Burning rubber from freezing Fistral to brassic Brittany.
It is mid-February, and Cornish ripper Harry Timson has just exited the surf on France’s Brittany Coast. His surf report is direct and to the point; “Six foot, strong offshore, pumping.” His weather assessment was even blunter. “It’s fucking freezing. The air temp is 8, and the water is colder. It’s colder than home.”
Bad news for Harry, but good news for the winter assignment we’d set the powerful goofyfooter. He’d been tasked with rigorous testing of the Volcom Modulator the 5/4/3mm premium hooded chest zip wetsuit. The sandy bays and rocky headlands near La Torche were the latest locations in which the goofyfooter had been putting the wetsuit through its paces.
“Look I’m no wetsuit tech expert,” he said, which isn’t exactly the ideal opening gambit for a wetsuit review, “but the Modulator is hands down the best wetsuit I’ve ever worn. They are really flexible, around the neck and chest especially. The rubber has a buttery feel, and they dry real quick.”
Now Harry was there for the feel and the vibes. If he’d mentioned the high-grade, Yamamoto limestone-based neoprene, quick-dry thermal lining in critical areas, glued, taped and blind stitched seams and chest zip closure with YKK metal zip pull, I would have been dubious.
Or if he had spouted University-grade neoprenese and listed the sealed cuffs on wrists and ankles, internal key loop, durable 4-way stretch stone knee pads, and chest panel shock cord, you’d know this was a puff piece. Which it clearly isn’t.
After all, Timson has been wearing the Modulator all through an often freezing Cornwall winter. He started in the 4/3, but as the clock struck 13 in December, he stepped up to the 5/4/3 with the hood.
“The hood design is really sound. If you have a bad hood, it’s game over for a wetsuit. This one has an adjustable hood, and you don’t notice the visor,” he said. “I remember having suits where you had to keep your face down when you duckdived, otherwise it just flushed the whole wetsuit. Not with this bad boy. It’s tight but comfortable.” Like a roll-neck, a frugal friend, or a condom, I joked. To no laughter or response. It seems Harry was taking this wetsuit review more seriously than I thought.
“I think the strategy of making wetsuits just for athletes for years, and only recently selling to the public has been a good one,” he said. “There’s been so much R and D done in the harshest conditions by the best surfers, and it feels the fit and the materials are a cut above with these new Modulators.”
Of course warmth, flexibility, and durability are all well and good, especially if you dedicate as many hours as possible to sitting in the freezing North Atlantic Ocean like Harry. But you gotta look good, too, right? Harry, warming to the task if you will pardon the pun, had some views on that too.
“I like that it is an all-black wetsuit, with a single, small classic Stone logo on the front and Volcom wordmark on the back. It’s a low-key look, which is cool,” said Hazza. “And I’m seeing more and more in the water, so they seem to be holding their spot in the lineup against the wetsuit brand heavy hitters. The feedback I’ve had has been all positive.”
Farkin hell! All round ripper, wetsuit tester, and he then throws in some market research butter on top. What a dreamboat! He wasn’t done though. The Brittany trip, and the swell, still had a few days to run. Then it was back to Cornwall, where apart from a Moroccan mission, he’d see out another winter. The plan is to stack some clips and release another Stone Cold Not Sober clip (his 2019 banger) in the summer.
“Man, I’m just trying to get through another cold winter. The Modulator has been a constant companion, I couldn’t have done it without it,” Harry concluded. “I’m just trying to keep the dream alive in between working and paying the mortgage.”