Best Wetsuits 2020: Xcel Comp X
The daily driver of rubber surfwear.
Watch the complete 2020 Best Wetsuits test here.
We’ve all had those days. Solid swell forecast, conditions generally aligning, nothing to do but surf from sun-up to sun-down.
You’re so confident in that glowing orange report that you decide to get suited at home. It saves time and protects your toes from the cold scrape of the asphalt. Then you show up at the first spot, and the sandbar’s not quite lining up. No worries, you’ve got plenty of options. Head to spot two, and the tide’s just a little off. Annoying, but not the end of the world. Onto spot three. Ridiculously crowded. Like, waaay too crowded.
Let’s stop for brunch.
But wait, you’re still wearing your wetsuit. You can’t go guzzle down waffles and choccy milk in a rubber tuxedo…can you? No. That would be absurd. But…is it really more absurd than taking off a dry wetsuit?
Existential questions, these.
This is basically how my day went in the Xcel Comp X. I was in the suit by 7 am, didn’t surf till 4 pm. That’s nine hours driving around in a dry-ass wetsuit, searching for the elusive sandbar (we eventually found it, btw). I think at one point I literally took a nap in the thing.
And you know what? It wasn’t the worst.
I haven’t spent a full day in a wetsuit since I was 12. I assumed the sweating, chafing, and general mustiness of the situation would be unbearable in my mid-20s. To my surprise, I stayed dry and for the most part comfortable throughout the day. My only concern were the little rubber stoppers on the ankles, which were intent on ripping out every one of my lower leg hairs. Hobbit problems.
When it came time to finally surf, the Comp X continued to impress. It was solid in both the comfort and warmth categories, without being remarkable in either. My overall assessment was that this is a perfect utilitarian wetsuit. It gets the job done with little fanfare or frills. The type of suit you can wear every day (or all day) without getting sick of it.
I’ve been wearing Xcel suits all my life. They feel like home to me. After this experience, I might have to be buried in one.
Bonus: 5 for all-day wear-ability
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