Tag Archives: triathlon wetsuits

What is Yamamoto Neoprene?

38, 39, 40. These numbers do not reference European shoe sizes nor do they allude to a series of symphonies, instead these are the proletariat model numbers that correspond with Japanese rubber manufacturer Yamamoto’s lines of neoprene rubber. The fact of the matter is you may be able to find a tri-wetsuit that’s not made from Yamamoto neoprene, but it wouldn’t be easy. These ubiquitously used materials are pervasive within the majority of triathlon wetsuits found in today’s market and if you’re a triathlete you’ve more than likely heard the name and numbers thrown about alongside that sleek new wetsuit you’ve been eyeing.

You may wonder what the numbers mean and what significance, if any, they carry that makes these levels of neoprene best suited for triathlon wetsuits?

Yamamoto began producing wetsuit material in 1961 and have grown with the sport of triathlon ever since Dan Empfield’s pioneering work marrying the garment with the sport. Yamamoto’s rubber was chosen after the discovery of the unique properties that the rubber holds making it a perfect fit for triathlon specific garments. Yamamoto neoprene is a limestone sourced rubber and whose amazing properties include:

  • Nitrogen gas blown rubber that augments the insulation of the wetsuit, making it warmer
  • A 23% higher closed-cell structure than oil derived neoprene, making it more buoyant
  • Maximum elongation of over 480%, whereas human skin stretches only up to 60 to 70%
  • 95% water impermeable whereas oil derived standard is nearly 70%
With each model already possessing these impressive qualities, the underlying difference between each series is found within the increased flexibility and buoyancy gained by each subsequent model. It is understood that 39 is more flexible than 38 and 40 more-so than both, however where 39 represents an increase in durability over 38, 40 is considered to be more fragile than 39 and is thus used strategically throughout the suit to provide critical flexibility where needed without sacrificing the wetsuit’s durability.
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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 5 Wetsuit Review

TYR Hurricane Category 5

Over the weekend, I was looking at my Facebook feed and saw some photos from Age Group Nationals in Vermont.  What floored me a bit was the fact that so many people were wearing TYR wetsuits, in particular the Cat 5!  Being the inquisitive I am, it warranted further investigation.

The Facts:

  • The wetsuit is made of the highest grade Yamamoto 39 cell neoprene, with 40 where the red stripes are on the shoulders.  This allows for unparalleled flexibility.
  • A higher cut on the legs makes this suit extremely easy to put on and take off.
  • The wetsuit itself was designed with valuable input from pros such as Andy Potts.
  • Over 30 of the top triathletes switched to the Hurricane before it even launched.  To name a few, Chrissie Wellington, Andy Potts, Mirinda Carfrae, Hilary Biscay.
  • Graded force catch panels – Thick graded panels are strategically aligned on the forearm to allow a catch and pull stroke like a built-in paddle.

The Swim

  • Shoulders feel great
  • Core stabilization feature is impressive.  The material that ends up wrapping around your core seems to separate the rest of your body, to ensure a proper swim form.

Taking it Off

  • Taking off the Hurricane Cat 5 was pretty easy, especially when it’s wet, thanks to the higher cut on the legs.

TYR makes their Cat 5 as a sleeveless wetsuit as well.  See the rest of the TYR Hurricane Wetsuits.

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.

Sleeveless vs Sleeved Tri Wetsuits

It’s a roaring debate between some, others it’s a cut and dry situation, but still the debate remains: is there an added benefit to swimming with or without sleeves? The short answer is sleeved tri wetsuits will always be faster, but then again, only for some.

The facts:

Sleeved

If looks could kill this suit would leave competitors dead in the water
  • Added buoyancy (aids in sighting strokes as well)
  • More efficient glide stroke
  • Greater surface area with addition of catch panels
  • Increased insulation for colder water swims
  • By far the more popular version of triathlon wetsuit
  • Can potentially keep water out better (which means less weight to pull)

Sleeveless

  • Greater range of motion
  • Less strain on shoulders
  • Better feeling of the catch
  • Increase in comfort for warmer water

What the debate ultimately boils down to is which suit best fits your body type and the water conditions that you’re racing in. If you have shoulder problems from an injury or surgery or an old-school/hardcore swimmer, you will notice an added benefit from wearing a sleeveless suit. If you’re a struggling swimmer looking to gain from added buoyancy or a hardcore racer looking for the latest and greatest to shave off a few seconds on your splits, a full-sleeve suit is what you’re looking for.

