Retail Buyers Guide: Wetsuits FW20/21
Interviewee: Yann Dalibot
Based on your sales and the retailers’ feedback, is the “cold water surfing” phenomenon only associated with core experienced surfers or does it affect the entry level as much?
The slightest swell attracts hordes of surfers on the main breaks. The winter wetsuit market has registered some growth on every level. With our Fighter range, warmth is guaranteed in the waves for less than €250. We feel very proud we can offer such performance at this pricepoint.
Competition has never been so tough in the wetsuit market, with many new players within the last 10 years or so: what is your outlook on the market?
Nowadays, the brands which sell wetsuits can be split into 2 categories: the “pure wetsuit brands” such as Soöruz and, on the other hand, the broader boardsports’ companies, which sell mainly apparel, sunglasses, wetsuits, flip-flops, skis/snowboards…
As per Soöruz, we are 100% dedicated on our goal which is to offer the best wetsuits on the market: performance oriented, eco-designed and at a fair price.
How many sub-ranges does your wetsuit collection tally up? Please detail the segmentation between the ranges (tech & pricepoints).
At Soöruz, the #1 priority is to develop performance wetsuits. So we worked on lifespan, flex, comfort, warmth, quick-drying… Then we systematically incorporate a sustainability component in the making. Whenever we can implement eco-friendly materials without sacrificing on performance, we do.
2020 marks the launch of our SOÖRUZ OCEAN PROTECT label. The wetsuits in our ranges which meet some stricts eco-design criteria will bear the label. Implementing limestone rubber is anything but far from being enough according to us, as its positive impact really is marginal if not associated with further actions.
New for Summer 2020, our GREEN LINE range will also benefit from a women collection by Winter 2020. Our proprietary BIÖPRENE uses limestone extracted from oyster shells rather than limestone rock, and we combine it with hevea, sugar cane and grains. This fresh compound is USDA certified. Among the high-performance wetsuits of the market, this one has the lowest impact on the environment, for a very contained price – less than €300 – so any good level surfers can afford it.
The FIREHEAD (men) and ABYSS (women) ranges offer exceptional warmth and flex. They too received our Soöruz Ocean Protect label, using our G6 rubber. The new G6 uses limestone rubber mixed with carbon black (recycled tyres), recycled nylon, a new warm and quick-dry super-flex inner lining, made with 90% recycled polyester, a water-based screen-print and lamination… This is the upper end of our brand, sold at a €400 pricepoint.
The GURU range (men and women) is a reference as far as performance is concerned, together with our Soöruz Ocean Protect label. Men and women models are available, as well as WIND version for kiteboarding and windsurfing. The GURU is a team favorite, made with G6 rubber. Pricepoint: €300.
The FIGHTER (men) and DIVINNE (women) ranges have been developed with a value for money approach. These models are available in any thickness, size, zip system, silhouette… Any rider will find a model that will fit him or her. Within the sub €200 pricepoint, the FIGHTER has been the reference for six years. And for Winter season 2020, the wetsuit will meet the criteria of our Soöruz Ocean Protect label!
The FLY range (men and women) is the perfect match for the casual surfer. The Fly range inherits from the savoir-faire and technologies of Soöruz, sold at an ultra-competitive price.
Eventually, our BLUE LINE range is the very first sustainable and eco-designed wetsuit aimed at the school & rental market. A reference for the eco-committed businesses.
Eco wetties are making much noise in the marketing stories, in the media. But how much of your sell through do they really account for?
Soöruz, eco-design is not a marketing gimmick, it is a reality.
The #1 priority still is to create performance wetsuits. So we worked on the lifespan, the flex, the comfort, the warmth, the quick-drying… Then we systematically incorporate a sustainability component in the making. Whenever we can implement eco-friendly materials without sacrificing on performance, we do.
By Winter 2020, 80% of our offer will bear the Ocean Protect label. To the best of my knowledge, only an other American brand could benefit today from this label.
What are your eco initiatives? (materials, production effectiveness, waste management, recycling programs…)
For the very first time in the wetsuit industry, Soöruz set up the 2nd Life Program. Over 20.000 wetsuits (any brand included) will be recycled by Soöruz in 2020. We put up collect points within the shops/schools, as well as during events. We remove the zippers and then the wetsuit are grinded so the materials can be used as padding and isolation. You can learn more about the whole program on Boarsportsource.com (http://www.boardsportsource.com/2019/09/18/sooruz-2nd-life-program-yann-dalibot-interview/) as well on our website.