Neoprene wetsuits make fabulous insulators for sports where you are continually immersed in cold water. As soon as you get out of the water however, the neoprene rapidly builds up heat, sweat, stink and overall discomfort. New company SeasonFive aims to address this huge gap in the market with their line of waterproof yet breathable technical watersports apparel.
SeasonFive's watersports apparel line is built around their proprietary Atmos 1.0 waterproof breathable fabric. Designed to block out wind, water and harmful UV rays, the fabric actually allows heat vapor to escape, keeping you comfortable not only in the cold water, but out of the water as well.
Recently, a good friend of mine offered to give me a couple of surf lessons at Stinson Beach. I jumped at the chance as a perfect testing ground for the SeasonFive Barrier Short Sleeve top I have on loan. In order to experience the difference between wearing SeasonFive and a regular neoprene wetsuit, I paired the Barrier Short Sleeve Top with some neoprene pants.
Upon submersing myself in the freezing cold waters off Stinson Beach, the neoprene pants quickly absorbed water that began to be warmed by my own body heat. The Barrier Top in comparison, didn't absorb any water and worked to keep water away from my skin, enabling me to stay warm as well as somewhat dry.
The minute you pop up out of the water, either on your board or back on the beach, the Barrier Top really shines. The wet neoprene pants quickly made me feel like I was wearing a soggy, sweaty, sandy diaper, where the Barrier Top dried quickly in the wind, while still keeping me warm.
The breathability of the Atmos 1.0 fabric enabled me to run around with Lola on the beach without working up a sticky sweat underneath the top. Minimal seams protect your skin from any sort of irritation and the 4-way stretch fabric supports your muscles, enabling you to catch more waves before getting tired.
Bottom Line: For any cold water sport where you are constantly in and out of the water- think surfing in Northern California, water-skiing in the Midwest, or paddling a mountain river- the SeasonFive line of technical watersport apparel is a welcome change from neoprene. The SeasonFive Barrier Top offers you more protection than a simple rash guard and keeps you way more comfortable than soggy, non-breathable neoprene.
The SeasonFive Barrier Short Sleeve Top retails for $79.99 and can be purchased, along with all the other SeasonFive technical watersports apparel line, from the company website.