- Interview: Christian McLeod
Arctic Surfing Wetsuit Guide
The invention of the wheel, the Roman arch, the light bulb, the industrial revolution, the personal computer revolution, the pog craze: every era has it’s breakthroughs that we cherish to this day. The wetsuit did this for the surfing realm because it opened up a new category in sea sport history. But historical analogies are susceptible to grandiosity, so let’s first take a short, honest look at what the wetsuit really is. Then we’ll take a look at how wetsuits relate to surfing in the arctic, and finally we’ll see what the future holds for cold water surfing’s stretchy staple.
The wetsuit is a skin-tight body suit that acts as a temporary layer of blubber, keeping you warm even when the ocean gets cold. Hugh Bradner came up with the idea in 1952. The man in the photo below thought he was wearing a wetsuit, but its actually just a wet suit.
On the topic of blubber: ocean mammals living in the polar seas have a hefty layer of blubber to keep warm in icy waters. Wetsuits made for the arctic must do this also. The best wetsuits hold water well, insulate well, prevent leaking, and are super stretchy. Below you can see some of the customary suits that are worn when temperatures go way down.
What is the future of wetsuits and surfing? As a result of warmer and slicker materials we will see new surf break discoveries in cold places, larger surf towns in the arctic circle, a rise in cold-water wax sales, and cold-water surf charters. Eventually most surfers will move to the polar ice caps because of the limitless availability of perfectly uncrowded waves.
In the distant future don’t be surprised to see a wetsuit that is in liquid form. It creates a mutational bond to your nervous system and actually surfs for you. Imagine the potential progression of the sport.