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Gul Viper 5/4mm Ladies & Mens / Wetsuit Review
Gul Viper 5/4mm Ladies & Mens / Wetsuit Review
About Gul

Established in 1967 in the UK by Dennis Cross, Gul has been at the forefront of watersports apparel. It is now the largest UK based watersports company and is well respected across the world. 

Gul wetsuits have come a long way since the early days when Dennis decided he’d had enough of the chilly winter Atlantic waters and designed the first 2 piece purpose built wetsuit for surfers. By the early 70’s Gul had gone on to create the ground breaking one-piece wetsuit named ‘The Steamer’ (named due to the steam that came from your wetsuit when removed on cold days!) And by the 1980’s Gul had expanded worldwide to supply the much wider watersports market, including buoyancy aids, drysuits, spray tops etc…

With 50+ years of wetsuit design and engineering, Gul offers a huge range of wetsuits specifically designed for men, women and children, in a wide range of sizes, thicknesses and price points. From 5/4mm to 2mm, full suit, shorty and long john, Gul wetsuits offers them all.

The 5/4mm Gul Viper Wetsuit – £250

The Viper is Gul’s top end wetsuit. With a quick dry lining, ultra stretch neoprene, taped internal seams and many other great features you’d expect from a more expensive wetsuit, the Viper is certainly as Gul say… “A suit to take seriously” Available in mens and ladies, a huge range of sizes and in 3 different thicknesses the Viper has been designed to suit watersport enthusiasts all year round. 

– Available in 5/4mm, 4/3mm and 3/2mm
– Mens and ladies
– Colour black
– Sizes available – Mens – S, MS, MST, M, MT, ML, LS, L, LT, XL, XLT, XXL, XXLT
Ladies – 8,10,10T,12,12T,12-14,14,16

The SUPboarder Team reviewed the mens and ladies 5/4mm Viper wetsuit. The 5’6” medium build female tester wore a size 12 and the 5’11” medium build male tester wore a size L.

The wetsuits were tested throughout the early UK winter months in Cornwall, in water temps 10-12 degrees.

The SUPboarder verdict

Off the water
Our initial thoughts when picking up the Gul Viper 5/4mm wetsuits for the first time was how light they were.  The weight is not what you’d expect for a 5/4 mm wetsuit. As well as being light the FX:LITE neoprene is soft and super stretchy, and inside the blind stitched neonseams reinforced with g-tape look robust and well made. The general quality inside and out is very good, and overall both mens and ladies are good looking wetsuits, with a black exterior and brighter inner lining (lime green mens and purple ladies) 

The Viper wetsuits are very easy to get on and off with their super stretchy neoprene, and easy access front zip chest entry systems. The mens suit has a diagonal ABS: Aqua Barrier chest entry with a corrosion-proof zip. And the ladies has a Quadrate: Horizontal bib chest zip. The zips are both excellent quality and comfortable across the chest. The mens well hidden slightly smaller zip looks neat however makes it a bit trickier to use with gloves on.

Once on the Viper wetsuits feel super comfy and cosy thanks to their soft Bolt Dry X: thermal quick dry core lining, and the soft seam free neck.  Both the mens and ladies had a good general fit, although the wetsuits may possibly come up a bit small as both male and female testers had to go up one size from their usual wetsuit size. The clever Powertex4 knee design allows for unrestricted knee flex and the key pocket on the lower calf is also a handy little extra feature to have.

On the water
Both testers are more used to wearing 4/3 wetsuits and were therefore surprised at how unrestrictive the thicker Viper 5/4 wetsuit felt on the water. It allowed full upper body range of movement and easy paddling. No chaffing was experienced thanks to the good fit, soft seam free neck, super thin seams and flexible neoprene. When in the water in the surf no flush was experienced and the excellent aqua-ring wrist seals meant minimal water entry and parts of the body even remained dry. The upper body mesh panel (front & back on mens, and back only on the ladies) helped keep the wind chill off on the windier days. And the 5/4mm Viper allowed the testers to comfortably stay in the water for a couple of hours + each session without getting cold. It was usually their chilly feet that made them come in! (should dig out the booties!)

The 5/4mm Viper was certainly a good wetsuit choice for SUP surfing during the early winter months in Cornwall (10-12 degrees). But we see no reason at all why the 5/4mm Viper wouldn’t be a great wetsuit choice for SUP surfing throughout the winter in lower water temperatures too (7-10 degrees). For general flat water paddling however, when you’re spending more time on the water than in it, the 5/4mm Viper wetsuit is a bit warm and the 4/3mm or 3/2mm Viper would probably be a better option.

