Volcom Enters The Wetsuit Game And They're Sick!
"Best suit I've ever worn," says Noa Deane!
Volcom has always occupied a very special corner of the surf industry, their relentless pursuit of the radical evident in pretty much every piece of clothing, every thoroughly Veeco accessory or hardgood, every iconic film project...
They're a true original, and one of few to retain their integrity through the surf biz's peaks and valleys.
So it shouldn't be any surprise that, interested in tossing their neoprene into the industry's ever-expanding wetsuit brand bucket, that the crew over at the Stone showed up with something special.
For years, we've admired the crisp wetties Volcom's teams donned, the Stone proudly emblazoned between their shoulder blades, the suits clearly premium Third Party neoprene. For a while Xcel did a few runs for the team, then San Francisco's upstart, Feral Wetsuits, took up the task, keeping the team all cozy with their buttery Yamamoto.
And what's the feedback been from the team?
After giving the first run of team-only Feral x Volcom suits a run, Nate Tyler gushed: "Hands down the sickest suit, we gotta make Volcom wetties with those guys!"
Ryan Burch said he "loved the simplicity of these suits, the rubber is really good and they hold up for a long time."
And just this month in Europe, after donning the new publicly available numbers for the first time, Noa Deane wasn't being hyperbolic when he claimed the 3/2 the "best suit I have ever worn."
And so here you have it, the first consumer-facing wetsuits from the Stone, custom built by the boys at Feral for Volcom. We hit up the inimitable Richie Landos, Volcom's Global TM, to hear about how these beauties came to be, and what we can expect to see from the Stone moving forward.
Ryan Burch in the new Volcom 3/2 backzip, built by San Francisco's Feral Wetsuits.
You guys have done some tops and whatnot over the years, and the teamriders have been running the Stone on their private label suits for a few years. What made Volcom want to dip their toes in consumer-facing neoprene?
We have been working with numerous wetsuit brands over the years, and we finally connected with a brand like Feral, that makes a really good product and is easy to work with. Volcom wetsuits have always been for team riders only, so we finally cracked and came out with the Deadly Stone 3.2mm Back Zip Wetsuit, currently exclusively available on Volcom.com.
You guys have always pushed a cheeky balance between fashion and function, tech and wear-ability. What's the plan with the wetsuit line? Black with slick minimalist logo placement, or will we see some unorthodox flavor down the line?
This first batch of wetsuits is a test to the market, just to get some Volcom suits in the line up!
There is always a Want for something you Can’t Have; for years that was kind of the deal with a “Volcom Wetsuit." We just want to make a wearable wetsuit for the Volcom customer, but we will continue to make custom suits for team-only.
Ryan Burch in Volcom's new 3/2 back-zip, built by San Francisco's Feral Wetsuits.
I know Mitch Coleborn and a few other team guys have been trying them, and from personal experience they are some of the lightest, warmest, minimalist designs out there—a nice sweet spot. When did Feral come into the picture?
Yeah, Nate Tyler introduced us to Alex and Buzz from Feral. Nate’s from the Central Coast, so he knows good rubber. He connected us, and months later we were surfing Ocean Beach testing out the suits. At the time they only made front zips, so the second they told us they made a back zip, we started chatting about collaborating together. The front zip is forward thinking, but we wanted to take it back, literally! Get that stress off your chest, man! The back-zip is back and we are backing it!
Oh, and the Japanese Yamamoto Neoprene is butter, of course—the suit form-fits and only gets better with time, sort of like a leather jacket.
How many were made for this first run? Do you see the line eventually being fully developed—4/3s+, boots, etc.? What's the next step?