De Soto had a similar narrative more than a decade ago. Here are my own words
, from 2005: "There is one additional change De Soto made between last year and this... The arm contour was rotated, such that the natural state of a T1 wetsuit is with your arms atop your head, such as during the catch phase of the stroke. The suit fits better that way. The idea is to have the suit's pattern trend toward that state, so the rubber wants to go where you're taking it, instead of fighting against the user's intentions.”
Is this what Roka is doing? Not quite. De Soto, as well as I can tell, literally rotated the pattern around the shoulder, as around the face of a clock. The Maverick X doesn’t feel like that; doesn’t look like the De Soto did; doesn’t fit or function like the De Soto. Roka simply changed its pattern. That might seem like a distinction without a difference, but that’s the best I can tell you.
The Maverick X, like all Roka wetsuits, has a very solid zipper base, calf area and ankle. This is important, because this is where suits fail. The suit needs to come off quickly, but without your heel punching a hole through the calf when you’re putting the darned thing on.
The Maverick X comes with a center run of Yamamoto Aerodome for extra buoyancy, and like the blueseventy Helix and the TYR suits I feel good core stability without feeling like I’m in a girdle or straightjacket. That’s one way good wetsuits aid in body position. The second is in flotation, front-to-back. This is tough, because it’s swimmer-dependent. When we took our wetsuits to the flume, we actually found national class pool swimmers who were best off with long arms and no legs (that is, the wetsuit had no legs). But the typical triathlete wants good but not massive low body flotation. I’m happy with how the Maverick X delivers this, but then I was happy with the Maverick Pro.
The Maverick X has a textile forearm. Thankfully they don’t call it a pulling panel. I haven’t yet seen a pulling panel that actually works. I have seen pulling panels that were slower than a rubber-throughout forearm (one of which was my own, mentioned in the first paragraph). I keep waiting for the fabric panels on my Helix and Maverick to tear, but they don’t. They are much more robust than they feel and look.