I’ve owned a front zip entry Matuse Tumo 5/3 wetsuit for two years now. Despite being new to the market, Matuse has made name for itself with their high quality wetsuits. This quality comes at a price, however. On average, Matuse wetsuits are a bit more expensive than wetsuits from other brands. Why? Firstly, the base material of their wetsuits is geoprene, and not neoprene. And secondly, they seem to focus on making extremely high-quality wetsuits. Yesterday I have posted an in depth article on geoprene –click this to learn the difference between geoprene and neoprene and other geoprene facts.
I was lucky enough to get my hands on a discounted suit a couple of years ago. This is my Tumo review after owning it for two years.
Geoprene is a form of neoprene that’s limestone-based instead of oil based as all other neoprene. As said, to find out what makes it different check the geoprene article but basically the main benefit is that geoprene is more impermeable (98% impermeable, about a third more than neoprene). As a result, geoprene holds less water, is more durable and warmer. That sounds great, but is it true?
Matuse Tumo 5/3
Here are my Matuse Tumo 5/3 experiences…
It Weights Less
The 5/3 Tumo is lighter than my previous 5/3 wetsuit (Rip Curl Elasto). It’s lighter when its dry and is considerably lighter when wet. The Matuse Tumo is almost completely water-reppellent, so there is very little weight gained because of water retention. When you squeeze the geoprene after you come out of water only a a small amount of water runs out. Compared to the last 5/3 wetsuit I owned Tumo feels much less spongy.
I’m not sure if it’s just this wetsuit or geoprene in general, but this suit feels almost silky. There’s a smoothness feels almost like a high-end plastic material.
It’s funny. A new wetsuit always has that “new” smell. But Tumo doesn’t. It also doesn’t get that funky later with use.
Front Zip Entrance
No problem, easy in and easy out.
The flexibility of Tumo is for me the same as with any wetsuit of this thickness. I didn’t notice any difference. In geoprene article I stated (according to manufacturer) that geoprene is very flexible. Well, to me it seemed normal and nothing special.
Ah yes, the big one! Yes, the Tumo wetsuit IS warmer than other wetsuits I had so far. The lack of water retention is noticeable when you’re wearing the suit. You can kind of feel it pushing dry heat back to your body.
Plus, I noticed something else, which may be a part of the design or due to a really good fit. The wetsuit seems to seal itself against you when you wear it. It’s almost like somebody vacuum-sealed you into the suit when you put it on. It’s really noticeable when you take off the suit. I have to slide it down to my feet, like pealing a banana. As you can imagine, this is great for warmth. I tend to wear 5/3 suits in water temperatures as low as 50F (10C), or occasionally a little bit colder, which is where the temperatures bottom out here back home.
This isn’t the most extreme cold surfers can experience, but the waves here often come with a pretty stiff wind, which helps to add an extra chill factor to every surf session. On a moderately windy day, with me being fairly active I can stay pretty warm through a typical session of a few hours. However, if I’m doing a lot of sitting or waiting or just being stationary, the wind can make you feel cold, even in this wetsuit.
So, that’s what I love about the suit. Here’s what I’m not so crazy about.
So far, the only problem I’ve found with the Matuse Tumo is some flushing. In particular, there seems to be more flushing around the neck area than I’m used to based upon other suits I’ve used. In smaller waves (like up to headhigh) I get flushed behind the neck a couple of times during every session. When wearing other suits this only happened every now and then. I think the issue is a result of how short the collar of this wetsuit is. It’s shorter than most other wetsuits I’ve worn. It reaches lower up your neck so the “seal” area is smaller and it opens up quicker. At least this is what I assume.
No neoprene rash though.
So…final verdict? Since 5/3 is meant to be a cold water wetsuit flushing is a problem. What is the point of everything being “perfect warm” when you get a bucket of ice cold water behind your neck 2 or 3 times every session, even more it waves are bigger and more powerful. Then again – this is I guess also connected to you body shape. A friend has a backzip version and has no problems with flushing.
So apart from that, this wetsuit is great!