Wetsuits make a man feel a little badass. Think about it – they're pretty much the only one-piece-suit that really has superhero capabilities. Recent advancements in materials and technology make it not just possible to survive immersion in water temperatures that would ordinarily kill you within minutes, but to actually thrive. And no wetsuit better represents this cutting-edge tech more than Isurus's new i-Soldier.
Built for the ocean warriors that tackle waves like Northern California's Mavericks, as well as waves off of Iceland and New Jersey in the winter, the i-Soldier utilizes actual space-age materials. There's SCS neoprene – the same type of super-flexible rubber top tier that triathletes and long distance swimmers use – around the shoulders. There's also Japanese Yamamoto neoprene, widely recognized as the lightest and warmest neoprene on the planet, throughout the suit. The real breakthrough, however, and what separates the i-Soldier from all the other wetsuits, is its use of compression technology. Anatomically correct panels on the wetsuit provide evenly distributed 360-degree stretch compression around critical muscle groups, the same idea behind recent Olympic swimmer suits, which have been proven to increase circulation and muscle oxygenation, while decreasing fatigue and recovery time.
With all that rubber and technology, we expected that the Isurus i-Soldier would perform and keep us warm. What we didn't expect was how easy it would be to put the suit on and to take it off, which was a complete bonus. In the water, it felt impenetrable, making the frigid 48-degree ocean feel like a tropical swimming pool. Combined with the compression technology and all the energy we saved when paddling (because of the lightweight rubber and increased flexibility), we were able to surf, and surf better, for an extra couple of hours.
The only water activity we don't recommend with the i-Soldier wetsuit is peeing in it. No water gets into the suit, which means none gets out either. Believe us when we say that nothing will make you feel less like a superhero than floating for hours in a perfectly distributed layer of your own urine. [$650; surfisurus.com]