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O'Neill Psycho Tech Hooded Wetsuit Review

Shop Manager Sean giving his O'Neill Psycho Tech Wetsuit the flex test!

O’Neill is all about making the highest performing wetsuits on the market! They’ve also been doing it longer than anyone else. Jack O’Neill started experimenting with neoprene wetsuits in the early 1950’s because he simply wanted to surf longer in the colder waters of Santa Cruz. When you are a business that has focused as long as they have on one thing, you’ve had the time and resources to become the best at it. This dedication and commitment has culminated in their Psycho Tech Hooded Wetsuit Series.

The  4/3 Psycho Tech Hooded Wetsuit is the Ferrari of cold water suits. It is built for high performance surfing first and foremost. The 5.5/4 Psycho Tech Hooded Wetsuit might be considered a Bentley. Still fast and powerful, but will get you where you are going with a little more comfort. Everything about these suits is maximizing your “freedom” to perform at the highest level. They have the flexibility and weight of a lighter suit, but the warmth of something thicker. How did O’Neill pull this off?

It starts with O’Neill’s exclusive Technobutter 3 hydrophobic neoprene. It is not only one of the best feeling materials out there, but with it’s featherlight ENVY foam rubber core its super light. Its placed throughout the arms, shoulders, shins and calfs. Next up is the Technobutter-Air Firewall neoprene in the thighs and butt. Its trapped air technology with quick-dry properties. Finally there is the Technobutter Firewall Smoothskin in the chest and back. With its wind barrier and extra warmth properties, it’s placed over your core where you need it the most. Still there has to be something more to it than the neoprene used?

F.U.Z.E. Closure - Front Upper Zipper Entry (chest) uses a free floating zipper panel and anti-flush barrier with drain holes to keep you dry and feeling loose.

REDZONE Zip - Urethane Coated, offset zipper teeth interlock to stop leaks and keep water from entering the suit.

In my opinion, O’Neill cuts their neoprene thinner than the other manufacturers. The 5mm suits seem like the other’s 4mm. This obviously helps their suits feel lighter and more flexible. But how do they still maintain their warmth? I tell customers in the shop, the less water entering the suit the warmer you are going to stay. I think O’Neill suits keep you drier than all the others. From the way they are cut, more form fitting, to the water tight ankle and wrist gaskets, they simply let less water in. Along with their F.U.Z.E front upper zip entry with drain holes and Red Zone water resistant zipper, there is very little flushing. The seams are watertight, durable and ultra flexible. The exterior is sealed with an 8mm silicone-based urethane with a triple glued and blind stitched interior. Less leaks = more warmth

FLUID SEAM WELD - Sealed 8mm silicone-based urethane exterior with a triple-glued and blind stitched interior. Watertight, durable, and ultra flexible seam.

Wetsuits are meant to fit like another layer of skin, and the Psycho Tech series does just that. They hug your body which doesn’t allow water to pool or rest against you. You are drier so you don’t need as much neoprene. Boom, warmth with increased flexibility and performance. Don’t fear, even though they fit super tight, getting them on and off is a breeze. The F.U.Z.E entry system fillets open nicely and peels over the shoulders without much resistance. The ankle and wrist cuffs might be a little tight getting on and off, but hardly worth complaining about. Are there any other negatives with these suits?

Team rider Tyler Cunningham putting his Psycho Tech Wetsuit through the paces.

For our water temperature, the 4/3 is a little thin during certain times of the year. If you are someone who is looking for performance over anything else, think a Ferrari, this suit is for you. You are someone who paddles a lot and generates your own heat, you will be fine. Everyone else, you will be chilly on the colder days. This is when the 5.5/4 shines, think Bentley, you need warmth and comfort but still perform at a high level. This suit will handle our coldest days or if you are someone who doesn’t paddle a ton. As I explained earlier, even though it is a 5.5mm suit, it feels thinner than that. You are going to be blown away on how it performs for a thicker suit, while staying nice a warm!