The Flash Bomb Heat Seeker is one of the most unique suits we’ve ever carried at the shop and one of our most asked-about pieces of gear. After years of research and development, Rip Curl released the Heat Seeker to a lot of hype. Now that the suit has proven itself in the water, we’re excited to present a full in-depth review.
First released in 2018, the Heat Seeker uses some new-to-the-wetsuit industry technology and materials to make a suit that actually generates heat as it’s used. More on that in a moment, but needless to say, it’s one of the more interesting features we’ve seen in a long time and without a doubt, the warmest-running suit Rip Curl has ever released.
Flash Bomb Roots
The Heat Seeker is a part of Rip Curl’s flagship Flash Bomb series of suits, and at its core, uses all of the same top-of-the-line materials as the rest of the Flash Bombs. The whole suit is made of Rip Curl’s super-stretchy E5 neoprene, that’s known not only for its flexibility but also for being one of the warmest and most durable rubber recipes. The outside seams are sealed with Aquaban + tape, which is a slim rubber bead that seals over the stitching for added warmth and durability. On the inside, there’s the classic E5 Flash Lining. Even if you’ve never owned a Flash Bomb suit before you’ve probably seen this feature, as it’s hard to miss. This is the orange, fuzzy material throughout the inside of the suit that dries insanely quickly and adds another level of overall comfort.
A few years back, Rip Curl began taking inspiration from the athletic wear industry and started looking into new methods of creating and retaining heat in wetsuits. What they’ve settled on is pretty incredible and definitely something you won’t see anywhere else. Starting with the outside of the suit, Rip Curl has taken the blueprint design of the Flash Bomb and added to two new key components to the exterior; Liquid Mesh and Thermo Shield.
Almost since the first wetsuits came out, it’s become industry standard to include at least one section of smooth skin on a suit. Smooth skin is the matte, dipped neoprene that usually is cut in a patch shape on the chest or back. Smooth skin was developed to help cut down on wind chill and absorb heat from the sun more efficiently. Rip Curl re-designed their smooth skin for this suit to be stretchier than ever before and are now calling it Liquid Mesh. Interestingly enough, they have covered not only the chest but now the back and shoulders with one large patch that extends over your shoulder blades.
On the arms of the Flash Bomb Heatseeker, you’ll notice a few tile-like sections of smooth skin. This material differs from both traditional smooth skin AND Liquid Mesh as it’s an entirely different formula than either and actually has been engineered to be more durable than either too. These panels have been placed on both arms to cut wind chill. Aside from your core, and head, your arms are one of the areas most subjected to wind while surfing.
- While both the Liquid Mesh and Thermo Shield has been designed to be more durable than your average piece of smooth skin they still require care when taking the wetsuit on or off. For these sections, it’s important to use to your fingertips and NOT your fingernails when adjusting the suit.
Those two features alone are pretty interesting but it’s the inside of this suit, where stuff really starts to get interesting.
Flex Energy Lining
The Flex Energy Lining is the main feature of the Heat Seeker and the most revolutionary material we’ve seen in quite a while. When you flip the Heat Seeker inside-out you’ll see that the areas on the other side of the liquid mesh are made of a different lining than the rest of the suit.
This section of linear is the Flex Energy Lining and where the Heat Seeker gets its name. The Flex Energy Linear works by using your kinetic energy. Basically, the lining has tiny little fibers, which as you move, cause friction among themselves, generating warmth. The more you move and the longer you move, the more friction and thereby more warmth that is created.
So if you’re ever paddling out to a frigid dawn patrol session or waiting for a set on a slow day, you can easily help regulate your own body heat to stay out longer.
Entry System and Fit
The Heat Seeker is exclusively a zipless entry. As far as zipless entries go, Rip Curl definitely has the design down the best and I think it’s one of the easier zipperless suits to get in and out of. That all being said, zipless suits do take a little bit of time to get used to, so if you’re coming from a chest zip suit it might be a little more challenging getting it on and off for the first few times you wear it.
The fit is true to size chart for the most part but it does seem to run slightly snug. Maybe that’s partially because of the zipperless entry but it’s worth noting in case you’re in between sizes. Comfort-wise, the Heat Seeker is excellent. The suit feels light and really comfortable with the Flash Lining running throughout the full length of the interior.
- Uses the same tried and true materials like the E5 neoprene and E5 Flash Lining as the rest of the Flash Bomb suits
- Thermo Shield and Liquid Mesh panels on the exterior
- Heat-generating Flex Energy Lining on the inside of the suit
- Lightweight yet extremely warm and comfortable fit
If you’re looking for the most warmth you can get, the Flash Bomb Heatseeker would be a great pick. It’s cool to see Rip Curl pushing the envelope with new ideas and materials. Available as a hooded 6/4mm for the coldest coastlines out there and a 4/3mm and 3/2mm for everywhere else. The Heatseeker is the warmest suit Rip Curl has ever made while still remaining high performance and relatively light.
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If you’re still looking for something else, be sure to check out the rest of the Flash Bomb series of suits (link) as well as the full line up from Rip Curl. If you have any questions about this suit or any suit we sell, feel free to hit us up in the comments, via email at email@example.com or give us a call at 1-888-546-6176.