Open water swimmer on jetty in orca hi-vis women's wetsuit with mountains in the distance and lake behind

Why I love the Orca Vitalis Openwater Hi-Vis Wetsuit

Posted on: BY: Saga Svensson
Tags: hi-vis | Orca | Vitalis | wetsuits

You might already know that i’m a big fan of Orca Wetsuits. The fit is usually great for me as a woman. I find their suits comfortable, light, and i wore my last suit until it literally fell off me. It will come as no surprise then, that I love the Vitalis Orca Openwater Hi-Vis, a wetsuit designed especially for open water swimmers.

Let’s dive into it some of the features:

Visibility

If you think about it, open water swimmers often swim in waters with boat traffic so it’s actually pretty weird that most wetsuits are black. Boat operators can be distracted, inexperienced, or even under the influence, so a bright-colored wetsuit that’s more likely to be seen from a distance is a much safer idea.

Personally, i never leave land without my high visibility safety swim buoy, and i’m really cautious about sharing the water with water craft travelling faster than 15km an hour since a close-ish call in the lake last summer, but still, a bit more visibility can’t be a bad idea.

Enter the Vitalis Orca Openwater Hi-Vis, a wetsuit designed especially to stand out in open water. The suit has a bright neon orange sleeve design which makes it easy for fellow swimmers and watercraft to spot you. In combination with the matching Orca High Vis Neoprene Swim cap* , your only danger is attracting bees from the shore.

*Note: i personally find the neoprene cap a bit much for anything other than those freezing cold early season, six weeks earlier than anyone else dips their toes type swims, but it is worth its weight in gold in those moments. I had, and still have, a boring cheap neoprene one, but the matching high vis version makes me feel ready to take on iceman (and i don’t mean Wim Hof). For a high vis summer adventure in boat country i recommend something bright and silicone instead.

High performance

The Vitalis Orca Openwater wetsuit uses the ‘Infinity Skin 2’ lining which is supposed to enhance the overall performance and comfort of the wetsuit, particularly in terms of flexibility and buoyancy. The Infinity Skin 2 lining is constructed from a high-quality, super stretch nylon material. I did not feel like i have felt in some other suits i’ve tried where the shoulders can feel constricted and lacking in range of motion at first. I liked that the suit felt tight to my body but kind of nice and firm yet stretchy from the get-go, rather than feeling like it needed wearing in like with some suits. That takes a huge leap of faith if you are about to drop $300 in the wetsuit store. I was able to feel that loose and relaxed feeling in my shoulders when i did a few of my Michael Phelps warm up slaps.

The Infinity Skin not only enhances the overall comfort of the wetsuit but also helps to reduce water ingress, by clinging closer to the natural lines of your beautiful body, which supposedly keeps you warmer in cold water conditions. I don’t know about differences in water ingress as compared with other suits out there, but I did feel snug as a bug in some pretty early swims – we’re talking end of May, people.

In regards to actual performance gains, the Orca Vitalis has smoothskin neoprene panels on the chest and back designed to minimize water drag and promote more efficient swimming. Their strategic positioning optimizes buoyancy and body line, reducing fatigue and supposedly improving overall swimming performance. Again we are talking about open water here so it’s hard to measure what are surely marginal gains, however i am sure that i experienced a difference in my body position and a corresponding reduction in drag. Is that cheating? I’ll take every little bit i can get.

Disclaimer: Our swimming adventure content is not intended to take the place of specific, current, local advice from qualified experts. We strongly recommend that you consult with professional safety experts and take all necessary precautions should you undertake any adventure activity, especially in open water. Swimming is a HAZARDOUS activity. Never swim alone or beyond your ability. There is the possibility of physical injury, emotional distress and/or death, and you assume the risk and responsibility for any such results.

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