No B.S. Review
As the holidays get closer, water temps continue to drop which makes it an ideal time for us to test the latest and greatest offerings on the wetsuit market. On my long-term review hit list has been Matuse. Viewed by many as the Ferrari of wetsuits, they have historically been a niche brand, usually coming in slightly pricier than the average suit of comparable thickness and warmth. However, they have a strong following and some of my favorite pros proudly endorse the brand. I reached out to the Matuse team to see what all the hype was about and to see if they are really worth the extra cash.
For the purpose of this review they sent one of their new Tumo 432 Front Zip Full Suits. Right out of the box my first surprise was how light it was! I've been wearing four and five mil suits my whole surfing life and this is by far the lightest finished product of this class that I've held to date!!! The weight reduction is greatly attributed to Matuse's Geoprene. Produced exclusively by Yamamoto for Matuse, the Geoprene used in this suit is created from limestone and isn't made from petroleum based products. Geoprene is derived from 99.7% pure limestone and is constructed with built-in air chambers that act like mini-pressure cookers when combined with your body's radiant heat.
It's warmer than traditional neoprene and it is 98% water impermeable! This combination creates a material that is warm, flexible, reliable, and thinner than any other neoprene on the market. It also lets Matuse worry less about materials selection and more on the other functional and structural design elements that go into the suit.
As far as construction goes, all of the seams are precisely glued and blind stitched and the wrist and ankle cuffs are heavily reinforced and extremely durable…overall, very water tight. One of the standout design features is the saddle seat cut in the lower half of the suit. Inspired by Jet-ski suits, this panel construction creates a much different profile and fit than a traditional suit. I found it to be more comfortable while straddling my board in the line up and less restrictive during pre and post surf stretching; as well as while performing more radical maneuvers. Matuse also applies a unique formula to their panel thickness and strategic placement. The Arms, upper chest and neck are all 2mm, the chest and back panel is 4mm for the core, and the stomach all the way down is 3mm. This combination creates the perfect balance of warmth, comfort, and maximum flexibility. The outer shell has Matuse's Titanium Coating which provides additional board traction, warmth, and a windproof barrier…all together offering the feel of a 3/2 full suit with the warmth of a 4/3!
The suit hosts a water tight front-zip entry that is inviting and easy to get in and out of. The most significant feature of the suit for me is the inside. The Hydrasilk lining used allows you to slip in and out of the suit with ease and it just feels amazing on your skin! I am confident in saying that it is by far the most comfortable I have ever been in a wetsuit and I've even had a few custom suits made!!!Lastly, Matuse added an external key pocket just above the outer left knee. I personally don't keep my key with me but the pocket placement is perfect and it fit a nub of wax perfectly!
Testing took place over a few months. This testing period went longer than I anticipated it would because I am usually only in a 4/3 for a short period of time in the Fall. As the water temp rapidly goes from cold to freezing here in New England, a 5 mil is the only solution to the cold. However, with the warmth and flexibility this suit offered, I wore it well into early 5 mil season and was just so impressed with the results!
My mind was telling me I was crazy to head out into the cold water in what is basically a 3/2 but my body was toasty and comfortable! The weight reduction in the suit actually helped me get in earlier and overall catch more waves than my 5 and 6 mil counterparts. After rigorous testing and regular use, the Tumo still looks and feels brand new! Also, esthetically it just has a more sophisticated and refined look and feel than the standard suit and you will definitely stand out in a crowd.
In closing I have to say that I truly believe that the premium cost of this suit is worth the price and it stands up to the hype. Coming in around $500, you certainly are paying a bit more for the Matuse option than your average suit of a comparable thickness. However, you really are getting the Ferrari of wetsuits and some of the best materials and craftsman ship on the market. The suit delivered in all the right areas and exceeded my expectations in others. The versatility and quality it provides will ensure that you will have a warm session and access to almost any conditions with a product that will last for years instead of just a few seasons…I confidently endorse the Matuse Tumo 432 to any of our readers and think you'll be seeing more Geoprene and Matuse products in lineups everywhere. As always, thanks for reading and be sure to tell a friend…
* A special thanks to Aaron Chang and the Matuse family for making this review happen and keeping me toasty all Fall!!!!