Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category


The Sunset Surf tried and tested reviews section.

Triathon reviews series.

Real Wiings

21 Days later – Mentawais – Mr B Productions DVD review

One California Day Surf DVD Review

O’Neill Mutant 5/3 mens wetsuit Review

West Pulse Mens 5/4/3 wetsuit Review

Bodyglove Matrix mens 5/4/3 wetsuit Review

O’Neill Psycho II Mens 5/4/3 wetsuit Review

Snugg Silverback Mens 5/4/3 wetsuit Review

Xcel Infinity Mens 5/4/3 wetsuit Review

Gul Nitro Mens 5/4/3 wetsuit Review

Alder Plasma Mens 5/4/3 wetsuit Review

Rip Curl Ultimate Fireskin 5/4/3 wetsuit review

Alder Evo Mens 3/2

Rip Curl Ultimate Elasto 2 – 3/2 Wetsuit Review

TK90 G2 3/2 Steamer Wetsuit Review

Tiki TK60 4/3 GBS S/Seal Flow Steamer Wetsuit Review

Substance Surf DVD Review

Driven Surf DVD Review

State of Play Surf DVD Review

Super Slide DVD Review

Sea Fever DVD Review

Billabong Odyssey DVD

Blue Horizon DVD

The Elusive Surf DVD

Cold Rush Review


Carveboard Review

Carveboard Tech Details

C-Skins 3.5mm Gloves

Alder Plasma 7mm Boots

Stikup surfboard display system

Frostfire moonbag

Tide clock

Lockjaw surfboard protection system

Real wiings

Triathon reviews series.

