ION Onyx Amp Wetsuit (Semi-Dry 4:3 Frontzip) Review

ION Onyx Amp Wetsuit Semi-Dry 4:3 Frontzip


ION’s Semi-Dry 4:3 Frontzip: The Onyx Amp

This test first appeared in KW #100 in July 2019


Testing the ION Onix Amp Wetsuit Semi-Dry 4:3 Frontzip



Marketing managers are often telling me, “Oh but there are so many differences between each suit, and you wouldn’t believe the cutting edge technology we’re now using.”

I spend my time letting these words run around my mind each time I roll the top half of a suit down and pull the waist apart ready to pop my first leg in. I think about the amount of sweat I’m exuding while wrestling my shoulders inside and hitching the suit up around the crotch. I assess each dribble and drop that enters the neck / cuff seals with every floundered rotation. Then I wonder how aggressive I can be when it comes to peeling the suit off and inevitably standing all over it as I take progressive hops across the car park and further from the van when trying to extract my feet from the leg holes.

I have had this Onyx suit since early spring when the UK was wondering if summer would ever actually come. I’m still using it now, in air temperatures of 20 degrees and waters of 15oC. In the cool air I was warm, and now it’s summer I’m not overly hot. What strikes me the most about this suit though is that it’s a very ‘unstressful’ suit to live with. Double lined but soft feeling on the outside, I have confidence that it will more than live up to the rigours of being pulled on and off in a car park, knelt on at the beach while I adjust my straps, or sat on while I rest on the water’s edge with my kite up in strong and buffeting winds. It’s also super easy to get on and off although I have to say that the taped seals in the cuffs are minimal, but work well.



I reckon this is one of those suits that I could easily wear pretty much ten or 11 months of the year here in the UK, perhaps pairing it with a thermal under layer on the much colder days. We’ve tested some super smooth and stretchy suits in the last 12 months, but I’d say this one is probably the easiest to live with, when it comes to being easy to get on and off, but also sealed and stretchy. It’s not the most outstanding in any of those areas, but combines them all really well and feels hard wearing too. The Ninja Knees are also very robust, and sound suitably epic for how I picture myself.

Other big news is that the Onyx dries really, really fast where it counts the most – on the inside. Ion’s Hot Stuff 2.0 inner lining combined with the Plasma Plush on the backside is like wearing a fluffy bearsuit next to your skin. Two sessions in a day are less of a problem.

I like neat features like the key pocket and elastic bungee being located inside the front zip panel on your chest. What a good place to put it. I’ve always thought ankle key pockets are more difficult when you’ve forgotten to take your sunglasses off and need to dash back to the car and unlock the door when you’re rigged up with your harness on. Keep life simple, stupid.

It’s an easy addition, but I always find the Ion Velcro leg strap that goes around your ankle is the best because it doubles back on itself, so you can actually get it really tight to prevent elephant leg.

The main negative I have, and it’s a personal shape thing, is that I’m thin, by my own admission. I’m 5’10’’ tall but only a 31 inch waist and squarer in the shoulders than my hips would suggest. This Medium size suit was absolutely perfect in the shoulders, but I did find it a bit loose around the hips. If you’re even just a bit wider in the hips than me, it should fit you perfectly.


Testing the ION Onix Amp Wetsuit Semi-Dry 4:3 Frontzip

Strong, easy to climb in and out of, quick-drying and a little bit different with the mesmerising ‘Capsule’ graphic design.


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