, you won’t need one.

The USA Triathlon (USAT) rules on this point:

  • If the water is 78 degrees or lower, you can wear wetsuits without any issues.
  • But if the water is 78.1 – 83.9 degrees, competitors may wear wetsuits but will not be eligible for awards.
  • If the water temperature is 84 degrees or above, wetsuits are banned outright.

The World Triathlon Corporation (WTC/Ironman) rules on this point:

  • If the water is 76.1F degrees  or below, wetsuits are allowed without issues.
  • If the water is 76.1 – 83.9 degrees, competitors may wear wetsuits, but will not be eligible for awards.
  • If the water temperature is 84 degrees or above, wetsuits are banned outright.

For races where wetsuits are allowed (meaning the water temperature is on the cooler side), there are a few factors to consider.  Let’s get started.

Is it a pool swim?

If yes, there’s no need.  Have a good race!

No?

Is it an ocean swim?

If yes, then a wetsuit is recommended.   Waves and currents make ocean swimming challenging, especially for the more casual swimmer.  Having a wetsuit helps with buoyancy, making it easier to stay afloat, and also helps  you swim faster.  It’s a safety net of sorts, as the wetsuit can do quite a bit of work for you.  But if you’re a life long swimmer, and it’s a badge of pride to swim only with a jammer or bathing suit, perhaps this doesn’t apply. There is no doubt that a wetsuit will still provide benefits even if you don’t really need it to finish the race.

Not an ocean swim?

Is it a Lake swim?

If yes, a wetsuit is generally still recommended for the benefits of buoyancy as noted above.  But, the need here isn’t as dramatic.  Calm lake swims in bearable waters is something you may already do every summer.  Enjoy.  Same analysis for the life long swimmer as noted above. A wetsuit will provide benefits even if you are a great swimmer.

But what if the water is super cold?

Then yes, it’s recommended, but you might be able to abate the cold by also using a neoprene swim cap under your colored race swim cap provided to you.  This is where those life long swimmers would fall into. For all categories of people you should probably get a suit to help combat the cold.

Do you need all the help you can get?

A young lady I helped in the store told me, “I need all the help I can get.”  She blurted this statement as part of a logical assessment of her newbie abilities after I explained to her the different attributes and levels of suits we carry.  She ended up going with a Zoot Women’s Prophet that was on sale, fitting into her budget.   If you, like her, are not very confident in your swimming abilities and have heard yourself saying this, then you will take solace in having a wetsuit for the race.

It doesn’t have to be a high-end wetsuit, but practically any of the popular swim/triathlon wetsuits would give you the help you’ll need. I won’t argue the fact that a more expensive wetsuit generally offer more benefits. However I will say that there are so many choices out there that sometimes the most expensive option isn’t the best option for you.

So after going through this exercise, you may have concluded that a wetsuit is something you need.

I’ve compiled a few wetsuit resources along with actual products for your research:

Best of luck to you on your search for a triathlon wetsuit.

What to Wear Under a Triathlon Wetsuit

The question of, “What am I supposed to be wearing underneath my tri wetsuit?” is undoubtedly the most asked in the shop. The idea of wearing clothing underneath neoprene,  seems odd to many first-time triathletes. In reality, you can’t tell a difference underneath your wetsuit, and will save quite a bit of time by swimming in what you will be racing in. Essentially you wear whatever it is you’ll be competing in underneath. Often times, it’s the same clothing that you’ve been training ever so hard in over the course of the past months/weeks. With that said, triathletes have a couple of options as to what they choose to wear underneath their tri wetsuit. There’s two main types of race apparel: a trisuit, or a top with tri shorts.

Option 1:

Why a trisuit?

Racing in a one-piece can certainly be convenient. You’re simply wearing one article of clothing, not two, and thus don’t have to really worry about your shirt riding up and revealing anything not wanting to be revealed (muffins perhaps?) Most trisuits also have a zipper as well as  built-in-bra for additional support. Some trisuits, depending on the brand, have side or back pockets as well, which are perfect for storing those gu’s. Negatives? Certainly, if you have to use the restroom during your race. I recommend one-pieces to those participating in shorter distances such as sprints, or olympics. It is not particularly ideal to get out of this puppy when you’re in a rush to use the facilities during a longer race.

