After a full season of racing with De Soto triathlon apparel and three first out of the water performances, here are my thoughts on the T1 First Wave wetsuit…
Straddling the border between two sizes, De Soto sent me both suits so I could find the perfect fit, independently for my upper and lower body. The rubber is extremely flexible, allowing athletes desiring a tight fit to “size down.” The independent upper and lower eliminates shoulder tug and the general feeling of claustrophobia one gets wearing a traditional wetsuit. Testing the suit before my first race of the year, I was amazed by the unrestricted arm motion it provides, allowing me for the first time to swim with my natural stroke while wearing a wetsuit.
Both the upper and lower pieces are made of GreenGoma#9, a limestone derived rubber similar in performance to Yamamoto #39. The suit is extremely flexible and buoyant in the right places with 5mm thick rubber in the legs and torso, and 2mm of rubber in the chest, upper back, and arms. The unrestricted motion granted by the two piece design helps me keep a high stroke rate and swim as fast as possible. The two-piece design also allows for a faster transition, as the top and bottom peel off much more easily than a traditional wetsuit. For the first time ever, I posted the fastest T1 split in a race this year!
The T1 First Wave is De Soto’s top-of-the-line wetsuit. While it comes with a hefty $620 price tag, comparable offerings from the competition fall mostly in the $650-$750 range. The suit isn’t showing any signs of wear after a full season of use. A well cared for suit should last for several years. The benefits of the two-piece design, durability, and outstanding customer service from this small company dedicated to delighting the triathlon community make it an excellent value. Furthermore, you can typically get the previous model year suits for 40% off at the end of the season, so keep an eye out.