About two months ago, I posted a gear preview/holiday gift post on the Quiksilver Cypher PS+ Heated Vest. I finally got a chance to put the vest through its paces. To set the scene, it’s been bitter cold here in New England, and we’ve had some serious snow storms with average snowfalls of 6″ to a foot of fresh snow.
The morning I went out for dawn patrol in the Cypher vest, the water was a balmy 43 degrees. The air was hovering around freezing at 32 degrees. Most important, it was clean with Chest high to Head high sets. I pulled out my trusty 6’8″ Surf RX thruster, perfect for these conditions. On the advice of Quiksilver, I suited up as I normally would for these conditions: Body Glove 5/4/3 Vapor suit with my Quik Ignite 5mm gloves and booties. Underneath, I wore the Cypher+ vest, curious to see what would happen. It feels like a normal rashguard with a little bit of “umph” around the core/midsection. I wondered if I would overheat or if I would freeze out there.
The wind had picked up a bit as I went from the car to the water, and I found the warmth to be a nice addition. The heat radiated along my back, using flexible pads and FAR infra-red heat technology. I paddled stronger in the water and being able to spend more time in the water than customary. Typically, I can last about 45 minutes to an hour and then the chill starts to take over. With the vest, I was surfing and paddling strong, even when the wind began to pick up. A HUGE bonus, the heated back pad really helped my lower back, which has begun to ache even when when I surf.
The Vest includes a battery that fits nicely into a side pouch. There is a large on/off button, which vibrates to designate the two different settings and off. I found that it was easy to locate the button and operate it while I surfed. So far, the vest works great. During these pre-work dawn patrols, I often have to leave my wet stuff, stewing in the car. The Sea Locker (mini-review to come) helps contain the mess, but I was worried about the battery plugged in and stuck in this dude soup. Battery and vest seem fine. During testing, Quik states that the battery has remained plugged in on a wet vest for a few days at a time with no issues.
Quiksilver suggests that you can wear the vest under a 1mm layer with boardshorts with a 3/2 or under your 6/5/4. With the heat focused on your core, the vest’s main job is to cut the chill when making the transition into the water easier and keeps your core warm which allows your body to increase blood flow and warmth to the extremities.
Of course, I had to ask if they would be incorporating this technology into their wetsuits. Quik’s response: no comment.
Is it worth the $200 price tag? I can’t answer that for you. If you like to surf through the winter or are starting to try, you’re going to spend at least about $600-$800 in a suit, booties and gloves. And even with those items, you’re not going to surf or last as long as you would in the summer. So I guess it depends on how much you value those sessions. They’re pretty important to me.
This has quickly become a staple of my winter surf wardrobe. I’ll definitely be rocking this on the cold days. And as they also suggested, I can’t wait to try this on a bitter pow day, shralping.