How do you make the world's leading wetsuit better? Good question that. I'll go straight out and say I absolutely love super technical top-end wetsuits. I get cold lank easily, so am always willing to raid the piggy bank for suits that keep me real toasty and are super flexible.
My new Psycho 3 4/3 ticks all the boxes, and more. To start with it's a definite improvement on the the Psycho 2. So if you loved the Psycho 2 (which I did) then this is a no-brainer. It's lighter by 20% - so expect to soar higher on your airs! Me, I'll just soar higher on my kick-outs!
Light is good. Nothing worse than as your session extends you start to feel like your suit is weighing you down cos it's glugging in water. The Psycho 3 is made from some kiff new-age neoprene exclusive to O'Neill called Technobutter. Now lemme tell you, this Technobutter stuff rocks. It's super stretchy, lighter AND you get 30% less water absorption. Even better - it's some of the quickest drying neoprene in the market. Bonus not to have to climb into a dripping wet wettie for that 2nd session in a day.
Chuck in some fuzzy firewall material on the chest and lumbar regions, and you're in cold water heaven. Bring on the icebergs and the penguins and the gale force winds - you'll just laugh at em all. Seriously.
Another really noticable improvement in the Psycho 3 are the seams. The new Double Super Seam Weld are liquid sealed stichless seams which are 60% thinner and lighter than before. Now that's a biggie. This 60% reduction in width has resulted in more stretch in the seams, which is where the stretch is most restricted in all wetsuits.
So there we have it - one of the most flexible, lightest and technically advanced wetsuits to hit the market. Ah, but you ask - is all the marketing hype true? Let's see!
Definitely feels lighter than my old Psycho 2. The difference in seam width is obvious, with the Psycho 3 seams looking waaaay narrower. Always check for the key pocket - yip, it's there on the lower leg. Technobutter neoprene looks pretty rad too.
Fits like a glove. Super flexy - could go through all my yoga positions in it no probs! The only thing that felt different was that the Zen closure system - that piece you yank over you head, felt a bit tighter to get on than my Psycho 2. The neoprene used for it is actually much thinner & less bulky than on the 2, but it definitely required a bit more of a yank to get it over my head. Also noticeable is that once on it then felt a bit tighter round my neck. Something that might bug you out when you're trying it on in the shop, and go "ah, this neck thing is to tight, it ain't gonna work for me". Don't let that put you off, cos the minute you hit the water it seems to sort itself out and you don't notice any pressure around your neck at all once you're out in the surf.
The Test Drive
Luckily PE dished up some pretty chilly water (16C) to test drive the new suit - plus some howling west to add to the mix. Perfect testing conditions.
The first thing I look for is as I walk into the surf is do I feel any water creeping up my calves, and do I feel anything coming through the seams. Happy to report that I felt dry as a bone. Pop onto the board to paddle out - again, any water leaking in anywhere? Nup. Just cold flipping hands, that's all. So the seams and the wrist/ankle cuffs get full marks for doing their job.
Duck diving was great. The neck seals lank well, so I didn't once get any sort of flush running down my back. And man, we all know those duck dive flushes suck coconuts.
What really made me smile is that this suit feels, surfs and paddles like a 3/2, not a 4/3. What's not to like about that!!? It really felt like I was wearing my Psycho 1 3/2, but I was just way warmer obviously.
Put in a 2hr sesh in really crap conditions - not much surf, so lot's of sitting about waiting for waves in the icy wind. Finally got out cos was over the conditions, not cos I was cold in any way. Back to the sitting on the board waiting for waves bit - what's cool is that the drainhole is quite high up the back, so when you sitting you're not getting little dribbles of water sneaking in through it, which I've had happen in other suits.
Another thing I noticed was after my surf, when you pull the suit off, it's still really really dry inside, particularly the chest/lumbar region.
I'm in love with my new suit. It certainly delivers on all the marketing blurb. It's toasty, it's flexible, it's light, it dries quicker than my Psycho 2 (a lot quicker). Double whammy bonus is it feels like a 3/2. How happy am I? So happy that I now own TWO Psycho 3's. Chick logic, if you like it, buy more of it!!
Should you buy one? Hell yeah, if you get cold easily, and still want to be able to put in long winter sessions, then this is the suit for you. It's totally worth the bucks.
*Side note: This is the first women's wetsuit I've bought in about 10 years. I always buy men's XS, as have found that in the past the men's suits were far superior quality to the chicks suits. O'Neill haven't brought any men's XS's in to SA for a coupla years now, so I decided to take the plunge and buy the chicks version. Happy to report at last chick's suits seem to be made to the same standard as the guys. Dunno why we got shafted for so long. But O'Neill, listen up - bring in men's XS's - cos the little guys out there need to stay warm too!! Actually, they the peeps that need it MOST, as no self-insulation!!
What's Gear Guide?
I hate shopping, but I LOVE buying surf stuff. So I'll be posting reviews of whatever new kit I lay my hands on. No sales talk fluff, just telling it like it is. If it rocks I'll say so. If it sucks I'll say so. Simple.