Rip Curl’s H-Bomb – the world’s first power-heated wetsuit – was recently launched in Australia, where Rip Curl was born in the cold water of Bells Beach in 1969. It was apt that the revolutionary wetsuit was unveiled on home turf. The H-Bomb, which has been three years in development, is a significant breakthrough in cold-water surfing.

“We wanted to challenge the existing concept of the wetsuit and look at new technologies that could take wetsuits to the next level,” says Michael Ray, Rip Curl wetsuit product chairman.

“The H-Bomb is really focused on keeping surfers warm in extreme cold-water locations where thick layers of neoprene do not always offer enough warmth, or are so thick they inhibit the performance of the wearer. Victoria and Tasmania in the depth of winter can throw up some pretty rugged conditions, and the H-Bomb is a dream product for surfers in those kinds of areas.”

Heating elements lining the back of the wetsuit keep users warm. The elements, powered by two lithium-ion 7.4-volt batteries each weighing 140 g, are positioned to warm the wearer’s core, which allows the body to keep warm blood flowing to the extremities.

Carbon-fibre technology is used to conduct the heat, which means the elements are non-corrosive and generate a minimal electromagnetic field. 

Three different temperature levels enable the surfer to regulate their heat for up to two and a half hours. The maximum temperature setting, 48ºC to 50ºC (118ºF to 122ºF), can be sustained for one and a half hours but is designed to be used in short bursts.

A titanium lining on the neoprene back panel reflects heat in towards the body. The batteries are carried in internal pockets on the lower back, positioned for minimal impact on flexibility and surf performance.

The H-Bomb is made of light, warm and flexible E3 neoprene and features double Aquaban liquid taping on all seams for water-tight, durable joins.

“The H-Bomb has been tested everywhere, from the icy waters off Norway and Iceland to the shark-infested waters of South Africa,” says Ray. “It has the potential to change surfing and ocean exploration forever, allowing cold-water enthusiasts to enjoy places that were considered too extreme before.”

Rip Curl conducted research into the potential attraction of sharks to the electromagnetic field (EMF) generated by the suit, and South Africa’s Natal Sharks Board, employing the world’s leading experts in shark behaviour, after extensive testing, gave the suit the thumbs up.  

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