Option 2:

Why a two piece?

I find more athletes tend to gravitate towards wearing a triathlon top and triathlon short as separates. This could be that people are simply a bit weary of the one-piece, and in many cases have never seen one before. Wearing separates offers the ease of potentially more pockets for storing your goodies. Some tops are more of a singlet style with zip up in the front (like the one pictured), whereas some are a racerback style. When wearing two pieces, you have the option of changing up styles, coloring and brands. For example, if you like the feeling of a looser fitting top, and a short that’s a particular length, (most range from 4″ to 8″ for women) wearing two pieces offers a bit more variability. This option tends to be the better choice for the longer distances.

Other options:

Some athletes choose to wear no top under their wetsuit for the swim (or in a woman’s case, just her sport bra) and then put on their top once they reach transition. This can be a difficult task to do, as you will be wet and will be adding additional time to your race.  There have been those to wear a one-piece bathing suit underneath their wetsuit (Speedos or jammers in the case of men) underneath their wetsuit and do their race in just that. This is an option, although not the most comfortable.

For the triathlons where the swim portion takes place in a pool, the trisuit may be the better option, as a loose-fitting top could easily create drag. Most triathlon apparel is composed of a lycra blend, meaning it’s quick to dry, and barely noticeable while racing. If you’re wondering what to use for strictly training purposes, most simply wear their swim suits or, for men, jammers.

Any of these options will work,  it depends upon what you’re more comfortable wearing. The cardinal rule is to race in what you’ve been training in. Choosing to wear new race apparel can lead to the awful surprise of new-found seams and possible chaffing.

These are the variations of questions that I get.
What do I wear in a triathlon?
What do I wear under my wetsuit?
What do I wear under my tri wetsuit?

Blue Seventy Axis Review


Oh swimming. With 85% of triathletes coming from a running, cycling, or other background, it’s no wonder so many people fear this leg of the race the most. If  swimming isn’t your strength, Blue Seventy has an answer. The Axis. Blue Seventy has recognized the fact that there’s different needs for different types of swimmers. Some athletes have denser leg compositions due to established thigh muscles and dense calves. Many of these swimmers tend to drop their lower half in the water. Thus, the Axis was innovated with balanced buoyancy zones. This suit in particular focuses higher buoyancy in the hips, thighs and lower legs. This helps to elevate the lower body, creating a more streamlined position in the water, and more efficient stroke for the swimmer.

The Blue Seventy Axis was also designed with Femme Fit, a design unique for women, designed by blue seventy. This fit is designed with a woman’s shapes, curves and all skill levels taken into mind. There should never be a one-cut fits all wetsuit on the market. Clearly, a woman’s body is shaped differently, and wetsuits should reflect this. Here are the differences:

  • Lowered neckline
  • Extended zipper length to accommodate wider hips, and in aiding exiting and entering suit
  • Slimmer, 1.5mm thick arms to allow for higher stroke cadence
  • Re-design of suit in bust and torso area (women tend to have shorter torsos)
  • A wider range of sizes to choose from (7 to be exact) from XS to Large Athena
  • 360-flex reach panels to create supreme flexibility and arm maneuverability

With all of this said, I hear over and over within wetsuit sales, “I need all the help I can get in the water and I’m not a strong swimmer. Which wetsuit do you recommend?”

The Axis it is.

TYR Hurricane Category 3 Wetsuit

“You’re only as fast as your wetsuit will let you be.”-TYR


With that said, and your money pockets taken into consideration, feast your eyes on the Category 3. TYR’s Hurricane wetsuit series is composed of three tiers (pun intended), 1, 3, and 5. For those that want the primary technologies of the Category 5, but don’t want to spend top dollar, the C3 is the perfect option for a mid range suit. The wetsuit boasts light-weight Yamamoto 38/39 SCS coated neoprene, as well as varying 5mm panels. The high-buoyancy 5mm panels found in the chest, legs, and core were designed to help the swimmer to be elevated in the water and keep the swimmer from dropping their lower half. This feature, known as Speed Wrap Paneling, as well as the ones listed below were carried over from the CAT 5. The only features the Category 3 doesn’t come with when comparing it the 5, are that the entire surface area isn’t 100% Yamamoto Nano SCS rubber, and the inside isn’t lined with soft jersey fabric.

