Animal wetsuits

Putting the Phoenix Pro winter wetsuit to the test

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25 Jan
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As wetsuit makers, it’s important for us to be able to really fine tune our designs to perfection. All of us involved in the manufacture of our wetsuits are passionate surfers and know what’s required to make the most of our time out in the water.

Luckily for us, our head office is located right by the sea, on the beautiful south coast of Dorset. Our local surf spots provide us with decent waves throughout the winter season, but the lack of swell consistency means there’s never any time to waste. When daylight allows, and even when it doesn’t, you’ll find us enjoying every swell, before and after work.

Our British winter takes no prisoners; if you’re under equipped, then cold water surfing will become a rather unpleasant experience. As a result, we place a huge importance on constantly testing our wetsuits.

Putting the Phoenix Pro winter wetsuit to the test - Dawnie at Bournemouth Pier

With the recent run of swell, and increasing daylight, we were able to follow our designers as they enjoyed a ‘dawnie’ at the local pier. The waves were firing but the temperatures freezing; perfect conditions to put our Phoenix Pro winter wetsuit to the test.

We caught up with Rich Tayler, Animal Graphic Designer and passionate surfer, on the beauty of a good dawnie before work, his thoughts on the Phoenix Pro and the importance of wetsuit testing in general.

Putting the Phoenix Pro winter wetsuit to the test - Bournemouth Pier in the early morning

How important is it to be able to test-ride the wetsuits before final production?

I feel that testing the wetsuits through the development process is critical; there are so many elements that need to be spot on for such a specialist product.

Being able to constantly use the wetsuits in the conditions they are designed for helps massively, and enables us to give good, consistent feedback to the wetsuit design team.

Putting the Phoenix Pro winter wetsuit to the test - Bournemouth Pier in the early morning

Can you describe the Phoenix Pro wetsuit and how it differs from your standard 5/4 winter suit?

The Phoenix Pro is definitely my go-to suit in the range. The versatility of the removable hood is really nice to have. The Toastex lining is super warm and also dries out loads faster.

Overall it’s a really nice, functional, warm and well cut suit.

How early do you get up in the morning in order to squeeze a surf in before work? And how long do you normally manage to surf for?

I’ll normally get up half an hour before it gets light (around 7am at the moment), get ready, make a coffee and go. That’s the routine all year when there are waves.

Whilst the waves are often better, this time of year isn’t great as we can only surf for about an hour max. In the summer it’s lush, we can easily get a few hours in the water before heading to the office.

  • Putting the Phoenix Pro winter wetsuit to the test - Bournemouth Pier in the early morning

  • Putting the Phoenix Pro winter wetsuit to the test - Bournemouth Pier in the early morning

  • What have the waves been like so far this year?

    Yeah! Waves have been sweet! We’ve been blessed with a consistent run of solid swell lately. It’s safe to say we’ve all had our fair share so far this winter. Long may it continue…

    On average, what are the air and sea temperatures like when you paddle out so early in the morning?

    On average, you’re probably looking at 0-5 °C air temperature, and about 7-10 °C sea temperature at this time of year. It always seems to be a bit colder first thing, probably to do with having just got out of bed.

    Having a nice warm suit to get into makes it all the easier, especially if northerlies are howling!

    Putting the Phoenix Pro winter wetsuit to the test - Bournemouth Pier in the early morning

    So there you have it. If you want to make the most of the surf on the south coast, you’ll need two things: the ability to get up very early and a warm suit like the Phoenix Pro to keep you toasty. Discover more here.

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