Other than being constructed of only Yamamoto #40 neoprene, Freak of Nature has several other features that separate it from Category 5 and some other top end wetsuits. Carefully located segments of aerated neoprene are placed on the chest, hips and thighs to maximize the buoyancy of both the upper and lower portions of the swimmer’s body. TYR also extended the piece of super-buoyant material around the outside of the swimmer’s hips. These segments are plunged into the water as the swimmer rolls from side to side, and using thick neoprene in this location has benefited body position on other suits tested by Triathlete. TYR took this design a step farther than some brands by using not only thick neoprene, but aerated thick neoprene, which is the most buoyant variety. Freak of Nature also has a forearm catch panel covered with massive, nearly rigid plastic “V’s.”
The back and shoulder panels used in Freak of Nature utilize the pattern that has been proven in their existing suits to effectively isolate the shoulder and zipper to maximize arm flexibility. We found the Cat 5. to be very flexible, and the addition of #40 neoprene and extremely flexible inner jersey liner through the suit might further reduce restriction on the arms. TYR says the materials change allows the arms to stretch to 40% more than the Cat 5. Although we haven’t swum in Freak of Nature, TYR athlete Chrissie Wellington has. She says it’s, “allows for complete range of motion.” This extremely flexible construction can also effect the support the suit provides to the swimmer’s core by reducing the amount of pressure it applies to the torso.
TYR wants to create a wetsuit buying experience analogous to a luxury car buying experience. The suit comes in a wood, rubber and metal case inscribed with an individual serial number assigned to the suit. That number becomes the ID associated with the suit’s owner and TYR plans to connect with Freak of Nature swimmers to provide them with additional surprises after they have purchased the suit. It also comes with a silicone cap that graphically matches the suit and a care kit to wash it and repair fingernail cuts. The men’s version has a red and gold color scheme, the women’s is white and gold.