Comp X Review Graphic

Comp X : Lightweight Warmth and Stretch

The Comp X equates to Formula 1 for surf wetsuits. Progressive, high-tech, total performance from hood to cuffs, this wetsuit feels notably superior when paddling and ripping waves. Designed for cold water, the hooded Comp X, available in a 5.5/4.5mm or a 4.5/3.5mm, also delivers heat thanks to Japanese-made Nanoprene Lite neoprene and Thermo Dry Celliant smart fabric. Here’s our take on our best-selling wetsuit.

Xcel Fall 21 Comp X Wetsuit

Top Shelf Ingredients

Xcel created the Comp X for surfers who take their pursuit of waves seriously. By melding cutting-edge materials in a supremely advanced design, Xcel boosts warmth and stretch while offering minimal weight.

Such a wetsuit begins with the right neoprene. The Comp X features Nanoprene Lite, made from limestone instead of petrochemicals. This benefits the planet and the surfer alike. By absorbing far less water than standard “rubber,” Nanoprene Lite stays lightweight, buttery, warm and durable. Nanoprene Lite is Xcel’s best neoprene.

Channel Flex Close Up

Updated for 2022, the Men’s Comp X now features Xcel’s new ultra-smooth Channel Flex 2.0 outer fabric across the entire suit. Channel Flex 2.0, which has a smoother finish than its predecessor, channels water away while maintaining full stretch capabilities. It’s hydrophobic and lightweight, and it maintains elasticity through enhanced memory and rebound. This is Xcel’s highest-grade textile.

On the inside, Xcel lights things up with its psychedelic Thermo Dry Celliant smart fabric. Woven with a blend of special minerals, TDC reflects your body’s infrared heat, so the warmth you generate stays in the suit. Covering you from chest to ankles, TDC goes to work the minute you suit up. The shoulders, arms and pits have hyper-stretch fabric to assist in unrestricted paddle power. Xcel designed the Men’s Comp X for surfing, and it shows.

Radical Design

Paddling and wave riding require a wide range of motion, and this is why Xcel built the Men’s Comp X using two single-piece panels: one for the front and one for the back. This reduces seams, which are known to restrain flex and allow water entry. There is no smooth skin on the suit, not even on the hood. Less is way more.

On this note, we especially like how the Comp X has no deep-pile fleece inside, which would add weight and bulk. Instead, the sheer TDC layer maintains warmth while adding comfort, and it dries super fast.

A refined entry battens down the hatches against cold water flushes. We found it takes a few sessions to figure out the technique for getting into and out of the Comp X, but the benefits become noticeable when paddling. What’s more important, ease of entry/exit or ease of shoulder extension in the water?

The hood, an often overlooked aspect of cold water wetsuits, is about as optional as sleeves here in the North Pacific. The Comp X hood slows nothing down. Both the hood and the neck of the Comp X are thin, which makes paddling and moving the head and neck feel natural and comfortable. The lack of a visor also makes us happy, especially because semi-constant cloud cover renders a visor useless anyway.

Bells n' Whistles

The Comp X actually shows little interest in bells and whistles or marketing gimmicks. Xcel gave the wetsuit what it needs to stay warm and out of the way.

The chest zip employs a semi-dry zipper with magnetic closure and a sticky Glide Skin collar. Nexskin wrist and ankle seals refuse cold water intrusion. Seams on the Comp X are triple-glued and blind-stitched for strength and impermeability. FusionX heat-bonded tape on the inside adds durability and comfort. Don’t forget the back-knee flex grooves.

Thickness Options

For our ocean temps, which hover around 50 degrees year-round, we stock the hooded versions of the Comp X. The 5.5/4.5mm offers the most heat, but we find this necessary only in the depths of winter. Still, it’s a super toasty option, especially for trips to more northerly destinations.

2022 Xcel Comp X Wetsuit

We wear the 4.5/3.5mm Comp X most of the year. The Nanoprene Lite and TDC perform so well that they offer extra warmth thanks to their quality of raw materials and technology. The 4.5/3.5mm Comp X easily surpasses the heat retention of a standard 5/4mm. Adding a 1mm vest underneath gets us through the coldest February days without extra bulk in the shoulders or arms. The average Pacific Northwest surfer will get by just fine in a 4.5/3.5mm and be stoked for having less suit.


As a surf shop exclusive, the 2022 Xcel Men’s Comp X is reserved for surfers who need the lightest-weight warmth and stretch possible. Streamlined for all-out performance, the Comp X is what the pros wear when they dare to surf cold water. It’s our shop favorite, the go-to of Seaside Surf Shop’s owner, employees and team — what more need we say.

Xcel Wetsuits Collection

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