March 7th, 2011 No comments
As one of the UK’s fastest growing sports and one of the most fun, lots of surfers are turning to triathlons as a great way to stay in shape for surfing as well as compete in a challenging and enjoyable sport.
As part of this following on from our successful tried and tested reviews section over the next few months we are going to feature a number of reviews directly relating to triathlons, including wetsuits, tri-suits, bikes etc..
We hope that you will find these reviews as helpful as the wetsuit reviews that we have done as the fantastic feedback has been so positive.
Next to buying a bike the wetsuit is going to be one of the more expensive purchases that you make as a triathlete. The market has changed totally over the past five years and instead of suits being owned by a few and hired by the majority for the occasional open water event we now have the reverse. Of course, this assumes that you are planning an open water event — with one or two notable exceptions you will not be allowed to use a wetsuit in a pool-based event.
Prices of suits range from an entry-level around the £170 mark through to top-end suits that any pro would be delighted to use for £300 and more. If you are on a budget it’s always worth looking into end-of-year or end-of-range bargains in the winter sales or considering an ex-hire suit.
Major races like London actually operate their own hire fleet of suits for those people who are aiming to do just the one event and will let you keep the suit for the entire season for training in for a fraction of the cost of buying it. They aren’t very glamorous suits but they are more than adequate and offer a sensible alternative to purchase for one-off triathletes.
You can’t wear a wetsuit under the following conditions:
Swim distance Temperature
less than 2000m greater than 21 degrees C
2000m to 3000m greater than 22 degrees C
more than 3000m greater than 23 degrees C
Wetsuits become ‘optional’ (unless other arrangements are in force, such as at events like London) at 14 degrees C and below this the swim distances are limited with 500m being the maximum recommended distance at 11 degrees C and no swimming should take place at all if it’s colder. Theoretically you won’t ever need a wetsuit in a pool swim but we know of three pools; Wellington College and Eton College (must be something about English boys schools!) and Tooting Bec Lido, where the water is definitely wet-suit legal for almost the whole year!
Wetsuits may be constructed of up to three separate parts (that’s legs, top and hood but you cannot wear just the legs), and you are not allowed to use boots or gloves in a race. The maximum thickness of the neoprene is also limited to 5mm and there are some other highly technical bits about distribution of the various thicknesses but for normal use we can ignore them. Any suit from the major manufacturers listed below will be a legal suit and you can check the official list on the ITU’s website:
The big investment
A wetsuit is a significant investment, especially when you consider that you’ll probably only use it half a dozen times a year. Like all such investments it’s sometimes hard to justify spending more than a bare minimum but it’s definitely worth it. The more expensive the suit the more flexible it will be and, generally, the better it will fit. Not all wetsuit makers use the same body proportions so do not rely on the fact that two different makes describe a size as Medium – they may be wildly different in fit. Do get advice on the fit of the suit and do be prepared to try on several, and allow time for this. Once bought and worn it’s unlikely that the shop will be willing to take it back if you decide that it is the If you are outside of the ‘norms’ in terms of body size or shape you can opt for a made to measure suit. Getting a made to measure suit means that you can, within the limits laid down by the BTA/ITU, choose your suit to match your swimming style. If you have a good leg kick you’ll need less rubber on the legs, if you have a lousy leg kick and get cold very quickly then you might go for thicker rubber and a thermal lining. The elite, who can literally win or lose a race in transition, might go for special panels so that the suit slides off easier or different zipper configurations. You can also opt for different suit types such as sleeveless or even a shorty but you need to be pretty tough and a good swimmer to get by in one of these in most of the British waters
For the majority of triathletes reading this, however, an off the peg suit will be more than adequate and they now come in such a range of sizes that it will be hard not to find one to fit.
The small investment
If you are on a really tight budget and you’ve just been conned into doing your first, and possibly only, open-water swim then the sensible answer is to hire a suit. Several of the big triathlon shops do offer suit hire for the major events and, as previously mentioned, London operates its own fleet of suits. DO NOT hire a suit from a surf or sailboard shop other than as a last resort. Triathlon wetsuits are very different to watersports suits and are specifically designed to swim in – most other suits are too restrictive.
Another alternative is to go for a second-hand suit or ex-hire suit but there can be problems with this route. Many athletes use petroleum jelly to lubricate the collar and cuffs of the suit to reduce chafing and speed transition. This can, and does, literally rot the suit by weakening the rubber and slowly dissolving the glue that joins the bits of the suit together. The trouble is, you can’t really tell that the rot is there until you start tugging and stretching and then it’s usually too late! That said, many second-hand suits are in good condition and often a bargain. The shops that hire out the suits often sell them off at the end of a season and they are unlikely to have been too badly abused in one year.
The fit
A wetsuit is, as its name suggests, not going to keep you dry! The whole idea is that a thin layer of water gets in between the neoprene and your skin where it gets warmed up by your efforts and then this warmth is kept in by the rubber. And, in terms of fit, that’s one of the key indicators — the suit needs to be tight enough that there are no baggy bits, wrinkles or obvious air pockets (the small of the back is one area you always need to check as are the armpits).
One way of describing the perfect suit fit is that the suit should feel like a surgeon’s glove — not constricting but like a second skin. However, because the suits stretch so much getting this fit is not simply a matter of squeezing yourself into the smallest suit that lets you breathe, your arms need to be able to move freely so that you can swim properly and the body of the suit certainly doesn’t want to pull between the neck and the crotch.
Women, having a different body shape to men, should look for suits that are made for them first. That said, there are plenty of women out there swimming in a man’s suit because, for their body shape, it is a better fit. Wetsuits are, all said and done, just neoprene body bags and, for the sport of triathlon at least, gender neutral. As with choosing a bike, get one that fits right and ignore the label.
Putting one on
There is a trick to putting on a wetsuit which, once learned, makes life in transition so much easier. First, always make sure your nails are trimmed short — long nails rip through rubber and will result in a lot of bad nicks or worse. If you have to have long nails then consider wearing thin gloves when putting the suit on (something like the De Feet Dura Glove is ideal). So, for the trick itself, you need a typical supermarket carrier bag; Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsburys or whatever takes your fancy but the thinner the better. Now, prepare the suit by unzipping and rolling it inside out down to half a leg. Now put your foot in the bag and then slip it into the leg pulling the suit up as you go. Peel the bag off your foot and repeat for the other leg. Easy, wasn’t it! The trick is that the bag acts as a barrier between the clingy lycra interior fabric and your skin and makes it almost frictionless. Now roll the suit up to the crutch and make sure the legs are fully pulled up and there is no nappy gap. Finish off by repeating the bag trick with the arms and then get a friend to do the zip up for you.
To make things easier for removing the suit you can use a little lubricant round the ankles but many seasoned triathletes also cut a bit off the bottom of the legs, usually angled front to back, which makes the home a bit bigger and so stops the suit balling up around the ankle when you pull it down. As long as there is still water inside the suit it will come off pretty easily once the zip is undone. Just get the arms out first and the roll it all the way down to the knees and step out of it. Once you have one leg out you can tread on this to help get the other leg out. In races where T1 is a long run from the water you may decide to take the suit off immediately but do make sure you get well out of the way first as impeding other athletes often leads to abuse and even a possible penalty. Some races, London is one example, make you take the suit off and bag it to stop lots of water getting onto the transition flow while others, IMUK being an example, may even provide neutral helpers to assist in stripping off the suit. Whatever the race, this is something you need to practice.
Looking after it
With proper care and attention you will get several seasons of use out of a quality suit. Indeed, apart from physical damage there’s little that can fail other than the rubber itself or the stitching. Do check the seams, they can usually be re-taped, glued and stitched if they show signs of wear, and if the suit seems to be holding water like a sponge then it’s a sign that the neoprene is failing.
Always wash the suit with clean warm water and dry it in the open air (but not in bright sunlight) after use
After a race where the water was less than clean put Milton in the washing water to remove those lingering odours!
Store the suit flat and, if you have to fold, do it lightly as though you were folding a good suit to pack in a case
For long term storage such as over-wintering turn the suit inside out and store flat in a cool place
If you need lubrication use a water-soluble natural substance. Body Glide is the real deal here but the Body Shop’s Avocado Body Butter is an excellent alternative and the Americans swear by a product called Pam which is a low calorie spray-on cooking oil. NO VASELINE!!
Who makes suits
If you want a custom made suit then there are really only two choices. Snugg, based in Newquay, can work miracles with rubber and many pro suits which appear to be a sponsor’s branded suit have often been seriously altered by Malcolm and his team. They also offer a repair service which can fix pretty much anything from a nick to a completely torn off leg or arm. Terrapin, run by the redoubtable Biddie Foord and based up in Leicester will also craft a suit to your desires and fix most sorts of problems.
The major brands, at least in terms of UK market share, are Orca, Blue Seventy/Ironman, Foor (exclusive to Tri-UK) and Quintana Roo although this latter brand has declined in both popularity and availability quite markedly in recent years. Adding to this quartet are a whole raft of new and non-so-new brands: 2XU, Aquaman, De Soto (T1), ProMotion, XTERRA and Zoot.
Watch this space for the new tried and tested reviews coming very soon, and thanks to for help with all this.

