Immersion Research products have been available in the US for a good number of years, however it is only in the last couple or so that their products have been easily available in the UK, thanks to the efforts of Mark Mulrain who now imports them.
Immersion Research have always had a good reputation, and so when my Palm Flow jacket went missing I decided to try something different. The Rival jacket looked just what I was looking for, and the price was very competitive, too.
Material and construction
The material that the Rival is made from is a smooth face fabric of medium thickness. It is fairly lightweight and flexible. Seams are kept to a minimum, while a nice big IR logo adorns the arm sleeves. Overall the construction is high quality, with the velcro waist tabs including detail such as the Immersion Research logo sculpted into the plastic at the ends.
Being a semi dry cag the neck is made from neoprene, while the sleeves are sealed with latex with neoprene over protectors. The colour scheme has changed since I bought mine. I bought mine in a Royal Blue, while the newer versions are available in a lighter blue or grey.
Comfort and fit
The fit of the Rival is superb. There is no excess baginess, and it is quite a sleek cut. Quite slalomesque in some respects. The look is clean and unfussy. Movement is very easy, although one gripe I had was that the sleeves were slightly too short. Not by much, but enough for me to notice. As per my boats I always fall at the high end of small and the low end or below medium. With cags this can cause issues since I can have problems getting a good neck seal with a size up.
Luckily I discovered that the customer service at Immersion Research is excellent, and for a fee they extended the arm length for me. I have been informed that newer jackets have a slightly longer cut in the arms.
I have owned the Rival jacket for over a year now, and I can thoroughly recommend it as an alternative to usual alternatives. Especially if you don’t want to be wearing the same as everyone else! It is priced competitively and is actually offers a good saving over some rivals (pardon the pun). The quality and fit have convinced me to look at the full dry cags in the range when the updated versions are released in 2015.
Overall there isn’t a massive amount I can write about a cag, but I can certainly recommend this one.