Debate over sleeved vs. sleeveless wetsuits at the Slow Twitch forum:

http://forum.slowtwitch.com/forum/Slowtwitch_Forums_C1/Triathlon_Forum_F1/When_is_a_sleeveless_wetsuit_faster_P3430382

What triathlon wetsuit is the best? – This is another resource to help you determine which tri wetsuit is right for you. If you want to learn more about buying the right triathlon wetsuit this article may help.

Zoot Conduit Review

Last Thursday, I went out for a group swim at Corona Del Mar with some work peeps, and grabbed the Zoot Conduit to use.  I’ve always liked (rather, I hated the least) helping people put this suit on because it is fairly easy to do so.  It has stretchy flex panels, and the arms are thin yet durable to where I’m not afraid to put a puncture through it.

The verdict?!  My thought was… Why would I ever need another suit?  And, what would an extra 200 bucks buy me?!  The suit’s amazing for the price point.  My favorite features are the arms.  Relatively speaking, I’m barely able to notice that I have a giant rubber band wrapping around my body when I’m out swimming.

This suit has the mark of Karen Sing, the queen of neoprene, who is perhaps the most well-known wetsuit designer in the industry.  If you’re a wetsuit nerd, the Conduit, resembles Profile Design’s Marlin in that it also has flex panels through the suit.  It’s no surprise, as Ms. Sing is currently at Profile Design working her magic.

This is a great suit for a “mid-level” price point.  If you’re looking for something better than a base model, the money you spend on this wetsuit is worth every penny.

More triathlon wetsuit resources:

Nineteen Frequency Wetsuit

With awesome flexibility, the Nineteen Frequency Wetsuit features excellent freedom of movement in the upper body,  and delivers the speed and buoyancy where it’s needed.

  • Dual Seal Zipper – unique hidden zipper design features an additional internal seal next to the skin to further reduce water entry.
  • Uncollar – This will make you forget about uncomfortable and restrictive wetsuit collars. With its ultra-thin dual-sided construction and just the right height, you will forget that the suit has a collar.
  • Wingspan System – This is the evolution of Nineteen’s ground breaking flex panel. Now incorporating Yamamoto Cell 40 foam with an all-new ultra-stretch jersey, this 1.5mm panel is contoured around your lats and reaches all the way to your lower back. When combined with high-stretch arms, seamless shoulder construction and more 1.5mm neoprene on the side of your body, the Frequency encourages body roll and a fluid swim stroke — all designed to improve your swim technique.
  • PT Buoyancy Panels – The PT Buoyancy panel puts the most 5mm neoprene where you need it the most, around the hips. This lifts the hips in the water putting your body in the most powerful and hydrodynamic position possible.
  • Easy Off Legs – A very stretchy 2mm stretch panel covers the entire back of the calf allowing for ultra fast leg removal. The Frequency is fast in the water and fast on land.
  • Arm Grips  – These unique silicon seal bands at each wrist will minimize water leakage at this critical point allowing for fast and smooth hand entry and catch.

More triathlon wetsuit resources:

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 Tsunami Wetsuit

The Nineteen Tsunami is Nineteen’s mid level suit with advanced features second only to the Nineteen Frequency.  The 5mm of neoprene on the legs assist with providing the optimal swim body position.

  • Yamamoto Arms – In combination with WingSpan Lite, the Pipeline employs full Yamamoto neoprene in the arms to provide unmatched flexibility in its class.
  • Wingspan Lite – Built on the success of the Frequency’s WingSpan System, the Pipeline now has twice the stretch panel size of its predecessor. More importantly, the shape of WingSpan Lite provides an even greater benefit; by extending down your sides our all new pattern allows for greater extension and improved body roll. In addition, WingSpan Lite encircles your shoulders for unrestricted swimming.
  • 253 System – Successful pattern places varying thicknesses of neoprene where they are most effective at maintaining excellent body position and optimum flexibility.
  • Speed Cut Leg Opening – Speedcut leg and arm openings use elliptically cut ankle and wrist cuffs to deliver the fastest possible exits.
  • Uncollar – This will make you forget about uncomfortable and restrictive wetsuit collars. With its ultra-thin dual-sided construction and just the right height, you will forget that the suit has a collar.
  • Dual Seal Zipper – unique hidden zipper design features an additional internal seal next to the skin to further reduce water entry.

