THE SUIT


Xcel are the tradesman of wetsuits. Not flashy but plenty of depth and they get the job done. They’ve done some rad things in the rubber world recently, winning the SIMA wetsuit of the year for their latest Infiniti LTD – pretty crazy considering it’s a mid-tier priced suit. They ran out of stock for us to test that model, so stepped things up a notch and gave us the top end Xcel Drylock X Wetsuit in 3/2mm to review. We’re certainly not complaining. It’s essentially a move ahead from last year’s design that we loved with some extra additions like the channel flex jersey. Don’t know what that means? Don’t worry. We’ll jump into the Xcel Drylock X Wetsuit review shortly. First, here’s what they say about the suit online…

“Updates with Channel Flex – weightless, unrestrictive movement. Xcel’s newest material technology completely re-invents the wetsuit experience. This exterior lightweight, hydrophobic gridded material breaks up tension by reducing fiber and water weight, allowing a surfer to have complete free-range of motion.” 

Let’s see how the Xcel Drylock X Wetsuit in 3/2mm stacks up…

Celliant Black

Covering more of the core body; this textile has higher hollow fiber content


Nanoprene Lite Japanese Limestone

Unrivalled memory and rebound that is lighter, warmer, and softer.


Drylock X

Water-tight construction with unparalleled warmth.

WHAT IT’S GOOD FOR


The Xcel Drylock X Wetsuit is good for those wanting a warm, stretchy wetsuit that’s built to last (and are willing to pay for it). While there’s plenty of bells and whistles in the materials, the design itself is rock solid with liquid taped seams, an easy to use chest zip, and great attention to detail finishing. Hello magnet closure! Given it’s one of the warmer 3/2mms on the market, you’re likely to get away with it in colder waters where other options require a 4/3mm. Paired with boots and a hood you should be able to get away with 12-14 degree water temp – think Bells or Trestles in the middle of winter. If not, give your local concreter a call and see if he can teach you to harden up.

THE IMPORTANT STUFF


FIT & COMFORT

Like some kind of cosmic cloud suit – this thing is comfy! The thermal lining is soft and cushy, the neoprene has plenty of give, and the cut hugs your curves like a newly-found lover. Did I mention it’s comfortable? Extra thoughtful details also make this a pleasure to use. The pro touch of the magnet tab keeping the zip closed never loses its feeling of joy. Why it’s not industry standard is beyond me. Did they patent a magnet? The only small drawback is that the entry is a little tight compared with the Rip Curl E7. However, anyone who’s worn a good wetsuit before with put this on and go, ooooh yes, welcome home. 8.5/10

PERFORMANCE

As gummy and buttery as a no-toothed baker. If you take into consideration that The Xcel Drylock X Wetsuit rubber has thermal lining and liquid-taped seams, the stretch is even more impressive. Is it because of the new ‘channel flex’ jersey? Maybe. It does look cool. However, I’d say you’re more getting tech looks from that instead of Ferrari function. The actual yarn has lots of give anyway and if you compare it with last year’s edition it feels fairly similar on-body when paddling (or windmilling your arms in the carpark like a lunatic). When evening out our 3 testers score we ended up the same as last year. 8.5/10, a firm excellent.

WARMTH

Well jam some dough in my jumper and call it cooked, this thing is an oven. I tested it in West Oz during June and could only deal with surfing during the coldest mornings. Lincoln was in Queensland and reported hearing colours he got that delirious. Jim was happier than some peanut butter on toast when surfing in it at Bells. The combination of lots of thermal lining panels, water-tight seams and an entry system with zero leaks meant The Xcel Drylock X was hands down the warmest 3/2mm we tested this year. Warmer than even the Patagonia which has consistently won our awards before in this department. 9.5/10.

VALUE

You’ll pay a pretty penny for this wetsuit. Like super model pretty. Timothée Chalamet pretty. At $650 for a 3/2mm it’s one of the most expensive steamers on the market that’s not all Japanese rubber. However, you are getting what you pay for. It’s warm, stretchy, comfortable, dries fast and is built to last. Give me another wetsuit box to tick and I’ll stack it on the pile. Don’t say cheap though, smart arse. Taking all of that into consideration it is good value. It’s just not a screaming bargain (unless you somehow find one on the 20% off rack at your local salty retailer.) If you do, nab it ASAP. We gave it a solid 8.5/10 here.

VERDICT


Rather than rely just on Tim’s verdict, we’re splitting hairs and opinions for every suit tested in 2020. Here’s what the Empire Ave x Lipped rubber fetish enthusiasts club had to say about the Xcel Drylock X Wetusit.

Tim said: “Best all round wetsuit of the year (that we tested). Warm, stretchy, a pleasure to wear. Fuck I wish they were paying me to say that because I’d take their money and say it anyway. Jim thought it was the Rip Curl E7 which was close, but for me it wasn’t as warm because of the leaks. Perhaps if you’re in Queensland that is a better option for $100 less at retail. However, for the rest of Australia this is your winner. Bow down, suit up and get one on your chilly rig.”

Jimmy said: “If the E7 is a Ferrari then this is the BMW. A little more stoic, robust and with seat warmers for days. It’s a premium suit with heaps of thoughtful touches that leave you with a smile even after dropping a small fortune on it.”

Linc said: “HEAT WAVE. Could have cooked marshmallows in this thing. Entry was a bit tight compared to the Bong or Rippy suits I tested, but the overall cut and fit was good. The best all-round suit I tested in 2020 for a balance of warmth, flex and finish.”

Overall Rating

  • Innovative Channel Flex Exterior
  • Ultra Warm & Flexible
  • Well-Finished
  • Higher Price Point
Fit & Comfort 85.
Performance 85.
Warmth 95.
Value 85.
Buy Now

WHERE TO BUY

If you’ve got $650 Australian spare and we’ve convinced you to get an Xcel Drylock X Wetsuit, then hit the below links and spend up. Like we said, one of the most expensive suits out there, but if you want one of the best fitting & warmest suits out there, you’ve got to pay the piper.

Buy a Xcel Drylock X Wetsuit from :
⋅ Xcel Australia
⋅ Xcel USA
⋅ Xcel Stockists

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 there’s more rubber talk than a condom convention. Featuring full reviews of suits from Billabong, Buell, Matuse, Need Essentials, Patagonia, Quiksilver, Rip Curl and Xcel as well as a look inside the business of wetsuits in 2020.

Plus we crown the Best Overall, Best Performance and Best Value suits for 2020.


Image Credits for this post::
Product (and that one action shot above) Shots of the Xcel Drylock X Wetsuit from Xcel’s website
Any other shots are shot by us.