Review Comparison : Surfears VS Surfears 2.0

In my initial review of the Surfears 2.0, I stated the ear canal was somehow bigger and that the gel plugs were also bigger & thicker but I did not had the first version to back it up with facts, it was only based on real use and analysis.

Let's see it in details with pictures now. I did not measure everything, not really relevant.

 

As you can see in the pictures, EVERYTHING is bigger. Sadly, that doesn't mean a better seal, quite the opposite for me. Also it gives more leverage for the water to flush it out, especially as it doesn't enter the ear canal that much.

 

Let's take a closer look at the gel plugs here:

YES, the orange plug is a SMALL, the white plug is a MEDIUM. Sorry the pics are not perfect...

 

No need to be an engineer to understand why it's not a great evolution. It looks like the main focus has been on the better earing. Better balance, yeah right, by how much percent? This is not as important as the seal.

The marketing on their website : "SURFEARS® PROTECT YOUR EARS WITHOUT AFFECTING YOUR HEARING"

Some more on their "proven performance chart" : "Independent tests show that SurfEars® have far superior performance compared to other ear plugs.
SurfEars® have close to zero acoustic loss in the frequency range of human speech while the best competitor cuts away about 20-30dB.
To give you a reference, 30dB is roughly the difference between the loudest and lowest volume setting on your smartphone."

Does this means that's how they want to developp this product? hearing first?

Given that when it's wet you don't hear REALLY better at all from first gen to 2.0, why bother? The Salt that dries onto mesh, the water repellancy of the wesh that works a very very limited time with salt water... Even with cleaning, half a session after, it's the same. Removing all the salt inside the mesh is super hard, even in hot water.

Why not focus on the FIT, rather than earing? The problem is water entering the ear, that's what you need to focus on. With surfears 2.0, more water enters.

How to fix this problem seems obvious : thinner ear canal, larger gel buds, thinner and stickier gel plugs wings to better fit the weird shape of the ear canal, whatever the angle the plug is entered... again I'm not an engineer but that looks like an intersting way to go.

I've contacted them after my initial review of their surfears 2.0, immediatly had a bunch of views on a fresh 2 hours article, so I guess they read it, and I finally got a message from customer service, and there is 2 important things in the answer:

1) NO spare parts for first gen model.

2) 2.0 has 2 positions inside the Gel bud that changes the fit and seal (you can see the 2 slots inside the red gel bud on the picture)

That translate simply in, lost one = buy the new model...

Not the kind of business model surfers like.

UPDATE: Okay so using the POS 1 Does improve the seal.

THE SEAL IS BETTER THAN 1.0 VERSION WHEN THE PLUG STAYS IN POS 1! (for me)

Of course having 2 position creates another problem, when pushing the plug into the ear canal, it pushes in a way that the plug gets into POS 2 by itself. Reajustements in the water puts the plug in POS 2 also.

IN my experience this is not a put and forget accessory like it was with gen 1. Seal is better though, I must admit.

TO avoid problems, just wash it every session with white vinegar (the inside of the gel plug) with a cotton swab, that way it's harder for it to set itself in postiion 2 when you fit the earplug into your ear.

Review : SurfEars 2.0 earplugs

I replaced my first version, because I lost one in a very stupid situation, I had them in my boardshort rear pocket and I tried to take them out while in the shorebreak mush. Not smart.

Ok, so the red sealing gel plug (as they name it) in itself looks thicker, I'm not sure but it does not penetrate the canal like the other one did and sometimes by pushing too hard the black core tube of the ear plug will "exceed" inside (the core tube canal should not exceed the sealing gel plug!.
With this evolution the L is kinda difficult to put in correctly, I mean at first it is but then you readjust, messes with it then it does what I just described. It's the only size that works for me though, and I tried them all, I was wearing a medium in the previous version and the fit was spot on. I read some reviewer say that the fit was perfected. I don't know about that and do not agree because I have to go one size up to fit my small letf ear canal...

A shoulder high wave just broke on my ear and the plug went off, hopefully I had the leash.

For that kind of situation, the leash (that you can take off) is great, but the leash without a hood is a misery for me. with the hood it all stays where it should and does not bother you. Without the hood however, you feel it's tension on the ear plug almost everytime you turn your head, the leash is super stretchy but the material also sticks to your wetsuit somehow, that gives you the impression right or wrong that the plug is not perfectly fitted anymore. Something you will know for certain on your next wipeout or duckdive.

The external plug shape and core tube design does improve audition, but once wet it's almost not a noticeable improvement anymore AND I think given my analysis this is where the problem is.

