Rip Curl Flashbomb Fusion Zip Free Wetsuit Review
If the saying on reliability is true that “the best part is no part, and the fewer parts the better,” then Rip Curl has taken this mantra to heart with the new Rip Curl Flashbomb Fusion Zip Free Wetsuit. The headline with this premium wetsuit isn’t necessarily what they’ve included, but what they’ve taken away. The Fusion suit is almost completely free of traditional stitches, and the zipper is gone; two parts that are arguably the most likely to fail during the life of a wetsuit.
Beyond the stitches and the zipper, all the premium features and materials you would expect from Rip Curl are present and accounted for. After several surf sessions in this suit, I can confidently say this is a top-shelf, no-compromises wetsuit that adds all the motivation and confidence needed for getting out in cold conditions without being held back.
“This is the wetsuit you pick when you want absolutely zero compromises in flexibility, warmth, weight, and drying time. The Fusion Dry Seam Technology is a revelation that should add a ton to the lifespan of the suit, and the zip-free entry is pain and flush-free”
Highlights and Features
- Rip Curl’s most advanced E7 Neoprene for the ultimate in flexibility and minimal weight
- Leak-free, 96% stitchless seams for longer life
- Reinforcement stitches in the neck and entry seams for added durability
- Top-shelf materials and tech used in every facet of the suit
- Fast drying, flexible, and warm 100% E7 Flash Lining
- Rip Curl Flashbomb Fusion 3/2 Zip Free Wetsuit - $519.95
- Rip Curl Flashbomb Fusion 4/3 Zip Free Wetsuit - $539.95
- Rip Curl Flashbomb Fusion 5/4 Hooded Zip Free Wetsuit - $569.95
- Rip Curl Women’s Flashbomb Fusion 3/2 Zip Free Wetsuit - $519.95
- Rip Curl Women’s Flashbomb Fusion 4/3 Zip Free Wetsuit - $539.95
Rip Curl Flashbomb Fusion Zip Free Wetsuit
Neoprene and Liners
The Flashbomb Fusion is built exclusively with Rip Curl’s most advanced, highest-end neoprene, called E7. When combined with the full coverage Flash liner on the inside of the suit, the materials make for the best combination of warmth and flexibility in the Rip Curl lineup to date.
By the numbers, E7 has 25% more stretch and is 10% lighter than the previous generation’s E6 neoprene, which is just a fancy way of saying this suit is even easier to paddle and move in. The neoprene is extremely stretchy, yet resists absorbing extra water to keep weight down and warmth high. Both of these facets are noticeable compared to other competitor suits, which means longer sessions and less fatigue from paddling.
The lining is super smooth and comfortable, making it easy and, dare I say, even inviting to get in and out of the wetsuit. When it’s cold outside, the extra motivation of having a suit that’s easy to throw on can be a game-changer, and the Fusion has that in spades. Add in the quick-drying properties of the Rip Curl Flash liner, and you have a steamer that’s perfect for multiple cold water sessions without the bummer of having to climb into a soggy wetsuit for the afternoon session.
Seams and Stitching
One of the most defining features of the Flashbomb Fusion is its use of Fusion Dry Seam Technology. According to Rip Curl, Fusion Dry Seam Tech is the pinnacle of seam construction, almost completely free of any neoprene piercing stitches, which are strong but tend to leak water over time. Fusion seams remove stitches but retain strength by using a three-layer overlap: the edges of the neoprene are tapered and glued, with a third outside layer of E7 tape on top. The tapering makes for a less bulky yet extremely strong seam compared to other stitchless methods.
To add reinforcement in critical areas, there’s a 1-inch long 4th layer of E7 tape inside the wetsuit at critical ankle and wrist openings. The only place on the suit where traditional stitching can be found is around the neck and entry point. Rip Curl strategically included extra reinforcement in these two key areas to alleviate any fears of blowing a seam while getting into and out of the suit.
Fit and Cut
For fit, I’m a little over 5’11, 170 lbs with broad shoulders, and wear a size Medium across most brands of wetsuits. The fit of this suit is snug but not uncomfortably so, exactly how I would expect a performance wetsuit to fit. Flexibility around the arms is great, and the ergonomic Fusion seams feel virtually, well, seamless. The fit at the wrists and ankles is very comfortable while still maintaining a tight seal.
