In an exclusive meeting with TransWorld SURF Business, Rip Curl’s Wetsuit Manager Ray Thomas and Product Manager Alistair “Zoc” Zorica announced that Rip Curl is going to be one of the first wetsuit companies in the world to show and sell the new EST Stitchless Wetsuit. Rip Curl’s wetsuit, a 3/2 full Elasto with the EST technology, will be debuted at the ASR Trade Expo in Long Beach, California on Saturday, February 5, 2000 in an exclusive invite-only showing.
“We’re taking a bigger step in wetsuit development with the Expanded Seam Technology (EST) than has ever done before,” says Thomas, who works in Rip Curl’s Australian office but was in Carlsbad, California offices getting ready for the debut. According to Thomas, Rip Curl has been involved with the development of the EST technology and has been working closely with California-based EST LLC research laboratory for the past two years.
The Expanded Seam Technology (EST) allows the making of wetsuits with no stitching of seams. This new method (patented by EST LLC) uses “wave-shaped” edge of the various adjoining panels of a wetsuit in combination with a new formula glue binding the panel edges together, producing seams that are 100-percent waterproof and will freely stretch in all directions.
The additional surface area provided by the “waves” in EST allows the new glue to hold stresses never before thought possible. Plus the shape of the “waves” helps ensure that the seams stretch in all directions, so the pressures placed on the seams are greatly reduced.
“The benefits include the fact that you get uninhibited stretch, more flexibility, more comfort, and more waterproofing in a suit,” says Thomas. He points out that with regular stitching of a suit, the sewing creates little holes in the neoprene that can compromise the waterproofness of a suit.
According to Zoc, Rip Curl will show several different styles of the new EST suits, all of them with the Elasto super-stretch neoprene, but the company isn’t sure yet what the final offerings will be for the Fall shipments to retailers. “We could make all our suits with the new technology in the future,” he adds.
The suits will be priced higher than the regular Elasto’s on the market (a 3/2 Elasto retails for 299 dollars). Body Glove and Hurley will also be showing suits with the EST Seam Technology at the show, but Rip Curl has been in development the longest with EST, says Preston Murry who handles marketing for EST.
TransWorld SURF Business will have a complete story of the launch of the Rip Curl and other EST Stitchless wetsuits.