We are unable to comment on the long term wear of the wetsuits as they have only been used for a couple of months. But from looking at the general build quality and finish of the mens and ladies Viper wetsuits there’s no reason why they shouldn’t last well if looked after. (rinsed with fresh water and dried after each session)

Pros  excellent choice of sizes, available in 3 thicknesses & well priced
Cons – available in black only

The 5/4mm Gul Viper mens and ladies wetsuits are very well priced and everything you’d expect from a top of the range wetsuit. They’re cozy, lightweight, flexible, and easy to paddle in as well as get on and off.  So if you’re looking for a wetsuit to keep you SUP surfing in comfort in chillier waters, then it would be well worth checking out the 5/4mm Viper. You won’t be disappointed.  

Remember to check out the 4/3mm and 3/2mm Viper wetsuits too if you’re likely to be doing more flat water paddling. 

For more info check out the Gul website.

What to wear on your feet paddleboarding?

Knowing what to wear on your feet when flat water paddleboarding is not easy, especially during the chillier months. Unlike in the surf where you expect to get wet, and therefore bare feet or neoprene boots are the only real options, when flat paddling there are loads more choices… but how practical are they really?!!

What to wear on your feet paddleboarding?During the warmer summer months keeping your feet warm is not such a problem, and most people find bare feet the best option as it allows you to use your toes to balance, helping to keep you upright. In the chillier winter months however bare feet is just not an option, unless you want frost bite or be unable to feel your feet for the next week!!

To keep your feet as warm as possible ideally you need to keep them dry. But that’s not as easy as it sounds when you’ve somehow got to get from dry land onto your board! Easier if you’re launching off a pontoon, but for many paddlers launching involves wading out from the beach, and getting your feet wet is just inevitable!

So what are the footwear options when flat water paddling and what are the pros and cons of each?…

Bare Feet

What to wear on your feet paddleboarding? - bare feetPros Helps with balance on the board (when it’s warm and you can feel your toes!) / Free! / Ideal option for warmer weather paddling.
Cons – Feet will get wet and quickly become cold and numb on a chilly day which doesn’t make for the easiest or most enjoyable paddling / No protection when launching.

Neoprene Boots

What to wear on your feet paddleboarding? - neoprene bootsPros – Offers some warmth and feet protection / Still allows use of toes to aid balance / Ideal for shorter length trips.
Cons – Feet will get cold if wet on longer paddles / They can get a bit stinky!!

Trainers

What to wear on your feet paddleboarding? - trainersPros – Provides good protection when launching / Offers some warmth if they remain dry.
Cons – Not waterproof and therefore feet will become cold if wet / If not specialist water shoes with drainage holes they’ll become waterlogged / Thick soles can make it harder to balance.

Waterproof socks

What to wear on your feet paddleboarding? - waterproof socksPros – Keep your feet dry and therefore warm (as long as no holes!) / Can either be worn on their own or inside trainers / If a good tight fit will allow you to wade in above sock height and still keep your feet dry.
Cons – Not the cheapest socks on the market!! / Not very hardwearing and therefore can be easily damaged when warn on their own.

Flip Flops

What to wear on your feet paddleboarding? - flip flopsPros – Ideal to protect your feet when launching / Small and easy to store on your board / Can by warn when paddling or removed / Ideal during summer.
Cons – Offers no warmth.

Plastic bags!

What to wear on your feet paddleboarding? - plastic bagsPros – Cheap! / Works well either on their own or inside shoes / A good quick fix if you forget your normal footwear!
Cons – Not the most fashionable! / Can get a bit sweaty! / No good when you get over bag height!

Wellies

What to wear on your feet paddleboarding? - trainersPros – Keeps your feet dry and protected when launching up to wellie height.
Cons – Unsafe to wear when paddling (boots will fill with water and become heavy if you fall in) WEARING WELLIES WHEN AFLOAT NOT TO BE RECOMMENDED – take off and store on board once afloat.

Specialist rubber boots (which you can seal onto a dry suit etc..)

Pros – Specially designed for extreme weather keeping your feet very dry, warm and protected.
Cons – Expensive.

What else to consider?

