Have you noticed any changes in purchasing behavior in the winter wetsuit category due to the climate change? (as the last winter seasons have been particularly mild)
Vissla has been sold out of almost all 5 and 6 mm suits all year if anything as wetsuits become lighter and more flexible surfers can wear a thicker and warmer wetsuit and not feel bogged down. So, we see more and more a 4/3 is the base suit and it expands from there. In Europe Vissla sells as many 5mm suits as we sell 3mm suits.
The unexpected surfing boom in 2020 is likely to generate shortages of wetsuits for the current season, Is this what your seeing?. And more importantly, how do you anticipate the growth of the category for FW21? (supply chain)
Yes, the wetsuit category is showing very strong demand, and this is leading to shortages. Brands today are having to weigh up risks on stock levels and production numbers, and we saw during 2020 many retailers reducing orders overnight in lockdowns and then ordering as many as they could get months later when their limited stocks, which makes it difficult as we have to plan production schedules 6-9 months out end even longer.
At Vissla we are prepared for a record season of wetsuit sales in spring, and have boosted our back up stocks, and have pre ordered for a big Fall increase. Potential shipping delays are also real. Retailers will have to forward order closely as it is possible there may be shortages again late in 2021.
Wetsuits sub-ranges are generally declining. What is your position on the simplifying of the ranges breakdown?
The Vissla Wetsuit range has always been easy to understand for our customers, if you want the wetsuit with everything you need and nothing you don’t go for the 7 Seas. If you want the most stretch full performance suit, go for the High seas and if you want the warmest wetsuit select the North Seas (where 80% of the internal lining of the wetsuit is made from our new Fever Fiber Thermal Liner).
A strong emphasis has been put on the internal/external linings for the last few years. What do you put on the table for FW21?
For FW21 we are coming with a new exclusive Vissla Fever Fiber thermal liner which has more stretch, is warmer and dries faster than our previous one. We are using this new Fever Fiber through the range from the 7 seas to the North Seas with a different amount from one suit to the other.
Regarding external nylons we are still using the best quality and our suits are all laminated with AquaA water-based glue with no solvents which makes the suit even more eco-friendly. On the High Seas range we are expanding the Vissla Ridiculous Rubber on the upper torso and sleeves to give insane levels of stretch.
Any other key innovations to mention for FW21? (rubber, seams, constructions, entry system…)
The VISSLA wetsuit with the most utilization of new technology this FW21 is the High Seas. Almost everything changes on this suit. First the new I-Foam is now combined with Limestone, Eco Carbon Black, Recycled rubber and new with recycled oyster Shell Calcium Carbonate, which makes the foam even more eco-friendly than it was before without altering the quality of stretchiness, memory, and warmth of the foam.
We are using the new Fever Fiber Thermal liner on the front from chest to right above the knees and back from low shoulders to just above the back knees. We eliminated the back seams, so we have a longer back panel to allow more stretch to the suit and less water entry. We also eliminated the outer leg seam for more stretch, more durability, and less water entry.
Are the features seen on premium models from a few years back trickling down to the lower-end models?
Yes, for sure. We are using the same Fever Fiber Thermal liner from the 7 seas to the North Seas, it just the amount we use on each style that changes. We are trying to add as much as we can into every suit without blowing the price too far. In general todays mid-level wetsuits are far in advance of the best wetsuits on the market ten years ago.