The New Rip Curl Flash Bomb
FASTEST DRYING WETSUIT FEATURES
- Flash Dry Lining
No more pulling on a wet, cold wetsuit.
- E3 Neoprene
Lighter, Warmer, More Flexible.
- Stichless Technology
Double Taped, Stichless Seam eliminate pin hole leaks, creating maximum stretch and the most waterproof, durable seams.
The Flash-Bomb is the next generation in Bomb technology, resulting in the world’s lightest, warmest, most flexible AND FASTEST drying wetsuit.
South Coast Rip Curl Flash Bomb Review
Words: Fabiano Sarmento
Year in and year out our beloved wetsuit companies are faced with the daunting task of updating their suits in attempt to make them a better version than their predecessors. Occasionally after so many alterations they simply can’t call it the same suit; however there are times when new additions create new purpose and with new purpose come a new identity. That’s the case with this year’s induction of the Rip Curl Flash Bomb. Upon first glance of the suit’s exterior it appears near identical to the 2010/2011 F-bomb but the real changes have been made internally to boost this suits new goals; stay as warm as possible with as little neoprene we can get away with and to dry at a rapid pace so by the time were done powering down breakfast our suit is ready for another go.
The primary difference is the new shag carpet lining inside the suit. Yes we’ve all seen different forms of poly pro but if there is any point I can get across it is that they are not all created equal! From the moment I crawled into the Rip Curl Flash Bomb it was as if I was back in my bed rolled up in my blankets. I didn’t get to do a preferred in-water test but I did take 4 ounces of fresh water and pour it onto the suit to see this flash drying for myself. After rubbing the water into the Flash lining I draped it over a bar and watched water quickly sheer away from the center of the chest and right off the legs and neck leaving the chest a lot dryer than my suit which had been lying next to it. Rip Curl kept their word as within about 15 minutes the test site felt as if the suit had only been lightly misted with a spray bottle. The trick is you have to dry the suit vertically. Leaving it bundled up in a ball won’t do much, the suits poly wicks water around but you need to let gravity take it somewhere in order to dry out.
I’ve ridden many Rip Curl F-bombs over the years and this is indeed a new breed. Previous years had the suit bearing significant amounts of extra weight (save last year) especially when wet but they were all damn toasty. The major downside was if you were doing a double session; despite a few hours of drying time the F-bomb would still be a soaking wet rubbery maze that left most of us thinking twice about how bad we wanted to paddle back out. Don’t try and play off you haven’t done it, we all have ditched round 2 just to avoid pulling a cold soaked wetty up to our crotches. Any suit that makes a point of drying fast so I have a better chance of not groaning my way out of double session before noon and being a relatively responsible adult has got my attention.
Now just because the Flash lining has that effect does not mean that the normal external neoprene retains the same quick dry properties so don’t get huffy if the inside is dry but the exterior is damp to the touch. Also remember to dry the suit inside out, seems obvious but I know better than to leave stones un-turned in these reviews. The flash lining’s purpose is to move as much water away from your core heat zones in order to keep you as dry as possible. If you keep the core areas of blood flow dryer they stay warmer. The warmer those areas are, the hotter your blood can stay as it travels to your extremities and essentially trick the rest of your body that you’re not in a freezing cold environment, that’s the purpose of poly-pro in a nut shell. The few panels of the suit that are E3 neoprene (namely the arms and neck) are not critical in keeping warm and frankly would needlessly hold back your paddling had they placed Flash Dry lining in those areas.
If you want to avoid a 4/3 this year and don’t want to order a suit with a detachable hood than I’d say snag one of these. Gauging what water temperatures a suit is utilized in is near impossible. We all run different and we all have our own definitions of warm. There are those whom are just far more active in the water as we paddle battle while others are static waiting on the 50 year storm set. I’ll qualify my range by saying I do a more than a fair amount of paddling and run a little on the warmer side because of that so I’d run this suit comfortably without booties gloves or a hood in 58-53 degree water. Yes that’s a big range but warm to me means I’m able to feel my feet after an hour of surfing and don’t need to cut in early to keep blood in my toes. I also rarely complain about being too hot, nothing a quick dunk can’t fix.
The flexibility for the suit is on par with last years F-bomb. There is a little extra weight than last year’s model (last season was the lightest I’ve experienced of the series) so that may at first feel like it could hold you back but fret not. They kept the Flash liner out of the arms for reducing weight and keeping your pistons going at maximum capacity as you race with the local sponsored grom for a set wave. They also kept liquid taping solely to the external seems for this reason. Liquid tape is excellent for warmth but happens to hinder flexibility as neoprene can now only stretch as far as the tape. Internally they run E3 tape which from my understanding is a neoprene based tape that has a stretch capacity greater than the suit itself. Running double liquid tape would hold the suit back quite a bit, as I’ve experienced in the past while this method keeps the suit nice and free. Last thing you want is have your suit turn into a piece of workout equipment that does more cardio than surfing. If you disagree with that statement then please come surf with me, I’d be all too happy to throw turns on all the waves you’re too exhausted from to paddling into for after your first half hour.
This suit is not for everyone. If you surf every session as if it were a twenty minute NSSA final I’d say shift down into an E-bomb. For those of us who may lack natural insulation, have sensitive joints to the cold, do dawn patrols in 3 foot blown out slop, want to dodge wind-chill, avoid chattering teeth or prefer the swell to fizzle out before we quit then this might be something you need to try on. This also makes an excellent secondary suit for those who like to make the occasional Rincon or Steamer Lane run. Maybe hold back on the bright colors if you’re going anything North of Santa Barbara. When it comes to peeing in one (don’t lie we all do it) I’d say do so at your own risk or make sure you rinse that suit once you’re home. I’ve owned heavy poly suits before and they don’t relinquish odor very easily. Yes the urine would wick its way out quickly but the bacteria and other compounds it leaves behind is what will cause the lovely funk smell we as surfers are all known for having in our trunks and truck beds. Another option is pick up a bottle of Rip Curl’s Piss Off wetsuit cleaner. Stuff is a life saver when it comes to keeping your ride from smelling like a urinal and keeps your suit elastic for longer. All in all the transition from F-bomb to Flash Bomb shouldn’t be to big of a shock to long time F-bomb lovers as the suit hasn’t lost any features more than it has just been upgraded to a new form. -Fabs