Are you Rip Curl, Patagonia or Billabong? Bear, otter or twink?
My first wetsuit was a long-sleeved spring-suit of dark brown with lighter tan panels. The suit created the optical illusion that I was a five-foot-three turd, moist though the middle and dry on the flanks. It cost seventy-seven dollars and was chosen, not because of the fit or the price, but because a soon-to-be world champion had modelled the item in a magazine advertisement.
But that’s what do when you’re twelve. Life is pure affectation.
Now that you’re all grown up, do you buy your wetsuits based on a rational examination of the facts or are are you still cuckolded by marketing?
Let’s analyse surfers and their choice of wetsuits.
Billabong: Years ago, a very generous pal was shocked to learn that the the four-thousand-dollar Dior dive watch he’d bought his father had fallen apart. It was a lesson in the essential nature of a company’s expertise, or if you prefer marketing-speak, its DNA. If you want the best of something you go to a specialist. In the case of watches, you don’t go to a fashion brand, you go to Rolex, Omega. This is a lesson you haven’t learned.
Quiksilver: If that suit is older than one year, you were, quite correctly, hypnotised by the voodoo of Craig Anderson and Dane Reynolds. If it’s a recent buy, the voodoo has metastasized into something far more powerful, something to make behave even more irrationally, given that you now wish to emulate Quiksilver’s number one teamer, Matt Banting.
Hurley: What price those two stripes on the right quadricep? When you’re not uploading footage of yourself surfing to the Hurley surf club you’re googling “John John’s Mom” or “Brett Simpson wildcard” and exciting your own nipples with thumb and forefinger.
Rip Curl/O’Neill: You’re a traditionalist who would buy one of their suits even if Mick Fanning and Jordy Smith weren’t being paid millions to inflate ’em. All you want is a suit that keeps you warm, that ain’t a straitjacket (it grips the parabola of your stomach beautifully) and won’t peel apart after one good season. You’re immune to marketing. Inoculated from the whims of fashion. Which is also why you wear Birkenstocks and cargo pants.
Patagonia: You like your studs big, hairy, to take charge, and who like to maul otters like you, your skin raked by dirty fingernails. You like to camp. You like beer breath. You like to feel fur against your body. Brown is your favourite colour.