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Rip Curl Surfers Brave Artic Circle to Test Power Heated Wetsuit in Amazing Secret Waves

December 13, 2006

Rip Curl Surfers Brave Freezing Conditions in the Arctic Circle to Test New Power Heated Wetsuit in Amazing Secret Waves

The surfing world turns its attention to Hawaii’s North Shore in November and December for the close of the professional season and the Rip Curl Pro Pipeline Masters, but at the same time this year Florida native Adam Wickwire and Hawaiian Elise Garrigue headed away from the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean on a secret product-testing mission in the icy, unexplored oceans of the Arctic Circle.

Wickwire and Garrigue spent eight days searching for waves in the freezing North Atlantic Ocean, testing Rip Curl’s new “H-Bomb” power heated wetsuits.

The H-Bomb is the world’s first power heated wetsuit, designed to keep a surfer super-warm (despite the chilly temperature of the water they’re surfing in) by positioning two fibre-heating elements, which conduct electricity that generate heat and warm the blood.

The H-Bomb underwent enormous levels of testing during its production stage, but even the science labs couldn’t simulate the conditions that the Rip Curl Search team faced in the Arctic.

The air temperature averaged between –5 to –10 degrees Celsius (23 to 14 degrees Fahrenheit) during the trip, with wind chill temperatures reaching as low as –20C (-4F). The water temperature was measured as low as –1C (30F) during the surf sessions, which equalled perfect conditions for the H-Bomb…

“It was so cold, it’s kind of hard to explain how crazy the trip was,” said Wickwire. “It was so cold that when we went surfing we couldn’t even get changed into our wetsuits outside – we’d have to get changed in the car and then sit there until the H-Bomb started to heat up. Once the rubber heated up it was easy to get into the water with our hood, booties and gloves though.”

“The cold wasn’t even a factor when we were surfing, because the wetsuits are that good. The only time you felt the water is when you got flushed and that actually helped because the water circulated around the wetsuit and helped distribute the heat. It was just like surfing in normal water.”

“It was the most amazing adventure,” added Garrigue, who spends the year travelling the world with Rip Curl’s Search team. “I have never been to a place that cold, but it was so beautiful. The waves were awesome and the H-Bomb wetsuits allowed us to surf in places people have never been able to experience before.”

The Rip Curl H-Bomb will continue its rigorous testing program right up until the wetsuit’s pending release date in mid-2007.