Orca Wetsuits Review | Epic Wetsuits or Rip Off? (2021)

For a wetsuit company to name themselves from the killer whale Orca is something courageous. Orcas are the oceans’ undisputed ruler, so anyone who takes after this name must live up to achieving this pinnacle of performance.

Orca has been producing innovative and technical wetsuits since 1992. But, what else do we know about this brand? This article digs into the history of Orca and the best wetsuits under their line of products.

  • What is Orca Wetsuits suitable for
  • History of Orca Wetsuits
  • The Orca wetsuit technology

What Are Orca Wetsuits Suitable For?

Orca is well-known for its performance wetsuits. For this reason, many tri-athletes and especially those who train regularly in open waters prefer to wear this brand. Orca’s performance wetsuits ensure these athletes are comfortable during training and in serious competitions.

These performance wetsuits are highly equipped to take on open water swimming. They offer maximum flexibility sans changing your position, which is ideal for natural swimmers. Theirs is one of the most stretchable linings on the market, which is also made to have just the right amount of buoyancy.

Orca Wetsuits Reviewed

Orca outlined their line of wetsuits into three segments, where every segment is focused on particular water activity, style, or skill level. We listed five of their best offerings that keep up with every athlete’s endurance, stamina, and versatility.

  1. S7 Men's Fullsleeve USAT Approved Triathlon Wetsuit – Best Overall
  2. ORCA Sonar Men Triathlon Wetsuit – Best Mid-range Suit
  3. ORCA Equip Men Triathlon Wetsuit – Best Entry Level
  4. S7 Women's Fullsleeve USAT Approved Triathlon Wetsuit – Best Women’s Wetsuit
  5. ORCA Openwater Core Hi-Vis Men's Swimming/Triathlon Wetsuit – Best for Breaststrokers

1. S7 Men's Fullsleeve USAT Approved Triathlon Wetsuit – Best Overall

S7 Men's Fullsleeve USAT Approved Triathlon Wetsuit

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  • Material: Nylon, Neoprene
  • Color: Black
  • Best for: Triathlon, swimming
  • Age Range: Adult

One of the most sought-after triathlon wetsuits in the market, the S7 consistently provides a superior fit and excellent comfort. Perfect for keen open water swimmers and novice triathletes, this wetsuit sells at a great price point.

The S7 Fullsleeve approved by USAT (USA Triathlon) helps improve your overall technique, whether for triathlon, water swimming, or even surfing use. New open water swimmers may find it completely uncomfortable to wear a full sleeve wetsuit. But, with the S7 wetsuit, they can experience comfort combined with a high level of buoyancy.

This Orca wetsuit also aids in correcting your body position, especially when your technique is less-than-polished. Its high level of buoyancy encourages a better body position even when you are tired. Thanks to its torso panels that contour the body shape well.

Orca uses the most innovative Nano SCS (super composite skin) developed by the Yamamoto Company. This innovation guarantees top speed in water because of its micro-cell structure that repels water, reducing the drag effect.

Overall, the Orca S7 provides the feeling of absolute freedom. Its design incorporates bamboo fibers and other natural eco-friendly materials that offer greater flexibility with every stroke while maintaining extended body heat.


2. ORCA Sonar Men Triathlon Wetsuit – Best Mid-range Suit

ORCA Sonar Men Triathlon Wetsuit

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  • Material: Nylon, Neoprene
  • Color: Black
  • Best for: Swimming, surfing
  • Age Range: Adult

The Sonar wetsuit is Orca’s best-selling mid-range suit. This highly versatile wetsuit is moderately priced and is packed with convenient features – most of which also come in other top-of-the-line wetsuits Orca has in their collection.

The Sonar Men Triathlon Wetsuit features 2mm SCS coated Yamamoto #39 neoprene construction for most of its panels. Yamamoto #39 is the benchmark neoprene on high-end performance wetsuits for quite some time. It was just fairly recently when it was succeeded by the new and extra stretchy Yamamoto #40.

