What’s New? Quiksilver Wetsuit Edition with Chris Gonzalez

As we were doing our research for our South Coast Wetsuit Buyers Guide for Fall / Winter 2014 we were lucky enough to score an interview with the Global Product Manager at Quiksilver Chris Gonzalez. Now we are passing his vast product knowledge on to our community with the interview below where we asked Chris what’s new with Quiksilver wetsuits this season?

1. What new technology is Quiksilver putting into their wetsuits? What has changed from last season?

For Winter 2014 we are using our F’N Lite neoprene in all of our wetsuits. It’s a much lighter weight neoprene with more air cells blown into foam. This provides increased warmth while decreasing the weight of the neoprene itself. We really pride ourselves in using our best neoprene in our top of the line Cypher suits all the way through to our Syncro series suits. We have 100% performance materials in our range of wetsuits. We have also introduce our new thermal jersey in our Cypher series called “Dryoprene”. It’s a combination of our F’N Lite neoprene with the coconut charcoal infused polyester thermal lining laminated to the inside of the neoprene. The coconut charcoal infused polyester acts as a heat conductor, maintaining body warmth in the jersey longer. We also found that it holds much less water than other jerseys. It our warmest, lightest and fastest drying thermal lining to date.

2. Tell us about your product testing process. What specific role do you play in this process?

We put a lot of testing into the products and material before they actually make it to market in a finished wetsuit. We have actually partnered with a university to help us be a bit more scientific with our testing. Everything from stretch, to drying, to heat retention of the materials can be put through a testing process to help give us hard facts. We can then use these facts to translate into marketing information for our sales team and for the consumers, to educate them about the product they are selling/buying. The other side of it is as simple as going surfing. You need to have the scientific facts, but also the feedback from actually getting in the water and surfing in the suits. Seeding the prototype suits on people who surf a lot and can give good clear feed back on how the suits perform and fit is key to a good finished product.

3. We’ve noticed that Roxy wetsuits have become to the go-to women’s wetsuit brand. How do you explain the success?

Yes, I think we are really fortunate to have such a strong women’s specific brand in Roxy. There’s two sides to the strength of the Roxy product. First, it’s really the only Women’s surfing brand that stands alone. It has it’s own logo and it’s own look and feel. We don’t have to put our Quiksilver mountain and wave on the women’s suits and call them Quiksilver Women’s. So I think women feel like they are wearing a true female brand. Secondly, we’ve really tried to involved our female design team when developing the Roxy suits. It’s their input and concepts for how the panels of the suit specifically fit a women’s body and help make the suits look more flattering when they are on.

4. We’ve seen a trend in zip free wetsuits, how did that happen? How did you decide to go in that direction?

Zippers have always been a necessity in wetsuits to help get in and out of the suits but still maintain the fit of the suit once it’s on the body. They naturally create extra bulk and extra weight. Naturally everyone would want a suit that’s lighter weight. Really the evolution of the zipper less wetsuit has become possible because of the amount of stretch that you are able to get with the newer neoprenes. You can stretch enough to get in and out of a wetsuit all while having the pattern of the suit still fit properly to your body. I don’t think they are for everyone. It comes down to preference of each person and how flexible they are or how broad their shoulders are. The first time I saw a prototype made of our zipperless wetsuit I thought, “There’s no way to easily get that suit on”. But really, our zipper less wetsuit is no more difficult to put on than one of our chest zip styles. It’s by far my favorite suit to wear.

5. Do your athletes have a say in your creative process? Do you look to them when you are deciding what to develop next?

Yes, we definitely take into account feed back that we get from our Athlete’s. In terms of having technical feed back based on the most amount of use on a wetsuit, our Athlete feedback is key. They surf more than any other surfer. So if product checks out to their standards and their level of use it helps to feel confident about the suits once they hit the market. Many times they will have direct input on colorways or logos as well. But there is a fine line sometimes between what our Athlete would like to wear and what is still a marketable product. So that has to be taken into account as well when determining what is next for development and design.

