Taking the deboer Fjord 1.0 for a test swim

Jan Frodeno and Daniela Ryf might not have had a chance to wear their speedy new wetsuits on their way to wins in Frankfurt and Austria, but that didn’t stop us trying the new deboer Fjord 1.0 wetsuit last week. Read on for our first take.

| July 12, 2019 | GEAR

Jan Frodeno is one of the big names who have signed with deboer wetsuits.

Jan Frodeno is one of the big names who have signed with deboer wetsuits.

Photo >Courtesy Deboer Wetsuits

The brand

Alex Deboer is one of the owners of the company, hence the deboer name for the brand. He’s been in the triathlon and wetsuit world for over two decades and continues to run Dare2Tri. Anyone who is familiar with the Dare2Tri wetsuits won’t be at all surprised to see all the innovations in the new deboer lineup. Deboer (Alex, that is) has been steadily releasing suits under the Dare2Tri moniker that offered incredibly flexible shoulders and lots of other features. The new suits from deboer are the culmination of years and years of development. The deboer brand is meant to be a “premier” wetsuit brand, and the suits certainly live up to that moniker.

The deboer Fjord 1.0 features 44Cell HBF-Limestone WhaleSkin neoprene that\'s ribbed at the front to improve hydrodynamics.

The deboer Fjord 1.0 features 44Cell HBF-Limestone WhaleSkin neoprene that's ribbed at the front to improve hydrodynamics.

Photo >Kevin Mackinnon

The tech

Before I run through the details of what it’s like to swim in the suit, I’ll first run through some of the features that make the deboer Fjord 1.0 a US$1,500 suit. It starts with the extremely light 44Cell Limestone WhaleSkin neoprene that’s ribbed at the front to help decrease drag. The WhaleSkin neoprene is extremely buoyant – different parts of the suit basically feature 7 mm thick neoprene that is compressed down to 5 mm so it’s legal to use. The other amazing feature in the suits are the 0.3 mm thick Duraflex material used in the arms. It’s extremely flexible and is pretty much impossible to rip. (The other sleeved suit in the debor line up, the Floh 1.0, has UltraFlex material in the arms with is 1.5 mm thick for additional warmth.)

The sleeves on the Fjord 1.0 use .3mm Duraflex material with is extremely flexible and resistant to cuts or tears.

The sleeves on the Fjord 1.0 use .3mm Duraflex material with is extremely flexible and resistant to cuts or tears.

Photo >Kevin Mackinnon

The list of other features in the suit is long – basically every aspect of the suit is top of the line: a hydrophobic Super-Stretch comfort lining, Glideskin Surface coating to lower water friction, 3mm AquaGrip panels, YKK Stainless Steel bottom-up runner zipper, a DolphinSkin neck closure, and hand glued and double blind stitched seams.

The swim

The Fjord 1.0 is incredibly comfortable. Because it stretches so much, a lot of pros are actually going down a size in this suit, which is a tribute to just how flexible and comfortable it is. The movement around the arms and shoulders is nothing short of incredible – it truly feels like you don’t have anything on your arms and shoulders as you are stroking through the water. There’s a reason excellent swimmers like Frodeno, Ryf and Ben Kanute are drawn to this suit – they are able to maintain their natural swim strokes with complete ease.

You also immediately notice just how much buoyancy there is with this suit. You are up high in the water, but Deboer and his engineers have come up with an excellent balance of neoprene thicknesses to ensure that you can maintain an excellent body position in the water and roll comfortably through your stroke. I’d be interested to see if weaker swimmers would feel the same benefits - I’m no Frodeno or Ryf, but I wouldn’t classify myself as a beginner in the water. My gut feeling is that even beginners would find themselves feeling pretty good in the water wearing the Fjord 1.0, but there might be those who find some other suits designed to get the hips up higher in the water to be better. For me and all the pros and reviewers I talked to, the feeling was that with the deboer Fjord 1.0 you felt like you were swimming without a wetsuit, but getting all the warmth and flotation benefits of wearing one.

The Duraflex material in the arms is really interesting, too – it’s so thin, but feels pretty bombproof. You’ll have no problems getting this suit on and you’ll confidently pull it off in a hurry without worrying that you’re going to rip it.      

This is a premium wetsuit in terms of both performance and price. There’s a reason this brand-new company was able to sign two of the biggest names in the sport right off the bat – they knew full well that this was a suit that would make them faster. The lucky few who are able to spend that much on a suit will enjoy all the same benefits.