ION Onyx Amp Zipless wetsuit review

Ion ONYX Amp zipless wetsuit review

Do zipless wetsuits work? We test out this one to find out




Ion ONYX Amp zipless wetsuit review



Words: Jim Gaunt 

How long does it really take you to do up the zip on your wetsuit? I mean, it’s especially easy if you have a front zip across your chest, isn’t it? Well, those were my first thoughts about a zipless wetsuit. My second were concerned with how to get into this Ion Onyx Amp. 

I was therefore surprised to find that it’s actually easier to get into this suit than any of my suits with a zip! The layered neck system is very stretchy and the final top layer pulls over the head really easily. It’s not however immediately apparent how much integrity that the seal over your shoulder has. Tightened with a drawstring elastic to cinch the flap over your shoulder from front to back, it seemed that only a little force from a big crash would let more water in than I’m used to. 



I should let you know that I tested this suit over a few sessions in Tarifa in June. Although that’s summer time in the south of Spain, the Poniente wind comes from the sea and can be cool. Plus, I like to be warm on the water, so although a 4/3 might seem excessive, I was actually surprised when I read the sizing on the sleeve as the stretch and flexibility of this suit seemed to be much thinner. 

The fit and feel of the suit for me (I had a medium and I’m 5’10” and just 69 kilos) felt good, but could also stretch wider – but the absolute best part though is the freedom you feel across the chest. This suit is so fluid. For surfing it would be brilliant. The unrestricted movement is next level. That said, there is obviously a lot of elastic worked into the upper area of the suit so you can get into it without a zip. Would that ease off over time? I can’t say. But for a summer season of comfort, I’d use this all the time. 

My recommendation however would be to choose a thicker option than you might usually go for, because not only is this suit very flexible, but with a big crash you will get a bit more water coming via the neck and in colder water that will be noticeable. I had plenty of crashes in Tarifa and didn’t feel like I had a lot of water inside the suit and was plenty warm enough. One thing I should add, it’s only a small thing, but the velcro leg tabs run through an eyelet sewn onto the Velcro tab itself, so the strap doubles back on itself and is super easy to get really tight in the first place, but then also to adjust while you’re riding with one hand. I like those a lot. 

Finally, you may have noticed that this suit is green. Some people can rock the green… and it’s not an outlandish green, but when you have skinny legs like Kermit the Frog as I do, I would have been more comfortable reverting back to my preferred ninja credentials in black. 



Very flexible, super comfy and easy to get into. For me, living in England, zipless wetsuits are a great spring / summer / early autumn option, but when switching to winter I’d trust the total seal of a zip much more when I’m venturing into the colder climes and stronger conditions. 



Quickest and easiest suit to get on and off that I’ve tried. 



A zip would seem to have more longevity in terms of seal than the elastic drawstring employed here. But this suit is what it is – easy to get into, works great for summer and also for surfing.

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