Real Wiings

July 13th, 2010 No comments

Well, to be honest when we first encountered real wiiings I was keen on the concept. Paddling might be seen as the laborious part of surfing, a necessary evil, but the better you can paddle the better you can put yourselves into the waves – and the quicker you can get yourself out to the line up.
Paddle power requires fitness, the more you paddle, and the faster you want to paddle, the fitter you need to be. Paddle power is also tricky to build up by doing anything other than paddling – swimming helps but nothing is quite as effective as paddling.
With all that in mind then, the idea of an add-on that assists your paddling power seems like a good thing, so how do they work in the water?
Getting them on can be quite tricky for the first time! ( I would definitely recommend getting them set up ready to go before you reach the break ) However once they are on, they are comfortable and you don’t really notice them, until you hit the water that is!
Once in the water, you can immediately feel the pressure on your forearms from the resistance the real wiiings are creating, the harder you paddle the more resistance you can feel – because the real wiiings grip your wetsuit well, it’s almost like the feeling you get from a Chinese burn – but not in a painful way!
Its actually really hard to tell whether they enhance your paddling power or not because you don’t have a speedo on your surfboard, getting some kind of bench mark proves nearly impossible for you and I – obviously the guys at real wiiings have done their research and the figures that they come up with should be accurate – although I’m not sure how they came up with 70% increase in paddle power.
That said, logic dictates that they must be making a difference – if you can feel the resistance on your forearms, then they must be doing the job.
I noticed that you can really feel your shoulder and arm muscles working when you paddle with the real wiiings on, and I would certainly wear them whilst surf training because they are only going to build your muscles up and increase your overall fitness.
Bottom line – great idea, if you are like me and have quite a slow but rhythmic paddling pace then they should help you get into more waves and get out to the line up quicker. For improving your fitness they would also work well, conditioning your muscles when worn either paddling in flat conditions or even when surf training in the swimming pool.
I personally think they make a difference – I have no facts or figures to back that up other than my own experience with them, and with a list of well known professional surfers putting their names to the product that also adds credibility.
So give them a try! At £22.99 even if you decide they aren’t for you when you are surfing, they are a great surf training aid, so you can’t loose!

