Part 3

Team Rider Testing

The NuWave Journey

What Our Team of Testers Thought

We’ve been designing and making wetsuits for long enough to know that the proof of a new design, material, or feature is in the surfing; no testing comes close to just putting a wetsuit on a good surfer’s back and getting them to paddle out and perform in it. Surfers can be the most critical and helpful test pilots. Therefore, as soon as we had samples of the NuWave range in our hands and had completed our in-house evaluations, we sent them out to some of our team riders for some out-of-house testing.

Through late summer and autumn of 2023 Jayce Robinson, Wade Carmichael, Logan Nicol, Beth Leighfield and Barnaby Cox put our NuWave samples through their paces. This bunch surf a lot, and push their equipment hard. We knew that if our natural rubber wetsuits weren’t comparable to their regular neoprene wetsuits in any way then they’d point it out to us. From pulling them on and off in the car park, to their fit and function when wet and being worn and used as intended, everything was up for discussion. These surfers have built their careers around peak performance and can’t allow their equipment to hinder that. The NuWave wetsuits did not come out wanting.

Now firmly in the depths of winter and the season of hooded 5:4s, we caught up with each of them to find out more about their experiences and feelings testing the NuWave natural rubber wetsuits.

Logan Nicol

How much time do you reckon you spend in a wetsuit in an average week?

Through the summer months I definitely find myself putting a long shift in. In that summer holiday period I’m in a wetsuit for a minimum of 24 hours each week if you count my own surfs before and after work and all the surf lessons I’m coaching through the week. [Editor’s note – Logan clocked up over 500 surfs in 2022 and had no intention of slowing down in 2023, so probably spends more time in a wetsuit each month than most surfers do in a year making him the ideal person to test how durable a wetsuit is.]

What do you need and look for in a wetsuit?

I’m really after a suit that’s comfortable and fit for season. When I say: “fit for season”, I’m obviously looking for different things at different times of the year from a wetsuit. In the winter my main priority is warmth whereas in the summer I’m looking for something high performance and non restrictive. These days it’s pretty amazing how you can tick every box and cover all bases with your wetsuits regardless of the time of year.

What were your first impressions when you got your hands on a NuWave wetsuit?

The new look is really impressive, but the main thing that was really exciting for me was that I ended up asking myself “what’s the difference?” The suit felt just as high quality, stretchy and soft as all of the previous C Skins wetsuits that I’ve owned. I’d tried not to have any preconceptions but I guess I was a bit surprised that I couldn’t even tell the difference.

How have you tested this wetsuit?

I really put my summer wetsuit through its paces! I took it on tour with me to compete in the WSL European Qualifying Series contests, used it throughout the summer at the surf school, and also in my day-to-day training at home. Coaching-wise, I was kept super warm and it was comfy enough to wear in all my lessons through the summer. I’ve been really impressed with the wetsuit, just as I have been with every other C Skins wetsuit that I’ve had.

How has it performed both in the water and out?

The performance has been great! It’s pretty flexible, and the warmth and comfort of the suit have been what I’ve liked about it the most. The drying time is very similar to my previous C Skins suits as well. It just constantly amazes me that it is made from natural rubber!

Jayce Robinson

What does the move to a natural rubber wetsuit mean to you, personally?

I think it’s amazing! Obviously anything that can help to reduce the impact of human use and consumption on the natural world is a win really, isn’t it. It's so easy to keep doing the same thing and to not question or re-evaluate something that already works well. Going back to the drawing board to look at how to improve elements other than performance alone is brave. It's those who take the initiative to turn things around and stick their heads out for the greater cause that deserve applause.

Over the last five months, where has this wetsuit been with you and what have you done in it?

I’ve tested a 3:2 surfing at home in West Cornwall. I haven’t worn it spear fishing, but I had a few solid sessions through the autumn before winter really set in. I wore it into late October and although it was brand new, it felt very comfortable and warmer than being in a regular neoprene wetsuit at that time of year .

If you had to convince a surfer focussed on performance alone to switch to natural rubber, how would you do it or what would you say?

