It’s not often that you genuinely hope that a concept doesn’t go into production, but that’s exactly the wish behind the Rising Seas Wetsuit from Vissla. The concept is meant to be “an urgent call to all coastal enthusiasts to demand climate action from our nation’s leaders.” The full-body wetsuit is being developed in conjunction with the Surfrider Foundation and is meant to protect the wearer from the increasing levels of pollution, bacteria, and acidification in our oceans.
“The stakes are high and this wetsuit is our reality unless we at now,” states Eddie Anaya, Surfrider’s marketing director. “Our waterways are being polluted with toxic sewage, runoff and plastics. Sea levels are rising and threatening our beaches. The Rising Seas wetsuit concept is a stark glimpse into what every surfer and coastal enthusiast faces if we don’t take immediate action to address climate change impacts and pollution. Together with Vissla, we’re calling on everyone who cares about the ocean and coasts to let their voices be heard and demand action from elected officials to protect our ocean, waves and beaches for the future.”
You may be thinking that we already have full-body wetsuits, so what’s the big deal, but those suits cover neck to wrist to ankle. The Rising Seas suit literally covers every part of your body—from the top of your head to your fingertips to your toes. Unless things change, surfers and beach goers will have to wear a full suit, akin to a hazmat suit, if you want to enjoy the water. The specialized mask has a customized respirator and a heads up display that syncs with a dashboard worn on the forearm. This dashboard tracks swell charts, but also air quality, solar radiation, bacteria levels, and water toxicity. In short, this is less wet suit and more “a bio-defense system to face the emerging ecological crises.”
“The basic sort of premise behind the campaign was to create this reaction, which is, ‘Wow, that wetsuit’s amazing. I want it.’ And then have that emotion quickly replaced with, ‘Oh, how sad is it that in the world we live in I need something like this.” Says Surfrider CEO Chad Nelsen. Hopefully the message gets through before we have to start producing surfing hazmat wetsuit.