Dressing for the Surf or the Trend?

I have never seen a V-neck men’s wetsuit, and most likely never will. But walking down the aisles of surf shops, female wetsuits range from long-sleeved cropped-tops to neoprene bikinis.

There is no practical use for short, neoprene bikinis, and if there were we would see Kelly Slater in a neoprene speedo.

In 2011, when O’Niell released the Technobutter neoprene on their 60th anniversary:

“This new neoprene is amazing! I have no restrictions and it is so warm and light, I feel like I’m surfing in board shorts at home”— John John Florence in Surfing Magazine

It took four years for female wetsuits to get this same technology in 2015.

So why can a woman’s wetsuit appearance change so fast but the technology takes years to keep up with men?

There’s a couple answers:

“Big surfing labels even refused to produce women’s wetsuits and other gear because it would diminish their ‘hardcore’ surfing image,” said Laura Sophia Fendt.This refusal leads into a deeper part where it boils down to the money.

Looking at the advertising and business perspective, women’s swimwear makes up 70% of the industry, and the global revenue is about $13.25 billion.

These statistics show that it’s much more profitable to make swimwear for all women than technical swimwear for few. If more women began to surf then maybe the industry will follow.


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