You know Kassia Meador--the graceful Malibu logger known for her stylish noserides in the cult classics "Sprout" and "Heart and Sea" to name a few? Well, a few years back Meador left her sponsor to focus on building her own brand, KASSIA + SURF, which she launched in 2015. Her goal was to create quality wetsuits and surfy accessories specifically for women. I've been wanting to try out her colorful, tie-dye patterned suits for a while now and finally got my hands on one last week-the aptly named Psychedelic Fullsuit.
I can't speak for all women, but in my experience finding a piece of neoprene that's warm and flexible while able to compliment the feminine physique can be a bit like trying to solve a Rubik's cube. Suits that are thick and wooly can be restricting in the shoulders, while suits that are more stylish and form-fitting can often lack the warmth and quality you need in the depths of a California winter.
But when I squeezed into the 3mm Psychedelic Fullsuit last week during a lunchtime surf sesh, I was pleasantly surprised by its warmth and flex for a suit that initially seemed designed with aesthetics in mind over function. It fit like a glove and made me feel like I was actually wearing a wetsuit that was designed to fit the female figure (not just adapted from a men's template). Normal 4/3 suits can sometimes make me feel like I’m getting into an inflatable sumo wrestler costume, but I slid right into this number like I would a 2MM during the summer--and still, plenty of warmth.
The day I tested the suit, the water temp hovered between 58 and 60 degrees. While that's not freezing by any means, at that temp, without booties I’m typically trying to paddle and catch waves nonstop to keep my extremities from going numb. But this suit, even during lengthy lulls, kept me cozy as hell. The combination of the premium neoprene and the thermal lining on the torso and back made me feel like I was wearing a 4/3 with the maneuverability of a 3/2.
Other things to note: the fabric knee pads allowed for easy movement and the tightness of the ankle cuffs kept them from riding up or collect gallons of water. The suit was also a back-zip, which I'm usually not a fan of (my tangled mane always seems to get stuck in the zipper), but the added neck closure kept the water out well enough.
I was a fan of the suit’s funky pattern (which is available in different colorways), but if sporting head-to-toe tie-dye feels a bit too Burning Man for your taste, the rest of Meador's wetsuit line offers a similar option in black, with patterned sleeves, which is made with eco-friendly natural limestone neoprene. Meador’s line also includes spring suits, cold-water 4mm chest zips, long johns, short arms, jackets and surf leggings.
After a few sessions, it’s clearly a solid choice for a women’s winter suit. It’s warm, it's featherweight and it’s certainly more stylish than the monotone rubber that permeates most lineups.