In the winter sessions, staying warm makes the difference. We tried this chest zip wetsuit, hooded, with a highly competitive price, compared to other products of the category. In this article, we share an accurate product review.
Windsurf, test: O'Neill O'Riginal Chest Zip 6/5/4mm Hooded wetsuit 2019
The suit O'Neill O'Riginal has all the necessary elements of a winter wetsuit. It is not a top-of-the-line product among those in this range, which, however, have now reached an embarrassing price. Since, with 500 euros ...., I fly to and back from South Africa, I wanted to look for a good workmanship suit, but at a more reasonable price. Without, however, failing to keep myself warm, considering that I also go out in January and February, in the lakes of northern Italy, where the legend tells ... that the water is freezing .... Therefore, I bet safely on a Hooded, Chest Zip wetsuit. And I must say that the tests done so far are fully comforting my choice.
The O'Neill O'Riginal suit has a classic style combined with modern technology and an excellent fit. On O'Neill's website you can find all the technical details.
It has variable neoprene thicknesses of 6/5/4 mm. In particular, the suit reaches 6 mm, in the important areas, chest and back, where the neoprene is also single-lined to better counter the windchill effect. Inside, at these points, you have an inner lining that ensures additional thermal protection. It is made of 100% ULTRAFLEX DS NEOPRENE, which also contains a good dose of Nylon. All this ensures the suit a great elasticity, softness and strength. A soft and durable neoprene 0.5 mm tape is applied to seams, to prevent the passage of water, and keep you dry and loose. It has a neck protection in smooth neoprene, which will wrap you at 360˚, with unfinished chafefree edge, on which the top part of the suit, with integrated hood, which closes with a very comfortable chest zip, overlaps. At the knee height, you have the (non-watertight) pocket to store the car key, or other small items.
Body fit, and test in water
I bought the wetsuit online, at a well-known and very well-stocked English store. Taking very well your sizes, and following the product size guide, there are no particular problems, in buying online.
In particular, since it is an hooded wetsuit, and the hood does not have to pull down annoyingly your head, check well your height, and choose a suit of proper size. However, buy in a store that offers free change and return/refund, for every need. The undersigned has bought several wetsuits with this system so far, without any particular problems, taking advantage of the huge range of products and competitive prices offered by specialized online stores.
For me, this was the first Chest zip suit. The first dressing trial, which took place at home, as soon as the suit arrived, was not immediate, mainly because I was not used to this type of suit. The second time I wore the suit, directly on the spot (with the frenzy of entering into the water), I must say that it was much simpler than I thought. I guess it will go better and better.
From this point of view, anyway, the O'Neill suit greatly facilitates the operation, as it is really very soft, and elastic, and, thanks to Nylon, mixed with neoprene, also resistant. I am much more in difficulty to wear, and above all to unwear, my old Scorpion 5 mm back zip suit. Even unrolling the suit from the arms and legs is easy, and this is much appreciated, because, often at the end of the session, you are tired (and you do not want to do struggle any more), or it's cold, and you do not want to stay moistened and exposed to the wind for too long.
Compared to some minor inconvenience to wear the suit, however, there are enormous advantages. The most obvious is related to the fact that the water tightness that guarantees a suit of this type is not equal with a back zip. You will no longer suffer from that "sudden chill" along your back, a back zip suit gives at the beginning of the exit, when the water enters in the wetsuit, for the first time. And this, in terms of comfort, I assure you that makes the difference. The O'Neill O'Riginal confirms this circumstance, with a good water proof. The integrated hood completes the protection of the upper body from the water. If necessary, depending on the environmental conditions, it protects your head well, without hindering breathing or vision. If it is not necessary, you can easily remove it and keep it resting on your back, without causing any discomfort.
Even the rest of the body, abdomen, arms and legs, is well protected from the cold, and not hampered in the movement, at all. I would say that while sailing you will not feel the slightest clumsiness in moving the limbs and rotating the joints. The suit is warm, even more than enough, with a water temperature around 10-12 degrees °C, and with a perceived air temperature slightly lower. We have already tested the suit, with even lower water temperatures (about 8 ° Celsius), and we must confirm that the suit turned out to be absolutely suitable for use even in cold water (read the report of our session at Lake Como on the 6th of January 2019).
The suit does not have, of course, a lace to facilitate the closure of the zip, as in the Back Zip models, which is useful when you need to hang the suit, to rinse it (for example in the shower). I rinse in the bathtub. To store it, once it is dry, or you roll it up completely, in order to avoid folds that, in the long run, can create cuts in the neoprene, or you fold it in half, on a hanger, equipped with horizontal bar (those for the pants).
Last to say, when your session is over or paused, and you are at the spot beach, exposed to the wind, the suit is quite comfortable, allowing you a 10-20 minute break without problems. For longer intervals, being double lined, on the whole upper part, we recommend the use of a neoprene jacket, or a spray top, to be worn, momentarily, over the suit.
In conclusion, also considering the cost of about € 250 including shipping, we can say that it is a product promoted with flying colors. We liked the suit so much that we also bought the 5/4 mm version, without integrated hood, for spring sessions, with a slightly less cold climate.
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