I tested the Fjord 1.0 in Lake Placid this past weekend. Twice. Then, after some serious internal debate, bought one and raced in it (one of their demo suits) on Sunday.
By way of background, I am a 3x ironman finisher with swim times of 1:30 at IMLP 2018, 1:45 at IMNZ 2019 and 1:26 at IMLP 2019. Roughly 18 months ago I couldn't swim 25yards without gasping for breath. One of my major swim issues is panic/anxiety. I had a habit of going out to hard, getting my HR elevated, hyperventilating and then having to stop and calm myself down, costing a few minutes. I would also get shoulder fatigue quickly, and then my mind would flash to how much further I had to go, and I would start thinking wasn't going to make it, and end up having to stop and calm myself down.
The deboer wetsuit was a pretty big game changer for me. I own a Roka Maverick Pro II Sleeveless and a Desoto T1, each of which I like for various reasons. (I can't say enough good things about DeSoto as a company, and the T1 as a suit, but the db is really a different beast.)
The Fjord really doesn't feel like I'm wearing a wetsuit. The suit was tight, tight enough that when I zipped it I expected to feel significantly constricted when I was "sealed up," but that never happened. Once I was zipped up the whole suit short of shifted into place seemed to disappear. The neckline is low and never made me feel constricted. The chest seemed to stretch in such a way that I could almost forget I was wrapped in all sorts of neoprene. The sleeves are almost imperceptible in the water and there was no difference in shoulder fatigue from the my sleeveless suit. I also never felt like I was overheating (a T1 concern... that thing gets pretty hot). In the water I think it's as buoyant as I need it to be. The T1 feels a bit more buoyant (could be my imagination), but I would almost trust that suit as a lifesaving device. The deboer is very flexible and comfortable overall.
I can't tell you if the suit was faster or not, but I can tell you that my IMLP 2019 swim was an underwater boxing match. WAY MORE THAN MY LAST TWO. I was punched multiple times, goggles knocked off my head twice, was forced underwater a few times and generally had to compete for every stroke (seriously, I couldn't find much water out there without getting trampled). In those circumstances, I would have expected a good amount of anxiety and potential panic.
I have to give the credit to the suit. I think it really kept my head in the game. Who would I pay $1500 for a just a wetsuit? No. Would I pay $1500 for peace of mind? I just did.