There really is no right or wrong when it comes to choosing what to wear on your feet when flat water paddling. It all comes down to personal preference and obviously how long you’re planning to paddle for and in what conditions.

But remember that the footwear you choose may have an impact on your paddle height. So consider this and adjust your paddle accordingly before you get afloat.

Also consider your safety at all times, considering what the implications will be if you do fall in. It’s all very well saying you won’t but whatever your ability you never know! So although wellies might look like a good winter paddling option, we really don’t recommend you wear them (unless you want to sink!).

During the chilly winter months when neoprene boots just aren’t sufficient for longer paddle trips, the SUPboarder team personally prefer to wear waterproof socks and trainers. But they always keep afew emergency plastic bags and dry socks in their van and dry bag just in case!

Top tips for helping to keep your feet warm:

Take an iSUP – iSUPs are generally thicker than hard SUPs and therefore likely to keep your feet drier as your feet will be further from the water
Practice launching fin first – this allows you to launch in shalloweand then turning around on your board, so you can launch without getting your feet wet
Keep moving your feet and wiggling your toes throughout your session to keep blood circulating and your feet warmer
Try your hardest to keep your feet dry for as long as possible (ideally the whole session!)
Start your session with warm dry feet if possible

If you’ve got any other footwear suggestions or top tips for keeping your feet warm during winter we’d love to hear them.

Thomas Oschwald - paddling in the cold

Extreme adventure paddler Thomas Oschwald recently spent afew weeks in Finland. A layer of ice covering his kit and the risk of frostbite are just afew of the challenges faced when paddling in colder climates. So why do it?!! And how do you do it?!! SUPboarder caught up with Thomas to talk super cold SUPing and get some tips on the best things to wear when paddleboarding in the extreme cold…

Hi Thomas. Just looking at your pictures makes us feel cold! Paddling in a chilly wind is one thing, but paddling in minus temperatures with ice on your board and your boots is a whole another challenge! 

SB/ How do you do it?And what do you wear when paddling in extreme cold climates?
TO/ On the water I wear a breathable drysuit from DADOR. Depending on the temperatures, I can put on more or less layers of clothing and thus optimally vary the climate within the dry suit. I always wear a life jacket, which also protects my upper body from the cold, along with base layers from ION. The side pockets and the front pocket of the ION Booster X lifejacket offer enough space for the most important accessories, such as my emergency sender, GPS and energy bar, which I always carry with me at hand. Down trousers ensure enough warmth on the legs. And to protect my feet from the wet, I wear rubber boots, which I can waterproof connect with the dry suit. At very low minus temperatures normal rubber boots without an inner lining are no longer sufficient. Then I use waterproof winter boots. The feet must remain dry in any case, otherwise they would cool down in no time. At temperatures above freezing on my hands I wear Open Palm Mittens 2.5 ION, which are very good for paddling, as they keep my hands nice and warm aswell as allowing easy operation of the camera. At temperatures below freezing I wear normal mittens since the isolation of Neoprene gloves is no longer enough. It is important that these gloves stay as dry as possible, which is not easy in bad weather. Therefore, it is always advisable to take replacement gloves.

SB/ What else do you do to stay warm and keep your kit dry?
TO/ In freezing temperatures, it is important to keep the inside of the gloves dry. Otherwise your hands will soon be very cold. For rubber boots, it is important to ensure that they are waterproof connected to the dry suit and have a sufficiently high insulation value. Otherwise, the cold penetrates mercilessly through the thin rubber layer of the boot inside and there is a risk of frostbite on the toes. When camping on land, in addition to a warm sleeping bag, the insulation mat is very important. In cold and humid environments I prefer sleeping bags and mats with synthetic filling. Down filling which gets wet quickly loses its insulation value. All my equipment I wrap twice in waterproof pack sacks. I use a waterproof Duffle Bag by EXPED as a first layer and additional packs as a second layer.

SB/ What are you the biggest challenges when paddling in the cold?
TO/ Due to the cold, the feel-good room is extremely reduced. On the water I can move freely and discover the world. But on the shore is the only place where I can feel warmth and security – in my sleeping bag in the tent. Especially for tours over several weeks, this is a psychological challenge, which should not be underestimated. For day trips, the biggest challenge is to leave the comfortable sofa in the warm living room! Paddling in the winter is extremely nice. With good equipment it is as much fun as it is in summer.

SB/ How do you stay motivated during the winter months?
TO/ Whether summer or winter, rain or sunshine, I always find a way to motivate me. To be outside and to experience a real adventure is for me something of the most beautiful thing there is.

