This is a lightweight, very thin (0.5mm) top made of O’Neill’s Technobutter neoprene. Technobutter promises to be 17% lighter and 30% less water absorbent than normal neoprene while also being flexible and soft like ..erm.. butter.
Currently weighs in at $160 retail
Multiple sessions throughout summer either surfing or bodysurfing. Water varying from 22C-24C
|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.|
For its thickness/thinness this is a surprisingly warm top. Surfing in the early mornings of summer and at mid days of spring and autumn all felt very comfortable. The hydrophobic nature of the neoprene also means, if sunny you practically dry out when waiting between sets and this adds to the warmth.
The only time things dropped off significantly, was if there a bit of a breeze blowing, as the top lacked the thickness or a rubber layer to insulate against it.
Hydrophobic in action
For a top as thin as this – flexibility should be and is a given. This is where the TechnoButter material comes into its own compared to standard neoprene or slick rubber. There is very little constriction during paddling and this makes it a very high performance top.
There is not a lot of complexity to a top but there are a few features here worth noting. Like most O’Neill wetsuit tops, this one features an extra “skirt” of material on the back – this is a very simple and effective feature to keep the sun off your lower back if/when the top rides up.
Skirt and boardshort loop
This top is also reversible but its clear which side the seams are on and I didn't get a lot of mileage out of this feature.
Velcro is not your friend and neither are bricks, or any other rough surfaces. For all its revolutionary properties, Technobutter is material with a feel closer to traditional clothing than hard wearing neoprene. While that has its upside it also means that material gets "fluffed" easily.
No Velcro please
The other issue with any stretchy material tends to be "memory" - where when stretched enough they tend to stop reverting back to original shape. This is already noticable in the 3 months of usage for this top and long term, tends to lead to bagging out, lack of insulation and chafe.
This top is excellent for those who need a bit of insulation or long sleeve sun protection during summer. However the thinness and lack of wind protection means you will get more mileage in locations where the conditions are a bit warmer year round.
|Review: O'Neill Hyperfreak LS Wetsuit Top||
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.