Friday, July 19, 2024

Review Extra: Mantra Swimskin by Orca

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Question: What Does Orca Have that Other Wetsuit Companies Don’t?

Answer: More freediving wetsuit options in their women’s line.

Okay, full disclaimer: I don’t know that no other wetsuit companies offer more options in their women’s collection than men’s, but in years I’ve been involved in the dive industry, it’s rare.

Orca makes wetsuits for almost any ocean sport, and its freedive wetsuit line has two main offerings: the competition-class Zen and the more durable, training-friendly Mantra.

For women freedivers, though, there’s a third option: a hybrid garment that is a long-sleeved freediving wetsuit on top but more like a medium-coverage swimsuit on the bottom.

Enter the Mantra Swimskin

The Mantra Swimskin is made of the same superior-quality 2mm Yamamoto neoprene as its full-length counterpart and the same Ultimate Seal Collar.  The leg-less design of the Swimskin offers more freedom of movement, which makes it a suitable choice for more casual freediving and offers enough versatility for use in other aquatic activities.

Like Orca’s other freediving wetsuits, the graphic pattern on the suit is an homage to the element that inspires us all. The turquoise and black Mantra looks like refracted light on a black-bottomed pool.

I’m currently landlocked, so my only option is to hit the pool for some training and dream about the day my dives will once again be salty. The Mantra Swimskin comes in the standard sizes XS-XL, and at a US size 18, I tested the elasticity claims of Yamamoto neoprene.

I am, in fact, off of the Orca-recommended size guide. I got into it – a feat that I owe not just to that top-shelf stretchability, but also to the swimsuit-style cut of the legs… and perhaps a little help from a friend. As much as I love to dive, mine is not the lanky, spare body of the competitive freediver, and not having to wrestle a snug suit over my robust calves gave me more access to testing out the Swimskin than I think I could’ve gotten from the full-length Mantra.

This is a huge point in favor of the Mantra Swimskin, but expanded size options are something I would love to see inform Orca wetsuits in the future.

Once it was on, it felt supportive and smooth, compacting and streamlining my upper body and arms, without any chafing at the neck, wrists, or legs that tightly-fitting wetsuits can sometimes cause. The trip from the locker room to the deck was surprisingly free of any need to readjust the suit, as the bottom, while fairly high-cut in the legs, still offered enough coverage and fit to keep everything comfortably in place.

The indoor pool in the southwest of America during fall is a curious and changeable mixture of warmth and cold. The 2mm insulation of the Mantra Swimskin was a lovely buffer against the shock of the cool water as I stepped in and submerged for the first time, and later, once I’d gotten the blood flowing and my muscles warmed up, having bare legs kept me from overheating in the snug, long-sleeved suit.

The Mantra Swimskin offers full coverage in the back, and the reverse-zipper makes for a snugger fit to keep out those cold trickles.
The Mantra Swimskin offers full coverage in the back, and the reverse-zipper makes for a snugger fit to keep out those cold trickles.

The woven nylon outer covering stops a few inches from the edge of the wrists, and the slick open-cell neoprene extends the rest of the way, making for a smooth leading edge as my arms cut through the water. The snug fit of the suit kept me moving through the water with diminished resistance but didn’t compress me so much as to make it difficult to draw the deep breaths I needed to work on my static breath hold.

Overall, I was pleased with the look and feel of the Mantra Swimskin. It did everything it promised, and while it was a bit of a struggle to get it on and properly situated, you want a freediving suit to fit close. Another size up (if there were one) would have probably eliminated the problem.

If you’re a lady diver who wears a straight size, this could quickly become your go-to suit for everything from freediving and snorkeling to scuba diving in the tropics and open-water swimming in the spring and summer. It’s a great option if you’re looking for something with a few more features and a bit more insulation than a traditional swimsuit but aren’t sure you’re ready to drop $399-499 on a dedicated top-of-the-line freediving wetsuit.

Key Specifications

  • Yamamoto 39 neoprene for high elasticity
  • Durable YKK 8 zipper
  • Ultimate Seal Collar to keep water out
  • Sturdy compression to keep your torso smooth and streamlined
  • Less material for improved hydrodynamics
  • Comes in sizes XS, S, M, L, XL

Price

  • $149 USD/£117 GBP/€135 EUR

Buy Now

Orca Mantra Swimskin Women Freedive Wetsuit | Orca Orca Mantra Swimskin Women Freedive Wetsuit | Orca
$149.00

The Orca Mantra is a wetsuit developed with high-quality materials that provide more durability without sacrificing performance. The high-elasticity materials provide a perfect fit and allow the wearer to enjoy freediving sessions without any restrictions.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Mantra Swimsuit by Orca

SUMMARY

It's a good-looking, high-performing suit that's designed in a way that makes it accessible to a wide range of ocean-going women at a price-point that puts it in reach for even the most casual of divers.
Erin Durbin-Sherer
Erin Durbin-Shererhttps://www.deeperblue.com
Erin began diving in 2012 as preparation for a trip to Hawaii and before the year was out she'd left her old life behind to work in the dive industry full-time. When she's not out exploring the deep and collecting c-cards, you might find her making art or working on her master's thesis in cultural anthropology at San Diego State University. Erin is an Associate Editor with DeeperBlue.com.

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It's a good-looking, high-performing suit that's designed in a way that makes it accessible to a wide range of ocean-going women at a price-point that puts it in reach for even the most casual of divers.Review Extra: Mantra Swimskin by Orca