Written by: Ken Pitta
When I was a kid growing up. we never thought of wetsuits as a reason to surf or not. I was given my first wetsuit at the age of five by my father. We were big into abalone diving in northern California. And believe it or not, I still have that wetsuit hanging in the garage. The next suit I had was one of the first Body Glove suits. All different day glow colors and hard as hell to paddle around in. Those suits seemed to last forever as well and I still have them laying around. Those were the early days.
Then the industry took off in the 90′s and all these different surf companies popped up with super stretchy and ultra fitted suits that looked great, but would not last more than one season. Or if they did, they would get all gummy and the seams would stretch out and split open. A lot of surf companies make board shorts and cool t-shirts, but never research how their wetsuits really work or last in the climate they are designed for. Some have great warranty programs; I would buy a suit from the biggest company and send it in every year for a new one and when they finally put their foot down and say they were not going to replace it but just fix it, I would throw a shit fit and say, “I am never buying your product again.” That would generally prompt a talk with a service manager and a new suit would be in the mail that week.
Well, I hate all the headache and BS talking to get the right gear needed to just enjoy surfing.
A long time friend of mine from the bay area, who I have been surfing with on and off over the years told me about Isurus Wetsuits. He kept going on and on about how this suit has changed his surfing in the Northwest. he went on about how warm it is, comfortable fitting, and how well it stretched. At that time, I had given up on wetsuits all together. No matter how expensive the suit, after about eight weeks they all start seam leaking, flushing and just falling apart. So convincing me was going to take a little more than blowing wind up my skirt up.
So as this last winter was approaching, and the rumors started circulating within the NW surf scene about how big and clean the winter surf season was forecast to be… I had realized it was time for the yearly talk with a customer service manager about the new suit I so desperately needed. My friend Eli was still praising his 4/3 Isurus wetsuit. He finally called me out and said, “I will throw in 100 bucks and if you hate it keep the 100 bucks, if you like it give back the 100.” So he put me in contact with Jim from Isurus, we got the sizing down and it was on the way. The hooded, 4/3/4 suit showed up two days later and I had my doubts just like I always have. I pulled the thing out of the box thinking, ”No way in hell this thing is going to keep me warm. It’s too light and too thin.”
Well to my surprise, after testing the suit all winter long, I was blown away at the warmth and fit of the suit. It is still in perfect shape after six months of giving that suit hell. No leaks, no tears in the seams, and no cold water flushing. I try to surf about two sessions a week on the Oregon coast which is the perfect proving ground. In the winter we do a fair amount of tow-in and step-off surfing, so all of your gear takes a real beating. And this is the best suit hands down that I have ever worn.
Isurus wetsuits have really taken it to the next level as far as I am concerned. This is what they are doing that works.
#1 Yamamoto neoprene is not a NEW technology, however there is no one using it like these guys. All of the other suit companies using Yamamoto neoprene seem to be skipping the key steps it takes to make the suit last and wear properly.
#2 Isurus really surprised me with how they cut the suit to fit. Tri-athletes have always known the best cut for lasting the longest in the water. Form fitting suits that stretch where you need it and fit tight where you need it. No seams over the shoulders.
#3 Closed-cell technology. This is a big deal. When I have been in Oregon coast water for a four-hour session and stayed completely warm, it’s a big deal. Then taking off the suit and it’s almost as light as when I put it on, tells me the closed cell technology is working.
Eli got his 100 bucks back and I am a fan. It’s nice to see a company who cares about the product they are putting out instead of just the bottom line. I have to say, I think this is the perfect wet suit for the northwest surfer.
Check out the Isurus wetsuit product line for yourself.