For Fall 2013 Rip Curl has brought the new and improved E4 Neoprene into their entire wetsuit line, including the two time SIMA Award winning Flash Bomb Wetsuit. This suit is available in four thickness covering water temperatures in the low 40’s up to the mid 60’s. Here is a rough break down of the temperatures for each thickness. Keep in mind everyone has their own preferences on how warm they need to be, and other factors like air temperature and wind play a role in how warm you stay in your wetsuit.
Flash Bomb 6/5/4- Mid 40’s or lower. (NE Winter, Alaska, Norway, Sweden, etc…)
Flash Bomb 5/4- Mid 40’s to Mid 50’s (Oregon, Washington, Nor Cal, NE Fall/Winter)
Flash Bomb 4/3 – Mid 50’s to Mid 60’s (Central West Coast and East Coast)
Flash Bomb 3/2 – Mid 60’s and up (Southern and Central California, East Coast)
Surfing in Oregon where our water temperature varies from 45 degrees up to 60 degrees throughout the year I settled for the middle thickness which should keep me covered accept when the water gets up to 60’s which is only a month or two out of the year.
Before I get into my review here are the basic wetsuit features.
- E4 FLASH DRY LINING – No more pulling on a wet, cold wetsuit. 2 engineered layers that funnel the water rapidly out of the suit once it is hung up. Also one of the warmest and most comfortable linings available. Dry fast – Surf More!
- 100% E4 NEOPRENE – The lightest, most flexible and warmest neoprene ever. 30% More Stretch 20% Less Weight 10% Warmer
- E4+ TAPE PLUS AQUABAN COMBO – Double taped to create the ultimate waterproof seal. New E3+ Super Stretch Tape allows unrestricted stretch and comfort.
- 100% E4 STITCHLESS DOUBLE TAPED SEAMS- Double taped stitchless seams creating the Ultimate seal. E4 tape combined with Aquaban liquid tape for maximum sealing and durability.
- 4 Way Stretch Back
- Stash Pocket
- S-Flex Knees
- Drainage system.
- Mesh Skin
- Hydro-lock Collar
- Seamless Underarms
Alright! Lets talk about this suit.
First I want to answer a question I get a lot. Does this suit really dry that fast? Yes. Yes it does, and it’s totally awesome. I take this thing off and it’s practically dry already. Now let me elaborate. The neoprene itself might take a bit longer to dry, but the Flash Dry lining drys really fast. It doesn’t even need sun. I am incredibly impressed and it makes sense this kind of innovation would help make this suit a two time SIMA Award winner for wetsuit of the year.
As far as Flexibility, I would give the Flash Bomb an 9 out of 10 stars. This isn’t your E-Bomb Pro. It is geared towards warmth and durability, and they pack in as much flexibility as possible, but it just can’t beat that non-taped, non liquid seam E-Bomb Pro that is simply pure performance.
Warmth is something that surfing in Oregon will make you appreciate in your wetsuit and I have to say Rip Curl is not lacking here by any means. For a 5 mil wetsuit this thing is toasty. I haven’t got it out in sub 50 degree water just yet, but the suit held it’s own in low 50’s and at times I was sweating and had to remove the hood.
I have to say I may not be the best body type for a hooded Rip Curl wetsuit. I had to adjust to this suit for a few sessions before I got over the not quite perfect fit(mainly because of the hood). Call me picky but if you’re a tall and lean guy like me, the Rip Curl’s don’t fit quite like I would want and therefore for comfort I would give 9 out of 10. I don’t give it an 8 because that Flash Dry lining is like a warm blanket.
The durability of the suit is of course yet to be seen for me, however I will comment that external liquid seams, and internal tape is going to make this suit last. Rip Curl makes great suits that hold up longer than just about anything out there.
Other Thoughts – Even though for me the fit didn’t end up being perfect I still really like this suit and think Rip Curl has made big improvements. The E4 Neorpene is an upgrade from last year that makes a big difference, adding warmth, and performance to the suit. The Flash Bomb is made in both a back zip and a chest.