Moreover, this wetsuit’s cell neoprene is coated with Yamamoto’s SCS, which helps in reducing the drag that your body gives out as it skims through the water. Just recently, Orca updated the Sonar with new features, including super stretch material in the chest for more chest freedom.

Chest freedom is the most common concern of athletes using wetsuits. With Orca’s state-of-the-art technologies, swimmers can now forget what its like to feel their breathing is constricted.

Overall, the Sonar is a good value and strong wetsuit that you can compare to suits in the $600 to $700 range. Its stretch, buoyancy, and durability can keep up with you in any activity you may choose to use it with.


3. ORCA Equip Men Triathlon Wetsuit – Best Entry Level

ORCA Equip Men Triathlon Wetsuit

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  • Material: Neoprene
  • Color: Black
  • Best for: Swimming, surfing, triathlon
  • Age Range: Adult

Sometimes, the strain of understanding the complexities of a wetsuit throws off anyone who wants to try out wearing one. Not with Orca’s Equip Wetsuit. You can put on, swim in, and take this wetsuit back off without hassling yourself with trying to understand what this wetsuit is up to.

The Equip Wetsuit uses various technologies to deliver more flexibility while maintaining constant buoyancy. Its design and engineering are intended for strong swimmers because of its unmatched sense of freedom.

This wetsuit is also perfect for anyone trying to transition from pool swimming to open water. It offers maximum flexibility without even changing your position. The Yamamoto #39 technology is also applied to this wetsuit, therefore, unraveling the feeling of freedom.

Orca claims this wetsuit is designed for the “natural swimmer.” You don’t even have to wear it to understand why. Touching its fabrics and feeling how it works with your skin make you aware of how it can be buoyant enough to put the swimmer in a neutral body position.

Overall, the Orca Equip Wetsuit is highly recommended if you are into comfortable, easy to put on and remove, and speedy to swim wetsuits.


4. S7 Women's Fullsleeve USAT Approved Triathlon Wetsuit – Best Women’s Wetsuit

S7 Women's Fullsleeve USAT Approved Triathlon Wetsuit

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  • Material: Neoprene, nylon
  • Color: Black
  • Best for: Swimming, surfing, triathlon
  • Age Range: Adult

This wetsuit is Orca’s version of the S7 for females. It is for the progressive female swimmer who recently transitioned and polished their swimming technique while getting comfortable in the water. It offers the same buoyancy the S7 for male extends.

Designed to raise the triathlete in the waters, it offers the feeling of not worrying about all the stretching needed in every stroke. It uses 5mm thick Yamamoto high-performance neoprene in the legs and hips panel to elevate your lower body and improve your swimming position.

Around its chest area is 3mm neoprene intended for excellent flexibility that ensures a full range of movement in every swimming stroke. The added benefits of this 0-water absorption and 0-weight variation only mean one thing for the swimmer – more speed.

The S7 for Women also strategically placed 5mm thick neoprene panels around the hips and legs area to encourage your lower body to stay afloat in the water. All these panels are coating with SCS coating to provide better water flow over the wetsuit.

Overall, you will love its flexibility and buoyancy and its feeling against your skin.


5. ORCA Openwater Core Hi-Vis Men's Swimming/Triathlon Wetsuit – Best for Breaststrokers

ORCA Openwater Core Hi-Vis Men's Swimming/Triathlon Wetsuit

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  • Material: Neoprene, nylon
  • Color: Black
  • Best for: Swimming, surfing, triathlon
  • Age Range: Adult

The ORCA Openwater Core is the ideal wetsuit for anyone looking for high flexibility and neutral buoyancy in the waters. Its flexibility around the shoulders is incomparable, considering it makes you swim in open waters with comfort and freedom.

