Product Review: O’Neill’s New ‘TechnoButter Limited Edition 5212’ Series
Let’s start this review of O’Neill’s latest and greatest by stating that just about every wetsuit manufacturer makes a good wettie nowadays—gone are the days of bloody armpits and debilitating neck rashes. That said, O’Neill has gone above and beyond the call of cold water protection with a few key improvements on their already stellar line of rubber.
This morning we tried out their new line called the “TechnoButter 5212” limited edition series. The 52 stands for the year 1952 when Jack O’Neill made his first wetsuit and the 12 stands for 2012 which is the 60th anniversary of the company. The series is limited in production—only 500 will be made and distributed through their core retailers—and have only become available as of December 1st.
The “TechnoButter” series has four main components that make it stand out: a minimal number of seams, “Superseal” cuffs on the wrists and ankles, “Superseam” technology, and the aforementioned “TechnoButter” neoprene. Sounds great, but what does all that wetsuit jargon really mean? See below…
-Fewer seams and bigger panels mean more flexibility and warmth.
-“Superseal” cuffs make it so less water enters through your wrists and ankles.
-“Superseams” are narrower than traditional seams and therefore lighter.
-And finally, the “TechnoButter” is some new rubber that is, well, buttery with a little side of gooeyness. In English, it’s really stretchy yet still nice and warm.
I’ve always found O’Neill suits to be warm and durable but not quite as flexible as other brands. This wasn’t the case with the “TechnoButter” though. I wore the 3.5/3mm 5212Z in the chilly 58-degree water. Normally I’d just wear a 3/2 but because the rubber is so “buttery” there’s really no reason to not go thicker than usual. It actually felt like a 2mm suit. Fancy terms aside there are three basic tenets to a good wetsuit: Does it fit well? Does it keep you warm? Is it flexible? I can honestly say “yes” to all three. My only complaint would be that what little water did enter the wetsuit seemed to gather in my legs. You couldn’t tell while surfing but when I walked up the beach I noticed it. I guess that would be a side affect of the “Superseal” cuffs; they don’t allow water in, but don’t let it out either.
Our associate editor Zander Morton wore the 4.5/3mm suit and had the same feelings, “It doesn’t feel at all like a 4/3,” as he paddled right around me. That’s another basic wetsuit tenet I forgot to mention; can you quickly paddle around your friend in it? In this case the answer is “yes” again.—Justin Coté
Key points of the limited edition “TechnoButter 5212” series:
-17% lighter than traditional neoprene.
-30% less water absorption makes it lighter when you’re surfing.
-Quick dry properties.
-Super gooey “TechnoButter” rubber that is as stretchy as it is warm.
-Available on a limited basis, check your favorite surf shop before they’re all gone.