40 YEARS OF WETSUIT INNOVATION
40 YEARS OF WETSUIT INNOVATION
Rip Curl began making wetsuits in 1970 for the simple reason of catching more great waves and to surf better. This quickly formed the foundations for Rip Curl’s commitment to make the best wetsuits possible.
A look at the key wetsuit designs over the past 40 years...
Rip Curl has repeatedly set the industry standards of wetsuit design, function and performance. Today the list of firsts reads like a checklist of features that surfer’s now comes to expect.
we'd ask them what they felt have been the major advances in wetsuit
design and technology over the past 40 years....
1971 UNDER ARM GUSSETS
Removing the seam from the armpit allowed for increased performance but is famous for removing painful chafing of the armpit.
1972 DOUBLE LINED NEOPRENE
Rip Curl’s introduction of double lined neoprene to surfers brought durability to wetsuits that didn’t previously exist. Now wetsuits would last more than a few surfs before the knees and other areas would rub through.
1974 SHOULDER ZIPS
For greater warmth and flexibility. Removing the Zip from the back panel resulted in increased flexibility and warmth. The concept is alive and well today in our latest E-Bomb Chest Zip suits.
1974 MULTI THICKNESS NEOPRENE
Multi-thickness neoprene cam from recognising the simple fact that thinner neoprene in particular parts of a wetsuit allows easier movement. Previously suits came in one thickness all over.
1978 BLINDSTITCHED SEAM
Increased comfort, warmth and durability it has now become one of the most common used forms of stitching in all wetsuits – particularly cold water wetsuits.
1982 SUPER XPANDX
A revolution in neoprene flexibility. Super Xpandx began the push for high stretch rubber.
1984 AQUABAN SEAM LIQUID TAPE
Sealing of the seam for economical warmth and longevity.
1985 FULLY CONTOURED PATTERNS
For the all-important fit, the legs and arms were shaped to reflect the surfing stance and increase the flexibility.
1986 THE BATWING
For even greater warmth the Batwing keeps water that enters the suit through the zip away from the body. The Batwing design is now found on almost every cold-water wetsuit in the world.
1987 POLYPROPYLENE LINING
For even more comfort and warmth Rip Curl’s introduction of Polypropylene linings added another level in the fight against cold.
1990 SUPER XPANDX HAND-GLUED SEAM SEALING TAPE
Previously industry hand tapes had severely hindered the stretch of the suits and improved flexibility, durability and maintained warmth
1994 RD4 NEOPRENE WITH TITANIUM
A breakthrough in the utilisation of alternative materials in the quest to maintain body warmth.
1995 ULTIMATE XPANDX HIGH STRETCH RUBBER
A revolution in neoprene flexibility, Ultimate Xpandx smashed previous stretch standards in surfing rubber and allowed for increased surfing performance whilst maintaining a high level of durability.
1995 THE ELASTO WETSUIT
Previously considered not possible, Rip Curl’s commitment to making the Ultimate wetsuit resulted in the first 100% high stretch suit, The Elasto. The suit smashed the perception of performance wetsuits that only used superstretch in the gussets and arms.
1997 GRID LOC ZIP
Another break through improvement to keep out cold water. The Grid Loc Zip substantially reduced the space between the teeth of the zip and therefore reduced water entering the wetsuit.
2002 ELASTOMAX HIGH STRETCH RUBBER
Introduced durability of high stretch rubber even further to complete the ultimate surfing wetsuits function and performance.
2008 H-BOMB, THE WORLD’s FIRST POWER HEATED WETSUIT.
Utilising a non-metalic element and two Lithium-ion batteries and heating to 50degrees Celsius, the H-Bomb suit has revolutionised cold water surfing
Check out all the latest wetsuit reviews, articles and clips at mesurf WETSUIT GUIDE 2010.
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