There is only one paddle season for me and it starts on the 1st of January and ends on the 31st of December!

For me, there is only one reason that I do not paddle even in the rain and snow… and that is my own laziness! To overcome this convenience always requires the greatest motivation.

SB/ Any top tips for winter paddling? !!
TO/ Invest in good winter gear and you’ll have a great time on the water all year round. Mirror-smooth lakes, deserted shores, crystal-clear water and a fresh breeze that will sweeten your day… that’s paddling in the winter.

Overcome the inner bastard and you will experience a real adventure that will warm your heart (and hopefully your body) even in the lowest freezing temperatures.

So… no excuses. Get yourself kited out properly and you can enjoy 365 days of paddling wherever you are!If you want to paddle everyday, you can. 

Thomas Oschwald - paddling in the cold

So… no excuses. Get the right kit and you too could enjoy 365 days of SUPing this year.

Where’s the coldest place you’ve paddled? We’d love to hear from you and know how you stayed warm on the water.

Follow Thomas and his adventures via his Facebook page

ION 4/3mm ladies Trinity Amp & mens Onyx Amp – £259/€319/$375*

Wetsuits come in all shapes, sizes and price tags. In this new SUPboarder review we look at 2 performance wetsuits from ION. Both ladies and mens suits are 4mm thick in the body/legs and 3mm on the arms, making them the ideal suits for water temperatures 13-20 °C or 55-65°F. These suits are super supple which makes them ideal for paddlers who want comfort as well as warmth high on their priority list. If you ‘re looking to have one wetsuit that does it all, the Trinity Amp or Onyx Amp could just be it.

Visit the ION website for more details about these wetsuits and their full range. www.ion-products.com

*All prices are approx due to current ex-change rates.

Are you looking for a pair of shorts that are practical, stylish and yet cosy? Then these Horizon shorts from Palm might be just what you’re after. We’ve been testing these sorts in all weather and paddling conditions and they really are more then just a summer pair of shorts. From racing to SUP surfing they do it all and are super comfy and cosy too.

About Palm

Palm is one of the leading designers and manufacturers of “Gear for Paddlers.’ From their origins in a small shed in Somerset in 1979 Palm Equipment was originally designed for the kayak and canoe market, however they are now making a range of products suitable for SUPers including jackets, PFD’s, shorts, leggings, tops, rash vests, ponchos, booties and accessories.
Palm has a range of shorts in their clothing range, for both men and women, including quick drying board shorts, neoprene shorts and their 2in1 Horizon shorts.

Palm Horizon shorts (mens) – £64.95

Designed as a practical, comfortable and stylish piece of clothing for all types of paddlers, Palm’s Horizon shorts have a windproof outer shell and fleecy attached inner shorts. Palm have thought of it all!

  • Available in both mens and womens range.
  • Available in colours – blue and jet grey (mens), aqua and jet grey (ladies)
  • Available in 4 sizes – S,M,L,XL (mens) WS, WM, WL, WXL (ladies)

The 5’11 medium build male tester wore a size M.

The SUPboarder verdict

Palm’s horizon shorts might just look like your usual pair of boardies, but these fashionable looking, top quality shorts have got some clever hidden features. There’s a lot more to them than meets the eye! With a windproof outer shell, attached fleece inner shorts, high neoprene waistband with lace adjustment, roomy splash proof thigh pocket and loose, unrestrictive fit they have definitely been designed with paddlers in mind.

The below knee outer shell is both windproof and water resistant which helps keep you warm and dry when paddling or sitting on your board. The fleece inner shorts feel really soft against your skin and give the shorts a cosy feel, especially with their high waist band. But despite being tight fitting they’re very comfortable and not sweaty at all. Their snug inner shorts also means that any unexpected dunkings are softened (especially to the lower regions!) as water is less likely to flush up your shorts when you fall in. The high cut waist and lace adjustment means the shorts stay well positioned and you stay well covered when paddling. The roomy thigh pocket is perfect for keys or an energy bar, and the YKK AquaGuard splash proof zip keeps everything dry (unless you have a proper dunking!)

The stretchy fleece inner shorts and loose fitting outer shorts means the shorts are not restrictive in any way, and are perfect for all types of paddling. Cosy and yet cool, comfy and yet practical. They look stylish both on and off the water.