  • Free Range of Motion Zones – Less pinching and constriction, meaning more flexible reach.
  • Form Fitting Wrist Cuffs – Multi-stretch cuffs at the wrist allow powerful strokes while keeping water from entering the suit.
  • Quick Release Ankle Cuffs – Tapered legs allow for a speedy release of the suit without much effort.
  • 360 degree core stabilization system: Creates the sensation of your core feeling a wrap-around support which works to elevate the swimmer, ensuring optimal body position and saving energy over the long-term of the swim.
  • Graded Force Catch Panels: Paneling along forearm allows for greater pull in the water, such as a built-in paddle would.

If you do have an entry-level wetsuit and want to make the upgrade to a mid range suit that’s going to come with all the bells and whistles, the Hurricane Category 3 by TYR is great choice. Check out this wetsuit and many other triathlon wetsuits at One Tri.

Orca Alpha Review

My first impression on the Alpha is that it’s another flagship wetsuit from a quality manufacturer, and it is. What I’ve discovered is that reviews or outside industry impressions are scarce and far-between for the Alpha and that the majority of the copy on the internet comes straight from Orca’s marketing department. Allow me to fill in the blanks.

You can expect the standard top of the line qualities from the Alpha: 40 cell Yamamoto, Nano SCS coating, quick out ankles etc. These are all features that have become commonplace most of the uncommon top tiered suits but what sets the Alpha apart from the rest of the pack are three key features.

  1. The Alpha’s shoulders are ridiculously thin. 1.5mm thin to be exact. The idea is that you want a balance between form and function and the 1.5mm thickness gives your body the range of motion needed for your swim stroke without sacrificing buoyancy.
  2. Instead of simply adding a gripper or pattern for the catch panel the Alpha instead features a 3mm thick contoured catch panel, branded as “AquaTread”. The added thickness layered on the super thin 1.5mm shoulders/arms gives the suit just a bit more buoyancy positioned in the perfect place
  3. “Aerodome” 5mm neoprene.  Orca took a 5mm cut of it’s 40cell Yamamoto neoprene, put a bunch of holes in it and then sealed it. The holes increase the buoyancy of the paneled areas by 30%, trapping air and using it to keep your tired rear afloat.

After looking over the suit I can’t wait to take it out for a test swim and as far as flagship wetsuits go, the Alpha is now at the top of my list.

Zoot Conduit Wetsuit Review

I had the joy of swimming in the Zoot Conduit wetsuit, (formerly known as the Synergy), last weekend in an ocean swim. Quite frankly, after experiencing superior range of motion and essentially feeling like Gumby, I came to the conclusion alongside my co-worker that there really shouldn’t be any other triathlon wetsuit on your radar in this price range. That’s a bold statement coming from somebody who comes from a strong swim background and has swum in some of the best wetsuits on the market.

Here are some factuals on the Conduit as to why I most likely came to this wetsuit conclusion:

The tri wetsuit is a combination of 5mm, 4mm, and 1.5mm. What importance is this? The 5mm in the body gives you supreme buoyancy while the 1.5mm in the arms and shoulder makes for unsurpassed flexibility. The grade of neoprene is c39 with scs nano coating, which is on the higher end grade of materials. GLIDEflex panels can be found around the center of the chest where the arms stem away from your sternum, as well as down the ribs and continuing down the side of the legs. This feature is specific to this wetsuit, and one of the reasons I felt like I could move so well. The paneling allows for easy stretch and give where the limbs branch out from the core, allowing for free flowing movement.

Zoot has won me over with this suit. Perfect solution to upgrading your entry level wetsuit.

Get the Zoot Conduit Tri Wetsuit at One Tri.

