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Having grown up on the coast of Northern California, one of the key maxims of staying warm here is the proper use of layers. From cold and foggy mornings to sunny afternoons, it’s always wise to have optional layers on demand and our experimentation with Vivida’s Neptune Neoprene Hoodie became a natural extension as we learned how to layer our neoprene to get the most out of variable conditions and long days at the beach.

Vivida’s Neoprene Hoodie is designed specifically for kiteboarding with its kite hook opening and drain holes built into the pouch pocket and hood which make it very useful for on the water warmth as well as back on the beach. Built with 2mm Ultra Flex Limestone neoprene, this jacket does an excellent job of adding enough insulation to keep your core extra warm while not feeling too thick or restrictive while riding. With just the right neoprene thickness, the hoodie makes a real improvement to your body temperature, whether you wear it on top of your normal wetsuit or just simply as a pull-over on bare skin with trunks or a swimsuit. Given how well the hoodie works to keep you warm, it almost seemed as if it was thicker than 2mm because Vivida has hit the right balance of warmth and wind protection while keeping it light without crossing the regrettable line of adding too much bulk.

During our Baja Test Week we wore this hoodie over our springsuit on the windiest winter Baja days to moderate the chill of the colder sessions and often used it in between testing sessions as a windbreaker to stay warm while hanging out and taking notes on the beach. We even loaned it out to one of our Florida-based testers who underestimated the wind chill which highlighted one of the best features of having the hoodie with you at all times, it’s versatile piece of neoprene that you don’t mind sharing with friends or even friendly strangers.

While you can always augment your warmth with more technical garments, we found that this hoodie worked seamlessly in and out of the water, and at the end, of the day it got sprayed down and hung up to dry with our wetsuits, so it was easy to fend off the clammy smell that festers with kiteboarding without any extra maintenance efforts. The neoprene features excellent stretch properties and is made from a combination of limestone and recycled car tires and is lined with Vivida’s Eco-Softskin technology, which is comprised of recycled plastic bottles and laminated together with a solvent-free glue. Like many of Vivida’s products, the impacts upon the environment are carefully evaluated to find the best materials with a conscientious eye on resource usage.

The hood works great for extra sun and wind protection and after big kiteboarding spills, the built in drain lets out the extra water caught in the hood if it’s not pulled up over your head. Having kited with other hoods without this feature, if you don’t have a good drain system, you end up having to clear the hood of water after every water start which results in dumping the water over your head and down your neck. Vivida has solved this problem along with other nice features like a zippered center pouch pocket to store beach items that you don’t want to lose and wrist cuffs outfitted with Velcro cinch straps that keep the water and wind from traveling up your arms.

The fit has a little bit of extra room so that you can slip it on over other wetsuits and although we didn’t try you could probably slip the hoodie over a slim-fitted impact harness, but at the same time it is not so baggy that you can’t comfortably wear it over your swimsuit. Getting in and out is reasonably easy and the adjustable elastic waist keeps water and wind from entering the hoodie through the bottom.

Vivida’s Neptune Neoprene hoodie has now firmly earned a solid berth in our bag of essential kiteboarding accessories. We see it as one more tool in the arsenal to keep our beach sessions comfortable and long no matter what mother nature throws at us. As an added bonus, its pullover hoodie aesthetic is fashionable enough to carry over from your session and into a round of drinks at the beach bar or an evening bonfire. Beyond the Neptune Hoodie’s utility as a technical layer, its neoprene is made from recycled materials and helps you get one step closer to sourcing your equipment from eco-friendly sources that are easy on the earth’s resources.