For triathletes and open water swimmers, a good quality wetsuit is a part of your kit. In this guide we look at the range of Orca wetsuits; considering the different technologies and which Orca wetsuit is best for you.
About the Orca brand
Orca has been producing innovative and technical wetsuits for over 25 years. It is a leading brand in the sports apparel industry, and embodies a passion for performance and quality. Just as triathlon embodies the principles of endurance, stamina and versatility, so does every piece in the Orca wetsuit collection.
Orca wetsuit technologies
Orca wetsuits are built from some of the most advanced materials and technology available for swim specific wetsuits. In the section below we will explain these exciting features to help you understand the performance benefits that come with the Orca product range.
Orca 0.88 FREE technology - 0.88 Free is a revolutionary material developed by Orca featured on their Predator and Alpha wetsuits. The five-layer construction combined with a patented heat reflective Titanium coating is the secret behind the extraordinarily high insulation effect in such a lightweight material. This results in extreme stretch and flexibility, high buoyancy and insulation as well as low drag in the water.
Orca CLS technology - The Core Lateral Stabilizer (CLS) system is a revolutionary new feature on the Orca Predator Wetsuit that provides body alignment assistance. The effect of 5mm Exo-Cell side panels alongside the 4mm Exo-Lift front panel is that of a flotation device - stabilizing the core by preventing lateral movement without restricting rolling. The result is an effortlessly streamlined body position, allowing less fatigue and so a faster time in the water.
Orca 40 CELL technology - Yamamoto's 40cell neoprene is the penultimate for flexibility, suppleness, fit and comfort. Second only to 44cell by the narrowest of margins, and located in key high stretch areas on the Orca Predator, Alpha and 3.8 wetsuits, these panels contribute to providing a wetsuit swimming experience of the highest level.
Orca EXO-LIFT technology - The Exo-Lift front panel on the Orca Predator wetsuit is a revolutionary 4mm multi-layer material. Consisting of an outer layer made of 4mm Yamamoto 39cell Neoprene coated with the super-fast SCS nano ICE combined with a completely waterproof lining. Exo-Lift absorbs far less water than other materials and consequently maintains buoyancy over a longer distance.
Orca HYDROLITE technology - HydroLite panels make transition that extra bit faster using the super-fast SCS coating (Nano ICE in the Predator) combined with a special lining which absorbs less water to improve buoyancy while also being extremely sleek -making the suit fast to remove in transition saving you precious seconds.
Orca AERO DOME 2 technology - Aero Dome 2 is Orca's buoyancy technology. Beneath the surface of the neoprene are hundreds of air cavities; adding 30% more buoyancy than a normal 5mm panel of neoprene would.
Orca NANO ICE technology - This outer layer of the wetsuit produces an incredibly low drag co-efficient. Less drag means less effort; that means lower energy expenditure, faster swim times and more energy for the bike leg.
Orca INFINITY SKIN technology - "It's what is on the inside that counts". Infinity skin is used to line the Orca high-end suits; it is an ultra-flexible, four-way stretch nylon; allowing increased freedom of movement and faster, more dynamic movements.
Choosing your Orca wetsuit
There are a number of different wetsuits in the current Orca wetsuit range - so how do you choose which one is going to be the best for you?
- Budget - The first factor will likely be budget; the higher your budget, the higher the specification suit you will be able to afford. Basically the more you pay, the more of the advanced technologies listed above that you will receive; offering higher levels of flexibility and/or buoyancy, depending on the particular wetsuit.
- Warmth - The second factor is the level of insulation that your suit will provide. There are sleeveless suits, which clearly offer less warmth than full-sleeved suits. There are also differing degrees of neoprene thickness. A thicker neoprene will offer more insulation; but it has to be placed in the correct panels, so that freedom of movement is not affected by this extra warmth.
- Buoyancy - Longer distance swimmers, or those without as much of their own natural buoyancy, will appreciate the benefits of added buoyancy found in Orca's more buoyant suits, such as the Orca 3.8 wetsuit or the Orca S6 wetsuit. These contain added technology like Exo-Cell and Aerodome2; these help to lift your body into a better swimming position in the water, for a more efficient swimming stroke.
Wetsuit paneling explained
Orca wetsuits use different panels within the wetsuit, for different purposes, depending on the main requirement of a particular wetsuit.
A wetsuit that is more focused on giving you added buoyancy, such as the Orca 3.8 Wetsuit, will feature more buoyancy focused technologies such as Exo-Cell and Aerodome2 around the hips - to help lift the body to reduce drag and so increase speed through the water.
By contrast, for more advanced swimmers, where flexibility is required to complement their already good swimming style, the Orca Alpha Wetsuit uses technologies such as 0.88 FREE in the arms and shoulders - to make it feel like you aren't even wearing a wetsuit!
Male and Female wetsuit options
Aside from the more female orientated cut of the women's suits, the Orca 3.8 and Orca Sonar women's wetsuits also offer differing levels of buoyancy – taking into account that women usually carry more natural buoyancy than men.
Sizing and fit
Fit is crucial to getting the most from your wetsuit; too tight and it will restrict movement, too loose and you will add drag and take on water.
On every Orca wetsuit product page there is a dedicated tab containing sizing information. Carefully match up your measurements with the sizes detailed in the size chart and you can enjoy the real benefits of Orca's performance technologies.
In general, we recommend you look at the weight measurement as the most important and the height and chest as secondary.