This wetsuit uses Yamamoto #39 and Infinity Skin 2 high-end lining to achieve flexibility in all phases of the swim stroke. These materials require between 45% and 35% less effort to stretch than the conventional neoprene.

Around the torso is the same Yamamoto #39 technology that guarantees sufficient thermal insulation for your open water swims. Its 3mm thickness gets you 77% more protection than if you are not wearing any wetsuit. This same material brings the ideal neutral buoyancy to this wetsuit.

The recent developments in this wetsuit are seen on the special lining around the neck area that reduces friction and any likelihood of chaffing. It is soft to touch and has been checked by Orca to offer better contact with the skin.

Overall, you will love how this feature-packed wetsuit is priced moderately. Nothing can compare to how comfortable it is, including not having tell-tale rub marks after every swim.


History of Orca

Scott Unsworth, an accomplished triathlete in the 1990s, lost his dreams of becoming a pro-triathlete when he started experiencing chronic back pain that kept him from training and competing. Without drills and competitions, he devoted his time to coach swimming instead.

Around the same time he was coaching, he approached the swimsuit company that sponsored him to ask if he could sell their suits to his squad. His request was approved, and not long after, the wetsuit he helped the company sell became the number two suit in the country. Unsworth was one of the designers of the wetsuit.

In 1994, thinking that the company’s marketing strategy was confusing for the market, he changed his brand name to Performance Speedsuits. Unbeknownst to him, a rival company went to his manufacturer and suggested his creations be marketed worldwide. The company gave international rights to sell Unsworth designs under a different name.

Unsworth realized that to become a global brand, he needed a name that would resonate with his vision’s very essence. Orca was born. It didn’t take long enough for his brand to be recognized that in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, at least two-thirds of the triathlon competitors were wearing his wetsuit.

Four years after, he found his company sponsoring the New Zealand team at the Athens Olympics. It was Unsworth’s biggest thrill of his career.

Today, Orca offers wetsuits for triathlon, open water, swim-run, and free diving. Their lineup also includes swim caps, snorkel, beginner paddles and shorts, swim boards, fins, poncho towels, and more.

The Orca Wetsuit Technology

Orca’s wetsuits are constructed from highly advanced, innovative, and technical materials and technology available for swim-specific wetsuits. The exciting features that Orca’s patrons love about this brand are:

Active Compression

Active compression is the height of wetsuit technology that offers graduated compression where it is essentially needed. This feature improves blood flow and reduces lactic acid production, muscle oscillation, and muscle fatigue.

Aero Dome 2

The Aero Dome 2 is the Orca’s technology that works beneath the surface of the neoprene where hundreds of air cavities are. This technology adds 30% more buoyancy than the typical 5mm neoprene suit.

Nano Ice Technology

Orca uses Yamamoto Corporation’s latest Nano SCS to make the wetsuit produce lesser drag. Less drag takes away the extra effort needed to swim or bike.

Infinity Skin

This inner lining offers a feeling of total freedom. It is designed from highly elastic nylon that incorporates bamboo fibers. This technology provides greater flexibility in every stroke while maintaining body heat longer.

Hydrolite

Orca listens to most of their consumers’ complaints, so they studied how to easily take off wetsuits, which is the common concern of wetsuit wearers. This technology helps the wetsuit to come off more quickly, making transitions even faster.

44 Cell Neoprene Technology

Orca uses 1.5 and 2mm panels of the exclusive Yamamoto 44 Cell neoprene. This technology allows the wetsuit to stretch without requiring too much strength compared to a conventional neoprene.

 

Conclusion

The Orca wetsuits are built around performance and are best suited for experienced swimmers or anyone with well-developed stroke and streamline. You will appreciate how it has the lowest impact on your natural technique and how it can give the proper buoyancy to let you utilize your own techniques.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: What is the temperature range Orca wetsuits are suitable for?

A: The upper temperature for the wetsuit is within the 75F range. The lowest is based on the wearer’s personal comfort.

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