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Radiator Wetsuits

Problem: It's winter and you are a surfer

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Radiator Wetsuits

Radiator Wetsuits

Radiator Wetsuits
As winter fast approaches, a surfer’s dreams turn to…wetsuits. Which wetsuit will keep me warmest? Which wetsuit will fit best? Which wetsuit costs the least? Without a good wetsuit in winter, surfing is no fun, especially in the truly thermally challenged regions of the globe. We all know the big gun wetsuit makers out there are putting out good suits with big gun price tags, but there are a host of other operations out there that you may never get a shot to try. And since the vast majority of this site’s readers are beginners, it’s best that you guys and gals get the full picture.
Radiator Wetsuits, out of Australia, is one such company. These guys caught my eye with the following statement: “Radiator Wetsuits are the lightest and most technologically advanced wetsuits ever made.”

For the love of all things sacred, that sounds great! But is it a factual statement or just a bunch of hot air?

My job is to let Internet surfers know if what a surf company such as Radiator says is true. Therefore, I set out to give the Radiator a real once over in real waves.

The Real Deal

The Radiator website states it may take as long as 3 weeks for delivery outside Australia, but mine came much faster than that, about a week and half or so to arrive here in the U.S.

I ordered the Steamer full suit (3/2 mm thick). Being considered full, the suit has long sleeves and long legs. The Steamer is sealed, glued and blind stitched which means it has no protruding knobs or nuggets that might rub against your skin and cause a nasty rash (one of the most sinister problems associated with surfing in a wetsuit).

A side note for beginners: You will find that wetsuits are organized in terms of their thickness. Wetsuit thickness is labeled with two numbers which indicate millimeters (For example: 3/2). The first number is the neoprene thickness of the body while the second number is the thickness of neoprene covering the extremities. For temperatures above 60 degrees, you should go below 4 millimeters. For Temperatures below 60 degrees, you should go above 4 millimeters. These days, a new wetsuit from a reputable company will be flexible and comfortable, so opt for a suit that is plenty thick enough.

The first test is comfort. The Radiator Steamer slides on easily which is normally a problem with thicker wetsuits. They don’t have much give, especially around the ankles and wrists. In contrast, the Radiator pulls on and off with little effort. This sounds silly, but many of the “big” brands have tight, thick seams around the wrists and ankles that make it difficult to the suit on and off. This one, however, comes off rather smoothly due to the seamless edges and the slick inner lining. Also, the Steamer is lined on the inside with something called “slipskin” which makes pulling on the Radiator as easy as pulling on a pair of jeans.

According to Radiator, “slipskin” is not just easy on the skin as I experienced but rather “a new type of wetsuit material technology.” It is said to be a reflective inner liner that truly locks in body heat. So in the interest of objective journalism, I will state that Radiator Steamer is very easy on the skin and insanely warm. But how does it move?

Freedom of movement in the Radiator Steamer wetsuit is not an issue since the snug fit and thin construction still allows for full joint rotation and bending at the crucial junctures. The neck opening has both a Velcro fastener and a zipper, which allows the zipper to come all the way up to the base of the neck, providing a full seal. Yeah, some water gets in upon your first jump into the water, but that is standard issue for most “wet” suits. Dry suits are a different story.

I surfed in this suit quite a bit in water that wasn’t quite freezing but still in the 60’s; however, I will state unequivocally (meaning without a doubt, without reservation, without any other thoughts or opinions to cloud the truth) that the Radiator Steamer is light, flexible, and VERY warm.

Having wide shoulders, my trial suit was a bit tight in that area but still offered that naked surfing experience required of a good wetsuit. I was warm and comfortable from paddle out to my last wave. The seams were seamless and the overall quality and performance was solid.

Radiator doesn’t offer the multitude of styles of some of the gargantuan mega-plex neoprene peddlers out there, but their product is strong, light, and flexible. In fact, according to the Radiator website, they offer 20 different products including hybrid style 1.50mm x 0.50mm springs and steamers, short johns and even specialized scuba diving garments (now being used by the Australian SAS and the Navy clearance diving teams).

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