Would you say winter wetsuits are for the core market, whereas spring/summer wetties address to a more leisure-oriented audience?
It is fair to say that in Europe on average, your first wetsuits are a 32 and a 43 steamer, or the other way around. Then you might get a 22 Steamer S/SL or a Spring suit. The winter wetsuits are carrying over through summer, and a big portion of our business in summer is around 32 steamers. Ultimately, we sell seamers to the core market all year long and in both seasons, but it it is true that summer brings a new audience with all the first price wetsuits with flatlock or e-stitch seams, non-waterproof, cheaper destined to surf beginners or leisure customers.
What is the story behind your SS19 collection?
Our pinnacle stories for summer are around our Ebomb Range and our new E6 Thermoflex dropping now into the spring suit, our Bombshell wetsuits, our best surf and style segment for women in summer, and our wide range of UV Tees.
How does your range split between bottom and top-end models? (technologies/constructions, price-points…)
RIPCURL has had its own segmentation and edit point for years, and we are proud to sell more high-end products than any other brand on the market. But we want to be the best on each of this segment, and we are constantly working on how to better our range on each of them, by working on neoprenes, patterns and process evolution at our own wetsuit factory. But a sweet price still is and will remain a sweet price (199€, 299€, 399€, 499€), and our segmentation is adapted to each of the needs of our customers, we are just constantly bettering each of this wetsuits on each of this prices.
For spring suits , our SS19 range brings a better segmentation of our spring suit between all our seam technologies. GBS – Glued and blind stitched (created by Ripcurl) – Waterproof for advanced surfers E-Stitch – Summer stretchy seams (created by Ripcurl) – Non-waterproof but a super stretch for core surfers . Flatlock – Durable classic summer seam – Durability for surf beginners
Please describe your latest innovation for 2019: rubber sourcing/tech, panelling, seams and closure system…
We are introducing the E6 Thermoflex in 100% of our new EBomb Pro Zip Free, creating both the stretchiest and warmest wetsuit in this segment. Next to our new neoprene innovations this year, we also introduce the Flex.
Energy: our new Heat Generating FlashLining.A revolutionary lining that creates heat when stretched. As you move through the water, the Flex Energy lining will activate and heat your wetsuit. Stay Active, Stay Warm. This exclusive RC development will be only available in our FlashBomb Heat Seeker, in our action panel where you stretch your wetsuit the most while paddling.
Will bold colours and prints play a major role in your SS19 collection?
Yes more and more in the Women wetsuits and rash vests. We are aiming every year to have clear segmentation and edit point with a wetsuit for each of our customers. Black tonal, Commercial print, Forward print, Bold Print.
Once under-considered, the women’s category has experimented a quantum leap in the last five years: new silhouettes, colours and prints aplenty. What is your take on women’s wetties for SS19?
Our summer women range is certainly bigger and bigger every year with more colours, shapes and technologies. We are the leaders in wetsuit technology so we pay really close attention to making fashion suits for women but with a high level of performance for surfing. A lot of brands are using the neoprene as a fashion accessory only, we want to make sure our girl customers will love surfing in our Bombshell series and look good at the same time. Made for Surfing. Designed with Style.
Doing anything to make the brand more eco-conscious?
RipCurl has always led the way in Eco-Friendly products, with our resurrection program, recycling used wetsuits and falls from our productions, started more than 10 years ago. We also launched the first eco-friendly wetsuit 6 years ago with Mick at Bells, but at the time and still now, eco-friendly materials have not matched the durability and performance of our actual neoprenes. That’s why we focused our efforts on recycling used products and production offcuts, rather than pushing less durable and not fully ready eco solutions. We are still investing a lot in both substitutions of neoprene and recycling used products. Stay tuned.