Although winter is putting up one heck of a fight, temperatures across the Northern Hemisphere are finally ticking upwards (albeit a little too slow for this Southern Californian’s blood). Nevertheless, for most of us who are still trekking out into the water, it’s still wetsuit weather. That is why its still important that we at The Watercraft Journal continue providing our in-depth reviews of some of the best gear your can get your hands on.
Jettribe continues as one of the only riding apparel manufacturers tailored specifically for personal watercraft enthusiasts and racers. The brand philosophy of race-grade equipment and gear for everyday use holds true in nearly everything they produce, most notably their RS-15 Race Suit. The red/black/white affair is one of Jettribe’s more attractive offerings in our opinion, as it is one of their more subdued designs.
The two-tone suit is clean, attractive and uncomplicated, featuring red stitching and highlights. Even with its racy features (more on those in a minute), the RS-15 suit’s subtlety is more our style.
In fact, much of Jettribe’s design aesthetic is a cacophonous collision of brilliant colors, zigzagging angles and patterns, which is outstanding for maximum visibility – particularly out on the race track, but might not be the most appealing to everyday casual riders.
Made from a two 3mm neoprene panels front and back (and around the legs), with thinner 2mm white panels along the sides, the underarms and waist, the thicker neoprene provides increased warmth and protection while the thinner side panels permit greater flexibility and comfort. We noted the difference in the two materials immediately, and were thankful for the improved range of motion.
The flexibility in the arms and shoulders was great, and the thinner 2mm underarms provided much needed breathability. We did note some bunching of material behind the knees, but that came as an exchange for the warmth the thicker 3mm neoprene provided. Since we’re still riding in pretty cold weather, we’ll happily live with some extra material behind the knees for staying warm longer.
Unlike traditional neoprene which is designed for users to remain submerged the whole time, Jettribe’s proprietary material is designed to provide an insular “barrier which slows down the conduction of heat, allowing the body’s heat to be retained.”
And trap in heat is does. Even with air temperatures in the mid-40s, we were dripping with sweat. It was only when on the throttle did we find relief, as the thinner side panels provided some thankful cooling.
As mentioned, Jettribe’s commitment to the core industry, particularly PWC racing, is evident it its incorporation of so many features even into its most entry level products. The RS-15 includes rubber-coated eye-rings at the end of each zipper, the two located behind each ankle, and at the end of a much-appreciated elongated tether for the back.
The RS-15 also features Jettribe’s “Jet Grip” textured printing along the inner thighs and legs. While this is intended to provide seat additional traction, we found it a little awkward while walking (like corduroy pants). Additionally, after a season of riding, don’t expect to see much of it left. The printing tends to peel off after hours of use.
The RS-15 also features large rubber-injected knee pads for added grip and protection. While most recreational riders won’t have much need for these, they do help in boarding runabouts or getting up on a standup rather well. They’re well integrated into the material and didn’t show any signs of tearing even after all the time we put on the suit.
All in all, the RS-15 was one of the better products we had the pleasure of using from Jettribe. The inter-locking flat stitches were comfortable against our ski, the fitment was comfortable and flexibility and range of motion (especially for a thicker wetsuit) was the best we’ve seen from the brand.