Chafing from having seams in the wrong places can make an otherwise comfortable suit a pain during long sessions, and Rip Curl has addressed this in their seam layout pattern and cut. Not only are the seams less bulky, but there are fewer of them. This is a win-win as far as the suit's ability to keep water out and remain comfortable and warm throughout long sessions. As a bonus, fewer seams extend the life of the suit by resulting in fewer possible points of failure.
Having broad shoulders has always led me away from experimenting with zip-free wetsuits, so you can imagine I was extremely impressed when I slipped into this suit without much of an issue. When first putting the suit on, I struggled slightly with getting the neck opening over my head at first, but discovered a trick: instead of grabbing only one side of the neck and stretching it unevenly over my head, I grabbed both sides of the neck and lifted the neck evenly over my head. This slight adjustment made getting in and out of the suit much easier while also helping to disperse stress on the seams. Once the suit is broken in, I may not need to do this, but for now, this will be my technique.
Tightening the draw cord was easy, and pulling it as tight as possible did not seem to reduce my flexibility or comfort. The soft E7 Flash liner made slipping into the legs and arms a breeze.
One thing to note is that I wouldn’t recommend this suit to someone who has issues with flexibility in their shoulders. While relatively easy, I did need my full range of shoulder motion to get my arms into and out of the suit. If you have limited shoulder mobility, try before you buy, or check out the Rip Curl Flashbomb 4/3 Chest Zip or the Rip Curl E-Bomb 4/3 Back Zip Wetsuit, depending on preference.
When a suit is a joy to slip into, keeps you warm, feels like it’s barely there, and is relatively easy to slide out of, chances are you have a winner. The Flashbomb Fusion undoubtedly checks all these boxes. I found nothing about this suit was holding me back, just like you would expect from a company’s top-of-the-line performance wetsuit.
Paddling was nearly effortless, and I didn’t feel like the suit was taking on any extra water weight. I’ve always been skeptical of zipperless entry systems and their ability to stay sealed. I am happy to report that even through some deep duck dives and taking a handful of set waves on the head, I experienced no flushing. Getting out of the suit was easy, and after 20 minutes in the sun, the Flashbomb E7 liner was almost completely dry and ready for another go.
Value and Durability
With a price tag of $519.95 for the 4/3, the Flashbomb Fusion definitely sits at the top end of the price range for 4/3 suits without a hood. Is it worth it? That depends. If you value a suit that won’t hold you back and will inspire as many sessions as possible, then I would say yes, it’s worth it.
It’s also important to note that with Fusion Dry Seam Technology, you’re purchasing longevity and lifespan with this suit. Without stitching that will eventually create pinhole leaks in the worst places (i.e., armpits and crotch), all things equal, I would expect this suit to have a significantly longer lifespan than a traditional suit with stitches.
Other Rip Curl Wetsuit Reviews
- Rip Curl Dawn Patrol Wetsuit Review
- Rip Curl Flashbomb Zip Free Wetsuit Review
- Rip Curl Flashbomb Wetsuit Review
- Rip Curl Flashbomb Heatseeker Wetsuit Review
- Rip Curl E-Bomb Zip Free Wetsuit Review
Since the early days, Rip Curl has been at the forefront of creating great wetsuits, and the Flashbomb E7 Fusion is exactly what I would expect from their top-of-the-line model. This is the wetsuit you pick when you want absolutely zero compromises. It’s incredibly flexible, light, warm, easy to get in and out of, and dries fast.
The Fusion seams add a ton of value by keeping the suit from developing pinhole leaks later in life. At the same time, the elimination of the zipper removes a failure point without the zipperless drawbacks like flushing or needing to dislocate your shoulder to get into the suit. With reinforcement and high-quality materials in all the right places, this is a suit that I’m beyond thrilled to have in my wetsuit quiver for many, many sessions to come.
I tested the Men’s 4/3 Rip Curl Flashbomb Fusion without a hood, but keep in mind this top-shelf wetsuit is also available as a 3/2 and a 5/4 with a hood in both men’s and women’s sizes. If you’re stoked on the Flashbomb Fusion but need a wetsuit with a more budget-friendly price, take a look at the Rip Curl E-Bomb 4/3 Chest Zip.
If you have any questions about the Rip Curl Flashbomb Fusion or need sizing help, feel free to leave a comment, call us at 1-888-546-6176, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy the water!