Here’s a video

More triathlon wetsuit resources:

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

Aqua Sphere Phantom Wetsuit

When you wear briefs to do all your Ironman triathlons, you probably mean business, or perhaps your name is Faris Al-Sultan (triathlete pro and Ironman World Champion).  The new Aqua Sphere Phantom was developed with significant amount of feedback by pros Faris Al-Sultan and Terenzo Bozzone (triathlete pro and Ironman 70.3 World Champion), leading to a wetsuit that has three patent pending technologies.  I got a chance to preview this suit, and I thought I’d share a few tidbits.

  • Auto Positioning Sleeve – A 5mm forearm band. This band acts as a visual cue to encourage proper hand and arm rotation.  More importantly, it promotes high elbows for good swim form.
  • Core Power System – more than just a fancy name for new technology.  This system is an actual girdle that wraps around your lower back to help stabilize your core while you’re swimming.  Better stable core = better swim form.  This system also helps make the suit a little tighter there to ensure water is kept out.
  • Reserved Zipper – The zipper is “reversed”.  Pulling it down zips it up, and zipping up opens up your suit.  I like this system better.
  • Bio-Stretch Zone – The zone that is referred to here is a 1mm that spans from the front of your arm pit down to your lower back resembling the shape of on side of an apple when you slice it from the top.  This zone is marked by green paneling.  This provides excellent freedom of movement as a result.
  • Automatic Six-Pack – The suit outlines unabashedly outlines a six pack for you, need I say more?
  • Rooted in Aqua Sphere’s long history in Diving, the suit includes a wrist gusset that makes it virtually leak proof on the cuff.
  • Yamamoto 39.

With its price point pegged in the mid-$600, this is considered a high end wetsuit that comes with some very intricate features that is unique to the Phantom.  It’s a very cool suit, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of these on the course.

More triathlon wetsuit resource links:

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:

Profile Design – Wahoo Wetsuit Review

Over the weekend at IM 70.3 Oceanside, I spotted a pro female exiting the water in a Profile Design Wahoo.  I did a second take, as I always thought it was merely an entry-level wetsuit!

The truth is that it is an “entry-level” suit, but there’s really more than what meets the eye – and after a bit of research I found the Wahoo to be a pretty killer deal.

Wahoo Profile Design

Priced at $199, the suit was designed by an industry expert in triathlon wetsuits named Karen Sing.  Prior to coming on board with Profile Design, she was the Wetsuit Product Manager at Zoot.  She designed the Wahoo as an entry-level wetsuit, but it has features of wetsuits that cost nearly twice as much.

Carefully thought out and crafted, the suit features:

  • SCS coating!  This is probably the greatest feature on this wetsuit for the price.  SCS (Super Composite Skin) Coating reduces friction, and assists the swimmer to glide through the water better.
  • A lower collar to reduce chafing;
  • 4 mm wetsuit thickness on the front (torso) that goes to the knee for buoyancy and body positioning;
  • 1.5mm sleeve for flexibility and shoulder rotation;
  • Sleeve cuffs are cut higher so it’s easier to get out of the suit (and to check your watch);
  • 3mm leg also cut higher for faster exit in transition;
  • 20 inch YKK zipper (this is money, as any zipper I had growing up that was a YKK never failed me!);
  • Backed by Profile Design’s world-class customer service and warranty.  This is probably what I value the most – they really stand behind their product.  Since I’ve started working in the industry, Profile Design (and a few others) have really stood out when it came to professionalism and attention to the customer.

You can buy noticeable speed with higher end wetsuits on the market, there’s no doubt about it. But the bottom line is that Profile Design Wahoo really is a product of something special. It’s an amazing triathlon suit and extremely well constructed for its price point.