I mean if when wet audition isn't better and at what point does it matter ( +30%, +50%), why increase that core tube diameter? I Maybe wrong (I did not made a comparison and I will) but it does seems larger. That supposed increase in diameter makes it really hard for people with tiny canals to have a good fit because what makes the fit is the silicone plug. That plug needs to have some space to work correctly. If it's all compressed, given the design it doesn't work. So I guess the small is too compressed but not enough for a good seal and therefore I have to get the L, ultra compressed in the canal to get a better seal.

You have now guessed that comfort is not better, after 2 hours, I can't wait to take them off. Yopu don't have this problem when you don't use a hood and it depends on how large your ear canal is.

So let's recap:

- Problem 1 : The material used on the leash, stretch over length situation, I would love to try a fishing line instead to see how it goes.

- Problem 2 : and most important one is the sealing gel plug, shape, thickness, hardness of the silicone makes it hard for it to make a good seal in my opinion.

- Problem 3 : The core problem is probably in the core diameter, making it hard if you have a tiny ear canal.

I'd love to give a raving review given how great was the first version but there is just nothing to really rave about exept maybe the shape and colorway.


If I had to grab one today knowing that, I would try to grab the old version for sure. In fact I'm gonna contact them to ask if they have some replacement parts for the one I lost.

I hope the 3.0 fixes that core + silicone plug diameter and thickness and make both the core tube and the silicone earplug hold better together so you can push it inside without second thought and without it exceeding inside.

UPDATE: I've been contacted by the guys at surfears and it apears that something a lot of people miss is that there is 2 gel bud positions. Position 2, the one I've been using is for people suffering from exostosis, wich I probably have in a small way given how my left ear canal is. But it apears position 1 should offer in my opinion a better seal and fit, so of course I'll be testing that position with differents gel bud sizes over the next few days.

Okay so using the POS 1 Does improve the seal.

THE SEAL IS BETTER THAN 1.0 VERSION WHEN THE PLUG STAYS IN POS 1! but that's it. The other problems remains.

Of course having 2 position creates another problem, when pushing the plug into the ear canal, it pushes in a way that the plug gets into POS 2 by itself. Reajustements in the water puts the plug in POS 2 also.

IN my experience this is not a put and forget accessory like it was with gen 1. Seal is better though, I must admit.

TO avoid problems, just wash it every session with white vinegar (the inside of the gel plug) with a cotton swab, that way it's harder for it to set itself in postiion 2 when you fit the earplug into your ear.

 

 

Review : Doc's proplugs earplugs

This pic was taken, right after taking those off after a session, without cleaning, so you can get an idea of the amount of sand & stuff that comes in after battling in a serious beach break.

What you see is the inside of the plug, not the outside of course.

I specifically went to the pharmacy to get those, so a specialist could help me choose the right size.

They block your audition at around 85%. You can hear a bit but you really have to be close to talk with a buddy. 2 feet close.
They are not 100% water tight, they let water comes in at times with a tiny bit of sand too as you can see.

They did not get really loose during the sessions, even if I was afraid I will loose one, I did not.

They’re cheap, so that’s a good point. Much better alternatives are costly in comparison.

I did not get otitis, but again I did not use those for a couple of months so I could get some real statistics on that. Too much water and sand coming in pushed me to search for something else : Surfears review available on this site.

Review : Wetsuit boots ATAN MISTRAL 3mm and MISTRAL HOT 6,5mm

Wetsuit boot atan mistral 3mm

They look the same so only one picture will do for both models.

Please check the atan.fr website and use a traduction plugin for all the tech infos on the latex / limestone neoprene surf booties.

The 3mm are cozy for me till 13°C water temperature. Lower than that go with the 6,5mm. in a 11°C water temp session for two hours, my feet were HOT like if I was at home in a nice pair of fur lined boots! NO BULLSHIT.
They claim the overall feel is barefoot like. That’s verified. It’s incredible and almost like if you don’t feel them.
Super easy to put them on and off. If you let water in, they will fill with water. They does not slip or slide. No complaint on sizing and fit whatsoever.
The material is ULTRA sticky, so they recommend to put some chalk on it from time to time.
they are the real thing, best surf booties ever.

BUT

with that material, when you come out water, sand stick to it (obviously) and it makes the boot very slippery sensitive, walking on rocks when they are full of sand is alsmost like walking on ice. Without sticky sand on them you can walk on rocks just fine. And No it doesn't help rubbing the foot on the rock until the sand is wiped out, it doesn't work.

Dry time: for the 6,5mm = 2 to 3X faster (easy) than any other surf booties and wetsuit boots I’ve tried. Rinced at 3PM and hanged to dry at room temperature, the next morning at 9 they’re almost COMPLETLY dry. I mean there is just a tiny bit of residual humidity in them.

Let’s see how they hold on now on the long run.

That’s a French product that’s been around for years, and there’s a reason. Certainly one of the best surf boots there is. If they hold on well, there is not one serious reason to search for something else.

You can expect a review of the summer version in a couple months.