What more appropriate suit could there be to dunk in the drink in the pursuit of knowledge than Xcel’s Infiniti Comp 3:2 TDC, given its SIMA Awards Wetsuit Of The Year gong and best-seller status?
Let’s get underneath the jargon and break down the headline features:
Infiniti denotes Xcel’s slightly more budget friendly range (40% cheaper than a Drylock) whilst retaining many top end features like stretchy aerated V-Foam, Thermo Dry seam tape and the grippy X2 Front Entry System.
The Comp label reflects the cut, there's a single panel of neoprene from the chest all the way to the knee which facilitates those explosive competition movements. Or dragging yourself through a laboured top turn if your name isn’t Noa Deane.
TDC is an acronym of Thermo Dry Celliant, a fast drying and hydrophobic lining which claims to, “convert your body heat into infrared energy for maximum warmth, increased endurance, faster recovery, and enhanced overall athletic performance.”
We initially stuck this suit into early season Atlantic session and can confirm it holds up well at the bottom of the temperature range (13 degrees Celsius / 55 Fahrenheit). Post surf it drys quickly, and whilst a suit not being sopping wet and cold when you put it on for surf number two before lunch is a luxury not a necessity, we like it nonetheless.
Summer is here in the North Hemisphere and the light weight of this suit (thanks to the high tech V Foam) means you won't be dragging the skin of a waterlogged seal with you as you try and catch those dribblers which make it past the blocking high pressure systems. Having lighter, stretchier and softer foam than the run-of-the-mill rubber can only be a plus in our book. Remember suits which crackled when you put them on as the neoprene split into a 1000 tiny crevasses? Thank you progress.
Coupled with the all-way stretch Thermo Dry seams and lining we can imagine this suit might well last into the tail end of the season and might well make a 4mm in-between suit redundant. Jump straight from here to a 5mm hooded, or perhaps if you are in milder climes stretch it all the way through.
The key to the Infiniti’s flexibility is the large panels of ultra stretch contoured neoprene. Seams limit flex and thus all things being equal it stands to reason their elimination will result in a more flexible suit which is crucial to performance. The aim of any wetsuit has to be to get to that point where the suit is almost a performance enhancer rather than an energy sapping suit of armour more suited to withstanding ballista bolts than making you pop like Albee Layer.
And this is the crucial point with modern suits which have to balance flex and performance with some kind of longevity. Other lesser quality but super flexible suits feel great initially but one miss-placed thumb during the usual tussle of entry and you have a repair bill on your hands, which trust us happens. Most of us treat wetsuit care with a level of distain which belies their performance characteristics, we grind them in the dirt and try to get them to rot on the back of the van during flat spells.
But of course there’s no point forking out a wad of cash for a good suit if it will not last and whilst it is impossible to say how this suit will fare two years hence we have had enough experience with Xcel over the years to say the evidence of returns (or lack of them) sits very much in their favour.
This suit is a best-seller for a reason, competitively priced with features you might expect to have been dropped by this level, making it one of the best all-round full suits on the market today. We'd recommend choosing this suit if you don’t want to trade off between flexibility and warmth whilst wanting maximum feature bang for your buck.
Check out the suit on the MSW Store.