THE RIP CURL HEAT SEEKER


Rip Curl have a solid spiel on their site for the 3/2mm Heatseeker Steamer. It goes thusly…

The Rip Curl Heat Seeker is our warmest wetsuit ever with all of the technical features of a Flashbomb wetsuit, plus more. A revolutionary neoprene that generates heat when stretched. As you move through the water, the Flex Energy lining will activate and heat your wetsuit.

Just in case you don’t know what ‘all the technical features of a Flashbomb wetsuit’ are, don’t worry we’ve done your homework for you. It includes fast-drying thermal lining throughout the suit, sealed GBS and taped seams, plus E5 super stretch rubber (which is a shade of a step down from their most flexy E6). There’s also things like durable knee pads, a smooth neck lining for comfort and cuff seals to help avoid flushing.

Flex Energy



A revolutionary neoprene that generates heat when stretched.Stay active, stay warm.


Liquid Mesh



Superior stretch smooth mesh panels that absorb solar heat and reduce wind chill.


E5 Flash Lining



Two engineered layers that funnel water rapidly out of the suit once it is hung.

WHAT IT’S GOOD FOR


This suit is amazing for those wanting a great balance between warmth and flex. It pushes the boundary in terms of tech, so will keep rubber geeks happy with its innovation too. Basically it’s the Ferrari of wetsuits, in both specs and price. If you’re wanting a ‘bargain’ this probably isn’t your suit, so think more along the lines of Need Essentials or Vissla if saving some cash is a top priority over getting the ducks feathers.

Those in water temperatures around the 12 degrees celsius mark will probably be okay to get through winter in this with the help of boots and a hood, but some might prefer to be extra toasty and step up to the 4/3. Definitely warm enough for winters in Sydney and above, if not maybe a little too warm for the Goldy.

Rip Curl Heat Seeker Review

THE IMPORTANT STUFF


FIT & COMFORT

One of the most comfortable of the dozen suits I’ve tested this year. The fit is bang on and the rubber is soft and dreamy like a seal’s foreskin. Have you ever touched seal foreskin? You don’t know.

Anyway, the entry is also wonderful. Easy to get into, creates a good seal and sits cosily on the chest. All the cuffs are spot on and generally, it’s something I’d happily wear around the house if my wife didn’t keep looking at my butt and suggesting we go to the bedroom to pretend we’re in a seal colony.

9.5 out of 10 here.

PERFORMANCE

Not the stretchiest suit out there but still very stretchy, especially for the warmth ratio it throws out. If you’re used to surfing in the E6 Ebomb like I am, you’ll notice it’s a step back from that. But, if you’ve been surfing in anything else you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised.

You can do ninja fly kicks, downward dogs and any other stupid move you can think of during a wetsuit test that will have people in the carpark looking at you funny. A very respectable 8.5 out of 10 here.

WARMTH

With a name like Heat Seeker you’d want this to be a warm suit. And, it is. But is it insanely warm? Not really. You can notice the difference of the ’Energy Flex’ panel when you’re moving for sure. Definitely does what it says.

But it’s not a full bake-fest like I was expecting, so it left me feeling a touch disappointed. Compared to the warmest suit I tested last year (The Billabong Furnace Carbon) it doesn’t quite match that level. It is lighter and more flexy than that suit though, so, in terms of balance it’s pretty amazing.

8.5 out of 10.

VALUE

Let’s get all philosophical right now. Is value just about price? I think it’s pretty obvious that’s a no. If you get a $100 suit that leaks and falls apart after two surfs, you’ve wasted your money. If you pay top dollar, yet get something you surf in 1000 times, then you’re paying about 70 cents a surf. Hello.

I’d put this suit in the latter category. It’s $700 but should last a while, has Rip Curl’s warranty (12months) and reputation to back it up. Still, $700 is on the upper end so let’s not piss our wetsuits with excitement. I’d say 8 out 10 here.

VERDICT


For me, The Rip Curl Heatseeker is the best all-round wetsuit I tested this year in terms of balancing performance and warmth. I kept coming back to it on cold mornings, like a cosy lover you want to snuggle when it’s frosty outside. It is up there in price but seems solidly constructed and well finished, plus you’re paying for Rip Curl pushing innovation in surf product, which is epic.

The comfort level is through the roof and the Energy Flex panelling does produce heat when moving. My nitpicks with this suit are that I was hyped up by Rip Curl folk to expect it was the hottest thing since Elvis’s sideburned cock. It’s warm, yeah, but it’s not a proper breakthrough in that area. You often need the most warmth when you’re sitting still waiting for sets, and while the Energy Flex does retain some heat, it’s not in full heater mode when you most need it. The other small thing is the smooth ‘thermo shield’ stuff on the arms, which seemed a bit of marketing overkill. Above the elbow, fantastic, but on the forearm? Who gets windchill on their forearms? Popeye? It does look cool, but points to over-engineering that could have been discarded for a slightly reduced price in my opinion.

Overall, however, it’s a proper epic suit that is probing the boundaries of what can be done with wetsuit tech. The result is my go-to wetsuit this winter on cold days here in West Oz.

Overall Rating

  • Amazing balance of flex & warmth
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Great entry system
  • Up there in price
  • Hyped to be warmer than it is
Fit & Comfort 95.
Warmth 85.
Performance 85.
Value 80.
Buy Now

WHERE TO BUY

If you’ve got $700 Australian for a Rip Curl Heat Seeker, then hit the below links and spend up. Like we said, one of the most expensive suits out there, but it’s a proper epic suit that is probing the boundaries of what can be done with wetsuit tech

Buy a Rip Curl Heat Seeker Steamer from :
Rip Curl Australia
Rip Curl USA

Alternatively, we’ve pulled together three Winter Wetsuit Buyers Guides if you’re still a little undecided on what to buy:
*Above $500
*$300-$500
*Below $300

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LIPPED PODCAST

If you’re driving, or reading isn’t your thing, then hit the below episode of Lipped where we talk all things wetsuits 2019 with industry experts from Xcel, Rip Curl, O’Neill and Need Essentials. And you’ll also get treated to listening to Tim and Jim take an in-depth look at suits from Rip Curl, Billabong, Xcel, O’Neill, Quiksilver, Need Essentials, Vissla, Patagonia and Hurley.