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Date: 1985
Overall: 1430 mm, 1.25 kg
Medium: Plastic, rubber
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from BHP Steel Division
Object Name: Wetsuit
Object No: 00000136
Place Manufactured:Victoria

User Terms

    This Rip Curl Freelite wetsuit was worn by the skipper Kevin Nixon, on the 18-foot skiff COLORBOND during the 1985-1986 season. The orange 'spring' wetsuit features a pink lining, blue reinforced kneepads, a black plastic zipper on the back, and the Rip Curl Freelite logo on the chest and shoulder.

    SignificanceManufactured in Victoria, this Freelite wetsuit is representative of mid 1980s designs and textile technologies and shows sailing apparel of that era, when sailing and in particular 18-footer racing became increasingly competitive technologically.
    HistoryRip Curl began making wetsuits in 1970, and by 1971 was selling the first suits with underarm gussets. In 1974 they introduced shoulder zips for greater warmth and flexibility, together with dual and multi-thickness suits.

    The suits were made from neoprene, which is a synthetic rubber produced by the polymerization of chloroprene. The material was invented by DuPont, who were also responsible for the development of nylon. In 1982 Rip Curl began using a more flexible form of neoprene, called Super Xpandx.

    In 1984 Rip Curl introduced K-Tron knee pads for durability and Aqua Ban seams for warmth. The next year the company started using fully contoured patterns in the design of the suits, ensuring a better fit.
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