Billabong & Shane Dorian Introduce V1 Inflatable Wetsuit for Big Wave Safety

Billabong Inflatable Wetsuit

Shane Dorian Billabong inflatable wetsuit to save lives.

That is something anyone would like to put their name on including Shane Dorian Billabong wetsuits athlete. When he first contacted Billabong’s wetsuit designers they had never considered the ideas of an inflatable wetsuit to bring you to the surface after a big wave hold down. The concept isn’t a new one and has been used by divers for awhile now. What is know to divers as a freedivers recovery vest(FRV) Billabong has named the Billabong V1 Inflatable Wetsuit. Although many FRV’s can be activated by a depth meter the new Billabong wetsuits must be inflated by the user who initiates C02 cartridges that can be replaced between sets to get you back in the line up. This could be problematic if the surfer is knocked out by the crash or somehow unconscious. Never-the-less after a few big wave trials Shane is very confident about this new technology for surfers helping to allow his core group of big wave surfer friends to return safely home to their families.

One concern about this new inflatable wetsuit from Billabong is the possibility of the equipment ending up in the wrong hands. Sure it is life saving equipment for a professional big wave surfer but it could also give false confidence to an amature to paddle out when it is too big or dangerous for them. Just because you have an inflatable air sack doesn’t guarantee it will save your life on the swell of the year. Billabong intends these suits to be used by surfers who are constantly risking their lives in big waves not inexperienced surfers looking to start charging big waves.

Another concern expressed in the big wave community is that Billabong designed the suit with the air bag on the back which could potentially put the surfer in a dangerous position if unconscious. Most floatation devices focus on keeping an unconscious persons face out of the water so they can still breath. This is achieved by having floatation on the front side of the person body which appears to be lacking from this new inflatable Billabong wetsuit. Obviously the suit was designed this way to allow the surfer to still be able to paddle their board out of trouble once at the surface which might be the greater good in this case.

Billabong Inflatable Wetsuit

Photo: Hilton Dawe/Billabong

In the world of big wave surfing two wave hold-downs are no joke. It is great to know that riders and designers alike concern themselves with the safety of the sport so that the it can continue without tragedy. Big wave surfing takes a certain level of dedication that not everyone posses. Obviously you should always be a seasoned waterman before attempting any sort of big wave surfing as the dangers are tremendous. Wetsuits like Shane Dorian & Billabong’s new V1 should never be the sole survival factor for anyone in the water. Instead, years of diving experience and the ability to remain calm while holding your breath is what will save your life. Please be aware of these risks and consult with a veteran before putting yourself in a position that could be dangerous for everyone in the water.

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