The shorts are suitable for a range of paddling conditions. The long length provides great wind and sun protection, ideal for both those sunny summer days and windier conditions. And the fleecy inner shorts provide that extra bit of warmth (as well as support!) on those chillier days, when you don’t want to paddle in full leggings or a wetsuit.

The combination of a windproof outer shell and cosy inner shorts means you really do get 2 pairs of shorts in one and the best of both worlds! Horizon shorts will keep you much warmer than a pair of standard boardies so you’ll be able to keep paddling in your shorts more than just throughout summer.

Pros – reasonably priced
Cons – not the most flattering female cut shorts

Palm's Horizon ShortsFor more information about Palm and their products check out the Palm website.

SUPboarder tester Reuben Ellis

ION's Neo Long Sleeved Womens Top

In the past the decision was “wetsuit or no wetsuit?” when paddling. But today there are so many more great clothing options, keeping paddleboarders warm, protected and comfortable on the water. ION is one brand who have a comprehensive clothing range suited for all types of paddler. SUPboarder has been putting the ladies ION Neo Top (also available in mens) to the test. Here’s the SUPboarder verdict… 

About ION

ION is a brand “run by passionate people, whose big love has always been watersports.” ION develops gear that is not only smart and innovative, but also transforms this passion into a unique design. Originally launched as a watersports brand back in 2004, focusing on wetsuits and neoprene products, ION then expanded to include accessories, apparel, and also in 2012 functional gear for cycling.

ION’s belief that “even the smallest items in the product range deserve the same dedication and precision as every complex item” explains why their high quality, stylish neo products have found fans all over the world.

ION Neo Long Sleeved 2/1 Women’s Top – £96.95

ION’s Neo Tops are designed for use “in warmer waters to keep the sun and wind off the skin, or as a second layer underneath a wetsuit in colder climates.” With a more detailed and technical construction than that of a standard rash guard, they have been designed to provide “100% UV protection, efficient heat retention and a reduction in irritations and bruising often caused by harnesses and surfboards”

Available in 2 colour ways in ladies – Petrol or Raspberry
Choice of 5 sizes – 34/xs 36/s 38/m 40/l 42/xl
Long and short sleeve version available.
UV Resistant – UPF 50
Available in both men and womens.

The SUPboarder verdict

The ladies long sleeve Neo top looks and feels quality, and is super soft inside and out. The stretchy 2/1mm neoprene makes it extremely easy to get on and off. And the wool-like Hot-Stuff lining is very cosy and feels great against bare skin. The bright colourful design across the shoulders and both arms gives the top a unique stylish look, and will certainly make you stand out from the crowd! The top is a good cut, fitted but not too tight. And the longer back means you stay well covered and protected from the sun and wind when paddling. There is a front loop which can be attached to your shorts to prevent the top from rising up, however the tester did not feel there was any need to use this as the top stayed in position well. There is also a good quality, short side zip to allow a looser fit and aid getting the top on & off.

The long sleeve neo top tested was size 38/M (petrol) and fitted the size 10 female tester well.  It was worn as a single layer with a pair of neo leggings and also under a summer wetsuit in the surf. When worn alone the top provided excellent UV and wind protection, and it was comfortable to paddle in when both wet and dry. No chaffing experienced, comfortable around the neck and the top provided a nice warm layer following a quick dunk! It absorbed little water so the top dried quickly and kept the tester warm.

Under a thin wetsuit the Neo Top provided an excellent 2nd layer keeping the tester warm and comfortable throughout the session. The added layer also provided excellent impact protection when climbing back on the board in the surf.

The long sleeve Neo Top from ION is an excellent versatile top which can be used all year around. It performs just as it says it should as a single layer or under a wetsuit, and having the option of long or short sleeve is ideal if you prefer to keep your arms free. Perfect if you want to stay protected from the sun and keep warm without having to wear a full wetsuit during spring/summer. And a cosy second layer to wear under a wetsuit on those colder days. It’s quite thick so probably more suited for someone going for a leisurely paddle rather than paddling hard. As with all neoprene products its important to rinse with fresh water after each use to ensure it dries properly and doesn’t smell! But after frequent use throughout the spring the testers long sleeve top still performs well and looks like new. A very useful neo accessory to have in your bag whatever the weather.

Pros – excellent quality, 2 colour choices and very versatile (can be used as a single layer or under a wetsuit in a range of weather conditions)
Cons – bold design (you’ll either love it or hate it!)

