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O’Neill 2018 Wakeboard Impact Vest Preview

Retail Buyers Guide:  Wakeboard Vests 2018

Brand: O’Neill
Interviewee:  Tom Copsey – European Product manager

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Markets

Are you designing crash jackets for a wake market segment, eg boat / wake park / surf / skate? Or is the same design being sold over the whole market? Which market is giving you the most growth and giving you the most direction in terms of the design and look of your crash jackets?
Our complete range of impact vests sells across the whole spectrum of boat wake/cable wake/wakeskate/waterski/wakesurf/kitesurf markets. Like our wetsuits, we design a vest around the activity that it’s intended to be used for so we have developed several different styles for each discipline. The most growth is coming from our Kitesurf vests as they’re popular all year rather than predominantly for summer as the wake ones are. The styling still tends to come from Wakeskating and Wakeboarding though.

Style / Look

Over the last 2 to 3 years the market has seen crash jackets change in their appearance, in terms of an element of fashion entering the end look. What style is your brand aiming for, what is the process of determining what your crash jackets look like?
For O’Neill, functionality always comes first, so the product team decide if the vest needs to comply with ISO 12402 for buoyancy or be CE tested for impact protection only. This will often decide the design profile, the amount of foam and buckles we use.

Since O’Neill pioneered the first neoprene ski vest in 1986 with a simple zip and buckle ‘Outlaw’ model, popular designs have changed from hard shell through completely zip and buckle-free, pullover styles to a resurgence of the original, retro zip and buckle fashions. All of our current vests merchandise with our wetsuit colours & prints for this season.

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Fit / Feel / Protection

What trends are you seeing in terms of fit, feel and protection in your crash jackets. What do you think your customers want and what has worked well for you in terms or fit, feel, protection. For example, do end users want a thicker more protected crash jacket at a wake park (as they fall onto solid features at 20mph) or do people want as flexible as possible?
All impact vests in Europe, by law, must be CE tested and certified for their protection against impact with the water, so there is a limit to the amount of protection we can take out. Flexibility plays a large part in vest choice but it is easy to build that in when using modern foams like our NytroLite.  We find that the cable riders wear the thinner vests with more flexibility and less protection but boat riders and coastal users often want a certified buoyancy aid design with more protection too.

Tech / USP

What technology or materials are using in your crash jackets to give you a unique selling point?
We use a unique, Nitrogen expanded Polyethylene foam called NytroLite, which is 3x lighter than PVC foam and absorbs around 20% less water. It is also a more eco-friendly option compared with chemically blown foams that are unpredictable, inconsistent and take on water.

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Team Riders

How do your team riders influence your soft good offering? Do they have signature soft goods, do they help with design, do you suggest ideas to you, etc?
We work closely with all team riders and end users to ensure we are producing what the market requires, and are continually developing lighter, more flexible equivalents. Team input recently helped us in redesigning the neck openings of our vests to help them perform without restriction.

Products

Tell us about your 2 key Crash Jackets
Men’s, women’s, boy’s and girl’s Slasher vest.

Gooru Tech men’s vest.

Brand Previews

Advert

90 O’Neill Wetsuits

Retail Buyer’s Guides

Backpacks SS21

Swimwear SS21

Skate Shoes SS21

Foamies 2020

Kiteboards 2020

Kites 2020

Longboards 2020

Sunglasses 2020

SUP 2020

Surfboards 2020

Impact Vests 2020

Powsurfers FW20/21

Cruisers 2020

Wetsuits FW20/21

Beanies FW20/21

Snow Helmets FW20/21

Base Layers FW20/21

E-Boards 2020

Facemasks FW20/21

Snow Safety FW20/21

Goggles FW20/21

Snowboards FW20/21

Skate Shoes FW20/21

Longboards SS20

Watches SS20

Sunglasses SS20

Kiteboards SS20

Kites SS20

Wetsuits SS20

SUP SS20

Sun Cream SS20

Hanging Shoes SS20

Boardshorts SS20

Surfskate SS20

Backpacks SS20

Skate Shoes SS20

Eco Textiles SS20

Longboards 2019

Surfboards 2019

Underwear 2019

SUP 2019

Sunglasses 2019

Facemasks FW19/20

Powsurf FW19/20

Beanies FW19/20

Wetsuits FW19/20

Cruisers 2019

Goggles FW19/20

Snow Safety FW19/20

Socks 2019

Snowboards FW19/20

Snow Helmets FW19/20

Longboards SS19

Wetsuits SS19

Sunglasses SS19

SUP SS19

Magazine

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