Anyone who’s ever spent time getting in and out of a wetsuit knows the struggle that accompanies getting the stubborn devils on. Outstretching your suit to pull over heels, early dislocating your ankles trying to take the thing off…unless you’ve got patience, plastic bags or state-of-the-art rubber, you’re not putting on a wetsuit without at least two physicals bouts. Add in the numbing cold of pumping winter conditions, and you’re already at 75% before you jump in. (Mention-worthy exception: Sam Hammer)
Fortunately for most of us, there’s WETSOX—a rad brand developing products to ensure that getting in and out of your wetsuit is as easy as it should be (and not a process that makes you want to become physically violent with your surroundings). We caught up with Bryan Marville—who’s steering the ship at our favorite winter surf appliance company and told us a bit about the brand, who’d they be stoked to hook up with product, and what’s on the horizon as they gain popularity and expand their line. Free free to read this with or without a wetsuit on.
Was there a specific moment when it hit you that WETSOX needed to exist, or did it happen over several winters of almost losing your feet to frostbite?
It took a few winters changing in the parking lots out by Long Beach before we came up with the idea, for sure. But there was one day in particular where my hands were numb and I was just too sapped to even be able to get my boots off. I tried and tried but eventually just gave up and sat in my car with the heat on and thought, “There has got to be an easier way to do this.”
Maybe that’s why WETSOX products ended up so different from what’s on the market. For us it wasn’t just about making it easy to get into a suit, it also had to help you get out when you were exhausted.
How far has the product come in terms of design and development? Were the first prototypes working from the jump, or has it been a long and windy road leading up to the awesome product you guys offer now?
Definitely long and windy. We weren’t product development people when we started, so certainly made some mistakes along the way. The first protos proved the concept but needed tons of improvements and the toes looked like lobster claws. Fortunately, we started with small production batches and took feedback from our users before making the next run each time.
Folks have been really supportive with that. We’re now on production run eight or nine and the product is night and day. Super comfy, warm and durable. If anybody out there has one of the original Kickstarter pairs tell them to send us a note—we’ll get them some up-to-date ones on us.
What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment since the company launched?
There are lots of things I could say here; but it’s probably the evolution of the product or just sticking it out in general.
You can send a pair + sponsor any one surfer/waterman in the world. Who would it be?
Way too tough to decide. Albee Layer + Greg long come to mind very quickly. Will Skudin and Balaram have done a ton for NY. Brett Barley. Pete Devries.
Can you recall the coldest day you’ve ever surfed?
Long Beach three or four winters ago. During the “Arctic Cyclone” or whatever they were calling it. The wind was straight bitter. I had to wait forever to start driving home because I couldn’t feel the gas pedal. Therms didn’t exist yet.
After placing two raffle tickets in a “Win a Trip for Two” bowl at your local pizzeria, you receive a call and find out you’ve won. Your destination is any cold water surf destination on Earth. Iceland, Antartica, Russia’s North Shore—any area that offers up the occasional wave and subzero temps. Where are you going and who are you taking with you?
I’d really love to explore Canada. Like, road trip style. There’s just so much there to explore. I’d also love to see the Aleutian Islands. Anywhere. Put me on a plane. Let’s go. You guys should come too.
We’re there. What’s on the horizon for WETSOX? Major moves for 2017?
We’ve got some pretty cool new products coming out in fall of 2017. We’re expanding the original idea into a line of technical products to make cold water and the suit experience a bit more approachable for both surfers and divers. Tons of testing going on right now.
Other big news for us is we’ll be launching our Snow Line with WETSOX SNOW SOX which keep your feet warm (wet or dry) and our Hunt/Fish Line launches in April with WETSOX WADER SOX. We’ve been getting to play outside a lot. I learned how to fly fish. It’s been great.
Check out all WETSOX has to offer over on the WETSOX website. You can keep up with Bryan and the crew via the WETSOX Insta, @wetsoxsurf. If you’re looking for any more reason to pick up a pair, check out: