June 13, 2011

Wetsuits with bladders

Discovery News Shane Dorian and inflatable wetsuit idea via Billabong

'"I had an idea to incorporate an air bladder, just like the airplane one where you go 'poof' and it inflates immediately," Dorian said in an interview for a Billabong video. "So I wrote an e-mail to Hub, who is the wetsuit designer at Billabong. And I told him my idea."

'A year later, the idea, an instantly inflatable wetsuit for big-wave surfers, is now reality and in its prototype stage, said Hub Hubbard, wetsuit product manager at Billabong USA in Irvine, Calif. He has created six of the wetsuits so far.

'Dorian has tested the wetsuit in calm waters and has even used it to surface quickly after wipeouts in big waves. His most recent activation of the bladder came in March after he paddled into a record-setting 57-foot wave in Maui, but then failed to emerge from a gigantic tube. He pulled the cord and popped right up. He calls the wetsuit a "game-changer."'

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