Train as you might, when you're pitted against equal competition, every advantage counts. And if you think that your competition is competing in the same wetsuit that they surf in, race day will be a learning experience for you. Of course, you can avoid this heart-wrenching scenario entirely by suiting up in the 2XU ST:3 Team Women's Sleeveless Wetsuit come race day.
The path to speed takes many forms, and accordingly, the path to a faster wetsuit requires many engineering features. So, 2XU approached the ST: 3 with a four-part ideology -- body position, flexibility, hydrodynamics, and buoyancy. Coincidentally, much of 2XU's engineering towards body position also aids in buoyancy. And accordingly, the ST:3 ensures an efficient body position through the development and implementation of its velocity strakes and rollbar technologies. Basically, the velocity strakes are strategically placed and angled points of 5mm raised surface that run from the neck to the knee. These strakes perform many functions, but one of their more notable applications is improving posture in the water, or more precisely put, they efficiently channel water along the body in order to increase your stability and flow. This results in less sideways movement in choppy conditions, and also, it provides an enhanced lift to the body in glassy waters. The rollbars that run along the sides from the hip to the top of scapula operate with the same principle -- minimizing the shoulder and lats tendency to sink inwards during the locomotion of your stroke.
Surely, the aforementioned engineered system of position control sounds right on paper, but you're probably wondering what its real-world application is? Well, aside from its proprioceptive dynamics, it also brings us to our next subject, hydrodynamics. Basically, the ST:3's goal is to make you faster in the water. And just how curvy, sleek shapes minimize your drag coefficient on land, the wetsuit's level of buoyancy is the minimizing variable in the water. The supporting science behind this claim is fairly elementary -- water is around 1000 times denser than air, and it produces a potential drag coefficient 10 times that of air, as well. So, minimizing your body's submergence is vital to optimizing hydrodynamics. Accordingly, the ST:3 features a neoprene with one of the highest available cell densities, Yamamoto 39 cell rubber, for a high level of buoyancy. In fact, this material has an industry-leading specific gravity of 0.13. This means that the cell density of the material is less than water, and so, when the material is submerged, the ratio of density between the neoprene and water is 0.13 -- or a specific gravity 0.13. For perspective, specific gravity reflects higher levels of buoyancy the further that it gets from 1.00, and most industry competition starts at levels around 0.17. And for a fun fact, the average human's specific gravity is around 0.974 -- we are, after all, mainly composed of water.
Additionally, the ST:3 benefits from a hydrodynamic, silicone SCS coating that provides an added level of buoyancy, while lowering the suit's coefficient of kinetic friction. Without entering into a physics lesson, the coefficient of kinetic friction is most simply described as the ratio of the force of friction between two bodies, and the force pressing them together. And in this case, the two bodies are your body and the water and friction occurs concurrently with their motions. So, in the real-world, SCS acts almost like an accelerant as it reduces the friction between yourself and the water, ultimately requiring you to exert less force in order to gain more speed.
For flexibility, the ST:3's Yamamoto 39 cell neoprene is not only buoyant, but it also features one of the most flexible rubber compositions on the market -- 520%, four-way stretch. It also has a floating back panel that's non-restrictive nature allows more air into the chest cavity. This concept is furthered by the suit's seamless, floating zip panel. So, your reach is extended, while abrasion is eliminated.
The 2XU ST:3 Team Women's Sleeveless Wetsuit is available in the color Black and in five sizes from X-Small to X-Large, with Small/medium option also available.