Meet the maker: Michael Ray

Published in FT Weekend Magazine on 12/13th June 2010 Issue number 364:

Meet the maker

Michael Ray Global wetsuit manager

Product:

H Bomb

What it is:

A battery-powered heated wetsuit

In his words:

“About four years ago, we were brainstorming for ideas that would be futuristic enough to break new ground. The concept of a heated wetsuit had been around for a long time but finally we had the technology to make it possible. We wanted to aim the wetsuit at super-cold places such as Iceland and Norway, where they have amazing surf but the water is literally too cold to go in.

The biggest challenge was waterproofing the electronics. The wetsuit needs to keep your core warm enough to move blood to your extremeties, so it heats the back area from below your neck to just below your kidneys. The H Bomb is about 10 per cent harder to get into and out of than a standard wetsuit, but if you were in those cold climates you would normally need a thick wetsuit (6mm-7mm) and hood, boots and gloves.

Our wetsuit comes in 3mm, 4mm and 5mm versions with a built-in hood, and in warmer waters you can use it without the batteries. We use the best neoprene, E3, which is the stretchiest and warmest material we have. It is blind-stitched and there’s another layer of liquid seal to make sure the wetsuit is really waterproof. The batteries will last six months, and the electronics will last two to three years.”

A$1,499.95 (£870); www.ripcurl.com/hbomb

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