The Evolution of Surf Actionwear™
A very rare chance close encounter with a shark at Collaroy in the 1980's sparked a long journey that resulted in the creation of Surf Actionwear™. No harm came to human or shark but the seed of an idea was planted.
Simon Smithers the inventor of Surf Actionwear™ has been collecting multiple injuries and experiences over his 47 years of motorcycle riding, surfing, diving and martial arts.
Simon experienced a smashed kidney, cracked ribs, a broken neck and back, a few too many road rash experiences from pushies and motorcycles, uncomfortable board rash incidences as a child, rock and reef cuts and a few fin chops that he would rather forget. ‘If only he had worn appropriate protective clothing!’
In 2015 Urban Actionwear was conceived and the company set about designing, manufacturing retailing motorcycle and sports clothing.
We first started making and selling kevlar lined jeans and hoodies. At that time, there were numerous shark attacks reported in the media. It occurred to us that the materials we used in our clothing might be repurposed in protective wet suits.
2015 Kevlar Board Shorts
Late in 2015 we made our first pair of kevlar board shorts and a rash vests.
We made a few sales. They were good, did a reasonable job, but if you have ever worn kevlar for any period of time you’d understand that were too hot and inflexible. They also left a lot of areas vulnerable. The surf short and rashie were short lived.
2016 Kevlar Armoured Panel suit
In late 2016 the Surf Armour heavy duty kevlar panelled wet suit prototype was created.
It was clunky, only slightly functional, the panels were stiff and immovable. Kind of ok, it was heavy and the lack of flexibility restricted movement. It was exhausting to put on and wear. Forget trying to surf in it.
We abandoned this type of suit in late 2016 because it only gave partial protection leaving a many parts of the body vulnerable to injury.
Surf Actionwear™ the stretch revolution
After four years of extensive research and experimentation, we tried and rejected every fabric we could get our hands on. The we created ActionTX™
The more stretch in a fabric, the less protection it provides. So after extensive trial and error we blended just the right amount of secret ingredients, making custom yarns, that required specially modified heavy duty machines to manufacture.
The yarn was so strong we kept breaking the machinery. We upgraded some more and then struggled to cut and sew the wetsuit fabric.
Yes we kept breaking the sewing machines and sewing needles!
The No Neoprene wet suit
Initially we bonded ActionTX™ to neoprene. It was good but we had a better idea. We went back to the lab and created a warm fleece liner that has a phenomenal cut resistance and is super warm. That’s right a no neoprene wet suit. We created ThermalTX™.the world’s first cut resistant wetsuit liner.
The Surf Actionwear™ wet suit is made from a laminated composite consisting of two layers. The outside layer is comprised of ActionTX™ of various weights while the inside layer is made from ThermalTX™.
The Scientific stuff
ActionTX™ is a custom variant of UHMWPE fabric we manufacture to maximise stretch, whilst providing world class abrasion, cut tear and puncture resistance.
ActionTX™ is CE Certified using the EN388: 2016 protocol to rate Abrasion, cut, tear and puncture resistance for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
ActionTX™ has been scientifically tested by Flinders University researcher Asoc. Professor Charlie Huveneers, and proven to be effective against White shark bite.
A White Shark checking out ActionTX™
A White Shark giving a ActionTX™ a solid bite
Charlie's report has been peer reviewed and is available for public release.here.
This version of ActionTX™ was tested in early 2019. The test swatches were ActionTX™ bonded to neoprene and were about 2mm. It did not contain ThermalTX™. We have continued to experiment and improve our material, Our new suit material significantly outperforms this material. We will be shark testing the new material in 2020.
Surf Actionwear™ clothing is 100% Australian designed and owned by Urban Actionwear Pty Ltd and is made here in Australia.
For more information on our wetsuits view the slide show here
For more information on EN388 CE testing view the slide show here
Disclaimer: Please note our wet suits are NOT 100% shark proof. That is just not possible. In the very rare event of a shark attack our products are designed to limit the potential injury by helping to reduce the incidence of blood loss and severe laceration. With fast access to medical attention your chances of a good outcome are significantly improved. Surf Actionwear™ iS all about harm minimisation.