Huub Pinnacle Wetsuit – Triathlete

While Huub isn’t a brand new name in the triathlon wetsuit scene, it’s safe to say that the British company has remained dormant in the US market for the past few years. Although their range was mostly successful in the UK, mainly thanks to the success of its poster brothers Jonny and Alistair Brownlee, it was difficult, and in some cases downright impossible, to find a Huub suit in the US.

While we won’t go into the ins and outs of US distribution for Huub, the good news for fans of the highly technical, boundary-pushing brand is that United States is back, and it’s personally in the very capable hands of a man who knows a bit about tri-swimming, Andy Potts. His first major contribution to the brand? A strange new combination called Pinnacle.

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Huub Pinnacle: the basics

Since I’ve already caught your eye with claims of a weird new combination, let’s first slowly backtrack and look at what’s not so weird about this combination. Huub caught my eye about three years ago with the release of his Brownlee Agilis costume, a costume that has risen to the top of my pile more often than others due to its super floaty legs. The thighs in this suit were so buoyant it felt like you were wearing a pull buoy (a good thing for those of us with trunk-like legs that generally sink more than they float). Yes, the Agilis was extreme, but if bottom half buoyancy was what your swimming style needed, then there was literally no better suit for it.

Much like the Agilis, the Pinnacle does the basics well: the Pinnacle uses what Huub nebulously calls a “neutral weapon design”. Although it’s quite difficult to know exactly what this means, despite some research, Huub says it reduces the maximum stretch by 50%. What is clear is that the arms are thin all the way through the shoulders and very flexible in the water while swimming. There’s also a crazy amount of neoprene paneling in this suit which helps give it a tailored fit and targeted buoyancy, although it’s not as buoyant as the Agilis. The Pinnacle also has a detachable zipper, much like the old Quintana Roo wetsuits. We will come back to this below.

Horizontal stripes on the front and back of the suit’s interior help with structure.

But the big big Basic on the Pinnacle is Huub’s new “central control system”. Again not a ton of info on functionality but using horizontal stripes on the inside of the suit near the core in combination with extremely non-stretch neoprene running vertically from the hip to just below the knee – Huub has created an unusual ‘structure’ that helps meander over the lower half of the body. While Huub isn’t the first to use a stiff material to create structure – notably, Roka uses something like KT Tape to create stability through the core in their X-series of suits – but it’s the most effective.

The neoprene on the sides of the legs is so rigid that it forces the suit to “stand” on its own in certain positions.

RELATED: What matters (and what really doesn’t) when buying a wetsuit

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Huub Pinnacle: What Works

It’s no surprise that the thing that works best on this suit is the extremely new ‘central control’ system. In fact, I’m surprised that Huub doesn’t make bigger deal with this. While Roka’s Series X does a good job of stabilizing the core while you’re swimming, for those of us who “snake” through the water, the Huub system is almost shocking to try for the first time. It is obvious to see the difference in stiffness of the flexible neoprene at 80% of the suit and the stiffness of the neoprene in the approximately two foot by three inch band that goes from just above the hips to below the knees on the outside of the leg. But once you put it on and start swimming, again if you’re a notorious “snake”, the feeling is almost shocking.

While Roka’s X system does a good job of keeping tension on the upper upper body, it does little to keep the upper legs aligned with the hips and core, while the Pinnacle does excellent work by both.

We also liked how easy this suit was to take off, between the convenience of the detachable zipper (more on that below) and the legs, which were among the easiest to take off we’ve tested this year. There’s no doubt that both are the result of Potts’ Olympic fingerprints on all that rubber.

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Huub Pinnacle: what’s going well

For those of us who fight mightily against “the curse of the serpent” – a body position that meanders through the water with each stroke, causing a very un-hydrodynamic shape as it goes – the elements that lie beneath are almost irrelevant, as there’s not much that should hurt getting the Pinnacle if you need to swim straighter in the water (apart from the price, of course). But if meandering through water isn’t high on your list, you might be wary of spending over $800 on a suit with decent but not amazing shoulder flexibility, average durability (which, to be fair, is a common problem symptom of expensive wetsuits with light and delicate neoprene), and fairly average flotation, especially compared to the Agilis, of course. While none of these factors should put a bullet in the Pinnacle, the buoyancy and flexibility of this wetsuit is more like a $600 wetsuit than a $1,000 wetsuit.

Finally, the one thing that was noticeably less than thin isn’t necessarily unique to the Pinnacle, but is present on all of Huub’s suits: the detachable zipper. In an effort to speed up the transition, you start to zip the zipper from the bottom and then pull it up, like most wetsuit zippers, but once near the top you stop zipping, because if you pull it past a certain point, the entire zipper will “break” and unzip. Yes, it’s a new way to quickly decompress when you’re out of water – just pull hard and the back opens – but it’s also quite easy to overseal when you’re trying to get ready for your swim. The worst part? If you accidentally “break” the zipper by pulling it up, it’s nearly impossible to reset it yourself, as you have to reinstall the zipper at the bottom. The same is true if you forget (as I did several times) to put the zipper on in the first place and only realize it after you have almost completely put the suit on.

Once you pull the zipper past a certain point on the top, the zipper “breaks” and opens.

conclusion

As someone who’s battled that ‘snake’ feeling – a fairly common feeling in triathlon swimmers, and one that’s very, very hard to get rid of – this suit felt like a magic bullet. My swimming stroke felt immediately different, and immediately better the minute I put this costume on. As someone who has reviewed many wetsuits over the years, I was shocked that it felt so different while swimming, for the better. For me, I can safely say that I would swallow the high price tag and awesome zipper, because there is literally nothing else that has accomplished what the Pinnacle did for my stroke. That said, if the snake is not a problem for you – let’s say you’re ironically an Andy Potts-level swimmer, for example – you’re likely to find the feel basically negligible.

If you’re looking for a super high-end wetsuit in the super premium category (I put this around $600+), you’re probably looking for something incredibly flexible (like the Zoot Wiki Wiki 2.0) or super flexible and soft (like the Zoot Wiki 2.0). ‘ARK GOAT) or something really buoyant (like the Roka Maverick MX or the Huub Agilis). While the Pinnacle isn’t necessarily one of those things, it’s absolutely the best structured wetsuit I’ve ever tested for those who need core, hip, and leg support. For the triathlete who needs support, the Pinnacle is hands down the best on the market, at any price.

RELATED: The best triathlon wetsuits

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