For more information about ION and their products check out the ION website

Words – SUPboarder tester Lucy Ellis

Up for grabs in this months ‘Subscribe and WIN’ are some cool Palm Horizon shorts. This product from Palm, which is available in mens and womens sizes, is being reviewed by the SUPboarder Team as we write this. But we can tell you that they’re an impressive quality bit of kit. These shorts retail at £64.95 but we are giving SUPboarder readers the chance to win them FREE.

All you need to do to be in with the chance to win is subscribe to the SUPboarder newsletter, keeping you updated with all the latest SUPboarder news. If you’ve already joined you don’t need to do anything as you’ll automatically be entered in the draw. But if you haven’t yet, to be in with a chance to win this great product, simply click the subscribe link below. 

Subscribe / Enter – Click here
About the Palm Horizon shorts

The tidy lines of these shorts hide some clever features. Under the windproof shell is a warm‚ comfortable fleece liner. The neoprene waistband and lace-up closure keep the shorts in place and a roomy thigh pocket holds your keys close at hand.

Materials: Nylon 200D, Fleece (92% polyester 8% elastane)
Entry: Pullover entry (inflated)
Fit: Waistbelt
Pockets: YKK AquaGuard zipped thigh pocket
Weight: 378 g (L)

Waist
  • Lace adjustment
  • Neoprene waistband
Other Features
  • Fleece inner shorts

Your information will never be shared with a third party. Winner chosen at random from our full mailing list. Winners draw will take place on the 30th June 2017. Don’t miss out!

Deciding what to wear when paddling is not easy. Ensuring you don’t get too hot or too cold, and stay comfortable when both wet and dry can often be a challenge. Palm however have brought out a Neoflex product range designed to trick all the boxes, in and out of the water. SUPboarder takes a closer look at two great products from Palm – the Men’s Neoflex Longsleeve Top and Leggings (also available in the womens range) 

About Palm

Palm is one of the leading designers and manufacturers of “Gear for Paddlers.’ From their origins in a small shed in Somerset in 1979 Palm Equipment was originally designed for the kayak and canoe market, however they are now making a range of products suitable for SUPers including jackets, PFD’s, shorts, leggings, tops, rash vests, ponchos, booties and accessories.

Part of Palm’s Neo thermal insulation system, Neoflex, are “thin super stretch garments specifically designed to be worn next to the skin whilst participating in immersion activities.” Designed to be “warm and comfy when dry, and super stretchy and supple when wet” the Neoflex range has certainly been designed with SUPers in mind.

Palm Neoflex Longsleeve Top (mens) – £79.95

The longsleeve top‚ made of thin and ultra stretchy 0.5mm 4 way stretch neoprene bonded to a soft Thermospan liner is designed to be warn as a “stand-alone layer in warm conditions or underneath a paddle jacket when it gets colder.” Windproof, waterproof and a great insulator when wet it should make the perfect paddling top.

  • Available in 1 colour – Jet grey/Blue
  • Available in 5 Men sizes – S, M, L, XL, XXL

The 5’11” medium build tester wore a size M.

The SUPboarder verdict

The Neoflex long sleeve top looks simple but there’s a lot more to it. The dual colour way, quality materials and good cut gives it a stylish look over shorts and leggings. The slightly longer rear hem means you stay well covered and warm when paddling, and no underarm seams prevents any chaffing. The soft thermaspan liner feels great against bare skin dry and wet. And the super stretchy thin neoprene makes it easy to get on and off even when wet. It feels super comfy to wear in a range of paddling conditions, and kept the tester warm on chilly morning paddles, and cool when paddling in the heat on a sunny day. A snug fitting top but not restrictive in any way and the ideal piece of clothing to wear in a range of paddling conditions, with other Neoflex garments or just a pair of boardies. The perfect top for a cruisy paddle or when competing.

Pros – one top that can be used in a wide range of paddling conditions. Available in both long and short sleeve. 
Cons – not the cheapest and no colour choice.

Palm Neoflex Leggings (mens) – £74.95

As with all the Neoflex garments the leggings have the same neoprene/thermaspan material construction and are designed to be windproof, waterproof and a great insulator when wet.

  • Available in 1 colour – Jet grey/Blue
  • Available in 5 sizes – S, M, L, XL, XXL

The 5’11″medium build tester wore a size M.

