February 27, 2008 Sorry, we couldn't resist that headline. Rip Curl has been testing its highly-anticipated H-Bomb heated wetsuit in the freezing waters of the North Atlantic, resulting in this incredible photograph.
The Hawaii/So-Cal surf lifestyle is very attractive to folk all over the world - even those who live in far less temperate areas. And while a regular neoprene wetsuit can do an excellent job in cool water, there's still a point at which the temperature calls time - but when Rip Curl finally releases its heated H-Bomb wetsuit, it seems that die-hard surfers will be able to brave even a sub-zero arctic chill to chase the perfect set.
Featuring two fibre-heating elements and a mobile phone-style lithium-ion batery pack, the H-Bomb offers two levels of heating. Switch it on and the wetsuit warms a nicely spread out area, which the flow of water through the suit then distributes around the body.
During the Arctic test sessions at which this photo was taken, surfers Adam Wickwire from Florida and Elise Garrigue from Hawaii spent eight days hunting waves in the freezing North Atlantic and Arctic Circle. "It’s kind of hard to explain how crazy the trip was," said Wickwire, "It was so cold that when we went surfing we couldn’t even get changed into our wetsuits outside – we’d have to get changed in the car and then sit there until the H-Bomb started to heat up. Once the rubber heated up it was easy to get into the water with our hood, booties and gloves though.”
But the new suit made a big difference: “The cold wasn’t even a factor when we were surfing, because the wetsuits are that good. The only time you felt the water is when you got flushed and that actually helped because the water circulated around the wetsuit and helped distribute the heat. It was just like surfing in normal water.”
Rip Curl has taken down its H-Bomb minisite in the last week or so, so we're expecting news very soon about when it will be released, along with pricing details. In the meantime, there's always the Hotsuits heated kidney belt, which you can use with just about any wetsuit. The Hotsuit belt was launched in the USA in January.