And finally, are there any fun facts that you can tell us about the Cypher, Pyre and Roxy Syncro back zip?

Cypher is probably the best of both worlds when it comes to warmth and flexibility. F’N lite neoprene is strategically used in areas of the suit where you need flexibility the most. Likewise the Dryoprene thermal lining is only used where the body will benefit most by it’s warmth characteristics with out sacrificing flexibility.

Pyre is a great suit.. It’s the best suit on the market hands down at $195 for a 3/2mm and $205 for a 4/3mm. It comes in a back zip, has the same neoprene we use in the Cypher, has liquid sealed seams and it uses the thermal lining we put in our high end suits from last season (Bio Fleece). It’s as warm and flexible of a suit as you can get for right around $200.

Syncro is an amazing suit for it’s price. It’s basically the Pyre but with out the liquid seam seals. This suit is built around the person who wants to spend $145-155. Again.. We use the same F’N lite neoprene that we use in our top end Cypher wetsuit. It also has the same thermal lining we put in our high end suits from last season (Bio Fleece). It’s the best bang for your buck $$…

-Interview by South Coast’s Emily Southwick

Chris Gonzalez
Chris Gonzalez is  the Global Product Manager at Quiksilver.

We asked him for a bio about himself for this interview:

“I’ve been surfing for 25 years. I think I started surfing when I was about 11 years old. I’ve been with Quiksilver for the past 14 years. 10 of those years have been in the Wetsuit Division. As Global Product Manager my role is to help facilitate the development of a global wetsuit product line. I work with Design, Sales and Marketing to help determine market needs, relay the design team’s concepts to our vendor to turn into a finish products and brief marketing team on finished product so they can create their marketing stories to support the finished line. Surfing has always been such an important part of my life. The best part of my job is I get to be completely absorbed in the sport. Whether it’s actually surfing, testing product, spending time in surf shops, or being around brand new wetsuits. These are all things I would love to be doing even if I wasn’t getting paid to do them. I just feel really fortunate about my career path. I’ve had a lot of mentors and co workers that have given me opportunities and I’ve learned a ton from. I’m thankful for all of it!”

Thanks for the great interview Chris!

Download the FREE South Coast Fall / Winter Wetsuit Buyers Guide and see how Quiksilver suits compare to the other top wetsuit brands. Click here.

Quiksilver Wetsuit Review Fall / Winter 2014

Quiksilver Cypher

The Cypher features Quiksilver’s FN Lite Neoprene and Etco flex kneepads that give you the greatest flexibility possible. Their Dryoprene thermal lining will keep you warmer for longer and the Hydrolock seam seal and Waterblock semi dry chest zip will keep you dry.

Surfing Level: Moderate-Advanced
Flexibility: 5 o u t o f 5
Warmth: 4 o u t o f 5
Price: $ $
Number of Waves you’ll miss
getting into the suit:
4 o u t o f 5

Quiksilver Pyre

The Quiksilver Pyre is by far the easiest wetsuit to get in and out of on the market. This is thanks to its 100% Hyperstretch 3.0 neoprene and combination YKK standard length back zip and Hydro Wrap adjustable neck closure system.

Surfing Level: Moderate
Flexibility: 4 o u t o f 5
Warmth: 4 o u t o f 5
Price: $ $
Number of Waves you’ll miss
getting into the suit:
1 o u t o f 5

Read more

O’Neill Wetsuit Review Fall / Winter 2014

O’Neill Psycho 3

The Psycho 3 features O’Neill’s exclusive TechnoButter 2 which is the most durable, lightweight, quick drying neoprene on the market and now with added velcro resistance. Technobutter 2-Air Firewall in the chest and back and Double Super Seam Weld will keep you warm and loose in the water. The Psycho 3 evolution from Area 52 continues to be an industry leader and keeps you performing at the top of your game.

