Here’s how the wetsuit heater works: the neoprene belt fits snuggly around your waist. Inside the belt, the thin gel pack emanates heat, thus warming the water that is caught between your body and your wetsuit. This is where all wetsuits work their magic in cold water and where the Hotsuit heating belt earns its money. At about $69.00 US, it’s a pretty good deal, and it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than a heated wetsuit or even a dry suit.
The first time a surfer uses the belt, he/she presses a button that warms the gel inside. After that, a little boiling water gets the gel right back in action. The belts keeps working for an hour and can be used indefinitely (meaning as many times as you like). The belt form-fits to the body and is barely noticeable. The heat is obvious and not only warns the skin, but helps keep up the body’s internal temperature as well. In theory, a belt like this might even help with back pain or stiffness (maybe even a help for some in normal surf conditions).
Mostly though, the heat from the Hotsuits belt might be that added element that makes it possible for northern surfers to even get a session at all during the winter. When the water hits 20 degrees, a thirty minute session is all a surfer can ask for.
I gave the Hotsuits heating belt a run and found its warmth surprisingly powerful once I was in the water and moving. Like any wetsuit, the first few moments were still chilly, and the warmth does fade after an hour or so. With no boiling water around, you are then left to your own devices to fend off the frost of winter.
The bottom line is that the concept is great for surfers who need that added warmth but don’t want to cough up the cash for a new full suit, and even better for surfers in the harsh, northern climates who really need a little more warmth just get in the water. Plus, there are some therapeutic implications for sore back muscles.Overall, the product is solidly manufactured, and it performs just as the company claims. Keep surfing and stay warm!