Nineteen Pipeline Wetsuit

Noted has having the most accurate sizing chart, Nineteen Wetsuits developed its wetsuit by balancing superior craftsmanship with exceptional value. The Nineteen Pipeline features a maximum of 5mm of to provide the swimmer of needed buoyancy.

Nineteen Pipeline

A notable feature of the wetsuit is the variance in neoprene thickness, 2-5-3, on the arms, torso and legs. This variance is important with triathlon wetsuits, as different parts of the body require different neoprene thickness to encourage proper swimming form. The higher cut on the legs allows for faster transition. Still unsure about this wetsuit? Nineteen Wetsuits features a 5 year manufacturer’s warranty, the longest in the industry. Brilliant.

More triathlon wetsuit resources:

2XU T:2 Wetsuit

Update 02/16/13:
The latest 2013 wetsuit will be coming out soon. In the mean time here is a link to the current 2XU T3 wetsuit: 2XU T3 Wetsuit.

The 2XU T:2 Team Wetsuit is an update to last year’s T:0 suit that was wildly popular at triathlons everywhere. As an “entry-level” triathlon wetsuit, the T:2 packs quite a few features that makes it stand out from other suits in its class.  Just check out this wetsuit comparison chart and see for yourself!

Composed with 39 Cell Yamamoto Neoprene,  the 2XU T2 wetsuit has rollbar, floating zip and transition panels coated with both SCS and 2xU’s proprietary SXS coating, making the suit slick and fast.  The 2011 updates include strakes running down the chest to improve your direction in swim.  This feature is cool, as it was unique to the V:1 from the past two years.

The floating zip enhances flexibility in the back panel which allows the zip to move in partnership with the body, especially during the recovery and catch phase of the stroke.

On the legs, the panels are 3mm thick, giving the swimmer enough flexibility to run into transition and to remove the wetsuit.  On the shoulder and arms, it’s 2mm, giving you the flexibility and range of motion you’ll need during your swim.

With all these updates, it’s fair to say that this is an entirely new suit!  Back by 2XU’s 2 year warranty and wide range of sizes available, you can rest assured that you’re covered, for both defects and fit.

More triathlon wetsuit resource links:

  • All triathlon wetsuits – OneTri.com offers one of the largest
  • 2XU Wetsuits  – Here is a link to all current 2XU wetsuits
  • Triathlon Wetsuit Rentals –  Here is one of the largest triathlon wetsuit selections on the internet. You find another place that allows a large selection of “try-to-buy” rental wetsuits.
  • Wetsuit Buying Guide – Here is a helpful triathlon wetsuit buying guide that is updated yearly
  • Wetsuit Comparison Chart – This is a men’s triathlon wetsuit comparison chart but it applies to wome’s wetsuits as well
  • Triathlon Equipment Guides and Articles – Here’s another resource for triathlon gear guides and articles

2XU R:1 Race Wetsuit

The Setup

Picture this: You’re a sophomore triathlete now with some mad masters honed swim skills, but you got mouths to feed/bills to pay/or you’re a student without a big budget, and you need wetsuit to replace the cheapest tri wetsuit you bought online last year. What to do? Wetsuits are tricky, but there’s a few things to keep in mind:

  • Fit – a proper fit in terms of wetsuits is worth almost everything. You’re looking to see what kind of panels the suit has, and where. You’re going to want to try it on to see how it feels. When buying online, you can usually return the wetsuit back to the retailer if it doesn’t fit after an initial try on – like with us at OneTri.com.
  • Material – Does it have Yamamoto Neoprene? Yamamoto neoprene is commonly used for its quality and SCS coating. It’s pretty common in wetsuit but not all triathlon wetsuits are made with Yamamoto which isn’t always a bad thing. What cell? With higher cell neoprene usually comes more flexibility. It usually also means that it is easier to tear because it has a higher density of air pockets in the neoprene. Common cell ratings are 38, 39, and 40. 39 is found in most mid to high level wetsuits. 40 is almost always found in high-end wetsuits in select areas due to its flexibility.
  • Coating – Does it have some sort of coating, such as SCS or the manufacturer’s proprietary coating?
With the above in mind, I’d like to introduce the 2XU R:1 Race wetsuit as a mid-level replacement or addition to what you currently own as part of your triathlon gear. Below is more of the 2XU R1 Wetsuit Review.
Features on the 2XU R:1 Race Wetsuit
This 2xu R1 wetsuit features Yamamoto 39 Cell Neoprene, and has 2XU’s proprietary coating throughout the suit. What this means is that you’re going to feel like an aquatic animal (think dolphins, seals, or if you’re so inclined, a shark) gliding through the water. On the forearm (the blue looking surface that runs from the wrist to the elbow), is a catch panel that helps you grab more water during the catch phase of your stroke. The catch panel feature it something you’ll probably never see on an entry-level suit.
As far as the thickness of the 2xu R1, in the shoulder area, it’s 1.5 mm, and along the torso and chest, it’s 4.5mm. This variance is aligned with mid to higher category suits, as the smaller 1.5 mm shoulder thickness is for greater flexibility, and the 4.5mm along the chest torso area is for buoyancy. The lines you see running down the chest are strakes that should help you going in a single direction. Backed by 2XU’s 2 year warranty, and wide range of available sizes (11 for men, 5 for women), this suit will fit most body types.
Piqued your interest? Go to OneTri.com to add the 2XU R:1 to your cart today to try it out for yourself!

More triathlon wetsuit resource links:

  • All triathlon wetsuits – OneTri.com offers one of the largest triathlon wetsuit selections in the nation (Current count is 11 brands).
  • 2XU Wetsuits – Here is a link to all current 2XU wetsuits
  • Triathlon Wetsuit Rentals –  Here is one of the largest triathlon wetsuit selections on the internet. You find another place that allows a large selection of “try-to-buy” rental wetsuits.
  • Wetsuit Buying Guide – Here is a helpful triathlon wetsuit buying guide that is updated yearly
  • Wetsuit Comparison Chart – This is a men’s triathlon wetsuit comparison chart but applies to women’s wetsuits as well.
  • Triathlon Equipment Guides and Articles – Here’s another resource for all types of triathlon gear guides and articles.

Orca Equip Review

Intro

Moderately priced at $299, the Orca Equip Wetsuit is an excellent choice for what is considered in its price point, a mid-tier triathlon wetsuit.

Specs

With SCS coating throughout the majority of the Orca Equip wetsuit, its composition is 39 cell Yamamoto neoprene.  At the torso, chest and and arms, the thickness is 2mm.  Varying neoprene thickness throughout the suit is important, as less neoprene is needed in certain areas, notably the arms.  You’ll likely want the flexibility and range of motion there.

Throughout the lower back and torso, 3-5mm neoprene panels are used throughout the suit for buoyancy.  This is important, many swimmers, eh hem, triathletes tend to sink their lower half of the body while they swim.

Insights

The one insight I would impart is the fact that the Equip, like other Orca wetsuits, have a “performance” fit to them.  Because many of us don’t have the luxury to try on wetsuits before buying them, this bit of information might be important.  When you fall in between sizes, it’s not a bad idea to select a size up when making the purchase.  From my experience fitting people, and back when I took a lot of customer service calls, this was often the case with these types of suits.

Conclusion

The Orca Equip is a good buy.  My person philosophy with triathlon wetsuits is that because they’re thrashed at races, and heavily used in training, I don’t intend them to last often more than two years.  Because this is a suit with all the key intermediate features, at this price point it’s a no brainer.  But if you’re able to afford it, and are in the market for higher end  Orca Wetsuits, a Sonar, 3.8, and Alpha is something worth looking into.

If you are just getting started and want a list of all reputable triathlon wetsuits just click on this link: triathlon wetsuits. Best of luck with your training, races, and wetsuit search.

Orca S3 Wetsuit Review

Out of any entry-level wetsuit that I help fit customers into in our shop, the Orca S3 tends to be the top choice. With the price alone drawing customers in at a low $198, the fit of the suit becomes a larger deciding factor. Many suits out there on the market come with a “performance-type fit”. Ask any woman (or man for that matter) that don’t seem to fall into one of the charted categories, or with a simply curvier figure, and they’ll tell you that most suits just don’t fit right. Orca Wetsuits, however, tends to fit varying body types.

