If you’re like the majority of us human beings, the idea of wriggling into a wetsuit is as dread-inducing as public speaking stark naked. It often doesn’t help that most wetsuits are as comfortable as squeezing into a sausage lining. And unless you benefit from having either the time to endlessly train or an absurdly athletic natural build, most of us look less like Superman’s Christopher Reeve and more like Marlon Brando.
Yet, unless you’re opting to hang up riding your personal watercraft for the next few months (which is NOT an option!), you’re gonna be looking down the barrel of buying a new wetsuit to keep yourself warm.
While there are no shortage of wetsuit manufacturers from the surfing, diving, and boating industries, the PWC industry isn’t exactly teaming with options. Thankfully, the few stitching together wetsuits for PWC riders do so while paying attention to the sensitive areas that other companies in other industries might otherwise look over.
And if trial testing the new Slippery Fuse Wetsuit and Jacket has taught us anything, it’s that at least Slippery is. The two major factors of evaluation were comfort and flexibility. In fact, most pieces of riding apparel hinge on those two attributes in our view, because you can count on moving around a lot while riding a PWC, and quite frankly, nobody wears anything that’s uncomfortable for very long.
Now keep in mind, the Fuse is not a cold weather wetsuit. Its lightweight 2mm Innospan Neoprene material is anything but the stuff you want to go winter riding or deep diving in. But for those riding in the open ocean or on chillier bodies of water, the Fuse – with its accompanying jacket – offers unequivocally the largest range of motion and most comfort of any back zip john/front zip jacket combo we’ve ever worn.
This flexibility comes through the thoughtful placement of superior materials. Major contact points that customers have bemoaned is chaffing around the neck as well as flexibility around the shoulders, armpits and sleeves.
Slippery eliminates these complaints by employing Lycra shoulders and short sleeves to the john for significant gains in flexibility as well as a unique rash-free neck lining. Although thinner than the rest of the john, the Lycra shoulders and sleeves resolve the uncomfortable binding and pinching of material characteristic to other brands.
Again, although this john/jacket combo offers both warmth and protection from the elements, it’s not what you need if you’re planning on navigating ice floes.
The Fuse is remarkably comfortable, in both flexibility as mentioned previously, but in breathability. The Lycra sleeves wick both moisture inside and out while the new “Airprene” leg panels allow for quick draining. Although Slippery doesn’t advertise it, we suspect that a breathable Lycra patch is also found in the crotch, which is equally appreciated.
Other features to the wetsuit combo are Slippery’s non-slip rubber knee pads, which riding a runabout you’d think you’d never need unless you’re climbing up the swimstep or dropping knee-down into the tray during hard cornering, where the extra grip comes in really handy. Additionally, Slippery’s “flat lock” stitching doesn’t rub against your skin.
While we praise the Fuse for its fitment and comfort, we did struggle with the short rear-entry zipper tether as well as feeling that we were going to tear the zipper from the suit if we tugged too hard. Entry in and out of the suit is deceptively easy as the Airprene expands easily to slide your feet in and out, as well as the Lycra sleeves.
Again, we have to say, Slippery has seriously stepped up their game when it comes to contouring, shaping and hand-selecting their materials to ensure the greatest amount of comfort, fit and flexibility. Having worn suits from three of the PWC industry’s four major manufacturers, we can say that the Fuse John/Jacket Combo is without a doubt, the most comfortable suit we’ve encountered.