Open water swimming is special. There’s something quite primitive about it- much like trail running I guess. It’s just you (mostly) and the environment. Of course, being surrounded by the cold waters of the Atlantic, a wetsuit is necessary, for me at least. And over time, I have collected and abused an array of wetsuits for swimming and surfing, including bodysurfing. My latest arrow is the XTERRA Vendetta.
Now, you can read all the specs and product brochures online. You can listen to all the sales pitches and go through a comparative checklist with other suits. But nothing beats how the suit actually makes you feel in the water. And this suit makes me feel like a fish.
First off, it doesn’t feel like you’re actually wearing a suit in the way that there are no restrictions. Even with a full arm, the batman panels makes you feel like you just have extra skin. The forearms are super thin and light so you can still feel the water right through the pull phase of the stroke. In a lot of ways, it’s like running in a minimalist shoe which allows you to feel the ground.
Next, the buoyancy is incredible. Wearing this suit reminded me of floating in the Dead Sea. There was literally zero effort keeping afloat. Now most wetsuits do float you, but when it doesn’t feel like you have a suit on AND you’re still floating in different poses, you can fool yourself into thinking you’ve just defied the laws of physics! Maybe that’s what the “X-Air Buoyancy Cells” are all about?
Of course, the look is important too. Clean lines, smooth panels, succinct markings, simple and effective colors- all these go a long way to making you look good which, in turn, makes you feel good. You’d be surprised just how much more confident you are with a simple motivational boost
And if you in the market for a new suit or want to look through the options, do yourself a favour and get of hold Terry in Cape Town.
See you in the water!