Beginners, or those newly stepping into the neoprene as a swimmer, will benefit from the quality of materials found in the S3, of which are often only found in mid-range wetsuits. The suit features 5mm in the core which aids in additional buoyancy as well as balance. It’s also designed with a 2mm Quadrastretch shoulder panel as well as 2mm QuadraFlex underarm panel help to aid in maximizing your range of motion while leaving your upper body feeling not too constrained (which tends to be a much heard complaint from triathletes).

Additional reasons this suit is a top seller:

• Full Smoothskin neoprene coverage across shoulders
• Excellent levels of buoyancy, flexibility and thermal protection
• [Lining] [Rest of body] Powerstretch
• Hydrolift Body Panel
• Hydrostroke Forearm Panels (Increases power in catch phase of stroke)
• Speed Transition Panels
• Flexiseal Neck (Tight enough to keep water out and not feel suffocating)

If you’re new to triathlon wetsuit world, and looking at your options, this is a suit that’s certainly worth another look. Price, fit, and flexibility. All three things that triathletes are concerned with. The Orca S3 boasts all three, and at first glance, would never appear in a class of entry-level.

More links:

2XU V:2 Wetsuit

I just got a chance to test out the new 2XU V:2, and I’m wholeheartedly impressed with the design and feel of the suit. Like all the other 2XU suits, the fit is its most impressive attribute. Out of everyone I’ve personally fitted, 2XU suits fit people like a glove. For me, the fit translated to an easier and more comfortable swim out in the open water.

The most notable difference in 2XU suits this is that they all come standard with velocity strakes – helping with forward motion. Both the V:1 and Project X wetsuit from last year had them, but they’re now just standard all 2xu wetsuits.

Merit, material, and cut aside, it doesn’t take an experience triathlete to see the cool factor in this suit. The piping and design actually makes you stand out, which would help your friends and family pick you out from the crowd as your entering and exiting the water. This is always a bonus, unless, for some reason, you don’t want to be seen.

Anyway, check the 2XU Velocity V2 tri wetsuit out, and more triathlon wetsuits at OneTri.com.

Below is a video on the 2010 Velocity V1 wetsuit. It’s very similar to the 2011 version.

TYR Cat 5 Hurricane Wetsuit Review

TYR has arguably put themselves in a class of their own with the Cat 5 Hurricane Wetsuit. The technology and science behind this suit is simply genius. Let’s begin with what I noticed the instant I tried it on, which I’ve never felt in any other suit:

The 360° Core Stabilization System. What is this and why does it matter? This is a panel on the wetsuit which surrounds the abdominals, providing what feels like a tightening affect. This system allows for two things.

  1. One, optimal body position in the water and
  2. Two, the conservation of precious energy due to not having to constrict your abdominals nearly as much.

Free Range of Motion: The ability to not feel constricted around the neck as well as the arms comes paramount to most triathletes when looking into wetsuits. This goes to say, the flexibility and Free Range of Motion in this suit are unreal. This can be attributed to the use of Yamamoto SCS Rubber which happens to be the lightest and most flexible on the market.

The Form Fitting Wrist Cuffs keep the water out around the writs and the Quick Release Ankle Cuffs allow for the suit to slide right off your feet (which we all know is a real pain in transition).

To sum it up, this suit is going to move with you, not against you.  This isn’t your every day wetsuit to train in. But, if you’re looking for the highest end best performance race wetsuit, here it is.

If you want to try out the TYR Category 5 Hurricane wetsuit here are some options:

1. Buy it:

Click here for the Cat 5 wetsuit for men (full sleeve)

Click here to buy the Cat 5 wetsuit for women (full sleeve)

2. Rent it

Click here to rent the suit at OneTri.com. (As of this writing I don’t think any other store in the country rents the Cat 5.)

If you want to see all triathlon wetsuits that One Tri offers you can click here.