Over the past few seasons, Xcel has rewritten what we’ve come to expect out of our cold water wetsuits. Their Comp X series has brought to the market a more flexible, warmer, and somehow even lighter product then all the competition. They have been the best selling suits in the shop and we thought it was going to be nearly impossible to improve on them. So when the new shipments started to roll in, we were a little cautious not to set our expectations too high. Once again however, Xcel somehow found a way to improve on an already amazing wetsuit!
Shop owner Jeff Mollencop testing out his suit this fall.
From the moment we opened the box, we could tell these suits were better. Maybe it was the new grey color of the 4.5/3.5mm that looks black when it gets wet, or the very subtle and well placed logos, they just looked more …… well, cool. The next big deference came as soon as we picked them up. They were noticeably lighter than last years. Usually you read about the suits being such and such % lighter, but you are hard pressed to feel the difference. It was very obvious this time. We then thought, there is no way they are going to be warm enough for our frigid waters. Our only way to find out was to test them….
Tony Perez and his Xcel Comp X
After wearing them for the past few months, we couldn’t be more stoked on how they’ve performed! In fact, Team Rider Tony Perez has swapped his go-to 5.5/4.5mm suit for the even lighter and more flexible 4.5/3.5mm without sacrificing much warmth. This is a big deal, because if you’ve ever surfed around Tony, you’d know that he will continue to wear his hood, boots and gloves even when the water warms up to the point of the rest of us are all ditching the accessories and grabbing our 3/2’s! The boys in the shop also wear the lighter suit and no one has complained about being cold. The benefits of this suit far outweigh the loss of a little warmth.
Team Rider Tony Perez looking pretty comfortable.
The 5.5/4.5mm model is perfect for our colder days or if you are someone who naturally runs cool. It is also great for people who don’t paddle around as much to generate their own warmth. If you surf the Great Lakes or the East Coast during the winter, this is your suit! Super warm, flexible, and lightweight for a 5mm, what more could you ask for!
How did Xcel pull this off?
It starts with the upgraded Japanese Neoprene. The suits are cut from a single piece of Nanoprene Lite “rubber” made from limestone instead of petrochemicals. This equates to fewer seams allowing for more flexibility and fewer leaks. It’s also much better for the environment. It’s a lighter, stretchier, and all around warmer material.
As with the previous few years, Xcel uses a Thermo Dry Celliant lining in their higher end suits. In the Comp X, it runs from the chest all the way to the ankles. It keeps you warm by refracting your body’s naturally generated infrared heat. It is an FDA approved material used in the medical field. More warmth with less material, exactly what we need for our cold water.
Another upgrade this year is a redesigned entry system. It’s easier to take on and off, has a semi-dry zipper, and along with the Glide Skin collar reduces flushing. The Nexskin wrist and ankle seals are back, along with triple glued and blind stitched seams. The FushionX taped seams on the interior now use water based glue, which is another environment friendly upgrade Xcel did this year. All this adds up to less leaks, more warmth, and longer surf sessions!
Once again Xcel shows its dedication to the Core Surf Shop by only offering the Comp X Series to your favorite local shops. Come by today and try one on, you will be blown away by how far Xcel is pushing what is possible in cold water wetsuits. We are super stoked on them and you will be too!