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Orca S3 Wetsuit Review

by MS
(Bournemouth, UK)

I’ve had an Orca S3 for the past couple of years and it’s great. I chose it mainly because it seemed to be a good beginner triathlon wetsuit, not too basic but not too fancy – I didn’t see the point in spending lots of money on features that I probably wouldn’t be able to make the most of, or even notice!

I am female and my ‘stats’ are: 59kg, 170cm.

So the S3, according to the Orca website is made from Smoothskin neoprene, which covers all the shoulder area. This supposedly helps you move faster through the water.

It has a 5mm Hydrolift front body panel to help body position in the water. I certainly feel very buoyant swimming in it, and it feels like my swim technique stays good.

The forearms have got panels that ‘grip’ the water and I definitely feel like this helps me swim faster.

With regards fit, I’d heard people say that Orca wetsuits always come up smaller than you expect. Maybe I’m lucky in that I came out middle of the range for pretty much all the measurements in the size chart on the Orca website (which I checked out before going to buy my wetsuit).

The guys in the shop were really helpful, as I think I may have thought initially it was going to be too small. However putting it on correctly – ie pulling the suit right up at the crotch meant it fitted well. Having said that I am a little below the recommended weight for the size so maybe people at the upper end might find it a bit on the tight side.

I was worried about the flexibility round the arms as it felt a bit tight at first, but that seemed to improve once I’d swum in it a few times. I’m also a bit claustrophobic and don’t like tight things round my neck, so one of the great things for me about this suit is that the neck doesn’t feel like it grips tightly – but it still keeps the water out.

I’ve only really used it in average water temperatures and it insulates well – don’t know what it would be like in really cold water though.

After a bit of practice (and a lot of Vaseline) I’ve nailed getting out of it quickly as well. I’ve seen people struggling to get their suits off their feet but I’ve not had any problems with it getting caught on my heels – might be all that Vaseline though…

As I said I’ve had the Orca S3 for a couple of years now and I’ve raced and trained in it a lot. It is still as good as when I got it and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a performing triathlon wetsuit that doesn’t cost a bomb.


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Mar 11, 2015
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orca wet suit
by: steve

Yes, the review was right there is a problem in the flexibility. The grips are awesome. The cost is good and reasonable. Yes, of course I will recommend this to everyone. The size matching is a small problem. Otherwise, it is perfect.

May 16, 2012
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Orca S3 XL Female.
by: BluechrisP

I first started using this wetsuit which is size XL, I tried the large but was unable to do up the zip. On trying on the XL, I found the fit was spot on for my broad shoulders plus there was good sleeve and leg length covering the arms and legs. I swim in 8C+ waters, when cold this suit fits a pair of compression tights and top nicely under it. Learning to put the suit on properly for example into the armpits and around the legs and waist, made my swimming sleek and faster. Lastly if it feels and looks good in and out of the water than you do too!

Jun 01, 2011
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Love Orca S3 but fit not great
by: Anonymous

I love my Orca S3 but it isn't the greatest fit. I'm 180cm tall (female) and so ordered the large for this height. It only just fits me length ways and so pulls a bit on my neck. There is also lots of room in the arm and legs. I still really like it though and it is comfortable to swim in which I think is most important.

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