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ION have piled a lot of tech into this year’s suits, and their higher end Select range showcases a plethora of new materials and design ideas they’ve implemented this year.
It’s a suit absolutely loaded with neat and practical design features. The elbows have embossed neoprene on the inner, and some higher stretch elbow neoprene patches on the outside to allow better articulation of your arms, which is an important consideration for wind-sports-oriented. There’s similar embossing implemented on the knee pit area for the same reasons. A slick skin panel is present over the entire back area providing some extra warmth there – this makes sense for a wind sports orientated suit where you’ll nearly always have the wind on your back. The lower half of the back is embossed horizontally to help grip the harness and prevent ride up. Liquid seams run from the seams on the outside of the waist area and cover the bulk of the seams on the legs to prevent water ingress here. The shin areas have extra padding to protect you from those excruciating moments when a wave can knock your board into them. The ankles have been well designed for wind sports in mind with optional Velcro ankle straps provided as well as four small rain holes that sit on the inner seam, preventing any elephant leg syndrome. The armpit areas have a higher stretch neoprene, again to promote free body movement. Internally there’s a wide band of tape framing the seams of the rear slick skin panel and the inside leg seams. The arms have some looser piled internal fleece under the high stretch material. The bulk of the interior is a soft velvety material which is easy to get in and out of with damp skin without having to overstretch the neoprene.
ION have done a decent job of preventing flushing around the neck, which is often the Achilles heel of the back zip design with slick skin around the inner neck area and a really solid Velcro closure around the neck, which has a handy loop for easy removal. The zip is generously long, with a quality YKK brand stainless steel carriage with a plastic runner and a long tail on the zip which is easy to locate. An over-the-head anti flush flap also helps keep cold water from direct skin contact. We took some decent rolling in swell and had not so much as a hint of cold-water flush.
It’s great to see so much tech piled into a back zip suit, as let’s face it sometimes a front zip doesn’t fit all body types, and they can prove tricky to get in and out of. In one of the more detailed builds we’ve seen in a back zip suit for some time, ION have produced a very warm, solid suit with a fantastic amount of stretch, giving you more mobility and water time in the darker months. The impressive level of stretch also augments well to the variable female form, and is going to suit a massive range of body shapes.