Rubber Requirements For The Last Frontiers Of Surf
Tried and tested by Mick Fanning, Mason Ho and your pals at Stab.
Notice how the crowds thin during the year's darker months? Fact: People don't want to surf as much in the cold. It's much more of a breezy affair when (and where) the ocean is at more accommodating temperatures, less so when you have to tear off layers, unravel a dripping suit and plunge into inhospitable conditions. For this reason locations nearer the poles provide more opportunities for finding quality uncrowded waves over their balmy counterparts.
Take Mick Fanning and Mason Ho's The Search trip to the far north last year, they certainly didn't have to compete for waves in glacial waters. Now, surfing in ice and five mil rubber might be on the drastic end of the spectrum, but the fact remains lower temps are congruent with less humans. You are however going to need the right equipment to make it worthy of your time, or you're empty session will last not much longer than your first duckdive.
Rip Curl just released their latest Flashbomb Plus range (which are the suits Mason and Mick wore on said trip), and they've provided a number of reasons in the above vid as to why their neoprene tech remains at the forefront of the war against the chills.
Confident in their creation, a 3/2mm was dropped at Stab's Torquay satellite office for test driving between the sirens at the Rip Curl Pro, which we eagerly agreed to. While the autumn Victorian mornings had a bite, and full rubber was essential, the water was well above its wintery lows.
The suit's insulated with a proprietary lining that encourages heat retention, adds minimal weight and, according to Rip Curl, is extremely fast drying, making it less discouraging to pull out of a wet bucket. First impression and this furry addition feels like a thin woollen sweater has been glued to its interior, but lighter. Visually, there's nothing to offend, the panelling is slick, all black, simple.
Getting into the suit was brutal. Rip Curl's latest zip-free system is surely one of the most difficult to gain entry to. This is a good thing though. Not a single drop ran down the neck during the entire session. In fact, coupled with their latest seam technology, the quick-drying material barely got put to the test. The suit simply didn't take on any water at all, well, not before it had to be manually flushed in the shore break after temperatures became slightly overbearing. Restriction wasn't the problem. It was after the moderate paddle out to the Bird Rock lineup and back again that things got heated. The 3/2 Flash Bomb Plus was comparable to a lighter (and more elastic) 4/3; overkill for a sunny midday in mild waters, but highly desirable for anything colder.
If you're looking to update the rubber collection then head this way to check out the latest Rip Curl Flash Bomb Plus Series.