What Real wiiings say about them…..
More waves is what every surfer dreams of!
Faster paddle out!
Get into the barrel faster!
No more standing on the shore not being able to get out!
Get out of the churn quicker!
Beginners get onto the face!
Longboarders reach incredible speed!
Easier paddling in the Rip or against the current!
Groms if you don’t have Wiiings its game over!
Time to Fly!
With RealWiiings surfers get a faster paddle out using less effort to get into the surf quicker and make Rips and currents more manageable. Longboarders can reach incredible speeds and beginners will get onto the face with less paddle.
Approved for use in competition, a number of pro surfers worldwide admit that with RealWiiings they become a much better machine in the water.
Word class surfer, Kevin Todd, comments, ‘they work sooooo well. My first session was on a longboard; I caught every wave I paddled for. Then I challenged one of the surfers ten years younger than me to a paddle race and smoked him so bad that he asked me if he could borrow them when he got out of the water. Today I surfed my 5’8’’ twin finfish and they worked unreal again. Espo, you’re a bloody genius!’
Attach RealWiiings micro wings to your wrist. Use the adjustable neoprene strap, designed for ultimate comfort and stability, and pack a punch in the waves whilst paddling. RealWiiings are made of super lightweight floatable Polyurethane to increase paddle power by up to 70% and improve balance in the water. Available in a wide range of colours, including the most popular, original black, each pair comes in its own drawstring net bag, little more that the size of a sunglasses case.
RealWiings are available in the UK from at £22.99 plus p&p and will shortly be available from surf shops around the country.

21 Days later – Mentawais – Mr B Productions DVD review

September 1st, 2009 No comments

Another Mr B special.

21 Days Later - Mentawais

’21 Days Later – Mentawais’ follows seven of Britain and Ireland’s finest surfers on a three week boat trip around the Mentawai Islands off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, home to some of the most perfect waves in the world! Featuring some incredible sessions at a variety of epic spots such as Macaronis, HTs, E-Bay, Lances Left, Pit Stops, Bank Vaults and more. Learn about the spots and share the surfers experience as they embark on the trip of a lifetime.

“I think it’s every surfers dream, isn’t it, to spend 3 weeks on a boat with perfect waves, good friends, good times…I didn’t want to go home” - Alan Stokes.

Featuring Reubyn Ash, Lee Bartlett, Easkey Britton, Robyn Davies, Sam Lamiroy, Mike Morgan and Alan Stokes. Also including a host of international professional surfers we met along the way.

This trip was organised by photographer Roger Sharp of Slide Magazine, which is now online at:

Check out our gallery for 21 days later also here.

We always like Mr B’s productions, they are down to earth and featuring “local” talent always makes for an appealing film. The familiar accents, the common way of relaxing and chilling out all strike a chord and seem a long way from some of the surf super stars where they seem to be rich beyond belief but without the soul.

The result is the film 21 Days later – Mentawais takes you away almost on an autobiographical holiday. As with all Mr B’s films they are wave packed. Rather than have seperate scenes for interviews and surfers comments, its dubbed over the action, so you get the best of both worlds – you get to hear what the guys think about a spot, whist watching them or one of the others surf it.

As always the footage is well shot, and the camera person (can’t be sexist) gets in a good position to really help you capture the feel for the waves, the perfectness of them, and also the risk to skin on the nasty looking shallow reefs.

Whilst the perfect, seemingly endless waves of the mentawais seem a million miles away from windy september swells in the UK / Ireland its great to showcase the talent that our Islands produce and to show that in really great conditions these guys are ripping it up with the best in the world.

So to sum up.

With this film you get to see a load of great UK / Irish surfers – both male and female, living the dream! Spending 3 weeks in world class surf, ripping up it. The film is a veritable wave fest, I dont know exactly how many shots there are but there is lots and lots :-)
Its another one of those films that by the end of it you feel like you are there on the trip with them.. and then when you realise you are not, its time to start saving!

Well done Mr B, Another diamond job, keep them coming :-)

Sunset Surf A++ Approved.


Available from: or