If you thought Matuse
couldn’t top their 2008 model (v.08), think again. The Matuse Hoplite 3/2/2
2009 model (v.09) may not look different at a passing glance, but you do notice the difference the first time you try it on. And for anyone that’s tried on a Matuse, you know that this is no triviality. Actually, it’s an epic friggin battle. The first time I tried on a 3/2/2 v.08 Hoplite, I had to have my wife help me. When I tried on the v.09, the suit slid on like a glove but somehow maintained it’s death grip along every square inch of my body. Not that the only improvement from the v.08 is a better fit, but that – without a doubt – is the first thing I noticed.
This article is a comparison review to the Matuse Hoplite 3/2/2 v.08
which I published not too long ago. How did I manage to pull off two Matuse purchases in such a short period of time? Well my wife hates me now, and a Costco sized case of Top Ramen sitting next to my computer will be my sole source of sustenance for the foreseeable future. With that said, expect to drop $440 for the 3/2/2 v.09, $490 for the 4/3/2, and $530 for the 5/4/3.Ichiban Redux
Having covered the whole geoprene thing and meaning of Matuse thing in the Hoplite v.08
and Matuse Philo
reviews, let’s suffice it to say that Matuse makes a great suit. The v.09 carries on that tradition with the changes over the v.08 focused on making the suit more flexible.
This surprised me somewhat. Being essentially a 2mm fullsuit, how much more flexible can the 3/2/2 get? Then it dawned on me that these changes were likely geared towards making their 4/3/2 and 5/3/2 more flexible. I can’t speak to that since this is a review of the 3/2/2 but something to keep in mind for our friends up north. However, if you are looking for maximum flexibility in a fullsuit, you may have found your ichiban game.Slick Skin Delete
At first glance, you wouldn’t be able to tell the v.08 from the v.09. The Matuse “M” still flanks the chest and the quasi-Greek “MATUSE” lettering is still emblazoned along the back and right arm. The same Hoplite shield with the Illumanti-esque eyeball still adorns the left shoulder.
The most apparent change however, is the removal of the fish scale pattern along the slick skin chest band and back panels. I personally dug the east Asian nod and wished they had kept the scales. Made me feel very samurai. A quasi-Greek Spartan samurai, mind you.
The slick skin was also removed along the arms. Nowhere is the increased flexibility more apparent than along the arms as a result of this change. Paddling and arm movement is noticeably less restrictive with the v.09. However, the slick skin did have the ability to absorb a lot of heat making an otherwise warm suit even warmer. Without the slick skin, I don’t think the v.09 is as hot as its predecessor.Selective Paneling
A couple of paneling changes were made to increase flexibility and reduce chaffing. There is one less panel along the arms which, along with the slick skin delete, improves paddling and arm movement.
The break in the collar was removed such that the material circling the neckline is one single piece of geoprene. This was meant to reduce chaffing along the neckline. Although I experienced noticeable discomfort along the neckline of the v.08, that may have been due to the larger size (a large-short) over the v.09 (a medium-short).Fancy Taping
What you’ll immediately notice looking inside the suit is that the prior black taping has been replaced by fancy silver taping. This taping is meant to be stronger and more flexible. Given the stretch capacity of geoprene, I imagine the taping really does have to withstand a lot of pressure so that it can stretch along with the material.Fits Like a Glove
From my last review, I had a hell of a time finding the right size Hoplite. For reference, I am about 5’6” and 160 lbs. I had initially tried on the medium-short (of which all of my other suits are sized) at which time my wife had to help me zip up. I did some exhaustive research of other Matuse owners and pulled the trigger on a large-short. Although I could actually put that on myself, it ended up stretching somewhat after a couple of sessions – despite confirmation from Matuse themselves that geoprene has very little stretch memory. Then I tried on the v.09 in a medium-short ... all I can say is Matuse must have heard all the commotion about sizing because this one fit like a glove and continues to be very snug all around. Ultimately, I would recommend going with the size you normally get
and expect the fit to be extremely tight early on.Conclusion
There’s no arguing that Matuse makes a great suit. But for the price, you want to make sure that you are getting your hard earned money’s worth particularly in this craptastic economy. Add to that the fact that last year’s “vintage” suits are popping up with discounts as much as 30%, the choice on whether to go with the v.09 is a tough one ... but in my own opinion worth every penny. Having an affinity for shrimp flavored instant noodles also helps.Updates
Check back here for updates on the Hoplite 3/2/2 v.09.DISCLOSURE: THE AUTHOR OF THIS ARTICLE PURCHASED THIS PRODUCT AT MSRP FOR PURPOSES OF TESTING.