At A Glance
Ride Engine has had a reputation for innovation and quality from the very start. In the company's early days in 2010, it all started in Santa Cruz in Coleman Buckley's garage, with experimental custom moulded hardshell harnesses. It was an idea that lit a fire in the industry, as you can see by the number of hardshell harnesses that exist in the market now.
In 2014, he joined forces with 7 Nation, a boardsports company based in Oregon's Pacific Northwest, which also has Slingshot under its umbrella. With the benefit of being with a larger company with more resources and purchasing power, an expanded range of harnesses and a full line of Ride Engine wetsuits hit the market in 2015.
I remember my first 3/2 Ride Engine wetsuit, purchased in 2016. Since 2016, their line has kept the same high quality while remaining blissfully uncomplicated. If you look at the Ride Engine website, there is one model of men's wetsuit, the Apoc, which is available in several thicknesses and with short leg options.
I got my hands on the 2022 Ride Engine Apoc in the 3/2 full suit version, and it had all the quintessential Ride Engine qualities that I've always appreciated. The suit is clean and minimalistic, with everything you need.
These suits offer the same functionality as some of the big surf brand names but are tuned to be kitesurfing friendly. For example, some surf suits have extra panels and padding in the chest and stomach area, which isn't necessary for kiting and is a potential disadvantage, as seams in areas where the harness is rubbing often shorten the life of the wetsuit and lead to more noticeable wear and tear. This is not the case with the Apoc.
The front-zip Apoc is the perfect wetsuit for kiting, with strategic stitching that allows flexibility and freedom of movement. The power seams are watertight without being stiff. The seams are where I usually start to notice wear and tear, and these seams still look good as new. I've been using this suit for three months and doing everything you're not supposed to do with a wetsuit (leave it in a hot car, leave it to dry in direct sunlight with a high UV index - sometimes for days, let it get salty and crusty, etc.) and it hasn't shown any signs of my poor treatment. I have treated wetsuits from other brands poorly in the past, and not all of them have been able to withstand the abuse.
There are other handy features like grippy dots inside the sleeves, so the wetsuit stays in place even when getting pummelled by the ocean. The knee pads are designed to be abrasion resistant, and the fleece inner lining is comfortable and quick-drying.
On the materials side, Ride Engine uses a PLC and PTFE-free limestone neoprene, which we appreciate as it's a choice made with the environment in mind. They've also gone with a water-based glue, which is another conscious choice which reduces the harmful chemicals we and the environment are exposed to.
Sizes: S, M, MT, L, LT, XL
On The Water
Even before putting the wetsuit on, I was blown away by how light and thin the suit was. Of course, putting on the wetsuit was a hassle-free experience. The Apoc is super stretchy, lightweight, and, on top of everything, warm. It was unbelievably easy to put on and take off, more so than any surf brand suit I've had to date. It felt light and thin while still offering the protection I wanted.
I had noticed the very nice quality zip before putting it on but realised when zipping it up that the zipper is directional, so you never have to fiddle with it to try to get it aligned; you just pull the neck over and pull the zip.
On the water, I was stoked with how cosy the suit was and how well it fit. I could guess by the flexibility on the beach that it would offer just as much performance on the water, and I was correct. After a few tacks, I had some board spray pop up through the ankles, and before you ask, no, I didn't put on the velcro straps. Luckily, or by design, the drainage system worked really well. At first glance, you don't notice the little holes, but when you see the water draining out, you can see they work exactly as intended. There were no big leg balloons after this session, that's for sure!
There's also a key pocket under the front zip, which I made good use of. I actually lost my key for a while because it's in such a well-hidden spot that is well cushioned that I forgot where I'd put it!
The Apoc has every quality that you could want in a perfect kitesurfing wetsuit! It is stretchy, comfortable, and warm. While it may look like a simple, no-nonsense suit, the devil is in the details. Ride Engine has made an ultra-functional wetsuit that goes on quickly, offers a comfortable and hassle-free ride, and dries off in a flash. And, I'll say it again, the flexibility was unreal. I'm looking forward to winter to get into a hooded version and see how the thicker suits compare!
This review was in Issue 95 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit Ride Engine