This may need some explaining just so you guys don’t have the image of a weird inflatable gimp suit that’s been designed to help Kelly Slater and his mates from drowning, but wouldn’t look out of place in a fetish bar. The phrase ‘inflatable wetsuit’ is a bit of a stretch as it’s a wetsuit with an inflatable bladder that’s designed to save the surfer from drowning but how about some backstory to this eh?
Last year, Shane Dorian suffered the biggest wipeout of his life at the notorious Maverick’s break near San Francisco, California. He was held under for two waves and nearly drowned. After the incident he contacted Hub Hubbard, Billabong’s wetsuit designer, and he then contacted Mustang Survival, the world’s top maritime safety product manufacturer. They combined to create a suit that has an integrated inflatable flotation bladder and a CO2 cartridge. This cartridge can be activated with a tug on a pull-cord.
Dorian has tested the prototypes on big waves at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii. It’s caught the eye of the public and has been gaining attention worldwide for it’s ingenuity. It has also won The Best of What’s New Award from Popular Science Magazine!
If you’re interested in it and want to buy it then you’re actually out of luck. They’re not on sale to the general public at the moment but a few have been sent out to big wave riders. I reckon that they’ll put them out for sale after they have a patent for it but it might cost you quite a bit. Who can put a price on a life though?