I am notorious for not giving a shit about my wetsuits. I hang them to dry in the sun, I piss in them and don’t rinse, and I leave them in wet, steaming lumps in the back of my truck. I don’t want a flashy suit–colors just attract attention, and my surfing is average, at best. I just want a wetsuit that works; a suit that does two things: keeps me warm and stretches in the right places. And for the temperature I surf, Body Glove’s Pr1me Slant suit is exactly what I need: not flashy, just warm, durable, and flexible. They sent me a 2 mm short arm full a few months ago and it is perfect for me, at least until the water gets a colder.
For a long time, I wore only Xcel suits. I lived and surfed in Canada, and winter sessions there usually included ice on wetsuits. Xcel seemed to be the one that lasted longest–I had a few Quik suits (the early Cell models) that fell apart within a few months. It was very frustrating. Now I live in Southern California, and despite popular belief, the water does get cold(ish) here. I’ve made the switch to Body Glove suits because they’re affordable, durable, and god damn it, they come in all black. Of course, they come in colors as well, but you don’t want that.
Since I moved here about two years ago, I’ve been surfing on an almost daily basis. To do so, of course, I had to start longboarding–which changed my life, and which I’ve written pretty extensively about–but I’ve also gone through a shit load of wetsuits, mainly because of my awful treatment of them. Right now, as I write this, I have one lying in a pile of dirt, soaking wet. It’s been there for three days. I should move it.
Body Glove has been in the wetsuit game for a long time. Over sixty years, in fact. Back in 1953, the Meistrell brothers invented the first fully functional wetsuit. In doing so, they opened the door to a world full of waves that were previously unsurfable. Before them, folks were surfing in wool sweaters, freezing their asses off, and wondering how they could stay warm. Then Bob and Bill Meistrell patched together a neoprene franken-suit in the back of their Redondo Beach surf shop, Dive N’ Surf, and changed the whole game.
And now, 60-something years later, they’re still sticking to their guns, innovating wetsuit technology and making shit that every surfer needs. The Pr1me Slant is made from super stretch EVOflex materials, and the neckline has this silky little lining that gets rid of the neck’s equivalent to ball-chafe. The seams are glued and blind stitched, and best of all, it’s not going to cost you a million dollars. Running just under $200, it does everything you need for less than a lot of comparable suits on the market.
If you’re like me, you want a suit that doesn’t scream at everyone in the lineup. You want a suit that works and shuts up about it. And most of all, you want a suit that does what it’s supposed to: keep you warm, lets you move, and lets you surf as well as you can.
If you’re looking for a wetsuit, here are a whole bunch from Body Glove.