When I found out that I would be spending Christmas in Exuma, I started looking into either a rash guard or thin wetsuit to keep me warm, enter the O’Neill Reactor 2mm shorty wetsuit. After weighing the pros and cons of each, I ultimately decided on a 2mm shorty, because it guarantees more warmth, it is more specialized in it’s purpose, and I could also use it for SCUBA.
* Note: on the tag it says this suit is not to be used for SCUBA, but in many reviews people have been using it for SCUBA with nothing but good things to say.
Size & Fit
Let’s get this out of the way first. I am 5’6 1/2″ (I’m crawing at every inch here!) and around 140#. Size Small fits a bit snug on land and conforms well once in the water. That is how a wetsuit should fit, tight on land without choking any of your body part but flexible in the water. If you are any taller or heavier than me, consider going one size up. Wetsuit fit is tricky especially if you cannot try it on in person, that is why I always recommend buying from somewhere that has a great return/exchange policy like Amazon.
A few things that really stood out for me in terms of fit:
- Soft Neck – The neck closure is very comfortable and low.
- Generous room around the pits – There are extra room around your shoulders to account for paddling motion without obvious excess fabric. Another suit I tried was really stiff and fought me each time I raised my arms.
- Smoooooth zipper – Not quite fit but I have to mention it, this suit has a very smooth zipper pull on the back with a self-help lanyard. Zips up smoothly and never stuck once.
- Gave me abs? – I don’t know how this happened, but I actually looked like I have some abs with this suit on.
The built quality of this suit is top notch. I cannot believe this suit is under the $100 price point. There is a reason why it received a 4.5 stars rating with 100+ reviews on Amazon.
My suit did develop a white deoderant-like botch under one of the arms, I am not sure what caused it but I am pretty sure I accidentally caused it along the way. No fault of the company.
I used this suit from mid-60s – 75 degree water temperature. The coldest water I used it in was at the Outer Banks (OBX) during a storm, it was mid-60s with raging wind and I was completely warm with the wetsuit on. Any warmer I would overheat and I suspect anything colder than mid-60s I would need a long suit.
Who Is This For?
This suit would be ideal for people who do activities in chilly water (surf, bodyboard, snorkel, dive), possibly ranging from mid-60s – very low-70s. This is a nice simple wetsuit with good mobility and without all the bell and whistles. It is great for people who just need a wetsuit for occassional chilly water trips, there are other higher-end shorties out there at 3x the price point, it is up to you to decide whether the added features would justify the cost. I also like that the design is simple and subtle, so it has a slightly more mature vibe to it compared to other O’Neill or surf products in general.
I would whole heartedly recommend this spring shorty wetsuit to anyone. As long as you keep in mind it’s range of temperature and pick one with the right fit, this wetsuit will serve you well. If you are close to me in size, also have a look at the video review I put together in Exuma, you can see how the suit fits me in the water.