At A Glance
The neoprene industry went a little crazy this winter; with everyone stuck at home and not travelling abroad, there was a run on neoprene. If you hadn’t ordered and bought a new winter suit by September, then there was a good chance you would find the shops empty when you tried to get hold of one as the temperature dropped.
It was for this reason, ION pushed the release of their 2021/22 rubber forwards. As such, while you will find this suit online for purchase, it wasn’t meant to be ‘officially’ out yet. Having sold out of their current stock, the team decided to release this suit to keep us warm despite the fact that it’s planned release being towards the end of this year.
What we have here then is a Coronainduced time machine that has given us a glimpse into the future and what a future it is! Wetsuit technology just keeps on getting better, and for us on the water, that means longer sessions and more comfort. The ION Seek Select is absolutely packed with features and is, without doubt, one of the warmest wetsuits I have ever worn.
Constructed using I Foam Neoprene, which is exceedingly light and stretchy, it is packed with more air while also reducing the overall density of the material. Ensuring it keeps you warmer for longer. On the inside of the suit, it is almost exclusively lined with the new Graphene Plush, which is 20% warmer than the previous high-end lining, Plasma Plush. The key here is the heat conductivity of the material, reflecting warmth back into your body.
The exterior lining is made from recycled nylon and features the DryGrid technology, which is designed to absorb less water and therefore reduce the wind chill and the weight of the suit while you are riding. All the seams are glued and blind stitched with the addition of exterior power seams that fluid sealed.
The overall impression when you pick up the suit it is of incredible quality, every little detail feels measured and well designed, and the materials speak for themselves. This really is a step into the future.
On The Water
A suit can be as fancy as you like on paper, but if it doesn’t keep you warm, it may as well be made of paper. It also has to fit and be comfortable, and this is where trying on a suit makes a big difference. The materials in the Seek Select are stretchy enough to accommodate a range of sizes but be sure to try one on and make sure it is going to work well with your body shape.
As you pull the suit on, you will feel the plush Graphene liner glide over your skin and without wanting to sound like a Mills and Boon novel, it slips on like a silk neglige. A feature I really like is the internal sealing inside the head, so even when you do faceplant, you don’t get too much water inside the suit. Plus, the hood is not only lined with the Hot Stuff fleece material; it also benefits from being single lined.
This single-lined neoprene also features on the back panel. The beauty of single-lined neoprene is that by its very nature, it can’t absorb water; it is actually the protective external layer that absorbs the water in a suit causing wind chill, not the neoprene itself. This means the hood and back panel won’t suffer from the effects of the wind pulling heat away from the wet surface.
As we lose 40-50% of our body heat through our head and neck, this is a big deal, and it is great to see a single-lined hood with a cosy fleece interior. I found the ankle and wrist seals to be very snug, and the whole fit was exceedingly comfortable. It’s amazing how far wetsuit technology has come; I recall borrowing my dad’s “steamer” once from the late ’80s and wearing it thinking I was like the Michelin Man and could barely move.
In this, I can surf, kite and wing and never feel like the suit is holding me back, the material is exquisite, and the warmth is incredible.
Easily the warmest suit I have worn, I can comfortably ride in 2-3 degrees without getting too cold. I used to wear a vest on the cold days under my suit, but in this, I don’t feel I need to at all. Incredibly flexible, high-end materials throughout and a glimpse into the future of where wetsuit technology is headed!
This review was in Issue 7 of Tonic.For more information visit Ion Water
By Rou ChaterRou Chater has been kitesurfing for over twenty years, paddleboarding for the last six years, and was there testing the first wingsurfer from Naish in Tarifa when it arrived on the continent. He is passionate about riding waves and exploring new places. As the publishing editor, he oversees everything at Tonic but also our sister magazines IKSURFMAG and IMB. He's been on the water since he was born and has never looked back, in the winter you'll find him chasing swells in the Caribbean and during the summer he can be found all over Europe at various SUP, Kitesurf and Mountain Bike events getting features for the magazines.