Winter’s just around the corner which means air and water temperatures will soon be dropping. Check out SUPM’s review of North Coast Wetsuit’s gulf stream mini front zip 5/3 winter steamer – a good choice of rubber from a UK home gown brand that’ll keep you toastie this season.
The humble neoprene wetsuit is still the apparel of choice for many UK stand up paddle boarders, and it’s not hard to see why. Offering a cracking balance between warmth and usability, wettys straddle most areas of SUP – from waves to downwind, touring to race, a wetsuit will keep you toasty in most conditions.
North Coast Wetsuits are Cornwall based and produce semi-bespoke products tuned for the kind of ocean conditions we get in Northern Europe. It’s no surprise then that the brand’s mini front zip gulf stream winter steamer has a fairly thick cut – all designed with keeping heat levels dialled up.
Detailing is top notch with not a stitch, panel or seam out of place and there’s been some serious R&D put into the wrist, neck and ankle seals ensuring water flush is kept to a minimum. The mini front zip entry system is also efficient and eliminates cold brine sluicing down your back during rinse cycles.
It becomes apparent how flexible the NCW is as you enter through the tiny front entrance hatch. Easy on, it fits like a glove (the guys from NCW go through an extensive process of ascertaining each wearer’s correct size).
Paddling off the beach, the NCW wetty feels like a second skin with no restriction of movement. Even though this suit is double lined neoprene (rough surface) there wasn’t too much loss of heat through water evaporation. It’s important to keep moving when it’s brass monkeys, whatever gear you’re wearing, but there was no issue.
Having taken a few dunkings, water flush remained at minimum; those NCW seals doing a sterling job. Even though getting moist is par for the course (after all, it’s in the name – wetsuit!) there was still minimum damping once back at base. For a surf-inspired wetsuit, NCW’s winter steamer is a fine example of how the right attire can benefit your SUP sessions.
North Coast Wetsuits gulf stream mini front zip 5/3 winter steamer is an excellent example of home grown wetsuit design perfectly suited to the UK climate. The suit’s inbuilt flexibility lends itself to winter stand up paddling antics – whether that be in waves, on the flat or anything else in between. Also available as 5/3, 4/3 and 3/2.
Price: £189.95 (but check NCW website for deals)