Conceived within the dark rocks and wild seas of the North Atlantic, the Nieuwland 5 has been designed to be tested in the harshest of conditions. When hands-on with this hunk of rubber you are immediately struck by its heft. This is one bombproof suit and the 6.5mm chest panel feels as if it could stop a high velocity bullet.
What's it good for? Surfing when daylight hours are fewer in number than office hours, and the North Atlantic is regularly the bleakest place imaginable. The good news is that the cut feels right and although you are layered up in rubber it still paddles like a breeze. If you feel the cold wearing this number then we can't help you any further.
In terms of aesthetics, the minimalist styling got the nod from everyone who cast an eye over it. Like Hurley's distinctive double band, the single pin line of white is instantly recognisable. Combined with the understated all black styling, Finisterre have hit their straps. As you would hope from a company specialising in functional and aspirational technical clobber.
The extra 3mm kidney patch feels as if there is a shaft of sunlight hitting the small of your back. In the depths of winter it will be like receiving a hug from the elements. Calf loops and the 50% wider (than standard) seam tape over double blind stitched seams further define the bespoke philosophy behind this suit. Think: durable and repairable. When we previewed the suit a few weeks back it was rightly pointed out that we cannot guarantee its longevity. Even the first test suit we've had in the water for less than 12 months, hardly enough time to wear it out. But the basis of a thoughtfully constructed and long lasting suit are all here.
The Nieuwland 5 specifications:
- 6.5mm chest and back panel, 4.5 mm arms and legs
- Designed for sea temperatures in the region of 4-10°C / 24-50°F
- High internal pile in over 80% of the suit
- Elongated back panel
- Extra 3mm lumbar patch over key lower back / kidney area
- High proportion of flexible neoprene across shoulders and through upper body to aid paddling
- Double needle blind stitched throughout suit: a safe stitch that will weather wear and tear
- 50% wider (than standard) seam tape: reduces water penetration and also adheres better to the suit, improving the durability
- Tension wrist bands seal you in
- Bespoke calf loops to facilitate suit entry
Located as we are in the cold north means we have decades of experience with wetsuits, surfing every day in the baltic North Atlantic. Just by due of existing for a few decades Atlantic surfers will get to know a reasonable amount about neoprene and will have become gently immune to the annual must-have technological breakthroughs. Truth of matter is: everyone has their favourite manufacturers and the top rubber is pretty much on a par in terms of utility whoever you choose. There are no bad suits these days, just different philosophies.
Finisterre's focus is on suit longevity and durability over outright performance. And you can have it in any colour you want so long as it’s black. There's also no female version of the suit, something we are expecting to see next year.
Uniquely, the Nieuwland 5 (also available in a thinner non hooded version called the 4) is the result of feedback from a unique rider led tester program. Something we haven't seen before. Thousands applied back in 2014 and 102 testers ended-up feeding back into the process of producing this first generation production suit.
Tom Kay, Finisterre’s founder explains this was the most exciting element of creating a wetsuit: "Working with a load of regular surfers from all around the UK and Ireland, we got direct insights into what they needed from a suit," he explains. "In some cases we were getting reports after each surf, so yes I think it’s worked really well, and was the first of its kind. The feedback was pretty consistent and from it we made some changes which have ultimately led to a better end product."
And if you want the wetsuit then dig in here.
Cover shot: Adam Primmer / magicseaweed