Rip Curl Flashbomb HeatSeeker Wetsuit Review
Rip Curl has been a prominent figure in the surf industry for many years. Initially established in Australia, they have developed a name for themselves by striving “to create the ultimate surfing wetsuit.” The Flashbomb Heatseeker, Rip Curl’s most technologically advanced suit, takes warmth and flexibility to another level.
“The Rip Curl Flashbomb E7 HeatSeeker is a suit you can count on to keep the cold at bay. The toasty Flashbomb lining and Flex Energy combined with stretchy E7 neoprene makes for an incredibly warm high-performance wetsuit”.
Highlights and Features
- E7 Neoprene offers superior stretch
- Fully lined with quick-drying Flash Lining
- Flexible and Watertight Zip Free Entry
- Fully Hand Taped
- Flex Energy takes warmth to the next level
After testing out the 5/4 hooded model this winter in chilly Oregon waters, read on for my in-depth breakdown of the HeatSeeker, its premium features, and how that transfers to performance and comfort.
Rip Curl Flashbomb HeatSeeker Wetsuit
Neoprene and Liners
The Flashbomb HeatSeeker is constructed using Rip Curl’s newest E7 Neoprene. E7 has excellent stretch properties to help keep the suit unrestrictive. This added stretch reduces fatigue and shoulder burn resulting in better endurance during your sessions.
The suit is lined entirely with E7 Flash Lining, which boasts quick-drying warmth and comfort. The classic pink colored Flash Lining is surprisingly quick to heat up and preserves heat far better than many other suits on the market. Lastly, a big perk of the lining is that it has a quick drying time once out of the water.
The stand-out feature of the HeatSeeker is Rip Curl’s Flex Energy Lining. Unique to this model, it takes the thermal capabilities of the suit up a notch from the Flashbomb. The Flex Energy Liner is found along the upper back and shoulders of the suit. The liner harnesses your kinetic energy as you move during your session. Tiny fibers generate heat energy as you move due to friction within the liner's fibers. The word “friction” used in a wetsuit description may startle some of you, but the Flex Energy Liner is strategically placed where you wouldn’t notice. While testing the suit, I experienced zero chaffing and felt no uncomfortable areas.
Seams and Stitching
The Flashbomb E7 Heat Seeker sports glued and blindstitched seams paired with complete taping, which covers every internal seam. Rip Curl took the extra time and effort to apply all the taping in the HeatSeeker by hand to ensure premium quality. The seams and taping work to keep the suit durable and warm without compromising flexibility. The suit’s seams feel sturdy but flexible. The taping on this model is wider and more significant than the taping found on competitor suits. Due to the increased surface area, the taping improves durability and seal even further.
Fit and Cut
During my sessions wearing the 5/4 model, it definitely fit snuggly. At 6’3 and 195 lbs, I went with the XL size. Compared to the O’Neill sizing, Rip Curl has a slightly shorter cut in the legs and arms. I probably would have been better suited to an XLT. The torso of the suit fits very well and allows for easy movement. Lastly, the hood felt a bit too tight but loosened to fit comfortably in the water.
Entry and Zipper
The Zip Free entry found on the Heat Seeker is surprisingly easy to get in and out of. Give yourself some grace when learning how to put on a zip-free wetsuit. Once I figured out the best technique, it felt easier than putting on a chest zip. I have grown very fond of zip-free wetsuits as they provide greater flexibility and freedom of movement.
The entry seals off the water exceptionally well. Even during big wipeouts, the entry remained watertight. Lastly, the entry pull cord is easily adjusted on the fly allowing for quick adjustments during my time in the water.
When I first put on the suit, it was a tad on the stiff side. Since it’s a fully lined suit, I expected it to run stiffly. After getting into the water, it loosened up and became far more flexible. Compared to competitor suits, I was surprised at how quickly the HeatSeeker warmed up once I was in the water paddling out. It’s undoubtedly a testament to the purpose and function of the Flex Energy liner. The zip-free entry, in combination with the larger neoprene panels, makes the suit feel like a second skin allowing for easy movement and optimal comfort.
Rip Curl recommends the 5/4 for water temperatures 50° F and below, the 4/3 for 50° - 60° F, and the 3/2 for 60° F and above.
Value and Durability
With a price tag topping out at $549.95 for the 5/4 model, the Rip Curl E7 HeatSeeker Hooded Zip Free Wetsuit is hands down one of the warmest suits you can buy. With the added touch of complete internal taping done by hand and reliable GBS seams, this durable suit will keep you in the water for longer than you thought was possible. The E7 neoprene and Flash lining provide unrestricted movement and comfort, creating the perfect balance of warmth and stretch.
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The Rip Curl Flashbomb E7 HeatSeeker is a suit you can count on to keep the cold at bay. The toasty Flashbomb lining and Flex Energy combined with stretchy E7 neoprene make for an incredibly warm high-performance wetsuit. Rip Curl puts extra time and effort into the Heatseeker to ensure the seal and stretch that you look for in a premium suit.
Are there more flexible options on the market? For sure. However, if you’re a cold water ripper, and your priority is to stay warm no matter what mother nature throws your way, then the Heatseeker is the suit for you. If you’re looking for something more flexible, you might like the competition-style E-Bomb. If you like the idea of the HeatSeeker but need something slightly more affordable, Rip Curl's most famous suit, the Flashbomb, is fully lined and packs a punch against the cold.
If you have any other questions about the HeatSeeker or any other products, feel free to contact us at email@example.com, call us toll-free at 1-888-546-6176, or leave a comment below.