Winter is on our doorstep and that last delicious warm water is departing our shores on its annual migration north. To quote a popular tv-series “Winter is Coming” (ok, started this awhile back and technically winter is here) and its time to rubber up! So today we review the O’Neill Hyperfreak Comp edition.
The Hyperfreak Comp wetsuit is O’Neills uber stretchy zipless steamer and weighs in at a reasonable RRP of AUD 399.99
6 months of surfing across a multitude of conditions
|Warmth||Flexibility||Ease of Use||Durability|
|If you aint warm – then you are cold, which is very very bad as hypothermia is horribly overrated.||Resistance to movement – are you a heavy slow lobster or surface skimming flying fish?||Do you need to be a contortionist with a degree in physics and a side hobby in escapology.||Is it built like one of Hulk Hogan’s t-shirts or will it become the next family heirloom.|
Despite feeling very thin and light, this suit offers good seal and insulation. There is very little flushing via the taped seams and the “super seal” around the neck is excellent. Its achilles heel though, is the lack of heavy duty wind blocking capability. So it feels like a warm sweater but blocks wind like one. Which means in a breezy westerly, you could find yourself longing for a 4/3 or a more insulated 3/2.
Thanks to the properties of Technobutter X with it's Fantastic 4 level of stretchiness, this has to be one of the most flexible suits on the market. It is this suit's point of difference, its super power which when combined with the material lightness and low seam profile means you get little to no constriction of movement..Result? You will paddle for days without tiring = longer sessions spent catching waves = winning.
A point to note, there is a double layer of neoprene over the right shoulder required for the zipless entry system. I found that in comparison to the rest of the suit - it actually felt inhibitive when paddling. Over time this becomes unnoticeable.
The suit is a zipless entry, which is pretty straightforward to get in and out of. Its basically the same as a chest zip, except instead of a zip you simply have more gap between the suit material on one shoulder to climb in. Tightening the cinch then closes this gap and limits the ability for water to enter. Its a pretty effective seal but it would still have made sense to have included some drainage holes to allow any water that has flushed in, to leak out before it can swill into your suit.
Sizing with this suit range is also limited to stock S, M, L & XL. Which means if you are short and bulky (like me) or tall and thin the fit is not going to be as optimal.
The standard O’Neill placement of the key holder below the knee is also well thought out and much better than having to fish around inside your suit with frigid hands while standing outside your house/car in the middle of winter.
Technobutter X is an amazing material but with its nature closer to traditional material than neoprene, it is also prone to “pilling” or “fluffing”. This is mostly cosmetic but does get annoying when your leash and any other velcro appears permanently drawn to it.
The other double edged sword of it’s flexibility is the “memory” of the material in question. In other words how many times can it be stretched before it forgets what it’s supposed to be shaped like. This is when a suit over time goes from tight, to comfortable to baggy. After 6 months this suit is now at comfortable, which is probably on par with most modern steamers.
The other concern with zipless entry systems is the amount of strain you put on it while constantly levering it over your head to get in and out. The suit has reinforced tabs to strengthen and secure the areas that take the brunt but there is evidence of some loosening already.
I really flip flopped on this review. I found the suit to be super comfortable and flexible which was great for high activity days where you don’t want to feel like you have a suit holding you back. The thing that killed it for me though was the warmth factor – its hard to justify a winter steamer thats only good for days with less/warmer wind.
|Review: O'Neill Hyperfreak Comp Zipless Wetsuit||
Overall Score: 70%
|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.|