I was excited to see that for 2014 ION have added a women’s specific drysuit to their already impressive range. Not just a pink and purple version of the popular men’s Fuse drysuit, this has been designed especially for the girls.
ION claim that this is the ‘warmest drysuit on the market’ and I think they’re pretty much on the mark with that self-professed accolade. Unlike other drysuit ‘shells’ the ION suit is made with 4/3 double lined neoprene so has all the insulation and warmth of a regular winter wetsuit, but with the added bonus that you stay dry and can wear extra layers underneath should you wish. I still can’t quite get my head around how a double lined neoprene suit is waterproof, but this one is, and ultimately that’s all that matters. All the seams are finished with extra tape manufactured to diving technology standard, which probably goes some way to helping keep the water out. Each suit also has to pass a waterproof test, so you can be sure it will live up to it’s name and keep you soggy-free.
Cut and designed to fit the female form the Envee instantly feels much better on than the men’s drysuits I tried last year. Movement is good and you don’t feel like you’ve got lots of excess material weighing you down or getting in the way. Equally your hips and boobs have been accommodated for, much appreciated!
The hood is detachable, but very welcome for those extra cold windy days, and is adjustable so you get a snug fit and it won’t just blow off when the wind catches it. Velcro fastenings around the wrist and ankles keep things tidy, and there are decent sized chest pockets, with handy interior elastic loops, for stashing your keys, gloves or even snacks as you’ll find yourself out on the water for so much longer!
Built into the neoprene is the Sanitized technology that ION uses in all their premium suits, a proven Swiss answer to the usual stinky odours caused by the build up of sweat, bacteria and mildew. It’s fortunate that the Envee suit has this magical Anti-Smell power, cause you will most likely find yourself sweating, as it’s so unbelievably warm!!
Rubber seals at the ankles, wrists and neck are the one less ‘pleasant’ aspects, yet also one of the most important features, to a drysuit. Getting your feet and hands through isn’t really a problem, but with the neck seal just remember to try and keep your hair out the way when squeezing your head through (it’s painful otherwise). Oh, and make sure you’ve removed any earrings as there’s a high probability they’ll get ripped out of your skin, or pierce the rubber, either way not something you want happening.
Getting the suit done up does require an extra pair of hands as it’s a long sturdy horizontal back zip. And remember to squeeze out all the air before you hit the water, otherwise swimming and body dragging are near on impossible. The neoprene itself has enough buoyancy to keep you afloat should you find yourself in trouble. Speaking of which there’s also a bright yellow safety whistle included, and reflective printing on the suit, just in case.
For female riders with poor circulation, a low cold tolerance factor, a freezing local kite spot, or who just want to stay on the water for longer during the winter toasty warm and with a smile on your face, then this is the suit for you! ION once again setting the bar for women’s specific choice, excellent quality and high-end features. Bring on the winter!
This review was in Issue 41 of IKSURFMAG.
By Mary BoothMary has been kitesurfing since 2006, she became and instructor in 2007 and travelled the world teaching the sport that she loves! She joined the IKSURFMAG team in 2008 and has been testing ladies kitesurfing equipment and writing articles from a woman's perspective ever since!