So if you had read my previous post on the best wetsuit for bodysurfing (if not
), then you would know that I have been completely blown away by the Matuse Dojo wetsuit. Admittedly, this has been purely as a bodysurfing wetsuit, where its a bit of a game changer for those of us ignorant few who have only been using surf wetsuits for shore break bashing.
However, that is one factor and while it is definitely relative, its certainly not the only one of importance when reviewing this wetsuit.
This wetsuit is Matuse’s single entry into the triathlete market and as far as tri-suits go, is priced around mid range (USD 400).
2 hours of bodysurfing the Winkipop reef on Sydney’s Northern beaches.
Toasty, very toasty. The warmth in this suit stems from a number of it’s key features, the thick aerated neoprene over the body’s core is 4.5mm, a watertight fit that keeps that water layer thin and excellent seams, that offer next to no flushing via the wrists or ankles. The only negative being, a slight but annoyingly noticeable trickle via the back zip entry.
In the test, admittedly not the coldest water conditions but after 2 hours of swimming and bobbing around, I should have been feeling a bit chilly. Instead, I was cracking the collar open to cool down.
When you initially put this suit on, it feels tighter, thicker and generally more constrictive compared to a normal surf suit. However, get it into the water and you go from feeling like a shrink wrapped sausage, to a seal like super hero flying out of a phone booth. All the constriction evaporates and is replaced with a buoyant weightlessness that enables you to really open up the shoulder blades without tiring or chafe.
While not my favorite suit entry, the back zip does provide a simple and straight forward mechanism to get in and out of the suit. The closure system is your standard and uncomplicated velcro bat wing.
As already touched upon – the suit is very snug. Which including the shortness in leg (there is nearly no shin coverage) symptomatic with most tri suits, can result in a bit of a stretching and pulling exercise to get everything in the right position. Nothing serious enough to make you miss waves while wrestling in the parking lot.
The long and short of it, is that this suit was built to be swum in. The very nature of its construction choices in rubber, SCS coating and lightness are all aimed at obtaining that extra in water performance.
Its a suit that makes you feel like superman but its certainly not bulletproof itself.
The seams are amazingly low profile for drag reduction but that comes at a cost of less binding. You get the sense that these would pull apart in the long run and lead to leakage.
Smoothie rubber also has a lot of great qualities but abrasion resistance is not one of them. Contact with anything other than water is going to be detrimental to this suit and even then, you are going to have to treat it that little bit special to get the extra mile out of it.
If I had to be truthful – I did find this offering from Matuse a bit of a random gambit into the specialist tri-suit market. That said, it doesn’t detract from the expertise and effort put into creating a suit that while one dimensional, feels a little bit special.
With its swim centric design, bodysurfing in this suit is like being the proverbial hot knife through butter. If that knife could also catch waves easier and speed along through barrels. The performance uplift compared to a standard surfing wetsuit is extremely noticeable and will have you grinning ear to ear as you slide along.
It really is a super hero suit for the right occasion and if you are prepared for that level of dedication and care – well worth the spend. Otherwise best to stick to a less specialized suit with more usage options.
Bodysurfing testing case #1
|Review: Matuse Dojo Wetsuit
Overall Score: 78%
|Ease of Use
Has spent over 30 years of his middle aged life trying to spend more time in the ocean. Likes to surf, bodysurf, free dive and pretend he enjoys chasing big waves.