Wetsuits for Orcs

I haven’t tried every model of every wetsuit every company makes, and that includes Aquaman and 2XU. The highest-end suit tha 2XU makes, the GHST, I haven’t tried it. My experience is with the 2XU Race, a very capable $400 suit.

This suit is emblematic of a style of wetsuit I’m going to write about today. A class. A feel. A motif. I wrote earlier this week of the Roka Maverick X. These wetsuits are finely made for those who want speed but not mass. Today I’m writing about a wetsuit with mass.

To reprise my comments about Roka, if I set out to make a wetsuit that gave you speed, body position, flotation in the correct places, super flexibility, very little entry of “new” water during the swim, super, form-fitting patterns, flex when needed, not when not, and above all the granting of all these features without feeling like you had a wetsuit on, it’s Roka. And if it’s not Roka it’s blueseventy or TYR.

What I wrote previously is that these brands make perfect wetsuits for Elves. I give the edge to Roka and blueseventy because I’ve never blown out the calf in one of these suits and I have in a TYR.

My experience with both Aquaman and 2XU is different. They (specifically the models I’m writing about today) are great wetsuits for Orcs. They’re less finely engineered. Mind, they’re fast enough, and they’re well-made. But to me they feel almost like armor when I have on wetsuits like these. When I’m in a large mass-start and I think I’m going to get jostled and bumped, I have the urge to grab one of these.

My guess is that the designer of the 2XU Race – whomever he or she is – did not set out to make a wetsuit that feels like you’re swimming with no wetsuit. Quite the opposite. There are fewer pattern pieces; fewer changes from thick rubber to thinner. With wetsuit like this you feel less like you’re swimming, more like you’re paddling.

In the case of the 2XU Race, the more profuse, less discriminate use of 5mm rubber means the suit feels like a paddleboard. But part of this is also, I think, due to smacking the front panel of the suit with a die that makes longitudinal indentations that restrict the flexibility of that suit (look at the chest of the suit in the image above). A more rigid suit is useful in some ways, in certain parts of the suit, and for certain people. A lot of suits boast of their ability to fix or control body position. Aqua Sphere’s Core Power System: "Internal support system - improves posture, enhancing hip rotation and lengthens stroke.”

Aquaman’s Cell Gold also has this feel, and I think it’s a combo of a lot of 5mm rubber in the suit with the inside of the suit made of “Metal” Cell” rubber. These are rubber panels that are smooth skin both inside and out, with the fabric sandwiched inside the rubber. Why have any fabric at all? It gives the blindstitch thread something to grab hold of. The rubber itself is not that stretchy, and it’s quite robust. I feel armored-up when I have this suit on. It’s a nice feeling in a mass start swim. I can get kicked and banged on and it’s water off a duck’s back, so to speak.

Aquaman makes another kind of suit called the ART, and this wetsuit shares with the HUUB Aerious and other suits quite the opposite sensation. I’ll get to that in another installment.