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As day turns to darkness and the chill of winter sets in… A collision of art and science meets the philosophies behind making state-of-the-art wetsuits. Welcome to the new Wetsuit guide by Surfing World, “Paint It Black”


This is the second generation of Flash Bomb. It has a slightly different Flashlining Material (the inner fabric layer against the skin), essentially the brief was to try and get a second generation Flashlining material that had an improved hand-feel, like more of a peach-fur type feel that was more comfortable against the skin. Our goal was also to improve the modulus, or ease of stretch. There’s an old cliché in the wetty game, it’s not how far something stretches it’s how easy something stretches, so essentially that’s modulus. You improve the modulus and in essence you reduce paddling fatigue. It gets pretty scientific here… if you’ve got a wetsuit material that stretches at 150 per cent at one kilogram of force, our target development for the next generation at one kilo of force will be more like 175-180 per cent.” And we use incredibly sophisticated lab equipment to scientifically measure that. Fifteen or 20 years ago, it was like, “Well, Tom Curren said it was 25 per cent more stretchy,” now we’re attaching more detailed science to the testing outcomes and the testing regimes that we apply to our developments.

There’s still huge advancements under development at the moment, and there’s a couple of really close bust-out developments coming in the next few years, I’ve been working closely with a range of laboratories, both here and in Europe, and also some of the textile universities, on the next big thing. The holy grail is to get that crew who at the moment wear five millimetre wetsuits, or six millimetre wetsuits in Alaska and Norway and the like, our goal is to enable those guys to be surfing in half that thickness – to surf in a two mill wetsuit. We all know the benefits of surfing in a two mill wetsuit relative to wearing a four or five millimetre wetsuit. That’s what we’re working towards, and without giving too much away… it’s getting closer Ripcurl co-founders, Doug “Claw” Warbrick and Brian Singer often recite stories and tales of when the boys used to go and surf Bells back in the day in the 60s, and it was just boardshorts and footy jumpers. The boys played a little bit of football, whether that was AFL or NRL, they all just pulled out their sleeveless woolen football jumpers and out they went thinking that would provide them some extra thermal benefit, but it was quite the opposite. Knowing what we do know today, you’ve got a woollen jumper on and you go out surfing and it’s holding water means that if you’ve got any sort of wind around the increased wind-chill just bites into you and hypothermia and fatigue sets in really quickly. They weren’t to know that at the time.

Rip Curl Flashbomb Zip Free 22 // $599.99 available here