INSPIRED BY SURFERS FROM RINCON TO MAVERICKS
Our quest to build a world-class wetsuit that stands up to the harsh conditions of big waves and cold water took shape on the coast of California. Living and surfing in and along the California coast a frequent topic of conversation was just how wetsuit quality and performance has deteriorated.
INNOVATION AND QUALITY SUFFER AT THE HANDS OF PROFIT
The same story was heard over and over. Surfers are tired of spending good dollars for heavy waterlogged wetsuits made of cheap neoprene that fall apart. If those “suits” and accountants were out in the line-up logging long hours in heavy, cold and damp wetsuits, maybe things would be different. Seems something was lost in the pursuit of profit. Instead of complaining we decided to do something about it.
SETTING OUT TO BUILD A BETTER WETSUIT
We knew we needed fresh insight and a new approach, so we consulted with wetsuit designers who have worked for the biggest names in the industry. Unfortunately that effort was fruitless, frustrating and disappointing. No fresh perspectives or new ideas, just the same old tired thinking and ways of doing things.
So instead, we started from scratch and talked to elite coldwater surfers from the coast of California. The paradox was clear: to stay warm you needed thick suits, but to maximize performance they needed to be thin, lightweight and flexible. Where others saw contradictions, we saw opportunity for a new paradigm.
Our quest for the better wetsuit took us around the globe: to material scientists in Japan, athletes from Hawaii to Colorado, bio-mechanical engineers and cold water surfers on three continents.
What Did We Learn?
WHEN INNOVATION STAGNATES, LOOK OUTSIDE THE INDUSTRY
The objective was to design a wetsuit that did not inhibit the natural range of motion and flow of the human body, but still kept you comfy warm. To uncover breakthrough thinking it was time to look outside surfing and research other sports and talk to other athletes who use wetsuits as well.
SIMPLE ANATOMY PROVIDES THE ENGINEERING BREAKTHROUGH
We consulted with experts on anatomical design to engineer proven triathlete wetsuit innovations into the special requirements of big wave, cold-water surfing. We structured the wetsuit panels to mirror the flow of the human body, freeing the muscles to pump and flex as nature intended, rather than restrict movement, maximizing paddling output.
THE SEARCH HITS PAY-DIRT WITH TRIATHLETES
That led us to the Ironman and triathlon ocean swim events where unrestricted range of movement in wetsuits is critical for fast swim times. The panel construction of their wetsuits is designed to maximize stroke output. This allows them to efficiently conserve energy, which they can then burn on the next legs of the event.
BUILDING A WORLD-CLASS WETSUIT REQUIRES SUPERIOR MATERIALS
In the past, flexibility has come at a cost. By infusing more nitrogen into open-cell neoprene you get more flexibility, but even more rapid deterioration. Yamamoto’s closed-cell neoprene and hydrophobic jersey material is vastly superior. It absorbs far less water, retains its shape, provides better insulation, dries quickly and is more durable… a real no-brainer for those who simply want more value for their wetsuit dollar.
ULTIMATELY, YOU HAVE TO TEST IN THE ELEMENTS
Last year we put our theories of wetsuit advancement to the test up and down the coast of California. The response to our first suits by core surfers was incredibly positive. And we’re not sitting on our laurels by any stretch. Our approach is to continually test, learn, refine and then do it all again to ensure the best possible product with vital ongoing feedback from our community of core surfers and respected team riders.