Surfing Level: Moderate-Advanced
Flexibility: 4 o u t o f 5
Warmth: 5 o u t o f 5
Price: $$$
Number of Waves you’ll miss
getting into the suit:
3 o u t o f 5

O’Neill Pyrotech

O’Neill’s Pyrotech Series combines their exclusive TechnoButter neoprene with Technobutter-Air Firewall insulation, Single Fluid Seam Weld and a F.U.Z.E Closure System. This wetsuit is lighter, warmer, more insulating and quick drying with improved ease of entry than previous versions. Pyrotech is the latest advancement in cold water wetsuit technology from O’Neill, the leaders in innovation for over 60 years.

Surfing Level: Moderate-Advanced
Flexibility: 5 o u t o f 5
Warmth: 4 o u t o f 5
Price: $$$
Number of Waves you’ll miss
getting into the suit: 3 o u t o f 5

 

Download the FREE South Coast Fall / Winter Wetsuit Buyers Guide and see how these suits compare to the other top wetsuit brands. Click here.

South Coast Wetsuit Guide

What’s New with SC team rider Jonah Pierce?

Jonah has had a rather exciting November! We asked him to fill us in on his biggest win to date!

Last week my alarm went off at 4:30am for the NSSA Southwest Open Mens event at Churches. The event was really fun, with 2-3 foot rights, peeling down the point. The event consisted of two days: Saturday was rounds one, two and three; and Sunday was the day of the semi-finals. These events are really cool because the semi-final rounds and the final round are man-on-man heats with priority; just like the ASP World Championship Tour events. I surfed great all heats, posting scores in the excellent range in almost every heat. My initial goal was to at least make it to the semis so that I could surf my first man-on-man heat, and when I did, I was thrilled. I was so excited to get the opportunity to have some sort of practice in a man-on-man heat.

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The semi-final was nothing like any heat I had ever surfed because you don’t have to worry about anyone trying to hassle you for a wave; instead, you have to think extremely strategically so that you don’t give your priority up on a bad wave, or so that you don’t sit the whole heat being too selective and catch no waves. All my judgements were perfect in my semi and I came out with a win against fellow South Coast team rider, Ryland Rubens. Ryland was surfing really well the whole day and went on to win the Open Juniors division. The next step was the final.

For my final I had a San Clemente local in my heat, Connor Dand, who was also ripping every heat. This heat was the most stressful of all because the waves became very inconsistent so you had to be extra attentive to which waves would have the most scoring potential. I made a huge mistake on my first wave because I was way too deep and only got two decent turns; I received a low score of a four. Connor started off strong with two mid-range scores, making me need a 6.77 to take the lead. The heat was so slow that I knew when the next wave came through I would have to go. I was sitting with priority until the five-minute mark and finally caught a wave. I was able to get three really good turns that awarded me a 7.50. It was a really good score, but since I only had a four as a back-up, Connor didn’t need a very high score. The next wave Conner went on, he surfed solid, but ended up falling on the end, causing him to fall short of the score. The next two minutes in that heat were the slowest two minutes of my life. I was praying for it to end before any more waves would come through. I counted down the last 10 seconds with a huge smile on my face. That smile didn’t go away until the end of the car ride home. It was such an exciting day.

-Jonah Pierce

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Ryland Rubens, Working His Way to the Top

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Photo credit: Gage Hingeley

If you don’t know who Ryland Rubens is, you should! This Team USA surfer is from Pacific Beach and has been surfing Blacks Beach since he could swim. Now he is one of the best surfers in the US. From contests in LA to here in San Diego, Ryland has been taking top honors. He is also in position to win the NSSA Southwest Open Juniors season series after taking first in the last 2 events. Billabong, Dakine, Von Zipper, Sector 9, Sanuk and South Coast all sponsor Rubens as he travels the world catching waves and winning contests. He believes in never giving up and always having fun. Like any teenager, though, he still loves pizza, his friends, and his dog, Rico. He is in to classic rock like Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. Check back here on the blog to follow the amazing journey of this San Diego native.

Photos from a recent trip to Mainland Mexico.
Photo Credit: Peter Rubens
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Photos from Tavarua
Photo credit: Peter Rubens
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