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Gul wetsuits, if somebody said those two words to me I would have puked in my mouth with disgust. Why would anybody buy a Gul wetsuit? I tried a Gul wetsuit many years ago and I wasn’t impressed. It is crucial that a brand delivers a product which will keep the consumer 100% satisfied, and transform that satisfaction into consumer loyalty. All those years ago, Gul failed to reel me in as a loyal consumer of their brand and products. So when I set out to test and review a Gul wetsuit, I wasn’t expecting much. However, brands which fail to deliver, can up their game and win consumers back. So what was this wetsuit like? Read on and you will be as surprised as I was when testing it!
The Profile is Guls entry level to mid-range wetsuit, which features a chest zip. The retail price is set at £150 for the 3/2mm version which I have tested, but is it worth £150? It comes in a womens and kids version as well. If you don’t like chest entry wetsuit Gul also produce a back zip version.
All the upper body panels utilise 100% flex neoprene and the lower half is made up of basic grade neoprene. All the seams on the arms have been liquid sealed as well as glued and blind stitched. Getting into the wetsuit was very easy, there was ample room to slip inside the wetsuit. The full flex neoprene defiantly helped the chest entry to provide more stretch to the entry hole. When the wetsuit was on, it felt very comfortable indeed, even with the lower body being made with basic grade neoprene. The Profile was a very good fit and felt tight to the skin, without feeling restrictive or uncomfortable.
So did the wetsuit keep me so warm? Gul has supplied the Profile with rubbery panels to the front and back of the wetsuit. These panels help wick away water from the surface of the wetsuit, which prevents wind chill. Located on the inside of the rubber panels is poly pro (fleece) to provide insulation within the wetsuit. The neoprene is titanium lined, which also retains heat inside the wetsuit. The inner jersey of the wetsuit also had a thin fleecy lining which also added extra warmth.
Normally I’m able to use a 3/2mm wetsuit around the beginning of May, but the water here in Cornwall has been unseasonably cold. Even at the beginning and end of May, people were still wearing winter wetsuits, boots, gloves and hood! As I needed to test the Profile, I braved the cold water (11c) in the beginning of May. Under the circumstances I wouldn’t have worn a 3/2mm. However, I was surprised that the Profile kept me warm for around an hour and a half. This was a very respectable time to keep me warm in 11c water. As the water warmed up (13c) in June, the wetsuit kept me in the surf for 3 to 4 hours with no issues. I felt the wetsuit performed outstandingly well in the heat department.
Another added bonus was that the crotch and leg seams have all been critically taped. This is addition was most welcome, as other glued and blind stitched wetsuit I have worn in the past eventually leak over time. The critically taped seams make sure there are no leaks in the areas which receive a lot of stress. All in all this wetsuit looks like it is built to last, it feels quality and it’s comfortable.
Things I would change
One of the things I would change with this wetsuit is the zipper entry. I prefer the closed zip entry which features on Xcel, O’Neill and similarly Rip Cul wetsuits. As the Profile featured the over the head zip I felt it flushed slightly more if water were to hit from the sides. This is due to having two points of entry for water to breach the wetsuit. Even though the flush wasn’t excessive, I would have preferred the closed zip entry. It is strange Gul didn’t use this version of the zip on the Profile as they use it on the Response which is their entry level wetsuit for £100.
The other change I would have made to the wetsuit is to place higher grade neoprene on the ankle area. As the lower half of the wetsuit is basic grade neoprene, it can be harder to get your feet out of the wetsuit, especially when it’s wet. Using higher grade neoprene would allow ease of getting feet out of the wetsuit. In the depths of winter, getting a wetsuit off in a freezing cold car park as quickly as possible is essential!
All in all, I really liked this wetsuit and felt that the £150 price tag was justified. Gul has really started to make some good wetsuits. I can’t wait to test the Response wetsuit that they have sent me. This wetsuit has the closed zipper system and is priced at only £100!
Buy Directly from Gul http://www.gul.com/wetsuits/1/
|Value for Money|