Our Favorite Wetsuits: O'Neill Heat FSW

The fun suit

Nov 29, 2012
Outside Magazine

Heat FSW.    Photo: O'Neill

I, being a chicken, did not plunge into Iceland’s glacier lagoon. But if I had taken a dip beside the icebergs, I would have worn the Heat.

It’s a workhorse, one that I trusted completely and never fussed over. Left crumpled in the trunk overnight? Big deal. Scraped on the bottom? No one can tell. Bobbing alone on a cold, dark night? At least I’ll be warm when I drift out to sea. Often called the first wetsuit company, O’Neill has a long history as the utilitarian’s go-to rubber. My experience supported the reputation.

The Heat is made from value-conscious neoprene and enhanced with well-executed details. Synthetic insulation in the torso kept my core extra cozy and flexible bands around the wrists made sure the tacky cuffs stayed in place while I flailed at a rocky pointbreak. The sash-style inner collar proved delightfully easy to climb into and out of at the truck. Minimal seams allowed as much flex as possible from the rubber, and waterproof glue stopped any water from penetrating at the seams.

Sometimes a weird suction effect developed in the suit—sliding off my board, I’d find the neoprene clinging to my crotch—but this seemed a small tradeoff. The Heat costs half as much as a decent board and allows you to surf virtually anywhere, including alone under the arctic sun.