The SUPboarder verdict

If you’re used to paddling in either board shorts or a wetsuit then tight leggings might not be your first clothing choice but don’t dis them until you’ve tried them! Palm’s Neoflex ankle length leggings look much like a wetsuit, are super easy to get on, super flexible and super comfy when wet and dry. The soft lining and flat lock stitched seams makes them extremely comfortable against bare skin. And the higher cut at back and rolled waist band means they stay firmly in place and keep you well covered when paddling. No need to stop and pull them up half way through your paddle stroke! Great protection from the wind on those chillier paddling days, and from the sun when its too hot for a wetsuit but you want to stay covered.

The neoflex leggings can be warn with a neoflex top or just a simple rash vest or t-shirt.

Pros – Ideal when you don’t want to wear a wetsuit but want to stay warm & well covered.
Cons – not the cheapest and no colour choice

The Neoflex product range from Palm can certainly be used in a wide range of paddling conditions, so you can be sure you can get your money’s worth out of them. The fact you can either wear them together or separately makes them much more versatile than a wetsuit and probably cheaper too. As with all Palm products they ooze quality and come with a 12 month guarantee so you can be sure they’ll last. The testers Neoflex products have been well used and yet still look as new, maintaining their elasticity, softness and colour. 2 great products from Palm. We look forward to reviewing more of their products and giving you the SUPboarder verdict soon!

For more information about Palm and their products check out the palm website palmequipmenteurope.com

Also available – Women’s Neoflex Top & Leggings

The women’s Neoflex Top & Leggings are much the same as the men’s just different colourways & cut. Well worth checking out too.

Neoflex Top (long & short sleeve)

  • Available in 4 sizes S, M, L, XL
  • Available in 1 colour – Aqua/Glacier

Neoflex Leggings

  • Available in 4 sizes S, M, L, XL
  • Available in 1 colour – Jet Grey

Words – Reuben Ellis

 

ION Neo Cosy Coat

There’s so much more to neoprene than just wetsuits. Neo accessories including gloves, boots, and jackets are now common place on the market and are a great accessory to help keep any water enthusiast warm on and off the water. SUPboarder takes a look at the Neo Cosy Coat from ION, designed for use all year round on the beach and whilst paddling…

About ION

ION is a brand “run by passionate people, whose big love has always been watersports.” ION develops gear that is not only smart and innovative, but also transforms this passion into a unique design. Originally launched as a watersports brand back in 2004, focusing on wetsuits and neoprene products, ION then expanded to include accessories, apparel, and also in 2012 functional gear for cycling.

ION’s belief that “even the smallest items in the product range deserve the same dedication and precision as every complex item” explains why their high quality, stylish neo products have found fans all over the world.

ION Neo Cosy Coat – £149.95

The 3/4 length Neo Cosy Coat from ION is designed as with all the Neoprene Accessories to “protect you and keep you warm.” Made from Neoprene it can be used over your wetsuit when back on the beach to warm up after a surf or help keep you warm during competition heats. Designed to get wet, it also makes the perfect extra layer to take with you on your board on those longer paddles. No need to worry about it getting wet or finding room in your dry bag for extra layers.

The ladies Neo Cosy Coat is made from 2.5mm thick blue neoprene, and is available in 4 sizes (36/S, 38/M, 40/L, 42/XL). The size 10 SUPboarder tester wore a medium size Cosy Coat over their wetsuit.

The SUPboarder verdict

The Cosy Coat is excellent quality and well designed. The navy blue neoprene, with light blue edging/zips gives the coat a stylish look. And the good cut, mid thigh length and soft inside makes the coat feel just as the name suggests… cosy! The long sleeves with shaped cuffs provide great wind protection on your hands, and the velcro fastenings on the cuffs allows them to be easily shortened if required. There are 2 generous deep zipped pockets, one of which contains a useful key loop, are the perfect size for warming up your hands or keeping small essentials safe. When zipped up fully the coat has a nice high neck and a good fitting generous sized hood with toggle tighteners and a small rain peak. The hood is well designed and easy to adjust, providing excellent wind and rain protection whilst also maintaining good visibility and positioning when used paddling. The coat and hood is very comfortable and does not hinder your paddling movements when the correct size. A harness hook opening at the front of the jacket means it really is an all round watersports coat, designed to fit snuggly around windsurfers and kitesurfers harnesses, as well as being the ideal SUPers neo accessory. Just like any neoprene garment it’s designed to get wet, just remember to rinse it with fresh water regularly to speed up the drying process and help preserve the fabric. After a few months use the testers cosy coat still looks like new.

