Let's face it. Black's boring. Colour's cool. The line-ups are filled with black-suited surfers bobbing up and down. Wouldn't it be more fun if everyone had weird wetties like Wilko!? Ripcurl teamrider and WSL competitor, Matt Wilkenson (aka Wilko) is known for his array of wonky wettie designs. And yes, the one on the far right is a tit suit. Literally and figuratively!
By and large the major manufacturers have stuck to black. But at least they're throwing in splashes of colour these days. Maybe it's cos the average Joe surfer isn't looking to draw attention to our questionable cutties, 10'clock snaps or weird arm placement by wearing brightly colored suits? Unlike Julian Wilson below, the closest I get to an airs is jumping off the wall at Millers down onto the beach. But would be more than happy to be a bright looking kook if I could get my hands on some bright suits. Black's so last year.
Apparently wetsuit colour can affect your performance far more than you think. Here's some interesting facts from a Surfer mag article by Justin Housman:
"There are a couple phenomena at work here. First, self-perception. The fine folks at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management led a fairly influential 2012 study which showed that people who wore a doctor’s white coat performed better in cognitive tests than those wearing street clothes. When a different group of people wore the same coat but were told it was a painter’s smock, they recorded far worse results than the group who believed they were wearing a doctor’s uniform. In a nutshell: if you think you’re dressed like a doctor, you’ll actually act smarter.
This same idea is supported by University of North Carolina researchers who argue that uniforms of the right color help athletes reach their “Ideal Performance State.” We react to colors on an emotional level, and peak athletic performance only comes about when your head is in the right place. Imagine what that could mean for your surfing, if you had the stylistic courage to strap on a neon wetsuit. Look like a pro, surf like a pro.
OK then, you’re probably wondering, which color will make me rip? Red. That’s according to reports published in the Journal of Sports Science. And this is especially so for competitive athletes. Soccer (or, sorry, football) teams in England that have worn red unis were found to have won matches at a rate far out of proportion than teams not wearing red. Other sports seem to show a similar trend. Nobody knows exactly why that is—ref bias, intimidation, aggressive self-perception amongst red-wearers have all been suggested—but statistics seem to bear it out. Wear red, perform better. Keep that in mind next time you’re betting on the outcome of a pro tour heat, or choosing between a suit with red logos or with blue.
But wait, if the color of what you’re wearing can affect mood and performance, what does that say about wearing a black wetsuit? “Black is viewed as the color of evil and death in virtually all cultures,” Cornell University researchers noted in a 1988 study of whether or not wearing black screws with your behavior. Their verdict: it sure seems so.
Black uniforms were shown to increase an athlete’s aggressiveness, while at the same time intimidating competitors. Sports teams that wear black commit more penalties than their lighter-colored counterparts. Black can make you feel tough, and can make others look tough. This can’t be helping in those jam-packed, neoprene-filled winter lineups.
Of course, all of this is subjective."
There're a coupla companies out there that have taken wetsuit design to a new level of wonderful weirdness. A bunch called Bydiddo have a series for you if "you have a desire for swimming while one with nature. The Wetsuits will be out soon and would have some truly interesting designs including strangely beautiful lichen patterns, pretty pink polyps and even epithelial cells." Epithelial cells!? Always wanted a wettie full of those.
Would you rather be a tiger, giraffe or ladybug. No prob, the ou's at Selfridges in the UK stock some of these puppies. Or what about a cow? Cows surf, right?! You can yell "cowabunga" when you dropping in and really mean it.
Why not get a wettie to stop you from being part of the food chain? Shark Attack Mitigation Systems (SAMS) have found a way to scare-off sharks for good, supposedly. They have designed a line of wetsuits that basically create some “confusion for sharks’ visual systems”. So, instead of biting you in the ass, sharks will swim away thinking that you’re going to eat it. Really.
And here's one everyone would be keen on. A wet Suit. Even wanted to turn your board meetings into "board" meetings? Fit a quickie in at lunchtime without the hack of having to get changed? Quiksilver Japan have got you covered. Their new line called True Wetsuits. Actual business suits made outta neoprene that according to their website "the 1st suit of its kind in the world, which can be worn on business occasions, for parties, and, of course, surfing." Seriously. It's brilliant.
Wouldn't you just love to rock up at the office in some lekker tight neoprene leggings like these? Guessing it's a great theory but kak in practice - cos you gonna sweat like nuts at the office, and if you get a lunchtime surf in it you gonna spend the arvo dripping on your desk. They're a steal at $2000.
Thankfully these days we do have the choice to banish the black. All the big surf brands do have the odd colourful suit in their range. And if you wanna surf like a world champ best you go orange! Medina not scared to go bright.
Cos wouldn't the crowded line-up below seem a whole lot better if it looked like a bunch of smarties instead of a zillion black bobs?
Might not help your wave count, but it could make it more fun.