Wearable tech has had a variety of interesting twists and turns over the years. Perhaps the most interesting is the category of wearables that turns you into a piece of action sports equipment. Jetpacks and wingsuits are a couple common examples, and we've also seen a wearable sled and underwater jetpack in recent years. The WaveWrecker joins the category as a wearable surf suit that turns the bodysurfer into his own board.
California-based WaveWrecker classifies bodysurfing as the "purest and most original form" of surfing. Indeed, while many folks prefer a surfboard or boogie board, it can be fun to go without and catch waves with nothing more than your skin and bones. The company admits that the sport's pure, free "synergy between man and nature" is part of its allure, but it also sees some room to improve the experience by sliding a special suit between that man and nature. In other words, it wants you to "be the board."
Creator Nick Gadler feels like the introduction of the boogie board all but killed off bodysurfing, and he decided to use some of the board's buoyancy advantages in attempting to bring bodysurfing roaring back. He set to work and some six years and 27 prototypes later, he has something he believes might shake up the world of water sport.
Gadler's WaveWrecker suit is basically a wetsuit-style garment with 11 flexible closed-cell foam fins popping out from strategic locations. WaveWrecker says that the fins provide the buoyancy to make it easier to stay afloat without preventing you from duck-diving into waves. With float coming more easily, you can focus more of your attention on finding and catching the perfect waves. The suit is also designed to increase glide and directional control.
WaveWrecker uses a targeted blend of 2-, 3- and 4-mm neoprenes for a mix of durability, mobility and comfort. The specially designed neck and O-ring-style wrists help to keep water out. The suit works best when paired with swim fins for proper propulsion, and we'd guess a pair of Wave Blades wouldn't hurt, either.
Assuming you don't mind navigating through the fit, bikini-clad hordes in a lumpy, unflattering suit, the WaveWrecker looks like an intriguing way to catch a wave. The price, though, is not as intriguing. At US$399, it's much more than an average boogie board, which takes away the free, simple attraction of diving into the ocean and catching a wave without spending hundreds on boards, fins and other equipment. If an entry level boogie board cost $399, a lot of boogie boarders might still be bodysurfing.
WaveWrecker introduced its suit at Florida's Surf Expo last week and has launched a $10K Kickstarter campaign to raise development funding. The kids' WaveWrecker suit is available at the $250 pledge level and the adult version at $350. If all goes to plan, shipping is estimated to start in March.