Some of your pals at Stab are partial to vivid wetsuits (namely the online and design departments). And Matty Wilko’s leopard-print number at J-Bay especially tickled us. It got us thinking how far wetsuit design has come. Not just in lissome, supple neoprene, but also in aesthetic and fruit-quota. Y’got the big-hitters; Nike 6.0 is […]
Some of your pals at Stab are partial to vivid wetsuits (namely the online and design departments). And Matty Wilko’s leopard-print number at J-Bay especially tickled us. It got us thinking how far wetsuit design has come. Not just in lissome, supple neoprene, but also in aesthetic and fruit-quota. Y’got the big-hitters; Nike 6.0 is first to mind, closely followed by Oakley, Globe, and to a lesser extent the big three, Rip Curl, Billabong and Quiksilver. The 2011 Nike 6.0 Lowers Prime was the first event that really highlighted the new vogue, and the recent Billabong Pro, J-Bay exhibited quite the colour spectrum also. Of course, Kell Slates was onto this years ago, rocking an all-white suit at the 2005 J-Bay event. But Wilko’s leopard-print suit being by-far the most outlandish we’ve seen to date, we called up Rip Curl wetsuit man Oliver Parsons to find out where an idea like that comes from. Unsurprisingly, it came from the eccentric mind of Wilko himself…
Stab: Tell me about the leopard-print suit.
Oliver Parsons: It was Wilko’s idea. He pretty much just came to us and said, hey, I wanna do this wettie. It was more for the New York event. He came to us and said, y’know, it’s in New York, I want something different. I don’t wanna just have a standard wettie. So the guys came up with a few designs and said, well, if you want something different for New York, why not have something different for J-Bay? So it was a collaboration between the designers and Wilko on what sorta style he’d go for.
Is it just a one-off? At the moment it is. Well, we made a couple for him but on the first ones the colours weren’t as bright as anticipated. So we made modifications.
Plenty of companies make ludicrous suits but only make them available to the team. Would you actually think about selling them? Oh, definitely. As far as making them for a limited edition run, that’s something we’re thinking about. The feedback we’ve gotten in the last three days (about Wilko’s suit) has been insane. So it’s definitely something we’d consider, but whether or not you make heaps for the general public… it might not be the exact market. A limited edition could work.
Have you had any other teamers suggesting similar suit designs? Similar… we’ve had team meetings and basically the feedback was that they wanna be more involved with the design process of everything, not just wetsuits. I mean, they’re the customer, really. They’re wearing our product and are brand ambassadors.
That fluoro-yellow legged, white-armed fullsuit. Mick’s design? Yeah, I think that was, again, a bit of a collaboration.
Outside of the realm of visual aesthetic, is Wilko’s just a standard suit? As far as materials, etc. are concerned. Yeah, it’s our top suit, an E-Bomb pro. Our top-of-the-line wetsuit. So Wilko’s input is purely for the look of it.
So where to from here? There’s New York, San Fran, a few options we’re looking at.
Below are some suits that really, really caught our attention. For better or worse.
Caio Ibelli in one of Oakley’s astronaut suits, at the Nike 6.0 Lowers Pro. Ain’t it just so fresh? So clean? Photo: Hilleman
Oakley had Jadson Andre firing in a red-rocket at J-Bay. Photo: ASP
At the Nike 6.0 Lowers Prime, a usually more conservative Adam Melling spread his peacock feathers. How well the yellow detail highlights that hue of blue, yes? The perfect accompaniment to Adam’s piercing eyes. Photo: Hilleman
Of course, Dion Agius don’t mind wrapping his limbs in a pineapple Globe wrapper.
Colour-themed scenes for Globe’s new post-apocalyptic film, Year Zero, was an awesome excuse for Nate Tyler to squeeze into a bright green suit. Purely for the movie, huh Nate?
This could be a stretch, but d’ya think CJ Hobgood’s suit here has anything to do with the Spiderman character, Hobgoblin, and his bright orange cloak? We can only hope.
Wilko ain’t the only Rip Curl teamer that likes loud rubber, either. Seems Mike Fanning has a closet fruit streak. Photo: ASP
The many shades of Jules, take one: If this suit was a different colour to Julian’s training ball, it’d just be downright lazy and neglectful. A careless slip-up that no man can afford. Photo: ASP
The many shades of Jules, take two: This is an honest question – how does this green wetsuit make you feel, down in your gut? It’s like hard-boiled candy, bright, sweet and surprisingly solid. Photo: ASP
The many shades of Jules, take three: Let’s be honest, red’s the new black. No fruit-suit quiver’s complete without some blood-coloured rubber in 2011. Photo: ASP
Nike truly are repeat-offenders when it comes to awesome suits. Take young K-Lo ‘Brother’ Andino here, slipping around on Durban’s flow-rider in a mustard n’ black get-up. Flawless. Photo: Ryan Miller.
“White boards just look boring to me,” Kolohe Andino told Stab during a Red Bull boat trip in the Mentawais. “They have no personality.” It’s an odd truth that a wetsuit, when bleached white, is louder then a black suit, but for a surfboard it’s the opposite. Funny old world, innit? Photo: Hilleman
Though Michel Bourez’s nickname is ‘Spartan’ (in reference to the film ‘300’, which primarily favours a red motif), the Tahitian’s been vibing on this white n’ black (not black n’ white) suit pretty heavily this year. Photo: ASP
Of course, it was Kelly Slater who first rolled in the astronaut suit, way back in 2005. The white wizard (as he shoulda been nicknamed for the entirety of this event) gots a third eye, no doubt. Photo: ASP
And now, for the crowning jewel of our gallery. Jack Freestone nearly slipped under the radar with this Billabong suit (despite its lack of subtlety). Is this, in your opinion, louder than Wilko’s leopard-colouring? Is this too much? Not enough? A nod to the Lakers? The future?
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