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PREVIEW: New Orca wetsuits

Orca is launching its new Open Water 2023 wetsuit collection with two exciting new product lines: the ZEAL, a collection of high-end wetsuits, and the VITALIS, which includes mid-range suits. 

Orca came into 2023 wanting to meet the great diversity of open water swimmers’ needs. The ZEAL is designed for athletes who are looking for the latest technology in addition to great performance. The new high-end range includes models such as the high visibility Zeal Hi-Vis; the Zeal Perform, the only wetsuit approved for use in official FINA competitions; the Zeal 2-Piece, designed to offer versatility in combinations of sizes; and the Zeal Squad, designed specifically for young athletes.

The VITALIS range was developed with more casual swimmers in mind and for those starting out in open water who want to enjoy it in comfort and confidence. This line features standouts like the Vitalis Thermal, a model focused on thermal insulation, and the Vital Breast Stroke, the first Orca wetsuit designed specifically for breaststroke swimming. Other new products include the Vitalis TRN, a multipurpose suit with high flexibility and neutral buoyancy; the Vitalis Light, a sleeveless model with maximum elasticity; the Vitalis Hi-Vis, the equivalent to the Zeal Hi-Vis in the standard range; the Vitalis Shorty, designed not only for swimming but for various aquatic activities; and finally, the Hi-Vis Squad and Shorty Squad models, multipurpose wetsuits adapted to the sizes of younger swimmers.

ZEAL HI-VIS

The exceptional features of this wetsuit were developed with all types of swimmers in mind to boost their confidence as they launch into open water swimming. This model offers the perfect combination of buoyancy, elasticity, visibility and thermal insulation, for complete confidence in the water. This suit features Restube Ready technology, which allows a Restube safety buoy to be attached, making the swimmer even safer at sea.

The panels located on the extremities and back provide maximum visibility thanks to 39 HV (Hi-Vis) technology, the most visible orange fabric on the market. Technologies such as Aerodome 2 increase this wetsuit’s buoyancy so that athletes can feel more confident in the water. Finally, for improved thermal insulation and sealing, the Zeal Hi-Vis incorporates a second layer of “batwing” neoprene.

VITALIS THERMAL

The Vitalis Thermal was designed for winter swimmers who face significantly low temperatures (especially in the Northern Hemisphere between October and April). The Vitalis Thermal achieves its superior thermal properties thanks to its construction of up to 4.5 mm-thick panels and its Thermal X inner lining. Its “batwing” hood also prevents cold water from entering through the neck and zipper areas making it easier to retain body heat.

Although this is a significantly thick suit, it maintains good elastic properties thanks to the incorporation of 39+ and 39FS technologies in the shoulders and underarms. Its buoyancy comes from thick panels located in the torso, which allow you to enjoy added confidence in open water. In addition, due to its distribution of thicknesses, its buoyancy is neutral. Finally, the soft Thermal X inner lining fabric makes this wetsuit comfortable to wear when swimming in cold water.

VITALIS BREAST STROKE

The first wetsuit in the Orca range designed and developed specifically for breaststroke swimming in open water. It is made of thin, high-elasticity materials, such as Yamamoto 39FS. The thin material in the leg area gives the suit a low buoyancy preventing the wetsuit from altering the swimmer’s position in the water and allowing for more efficient kicking. The suit’s pattern was specially designed for breaststroke swimming.

Left: Zeal Hi Vis; Centre: Vitalis Thermal; Right: Vitalis Breast Stroke

ACCESSORIES

A wide range of Orca accessories makes any open water swimming adventure possible – or, at the very least, more comfortable!

Heatseeker Vest with Hood: This 3mm-thick neoprene vest with a built-in thermal hood can be worn underneath a regular wetsuit to make cold water swimming safer and more comfortable. The thermal lining provides an extra layer of warmth, preventing the loss of body heat during exercise. The neck cover also provides thermal insulation and minimizes the body’s contact with cold water.

Neoprene High Vis Hood: The hi-vis wetsuit hood will help you enjoy swimming in cold water more safely and comfortably. The high-visibility colors will make you more visible even at a great distance, giving you greater confidence during your swimming sessions. The thermal lining adds warmth while the neck covering provides thermal insulation and minimizes the body’s contact with cold water.

Changing Mat: The Changing Mat is the perfect accessory for changing at the beach while protecting your belongings from sand and moisture.

Gloves: These 3mm-thick neoprene gloves are sewn and completely sealed to offer maximum protection from the cold, while the longer forearm area provides greater coverage.

Socks: These 2mm-thick neoprene socks provide warmth and comfort in cold water. The silicone grip in the ankle area prevents them from moving around while swimming in open water. The socks are perfect for use under a wetsuit to minimize water entry.

Base Layer: This base layer can be worn under a wetsuit or worn alone. Silicone panels in the hem ensure that it stays put while swimming in open water. It is made of 1.3 mm neoprene and lined for greater comfort and warmth. In addition to thermal insulation, this base layer provides sun protection to the upper body.

Neoprene One Piece: This one-piece swimsuit has the thermal protection of neoprene while giving you the buoyancy and freedom you need to enjoy open water swimming to the fullest.

Left: Heatseeker Vest with Hood; Centre: Neoprene High Vis Hood; Right: Neoprene One Piece.

With these two new ranges of wetsuits and accessories, Orca has taken a step forward in the development of pioneering technologies in everything from visibility to thermal insulation, buoyancy, elasticity and comfort, offering ideal products to every swimmer depending on their individual characteristics and needs. With this philosophy, the brand will continue to work every day so that athletes and ocean lovers can enjoy and get the most out of their wetsuits during their open water adventures. 

Shop the full Orca Open Water range. This feature, produced in association with Orca, was originally published in the March edition of Outdoor Swimmer – available to buy now.

Photo (top and first image): Aaron Rolph.

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Outdoor Swimmer is the magazine for outdoor swimmers by outdoor swimmers. We write about fabulous wild swimming locations, amazing swim challenges, swim training advice and swimming gear reviews.