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Based in the Gorge for 28 years, ProMotion Wetsuits was founded by waterman Dana Love. A surfer at heart, Dana got into windsports to extend his time on the water. ProMotion is unique in that its products are only available via the physical store and the brand’s website. Dana said that most shops can only stock a few wetsuits and can’t offer the variety of models and sizes that are available directly from a manufacturer. He also feels he can offer better customer service this way. We pulled Dana away from his mandolin to answer our questions about what’s new at ProMotion for 2013.
For 2013 the biggest news at ProMotion is that you are combining your kite and windsurf wetsuits into a windsport line. Why now and what will you take from each to create the new line?
Kiters traditionally gravitated towards surfing wetsuits so our early kiteboarding wetsuits were developed from surfing styles. Surfing wetsuits typically use a woven exterior for durability and to help keep you from sliding off while paddling. Windsurfing wetsuits have always used less of this woven material on the outside in favor of smooth rubber.
A smooth rubber outer skin helps to cut the wind chill caused from evaporative cooling on the outside of your wetsuit. This past year we noticed more kiters beginning to understand the value of smooth rubber on the wetsuit exterior. Our new windsport series blends the two by taking the material advantages of each. We use a limited amount of woven material that is placed only in panels needing extra durability while the rest of the wetsuit is made of smooth rubber.
Our smooth rubber is a hybrid called ADV WindSkin. While still very flexible, ADV is more durable than typical smooth rubber in that it has an added skin laminate for better protection against fingernail cuts and gouges.
This year ProMotion introduced the ExoSkin line of tops, which integrate a micro fleece with a smooth exterior to cut wind chill. How has this piece worked out?
Our ExoSkin material is like a windbreaker/sweater for the water. The smooth-coated exterior cuts the wind chill and micro fleece on the inside offers a sweater-like feel. We originally made ExoSkin tops for warm water wind protection, but later we found the material great for layering as customers began wearing it under their wetsuits for added insulation.
For better wind protection over a surfing type wetsuits, some riders layer ExoSkin on the outside. We have continued to expand the ExoSkin product line this year adding hoodies and oversized tops.
What’s the difference between the NeoSkin and ExoSkin line of tops?
NeoSkin is our traditional wetsuit line of thin 1.5mm super-stretch neoprene material that we offer in tops and shorts. The NeoSkin fit is snug. ExoSkin is our slightly looser fitting line of coated micro fleece mentioned above. Both items offer similar warmth while you are up and riding, with the edge going to the ExoSkin because of its fully wind proof exterior.
If you spend more time in the water, the NeoSkin should feel warmer since it will trap some warm water against your skin and insulate like a wetsuit.
Most kite vests offer either impact protection or floatation but not both. Why?
Typically, materials that offer the greatest amount of impact protection are rigid and not buoyant. For flotation in PFDs, the foam used offers some impact protection, but is not rigid enough to resist high impact. Our Kite Vest offers some impact resistance but is more of a PFD by design.
High on our list in designing the Kite Vest (PFD) was to make sure the vest would stay snug and not ride up like we had seen. Wetsuit material was used for the body to give it a snug fit. A thin silhouette was used on the lower torso to help anchor the vest when worn under a harness. At the waist we use an adjustable overlapping Velcro closure and a front zip is used on the upper.
You have a new three-quarter knee-length short sleeve kite wetsuit with option to add 2mm long sleeves for increased warmth. How do those things stay on and not bunch up?
Removable Sleeves have been in our line for at least 15 years now. A simple idea, they work great for adding a little extra warmth on cloudy or overcast days. To keep them in place, they are made long enough to under-lap a short-sleeved wetsuit all the way up to your armpits.
This under lapping keeps them in place. We have found the best way to put them on is to put them on first, then get into the rest of your wetsuit.
Promotion will be introducing a long John-style SUP wetsuit next year with a layering top. Why is this wetsuit SUP-specific? Would it be good to use for kiting as well?
While it might work OK for kiting, our SUP wetsuit was designed specifically for paddling. Some of the paddling features included are breathable armpit panels to keep you from overheating, pockets for hydration packs, adjustable length straps at the shoulders on the John-style, and front zips in the jacket for quick layering.
What is the best method or product to use to clean a smelly wetsuit?
We have found a product called Mirazyme works great. Mirazyme is an all-natural odor eliminator. Using it is simple. First you add a capful of Mirazyme to a tub of cool water. Swish your wetsuits in the water, and then hang them up to drip-dry. That’s it. We offer Mirazyme on our website.
Want 185 pages of 2013 kiteboarding gear info on 28 brands? Check out the TKB 2013 Buyer’s Guide.