I have a background in triathlon wetsuits. Heck, maybe I’ll be buried in a wetsuit when I die. Placing this among my final instructions, giving the undertaker the chore of sticking my dead body into my wetsuit, would be my final joke played on the living.
I swam in my first triathlon wetsuit (of my own design) 42 years ago, November upcoming. I’ve seen wetsuits change! Is there any more to be gained?
Not really, says my brain. Imagine my surprise, then, when I swam in this ROKA Maverick Pro II. There’s a video below that illustrates my surprise.
Above is my photographic masterpiece: Two Mavericks Sharing a Chair. The one with the yellow lettering is this year’s Maverick Pro II. The other is last year’s Maverick Pro. I tested both. This year’s tested incrementally better.
The first thing I notice about this wetsuit is the structure. Nothing is worse than a wetsuit that rips. This suit is built like a tank. It doesn’t swim like a tank, but it’s built like one. I think you can see below all the seam tape at the joints. The best wetsuits have this kind of reinforcement. The zipper base (a common failure place) is sturdy.
I’ve got a shot of the Maverick Pro II below against another wetsuit in my inventory that didn’t fair so well. One high stress area is where you pull on the Velcro tab to undo the wetsuit and take it off. I have several wetsuits that have this failure. The ROKA could have this failure, but it’s got reinforcement on the inside, and that’s unlikely.
Speaking of the neck, below is a shot of this ROKA’s neck, on the inside, versus another brand’s wetsuit. See how that thin smoothskin rubber is folded over, and the neck is a separate piece attached to the suit? The other suit simply has the rubber terminating, with no attention paid to making that suit’s neck more comfortable. The better wetsuits are made like this ROKA.
Below is a short video of my swim in a ROKA. I did my warm up set in this suit, and that set is typically 6x200yd. I leave on the 3:10, and usually during this set I come in at around 2:50. Watch the video to see what happened on this day.
Here’s another point of differentiation between this and other suits. To be clear, that style of neck, really good seam support, you can find this in other wetsuits. ROKA has an arms-up pattern tech that is not often found, though you will find it in De Soto’s wetsuits.
But this shot below is something pretty different. From the hips to the bottom of the leg you’ll find a “stripe” running down the side of 1.5mm (at the thickest) rubber, as an expansion panel. This doesn’t affect flotation, but does help with fit, entry and exit.
This suit costs $750, against the Maverick X which sells for $925. I’ll be testing the Maverick X in a little while, and we’ll see if the extra $175 is warranted. The Maverick Pro II comes in 10 men’s sizes and an amazing 12 women’s sizes.
Read more about this wetsuit.