Photo: Scotty Sherin via Xcel
Winter temps are closing in, so we're here to shed some light on theis years new winter rubber. With the biggest selection of wetsuits in the Northeast, we nerd out over wetsuit technology year after year so you don't have to do the digging. Our goal is to carry the best winter wetsuits available and help align you with the right suit for your needs.
Up here in the Northeast we're no stranger to freezing cold water temperatures. After all, we wear winter rubber for close to 7 months out of the year! That means we need to be dialed with our rubber to make the most out of every swell. Here at Warm Winds, each of our boardroom staff surfs year round and have tried most of the below suits in some of the harshest RI conditions.
The environment should not dictate performance when the waves are up - so it's important to have a proper fitting wetsuit that keeps you warm and still able to move!
We want to you have the best experiences while in the water this winter... so we put this guide together to help cut through it all and tell you what really matters about each of these wetsuits.
Don't miss the bottom of this page to see our top picks for winter wetsuits this year!
Water Temps + Winter Suits
Before we start diving in to suit specifics, here’s a look at what equipment you will need once the water starts to drop:
O’Neill Psychotech 5.5/4
TB4 AIR INSULATED FIREWALL/SMOOTHSKIN
TB4 Air Firewall uses a special lamination process paired with a core of aerated neoprene and a graphene fiber jersey to keep you’re core toasty warm + protected from the wind.
Technobutter 4 Neoprene
The next evolution of technobutter, introducing recycled yard infused with graphene for increased wear strength and heat retention.
DOUBLE TAPED SEAMS
The Psychotech has always been fully welded along the seams on the outside, and they also beefed it up by adding internal taping throughout. Double taped = rugged seams. This thing is built to last!
The O’Neill Psychotech has all the bells and whistles. You won’t find this level of flexibility and comfort in a suit as warm as this one. The Pscyhotech continues its run as a staff favorite for 2022!
O’Neill Hyperfreak 5.5/4
TECHNOBUTTER 3 + 3x
Stretchy TB3 neoprene, and even stretchier TB3x in the shoulders + arms. Plus without the smoothskin front and back panel, this is one of the lightest and stretchiest suits we’ve ever laid our hands on. Does not feel like you’re wearing a 5 mil.
INTERNAL TAPED SEAMS
All seams throughout the suit are GBS with TB3x taping internally. This beefs up seam quality without sacrificing weight or decrease in flexibility, thanks to the stretchy technobutter taping.
MINIMAL SEAM DESIGN
You’ll notice when looking at the suit that there aren’t many seams. That translates to a lighter suit with more flexibility, as well as less areas for issues/leaky seams to occur. Less is more!
The hyperfreak is one of the lightest and most flexible winter wetsuits we’ve laid our hands on (at a killer price point to boot). Also offered in a hooded 4/3 option!
Rip Curl Heatseeker Flashbomb 5/4
The Heatseeker features the all new E7 flash lining and neoprene, which is the stretchiest Rip Curl has ever made. This translates to maximum paddle efficiency and ease of movement.
What makes the suit so unique is the revolutionary “Flex Energy” lining along the shoulders and back that generates heat when stretched. So as you paddle, the Flex Energy lining activates and heats the wetsuit. Keep active and stay warm!
INTERNAL E7 TAPING
The Heatseeker is full hand taped through the inside of the suit with E7 taping, ensuring a strong and water tight seal.
The Flashbomb Heatseeker is the ultimate update to the ever popular Flashbomb. A little heavier on the wallet, but unparalleled warmth paired with a super flexible suit makes this one of our favorite suits this winter.
Rip Curl Flashbomb 5/4
FLASHBOMB E6 LINING
This is one of the warmest and most comfortable winter wetsuits on the market thanks to the patented Flash lining from ankle to hood. This lining is a super soft, wool-like fabric that leaves you feeling all sorts of comfy in the coldest temps. (It also dries super quick, which is a plus!)
A soft and flexible smoothskin outer layer in the core helps block the wind from cutting through the suit, intimately keeping you warmer on those blustery February/March days.
FULL INTERNAL TAPING
If you’re spending good money on a winter suit, you want it to last more than 1 season! Having the entire suit taped through the inside will extend the life of the suit and keep water from finding it’s way in.
The Flash Bomb is a staple in the boardroom. Warmer than most winter suits in the market thanks to E6 rubber + flash lining from ankle to hood. Pair that with super quick drying and stretchy rubber, and you've got a great all around winter suit.
Rip Curl Dawn Patrol 5/4
FLASH LINING IN THE CORE
The warm flash lining that we have all come to love in the Flashbomb is featured in the core section of the Dawn Patrol. This adds a bit of extra warmth and comfort to a mega affordable winter wetsuit.
BACK SMOOTHIE PANEL
Although the front of the suit lacks the warm smooth skin outer layer, there is a panel along the back to keep wind from piercing through on those colder days.
3/4 INTERNAL TAPING
The Dawn Patrol 5/4 is sealed with glued and blind stitched seams throughout the entire suit, and is then taped with Ripcurl’s E5 taping through 3/4 of the internal. A taped winter suit at this price point is mental!
The Dawn Patrol 5/4 is an incredible value that will take you through a full RI winter for cheap.
Xcel Drylock 5/4
CHANNEL FLEX UPPER
Xcel’s new Channel Flex is included on the shoulders and arms of the drylock, with their standard jersey through the rest of the suit. This gives you the stretch where you need it most
The Drylock is triple glued and blind stitched and then flex-taped internally to ensure a durable and flexible seam.
CELLIANT BLACK + ULTRASTRETCH IR
The suit is lined with the Xcel patented Celliant Black material in the core area, with Ultra Stretch IR throughout the rest of the suit
A boardroom staple - the Xcel Drylock has had a place in the lineup for years, and this update version is now even warmer and stretchier. A favorite among New England surfers. Avail. in 6/5 and 5/4 in the boardroom
Xcel Axis 5/4
SUPERPRENE JAPANESE LIMESTONE
Xcel uses earth-mined limestone to replace processed petrochemicals in their neoprene, reducing dependence on petroleum and the harmful practice of processing it. And the best part is it feels just as comfortable and stretchy!
FRONT + BACK SMOOTHSKIN
Compared to the other price point suit on this list, the Dawn Patrol, the Axis features a smoothskin on the chest as well as the back. This adds some wind protection which ultimately makes it the warmest option we sell under the 3 bill pricepoint.
TRIPLE GBS SEAMS
It might not have the additional taping and stretchy lining as some the more premium Xcel suits, but it will hold it own. All seams are triple glued and blind stitched to ensure a proper seal - an Xcel specialty.
The Xcel Axis is another great option for the $300 pricepoint, with a little added warmth over the Dawn Patrol.
Warm Winds Top Picks
With no further ado, our top picks for the categories you care most about are: