out of 5 stars
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Over the last few weeks I have been testing out the superfreak wetsuit from O’Neill. This wetsuit was put through its paces in waters of 9c. Factor in the February wind chill means it’s been tested in some frigid conditions. The superfreak is O’Neill’s entry level wetsuit, which features a chest zip and retails for £150 for the 5/3mm, £140 for the 4/3mm , £130 for the 3/2mm. This wetsuit also comes in Womens and youth sizes. Features Seams: The seams throughout this wetsuit are glued and blind stitched, there’s no seam taping, or silicon seals. Only time will tell if the glued and blind stitched seams will hold up. However, for now there was no leakage through the seams.
Chest Zip: The zip on this wetsuit feel chucky, very robust, didn’t leak water and the zip is already physically linked together. To zip up the wetsuit, it’s simply a case of pulling the zipper to close it. Due to the zip already being connected, this eliminates any need to fix together the zip to close it. To add additional seal to the wetsuit, the shoulder has been fitted with a pull cord. This prevents water from entering the inside of the wetsuit from the chest entry panel. To get in and out the wetsuit was an easy process, mainly due to the ample space you have to climb into. O’Neill have developed a cross panel at the back, when stretched makes the width of the hole to climb in larger. I even think for larger guys, this chest entry wouldn’t be a problem to use. I’m a midget, but I have a large chest and I was fine.
Collar: The collar has a rolled finish to the edge, and features a very soft to touch material. This soft material didn’t cause me any rashes or discomfort, and the collar seemed a nice tight, but comfortable seal. Drain Holes: If water does pass through the collar, the water runs in-between the cross panels and the collar panel. The water then runs out of a drain hole in the back. There is also a drain hole located on the upper arm of the wetsuit. Warmth Stuff: Inside the Superfreak there is a polypro lining (fleecy material) inside the wetsuit to retain body heat. The same panel is coupled with rubbery material on the outside of the wetsuit. So the polypro retains heat on the inside and the rubbery glide skin wicks away water to prevent wind chill on the outside. I felt the glide skin and poly pro added a little extra weight to the wetsuit. Nonetheless, this stuff really did keep me warm; I thought it was a great benefit to the wetsuits performance. Flexibility: The Superfreak is made up of 40% ultra-flex neoprene and 60% fluid-flex neoprene which is 40% stretch. It seems that O’Neill have used the high grade neoprene where it counts, on the upper body, paddle zones and arms. The only panelling to receive the less flexible stuff was the lower front and back of the wetsuit. I have always used top of the range wetsuits as I’m a believer that you pay for what you get. However, the Superfreak really did show me that this was a misconception in this case. The wetsuit felt like it was made from 100% full flex neoprene; it was really that comfortable and flexible. I didn’t notice any lack of performance in the wetsuit whatsoever.
Knee Pads: The knee pads feel very robust and have a Kevlar kind of ruff feel to them. They moulded around the knees to give a nice position and fit on the knee.
Key pocket: On the leg there is a keypocket which is easily accessible, it’s just a case of attaching your key to the loop and placing the key inside the pouch. Cons: The only problem I had with this wetsuit is the wrists would ride up and flush a bit of water, but this wasn’t a massive issue.
Verdict: The overall performance of this wetsuit was astonishing for the price, it kept me very warm in extremely cold conditions and it was super comfortable. However, after about twenty uses the rubber paneling located at the front and back of the wetsuit has started to peel away; this has really let the wetsuit down. However, I have contacted O’Neill and they are going to fix or replace the wetsuit. It seems that i’m not the only person with this particular issue, as my friend and other users of the wetsuit have also had the same issue.