People ask me all the time how cold does it have to be for me to start wearing a hood? I hate using them and never order my suits with one. It’s not the temperature that keeps me from putting one on however. I simply don’t like the restriction and lack of motion they give you. That was until I tried the 4.5/3.5 Hooded Infiniti Comp from Xcel.
I must have a very thick skull, because I never get “ice cream headaches” or feel overly cold even when duck diving. I always surf with ear plugs, and maybe that helps a little, but cold water doesn’t bother me. Because of this, I am very comfortable all year in a higher-end hoodless 4/3. I love the extra performance a lighter and thinner suit provides. So when Xcel sent me their new 4.5/3.5 Infiniti Comp suit to try out, I was a little bummed it only came with a hood.
Moment Team Rider's Jeremy and Tony between sets
What’s the big deal about this suit and why is it called a Comp? That question was answered the moment I pulled it out of the box. It is noticeably lighter than even my 4/3 wetsuit. How did they accomplish this? By removing a lot of the “bells and whistles” that come with higher-end suits. No smooth skin or liquid seams. In fact, there are less seams in general. This increases flexibility and makes it an unbelievably stretchy suit. It feels like you are wearing a 3/2, which if you ever have, is almost as fun as just wearing boardshorts! Almost……
Since they removed all of the heavier and less flexible smooth skin from the suit, including the hood, your neck is not nearly as restricted. Plus, the hood is so much lighter, you barely notice you have it on. Wearing it did not bother me at all. The extra flexibility throughout the torso due to the lack of seams is also very noticeable. It feels even more high performance than my top-of-the-line 4/3. It’s lighter, more flexible, and just as warm. Xcel nailed it with a great combination of warmth and performance!
Moment and Xcel Team Rider Tony Perez putting his wetsuit through some serious performance tests.
How did they maintain the warmth factor without sacrificing performance? It starts with the TDC liner. In all my other Xcel suits, this new material really helps retain the heat your body produces when paddling. Xcel has always been my go-too suit when the water gets extra cold. I usually lean towards other manufacturers when it warms up and my biggest concern is flexibility. With the development of TDC, it opened the door for them to create a wetsuit to challenge the other performance suits on the market, while still keeping you as warm as you’ve come to expect from Xcel. Throw in the slight increase in neoprene thickness that now makes it a 4.5/3.5, and you’ve got an all-around great suit!
Time will tell, but my guess would be that without all the “extras” added to it, the durability will be good. The price tag is also great, coming in at $374.95. You are getting one of the best performing suits in the Xcel line-up but at a mid-range price. Go try one on at your local surf shop, all you will need to do is pick it up to feel the difference!
- Lightweight and flexible
- Price vs quality
- Non-restrictive and great feeling hood
- Jury is still out on durability
Game changer and at a great price, thank you Xcel!