Retail Buyers Guide: Wetsuits FW18/19
How has your winter wetsuits segment evolved since last winter? What are major changes in terms of products, categories and SKU?
We have three different ranges of wetsuits: The Pro Series, The School Series and the SUP Series. As you can understand from their names, they offer solutions to wide variety of water sports.
In the Pro Series, our main focus and segment, we have six different models divided into three models for Men and three models for Women. Each of the models is featured in at least 2 thicknesses combinations, 3 in some models.
Is the demand for frigid waters’ wetsuits still growing?
Every year more and more. This demand has a proportional growth to the rise in the number of people who surf. With the appearance of thicker wetsuits with very stretchy foams and internal linings that retain heat, people who would hang their wetsuits during the winter time are now searching for these new wetsuits which allow them to surf regularly even when its freezing cold.
Which new trends do you see on the 2018/19 wetsuits market?
The new trends are mostly in the details and new entry styles and materials.
In 2018/19 ONDA will present an innovative entry style in surfing wetsuits, the FREEDOM BACK ENTRY model. It will keep the same philosophy of our Freedom models (the absence of a zipper) and will have the entry on the back. It’s innovative, very comfortable and also very watertight.
How have price points evolved and what are the main price hot spots?
Our proposition is always the same: the best wetsuit with the best price. Check www.ondawetsuits.com to see our prices and compare with other brands.
Regarding the rubber specifically (neoprene or not) any major improvements?
All of our Pro Series models take ACE Foam, the best and stretches foam in the market. It is also highly effective in flushing the water that it absorbs and in heat retaining properties. Foams are always improving and at ONDA we always apply the ultimate and best foam available in the industry. Our SUP Range relies on Ventiprene, a breathable neoprene that allows excessive and moisture to be released from inside the wetsuit as water vapour.
Tell us a bit more about the linings’ benefits of your wetsuits?
We always choose wisely the lining on our wetsuits. The exterior always takes the stretchiest and most resistant materials available. In terms of visual aspect, 2018/19 will see the advent of new merged colours, two-tone fabrics.
Regarding the interior, we have two very distinctive materials:
The AES Tech is the baselining and one of the most advanced in the market. It flushes the water efficiently helping in keeping you warm. It’s also a very smooth material so it does not create abrasion on the skin.
The IGNIS Tech lining is the fastest drying material in the market. Water will flush very fast, keeping your comfortable and extra warm, working also as an active barrier against wind. IGNIS Tech lining is also great when you need to have your wetsuit drying fastly between sessions in the same day.
What’s new in terms of fit and panel construction?
The Dynamic Fit concept that we’ve been implementing on our wetsuits for two collections now, came as a response to a problem all surfers experienced in the past: Too stiff wetsuits that would restrain some of the movements when surfing. We made a study on the human body anatomy and have developed a placing of the cutlines and panels that grants minimum restriction. The use of ACE Foam was very important for this purpose, since it is very lightweight and stretchy, moulding to the human body shapes very easily.
Please list some of the best selling arguments for a wetsuit?
a) Neoprene quality – Stretchiness, lightness, heat retention
b) Quality of the seams – Glued and Blindstitched, Sealing of the seams with inside neoprene tape, outside liquid seal or Power Seam.
c) Fitting – The wetsuit should work as an extension of your body, not restraining your movements, or being loose.
d) Entry style – Over the years, we’ve seen constant improvements in the entry style of wetsuits. From the traditional and easy to dress Back Zipper to the popular Chest Zipper or more recently ZipFree models, having a broad offer of entry styles grants that you’ll be able to find one that matches your needs and preferences.
e) Visual Look – Onda brings colour to the water keeping the in temporal black as part of the collection.
f) Accessories and finish details – The small details in a wetsuit can and will make a difference. Using superior quality materials differentiates a good wetsuit from an excellent wetsuit. Good quality zippers, Kevlar kneepads, Reinforcement on stress points, finish cut on the extremities, etc.
Please take us through three key products that retailers should put on their order sheets.
FREEDOM 4.3 BACK ENTRY
Is eco-friendliness an issue for you and how do you approach it?
At the moment, all of our neoprene is petroleum free and limestone based. We are also working on neoprene extracted from natural rubbers, these will be very important in the future. We are also using an aqua based glue in the lamination, which is completely free of solvents or harsh chemicals in its composition.
But, the eco-friendliness in this business can’t be only thought in the wetsuit itself and its production. After the wetsuit has done its job keeping you warm, where does it end up? We are now developing partnerships in order to use creative and functional ideas: upcycling old and used neoprenes for a new life.
When you buy a wetsuit its packaging can also become a polluting agent. We are working on our wetsuits packaging, looking for recycled materials, and in a way that the packaging can become useful to the user, not needing to be disposed of.
Please name and describe your 3 highlight pieces and items that retailers should definitely order.
With the increasing demand of wetsuits for cold water surfing, we developed in the 2017 collection the Shield model to fulfil the needs, and have redesigned it for the 2018 collection. The 5mm model integrates a hood for enhanced warmth and water tightness, combined with 80% of IGNIS Tech lining, the most innovative lining in the market when it comes to flush water and retain warmth. The inside of the cutlines is fully covered with our FS tape, made from ACE Foam. It reinforces the seams and the water tightness of the wetsuit, without restricting your movements.
FREEDOM BACK ENTRY
This model was designed to bring you the maximum flexibility for your performance, so you can determine what you want to do without being restricted by the wetsuit. Because it doesn’t feature a zipper this model is very stretchy and lightweight. These, combined with the Dynamic Fit approach make it one of the best options for any of the surfing seasons. Now with the back version.
The Zflex has been one our best selling wetsuits in the last years. With the new Dynamic Fit concept, the wetsuits cutlines and panels work closely with the human body mechanics and motions, making the wetsuit more and more movement friendly and stretchier. The IGNIS TECH lining is strategically placed on the chest and back panels of ZFLEX4 and ZFLEX5. This will grant extra warmth and comfort on the colder or windy surf sessions.