The eagle-eyed of you will have noticed the waist band on the Orca RS1 Openwater, the result of this being a two-piece wetsuit. Shiromoto and De Soto have pushed the top and bottom neoprene concept but it’s made little headway in the UK. Based on RS1’s comfort, this could soon be set to change.
As soon as the RS1 is pulled on, the benefits of the two-piece become clear. A series of Velcro tabs link the top and bottoms together, essentially giving you an extra few centimetres of length adjustment to ensure the ultimate length fit. You buy the top and bottom separately as well, meaning you can opt for a bigger bottom size or smaller top, or vice versa, giving you something approaching a custom suit.
Into the water and there was a smattering of water ingress around the waist on entry but this subsided once horizontal, and the neck – minus a zipper – prevents water entry. The lack of zipper also means no chance of rubbing from the sealed neck, and no chilly water ingress along the spine. Elsewhere, shoulder flexibility is heightened to the levels offered by top-end suits and Orca’s use of Yamamoto’s 40cell neoprene provides huge suppleness and comfort.
Orca market this for open-water swimming but would we use it for tri? We noticed less core support and a touch less buoyancy from the two-piece, but the bottoms and top are swift to remove, pre-race toilet stops are problem-free and, unlike many wetsuits, we’d happily spend hours in it.
Verdict: The ultimate in wetsuit comfort, fit and flexibility at a mid-level price 91%
Buy from www.milletsports.co.uk
Contact : www.orca.com