The surfing world owes a lot to the O’Neill name. Jack O’Neill pioneered the surf industry by bringing the wetsuit to market in San Francisco in the 1950s. In the 1960s, O’Neill moved the brand down to Santa Cruz — its home to this day — and expanded the line to include women’s suits. Now men, women, and children of all walks can enjoy the ocean anytime of the year for longer periods of time — keeping their stoke high and the shivers to a low.
In honor of Jack and the O’Neill brand, we are happy to feature the O’Neill Hyperfreak Chest Zip Wetsuit for our latest edition of product reviews. Here we take a look at the 3/2 mm men’s wetsuit (size L) as well as the 3/2 mm women’s wetsuit (size 4). Keep reading to:
- see how the wetsuit looks in and out of the water
- read first hand testimonials from our testers
- enjoy a conversation with O’Neill’s veteran designer John Hunter on the eco-friendly aspects of the Hyperfreak wetsuit and the O’Neill blue initiative.
Hyperfreak Is The Perfect Year Round Wetsuit In SoCal
- O’Neill makes wetsuits that are perfect for warmer waters like the ones down here in Newport Beach, California. Overall, the Hyperfreak is an ideal year round suit for any southern California (or similar climate & locale) surfer. I plan on bringing this suit to Northern Florida during the winter months.
- Our testers say the Hyperfreak is a “GoldiLocks” of a wetsuit — not too hot; not too cold; just right. They were able to stay in the water for hours without sweating or shivering. The wetsuit lives up to the ‘first in last out’ mantra tied to the O’Neill legacy.
- Don’t worry if you run a little hot or cold — the 3/2 mm wetsuit contains an extra 0.5 mm for added warmth, but isn’t a full on furnace. You lose most of your body heat from your feet and head anyways, so some O’Neill booties and a hood can go a long way.
- The Hyperfreak feels incredible on your skin and slips on with ease… even for a brand new wetsuit. Our photographer put the suit on right after I surfed in it to simulate the “second surf of the day” test: he did not struggle with putting on the literal wet-suit. Thanks for that one, Dave.
- It also dries quickly. The Hyperfreak wetsuit dried out before the sun set — meanwhile another wetsuit brand our testers used was noticeably heavier and still damp.
- In terms of performance, the Hyperfreak wetsuit is free and mobile. It has noticeably more maneuverability in the shoulders than other wetsuits, which helps you paddle for longer.
Here’s an inside out look at the Hyperfreak for the technolovers:
- Technobutter Neoprene: The pre stretched neoprene comes with the ENVY foam rubber core, making the suit flexible, soft, and light.
- Fully Taped Seams: The 0.5 mm split-neoprene seam tape makes for a mighty comfy fit.
- F.U.Z.E. Closure (Front Upper Zip Entry): The front upper zip entry contains a free floating zipper on the chest. It also has an anti flush barrier to keep you dry.
- Seamless Paddle Zones: The shoulders are highly maneuverable and help you paddle for longer.
O’Neill Hyperfreak 3/2 Men’s Wetsuit
Nick: I tried the large and it was a perfect fit. Sometimes I float between a large and a large-tall. I am 6’1 and about 190 lbs.
This suit feels buttery (I guess that’s why they call it Technobutter neoprene) and when you feel good you surf good. All of that comfort comes without sacrificing any quality or performance. My favorite feature on the suit is the front upper zip entry on the chest.
The front zipper doesn’t need to be joined at the head — unlike your favorite hoodie — so you don’t have to worry about the zipper getting all corroded from the saltwater and not being able to join. The chest zip also has an anti flush barrier that helps keep water from rushing into the neck area.
As an added bonus, the suit slips on really easily when wet. Go for that second surf today.
O’Neill Hyperfreak 3/2 Women’s Wetsuit
Angie: I wear a size 4 wetsuit and the Hyperfreak was true to fit for me. It was easy to paddle in (and for a longer time) because the shoulders have a lot of mobility.
My favorite feature is the comfortable neck lining/padding. After a few sessions or a long surf you can get a neck rash, but not with this suit!
I put my key in the wetsuit’s right leg key stash… and bingo bango it was still there after the session. The orange color on the O’Neill logos is sick too.
O’Neill product designer John Hunter came up with the Technobutter name for the neoprene in the Hyperfreak because it “has a real technical look on the outside, but it’s so buttery soft,” says Hunter. “Technobutter helps make the wetsuit flexible and light, but warm.”
Outside of the performance and quality — which the Hyperfreak has in spades — Hunter is most excited about the sustainability features of O’Neill’s wetsuits. “You can find almost all the same eco-friendly features in our top line wetsuits,” says Hunter. The Hyperfreak has 8 standout features that are made with the Earth in mind as a part of O’Neill’s blue initiative.
Area 52 Repair Center
“People don’t really know much about this, but we have our own amazing repair facility,” says Hunter. “We keep our suits going.” And keeping suits in the water (and out of landfills) is always a good thing.
Area 52 Repair Center gets its name from the year that Jack O’Neill invented the wetsuit: 1952.
Water Based Glue
“The old glues used for laminating weren’t great for the environment,” says Hunter, pointing to solvents in the glues as the main source. O’Neill worked to develop a non-solvent based lamination glue that reduces solvent usage by 600 grams per wetsuit compared to traditional glues.
It also eliminates volatile organic compounds without sacrificing durability.
Bluesign Approved Fabrics
Bluesign is a sustainability standard. A bluesign approved fabric is manufactured in a way that’s not only safe for the environment, but also promotes a safe working environment for workers.
“Bluesign-approved fabrics are used not only in our wetsuits, but also in UV pieces and sun shirts,” says Hunter.
O’Neill uses recycled oyster shells in place of calcium carbonate powder.
In addition to 100% digital catalogs, O’Neill uses 100% recycled paper, soy based ink hang tags, and recycled polybags. All this helps conserve water, energy, and virgin materials.
Eco Carbon Black
“We use the carbon black from recycled tires,” says Hunter. Carbon black is a key ingredient for neoprene. O’Neill cuts its carbon emission by using high heat to extract the carbon black from scrap tires.
“Dyeing is another process that can be harmful to the environment,” says Hunter. Instead of the normal dyeing process, O’Neill produces colored yarns without the normal dyeing process, which saves water and reduces carbon emissions, energy consumption, and water pollution.
Recycled Plastic & Lining
“This is one of my favorites,” says Hunter. “The recycled plastic materials developed for the wetsuit interior and exterior were too rough and not soft.” We worked with our suppliers for years to improve these fabrics and now they are smooth and comfy. Plus the recycled materials help prevent harmful plastics from entering the ocean.