I would say it's a no-brainer. Unlike other natural rubber wetsuits the C-Skins NuWave has no limitations in regards to movement and flexibility. You will feel the same as you did in neoprene, but better in your mind knowing that you’re playing a part in reducing some of surfing’s negative impacts through its reliance upon neoprene.

"It’s a no-brainer. . . you will feel the same as you did in neoprene, but better in your mind knowing that you’re playing a part in reducing some of surfing’s negative impacts."

Beth Leighfield

How excited were you to get to surf in a natural rubber wetsuit?

For me, surfing in natural rubber wetsuits is something that I’ve been looking to do for the past year or so. I was really excited when C-Skins announced that they’re bringing out a full natural rubber range. I think that, ethically and environmentally, natural rubber is the way forwards now that the technology has got to the level where it is very competitive in terms of performance, functionality and durability in comparison to neoprene,
Because C-Skins are bringing out a full range of natural rubber wetsuits it means that it’s accessible to everyone, so if you’re on holiday and will only use your wetsuit for a few weeks, or if you’re on a budget, then you can still make a choice that considers the environment.
Surfing is not a particularly low-impact sport when you consider travel and equipment (whether that’s surfboards or wetsuits) so I think that it’s really important that as consumers we make the decision to pick the more ethically or environmentally conscious product, and in this instance it is choosing natural rubber. That’s the power that we have as individuals through our choices as consumers.

What were your first impressions as you pulled it on, paddled out, and caught a wave in one?

My very first impression when I saw the wetsuit was that I really liked the style. I thought the colours were really cool. Flexibility-wise, when I put the suit on I thought it was amazing. I didn’t notice any difference – if you gave me that natural rubber wetsuit and a neoprene wetsuit in a blind test and asked me to pull them on, I honestly don’t think I’d be able to tell the difference in flexibility, and I know that previously flexibility has been an issue with natural rubber. It’s really great to see that the technology that C-Skins is using is super flexible because if you’re surfing or just getting in the water, it’s a really important aspect of a wetsuit’s functionality. When I was surfing I thought it was amazing. It was super warm. I surfed in a 4:3 and was wearing it up until a few weeks ago, so in early December I was still in a 4:3 and I’ve only just transitioned into my winter suit. It definitely ticked the box for me for warmth.

". . . that’s the power that we have as individuals through our choices as consumers."

Wade Carmichael

As a surfer for whom performance is paramount, what are your thoughts about the stretch, flex and weight of natural rubber wetsuits having now had a chance to put a NuWave sample suit through its paces?

I loved the NuWave wetsuit. It’s been hot down here in Australia so I’ve not worn it loads, but it was really soft on the skin and had a real nice texture to it. Flexibility was no different at all to my usual ReWired suit and the soft material probably made it more comfortable.

"Flexibility was no different at all to my usual ReWired suit."

Barnaby Cox

How do these new suits feel in terms of flex and stretch, for high performance surfing?

I was blown away by the new wetsuits. I got a NuWave 3:2 in August and I wore it up to mid November at home around Bude. The first time I wore one I was pretty span out - on the one hand It feels like you’re wearing a normal wetsuit, like you wouldn’t know it’s made out of plants, but on the other, they have more flex and stretch. It feels like wearing nothing. You know it’s a good wetsuit when you forget you’re wearing one!

Did you find any noticeable difference between the NuWave wetsuit and the wetsuits you would normally surf in?

I couldn’t find any downside about the NuWave wetsuits. My NuWave Session felt just as warm and durable as the neoprene Session did, but definitely more flexible, and it was great knowing that it’s better for our planet. I’ll definitely be ordering the NuWave suits going forwards.

"It feels like wearing nothing. You know it’s a good wetsuit when you forget you’re wearing one!"

We are surfers who make wetsuits for surfers. We know that if our products perform in that arena and can stand up to the rigours that surfers put them through then they’ll meet the demands of almost every other water sport. NuWave natural rubber wetsuits will be available across our range from Spring 2024, providing a choice not just for surfers, but for anybody wanting to enjoy the ocean.