Wetsuit brands such Rip Curl, O’Neill, Xcel and C skins are all taking advantage of the new dipped rubber technology. Wetsuit accessories such as gloves and boots are getting a dunk to give them a thin skin of liquid rubber.
We have been using the range of wetsuit boots and gloves from O’Neill and Rip Curl to find out if they are any good. The products we tested were Rip Curls Rubber Soul wetsuit boots and the O’Neill Gooru 3mm wetsuit gloves. A cold morning’s surf in Cornwall was the test environment in waters of 9c.
The first thing we noticed was how light these products were. Winter surfing demands the use of more neoprene to keep warm in the water. Added weight can be a real set back when paddling, especially when we are less fit due to not being able to surf as much. Normally wetsuit gloves and boots can be a real hassle to get on and off, but we found that both products were super easy to use and really comfortable when on. There are no bells and whistles inside both accessories, such as polypro lining, it’s just straight jersey.
The rubber coating was very smooth to touch and not tacky. As the neoprene is coated with a very thin layer of rubber, this means all the seams are 100% sealed. Not only are the seals sealed with rubber but they are also glued and blind stitched to make sure no water will penetrate the seams. The advantage of this rubber coating is that it wicks away water from the jersey. With conventional wetsuit accessories, it is the jersey (fabric) which soaks up water, adds weight and increases cold from wind chill. When the water cools with wind chill, this decreases the warmth of the product.
So, is there any benefit to using the new dipped rubber technology compared to conventional wetsuit gloves, or boots? In our tests, of up to 3 hours in the water both accessories kept our hands and feet really warm; even without polypro lining. We would highly recommend these products if you are looking to keep warm and save on added weight in the water.