It’s not cheap, but the Cosy Coat is one of those items that once you get one, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without one! Comfy and cosy, it’s a great accessory which certainly helps keep you warm on and off the water, and makes SUPing all year round that bit more enjoyable! And no doubt your mates will be asking to borrow it next time you’re at the beach!

The Neo Cosy Coat has been designed for ladies. However there are similar men’s jackets also available from ION. Check out the ION Neo Shelter Jacket, and the Neo Cruise Jacket.

ION-Neo-Cosy-Coat

Pros Good quality, cosy coat which will definitely help keep you warm when in your wetsuit on and off the water.
ConsNo colour choice for ladies (navy blue or navy blue!) and quite a pricey accessory!

For more information about ION and their products check out the ION website. 

Words – SUPboarder tester Lucy Ellis
Photos – Philip Arthur

If you’re after the perfect paddle garment to get you on the water this summer check out the Palm Neoflex long sleeve top. This high quality top from Palm retails at £79.95. But we are giving SUPboarder readers the chance to win it FREE.

All you need to do to be in with the chance to win is subscribe to the SUPboarder newsletter, keeping you updated with all the latest SUPboarder news. If you’ve already joined you don’t need to do anything as you’ll automatically be entered in the draw. But if you haven’t yet, to be in with a chance to win this great product, simply click the subscribe link below. 

Subscribe / Enter – Click here
About the Palm Neoflex Top

A longsleeve top‚ made of thin and ultra stretchy neoprene bonded to a soft Thermospan liner. Warm‚ flexible and simple‚ for a superb connection with the water.

Materials: NeoFlex (0.5 mm 4-way-stretch neoprene with Thermospan liner)
Weight: 440 g (L)
Cut
  • Form fitting
  • Stretches when wet
  • No underarm seams prevent chafing
  • Dropped rear hem
Construction: Flatlocked seams
Other Features
  • Soft Thermospan liner for moisture wicking and comfort
  • Lifted collar to prevent chafing

Your information will never be shared with a third party. Winner chosen at random from our full mailing list. Winners draw will take place on the 30th April 2017. Don’t miss out!

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Palm Poncho's reviewed - Changing robes

Palm have joined the ranks of brands offering a changing solution to help with the post-paddle car park dance with two products, the Palm ‘Poncho’ and the Palm ‘Poncho Grande’. Ponchos are an easy way to get changed after a paddle in any public space… slip it on, get changed and drop the damp poncho in the bucket with your paddling gear.

About Palm

From their origins in a shed in Somerset in 1979 Palm Equipment have become one of the leading designers and manufacturers of “Gear for Paddlers.’ Originally for the kayak and canoe market they are now making more equipment for SUP.

The Poncho – £39.95

The majority of ponchos available are like the standard offering from Palm, a simple sleeveless towelling robe with a very lose cut that enables anyone to maintain their decency. And the poncho, in Palm’s trademark turquoise does exactly that. It’s nice and long so that even our rather tall tester could use it easily and maintain his modesty and it has nice big holes at the shoulders making it easy to get your arms in, and out. Unlike many similar garments it has a hand warmer pocket across the front that’s ideal for putting your car keys in when changing.

palm-cascade-1

 

The Poncho Grande – £69.95

The Grande is a different garment altogether. Sharing the same sleeveless design as the Poncho but with the addition of a weather resistant outer layer making it a far more useful bit of kit particularly in cold, windy conditions (also known as British weather, at any time of year!) Its first test was at the British SUP Club Championships on a typically autumnal day in September at Bray Lake. It was breezy and overcast with a hint of drizzle and the Poncho Grande stayed firmly in place on our testers shoulders between events. It’s warmth and protection from the weather was particularly appreciated between each of the SUP Polo rounds where dunking was guaranteed! Like the standard poncho it is long with a generous cut and a hand warmer pocket.

palm-grande

The SUPboarder Verdict

Both versions of the Palm Poncho do the job they are designed for. The standard poncho competes with dozens of other similar garments available today, while the Grande has few competitors, certainly at its retail price. The outer layer makes it much more versatile than basic towelling robes, and as well as using ours all day to get changed at the British SUP Club Championships we’ve also hung out in the Grande between autumn surfing sessions. The fact that the Grande can be used for more than a quick change makes it a SUPboarder winner.