Rip Curl Flashbomb Zip Free Wetsuit Review
Are you fed up with fighting to get out of your wetsuit after a long day at the beach? Are you looking for something that delivers superior warmth and protection from the elements? Then check out Rip Curl’s Flashbomb Zip Free Wetsuit. The suit features an ultra-stretchy neoprene material that makes it easier to slip on and off while still providing top-of-the-line comfort and insulation in cold waters. In this review, we’ll cover every aspect of the men’s Flashbomb Zip Free, so keep reading to learn why cold water surfers select this suit over competitor options.
“If you want to try a zipless suit or are just looking for the most performance possible, the Rip Curl Flashbomb Zip Free is a great place to start. You can’t beat the warmth of the Flash Lining in the body and the flexibility of the Thermo Lining in the arms.”
Highlights and Features
- Extremely quick-drying
- Super comfortable
- Toasty warm liner
- User-Friendly Zip Free Entry
Below, we’ll cover all of the tech and materials, talk about fit and sizing, and lastly, go over the performance benefits of the Flashbomb Zip Free wetsuit.
Flashbomb Zip Free Wetsuit
Neoprene and Liners
The Flashbomb uses the same tried and true E-Series Neoprene that was first introduced in 1995. The latest E6 version has 20% more stretch and warmth than the previous E5 edition. E6 neoprene was introduced in 2021 and is also the same foam used in the E-Bomb, which is Rip Curl’s most flexible model. E6 is also easy to pick out, as if you turn this wetsuit inside out, all the sections with a blue linear are E6 neoprene. Aside from being more flexible and lighter than E5, it’s also really comfortable.
The Flashbomb Zip Free has E6 Flash Lining through ¾ of the suit from the chest down. The big idea with this wetsuit is to have the warmest, lightest, most flexible suit possible. Rip Curl’s decision to keep this liner just to the areas that need the most warmth, like the core and legs, while keeping it out of the areas that don’t need the extra material, like the arms and shoulders, is a smart call.
That said, a lighter, more flexible liner, called E6 Thermo lining, is used in arms and shoulders. Without the Flash Lining in the arms and shoulders, these areas also feel lighter and more flexible.
Seams and Stitching
Throughout the body, the Flashbomb is sealed internally with E6 Flash Lining Tape. This tape looks like the lining it’s named after and has an orange, fuzzy appearance to it. Also, like the linear, it is comfortable and generally warmer than the standard internal tape used on most wetsuits.
While most of the suit uses this E6 Flash Lining tape, the arms and shoulders use a super stretchy E6 stress point tape applied by hand. While the Zip Free version is the only Flashbomb not to have any kind of external tape over the seams, that was a deliberate choice to help keep it as light as possible.
Fit and Cut
The Flashbomb Zip Free is truly comfortable, and I think one part of that has to do with the Flash Lining in the core. The Flash Lining is most known for its fast drying time and warmth properties, but it's also just really easy to wear. Another part of that comfort is the zip-free entry, which we’ll talk more about below. Zip Free Entries allow for more comfort, lightweight feel, and flexibility throughout since the suits use larger panels of neoprene, and there's no heavy zipper fixture running either the length of the chest or back.
The Flashbomb has always been one of the most loved zip-free wetsuits at Cleanline. Part of its popularity can definitely be attributed to how smooth and easy the entry is to navigate. The zip-free entry has come a long way since it was first introduced, and Rip Curl really has the entry down better than anyone else. Their take on the entry is about as easy as a chest zip to get in and out of and holds up well to abuse over time.
If you’ve never used a zip-free entry before, it’s very similar to a chest zip entry, where you enter through the neck hole of the suit and then pull the layer of neoprene over your head. Once it’s on, you adjust the fit with a cinch cord instead of a zipper fixture like on a chest zip.
We’ve been throwing around a lot of terms beginning with E6. How does that all translate to performance? The Flash Lining truly feels like you’re wearing a comfortable sweater out in the water. With the warmth factor, there’s no need to cut your winter sessions short because of the cold.
In addition, without the Flash Lining in the arms and shoulders, you won’t fatigue as quickly compared with competitor suits that are fully lined. It goes without saying, in our experience, zip-free suits offer the most comfortable and second-skin fit compared to suits that use a back or chest zip entry. The freedom of movement is like nothing else. It’s tough to beat that feeling when paddling out for a dawn patrol session before work.
Value and Durability
The Flashbomb Zip Free sits on the low end of the premium wetsuit market, with the 3/2 model starting at $399.95. Regarding warmth and performance, the Flashbomb Zip Free is an unbeatable choice for cold-water surfers. In our experience, zip-free wetsuits tend to hold up longer than back and chest zip entries. The reason is that there is less material to break down with time and use. Zippers are often one of the first areas to fail on a wetsuit due to the corrosive nature of salt water.
What’s the difference between the Flashbomb and Flashbomb Zip Free?
You might notice that the Flashbomb Zip Free is quite similar to its counterpart: the Flashbomb. Why did Rip Curl release two different versions of the same wetsuit? They wanted to create that one suit with the perfect combination of warmth and stretch.
To break it down simply, the Flashbomb Zip Free is not fully lined with the E6 Flash Lining material, and it also doesn’t have the front and back smooth skin panels that are found on the Flashbomb. By stripping away those two features, the Zip Free model sheds weight and gains more flexibility for unrestricted paddling performance.
“I have always been a RipCurl guy because they fit me best, but the simplicity and functionality of this suit is the best around. The flash lining makes next day sessions that much better putting on a dry wetsuit.”- Tony
“Have used Flashbombs for my last 3 suits. First time using a zip free. This is hands down the best suit I have owned. The material in the chest and arms plus lack of zipper provide insane flexibility / movement. The normal Flashbomb material from the stomach through the legs keeps me nice and toasty in NorCal.”- Callalily Surf
Other Rip Curl Wetsuits We’ve Reviewed
- Rip Curl Flashbomb Heatseeker Wetsuit
- Rip Curl Flashbomb Wetsuit
- Rip Curl E-Bomb Wetsuit
- Rip Curl Dawn Patrol Wetsuit
If you want to try a zipless suit or are just looking for the most performance possible, the Rip Curl Flashbomb Zip Free is a great place to start. It’s solid on all fronts and as accessible as zipless suits come. Is it the most lightweight suit on the market? Not quite, but you can’t beat the warmth of the Flash Lining in the body and the flexibility of the Thermo Lining in the arms.
If you like the Flashbomb Zip Free but need something for colder water temperatures, check out the Flashbomb Heatseeker. It’s available in both 6/5 and 5/4 hooded zipless models. On the flip side, if flaming warmth isn’t a priority for you, check out the E-Bomb Zip Free for the ultimate blend of a high-performance and lightweight suit.
If you have any questions about the Flashbomb Zip Free wetsuit, leave a comment below, shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 1-888-546-6176.